Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Posts in "Barack Obama"

December 18, 2014

‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Rewrites Legacy With ‘Cromnibus’

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Johnson called the 113th the “Do-Nothingest Congress,” but that label may not fit in the wake of a far-reaching “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 6:37 p.m. | They say numbers don’t lie. But in this case, numbers don’t tell the whole truth, either.

The 113th Congress wrapped up this week with 285 pieces of legislation signed into law by the president as of Thursday — one more than the 284 measures enacted in the 112th, which was previously the modern era’s least productive Congress. Both two-year terms end up well below the average from the preceding 20 Congresses, which typically produced 564 bills signed into law. (The median number of laws enacted for the past 20 Congresses is 604.) Full story

December 15, 2014

Defiant Pelosi Stands Firmly on Left

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Pelosi signals she’d rather fight than move to the middle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wide swaths of House Democrats have said they attribute Election Day losses to the caucus’s lack of a unified message, a strong pitch they can sell to voters and, above all else, a true sense their actions will match up with their rhetoric.

So when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke with the White House last week and fought against a trillion-dollar spending package containing policy riders abhorred by her caucus, progressives cheered the return of their liberal champion. Full story

December 12, 2014

Incoming House Budget Chairman Hopes for Legislative Gains in New GOP Congress

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Price succeeds Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Price might not have the same star power as Rep. Paul D. Ryan.

But the Georgia Republican, who’s stepping in to replace his Wisconsin colleague as chairman of the House Budget Committee, could end up having the kind of tangible successes that eluded his predecessor. Full story

December 11, 2014

Breaking Down the ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Updated)

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Clyburn and 56 other Democrats backed the “cromnibus.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:18 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12: The House passed the cromnibus Thursday night 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats voting for the bill, and 67 Republicans and 139 Democrats voting against. While the vote was close, the breakdown split along familiar lines. But there were some interesting trends and deviations in the vote. Full story

After Hours of Uncertainty, House Passes ‘Cromnibus’ (Updated)

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Boehner needed help getting the bill over the finish line. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Updated 10:19 p.m. | The House narrowly advanced a trillion-dollar spending bill Thursday night to fund nearly all federal operations through the end of the fiscal year.

The measure passed 219-206 and now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have just a few hours to avert a government shutdown; funding runs out at 11:59 p.m.

Sixty-seven Republicans joined 139 Democrats voting “no,” a volume of opposition ultimately not great enough to stymie the bill that was, by all accounts, controversial — even for those who voted “yes.” Full story

Obama, Hoyer Split With Pelosi on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Hoyer could be the key to finding enough Democrats to pass the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just hours from a government shutdown that everyone once insisted would never happen, House Democrats emerged from an emergency caucus meeting Thursday night much the same way they walked in: without a unified strategy.

Democrats are split on the “cromnibus” spending plan agreed upon by Republican House and Democratic Senate negotiators. The White House and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland want the cromnibus to pass. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California is against it, and she has significant backing from her caucus. Those who might be inclined to vote “yes” are keeping quiet, dodging reporters or saying they are still undecided.

Full story

December 9, 2014

Gruber Apologizes for ‘Glib, Thoughtless, Insulting’ Remarks (Updated) (Video)

 

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Issa called Gruber’s comments “deceitful.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 10:50 a.m. | Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare consultant who has become a lightning rod for critics of the health care law for his comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” apologized again on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped write the Affordable Care Act was summoned to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer for controversial comments that have surfaced in recent weeks on the Internet.

As the hearing got underway Tuesday, Gruber admitted missteps in talking about the passage of the 2010 law. Full story

December 4, 2014

Boehner Suggests He Won’t Cave to Conservatives on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Boehner . (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As conservatives push back against a bill to fund the government past Dec. 11, Speaker John A. Boehner signaled Thursday that he didn’t expect to make any sizable changes to the so-called “cromnibus” in order to placate voices to the right.

“I expect that we’ll have bipartisan support to pass the omnibus,” Boehner told reporters Thursday, in response to a question on whether the Ohio Republican anticipated needing some Democratic votes to pass the bill, and whether that would give Democrats leverage on negotiating riders in the appropriations bill.

Conservatives are bashing the cromnibus — which would fund all elements of government until October except the Department of Homeland Security, which would be funded until March or February — because it does not block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Full story

December 2, 2014

Labrador: Shutdown Didn’t Hurt GOP, Why Take It Off Table?

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Labrador, center, thinks a government shutdown can be a tool to block Obama’s immigration action. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Raúl R. Labrador has a message for Republican leadership as they decide how to respond to the president’s executive action on immigration and funding the government beyond Dec. 11: Keep a government shutdown as an option.

“I don’t think anything is off the table,” Labrador told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “I don’t think anybody is thinking about a shutdown, but, in negotiations, you never take anything off the table. That’s the first rule of negotiating, and apparently it’s not one that’s been learned in Washington, D.C.”

Full story

Jeh Johnson: Obama’s Plan Is ‘Simple Common Sense’ (Video)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration before skeptical Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Johnson, who has become the administration’s point person on immigration, told the House Homeland Security Committee that the president’s order to stay the deportations of millions of illegal immigrants is “simple common sense.”

“The reality is that, given our limited resources, these people are not priorities for removal. It’s time we acknowledge that and encourage them to be held accountable,” Johnson said. Full story

December 1, 2014

House GOP Races Against Clock to Unveil Spending Bill Gambit

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Boehner faces another shutdown scenario. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The internal struggle in the GOP over whether to flirt with another government shutdown could come down to the Tuesday morning House Republican Conference meeting.

Only 10 days before the current continuing resolution expires, House Republican leaders are trying to strike a balance between the conservatives determined to stop President Barack Obama’s immigration order and other lawmakers just as determined to avoid another politically damaging shutdown.

GOP aides said leadership will solicit feedback on the subject at the conference’s regularly scheduled closed-door meeting Tuesday. The gathering will be pivotal in determining how to proceed, but regardless of the strategy they land on, timing will play an important role.

Should Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and his top lieutenants not lay out a concrete proposal Tuesday — or if he fails to get members to coalesce around a strategy — Republicans could be inching toward being jammed by Democrats with a full, “clean” omnibus.

Sources say Republican leaders could float a proposal to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, but sunset spending for immigration-related activities by a date in the near future.

Ultimately, that could mean short-term funding for the whole Department of Homeland Security. That plan is being called a “cromnibus,” a combination of a continuing resolution, or a CR, and an omnibus, which refers to a legislative package that includes all or most parts of the 12 annual appropriations bills.

It would buy the GOP more time to figure out a long-term strategy to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, take the fight outside the confines of must-pass legislation and avoid a lapse in spending when current funding expires on Dec. 11. Full story

November 25, 2014

Don’t Count on Democrats to Help Pass GOP ‘Cromnibus,’ Says Pelosi

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Pelosi says Democrats won’t support the “Cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders and incoming Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia are floating a plan to fund immigration-related activities separately from an all-encompassing government spending bill — and for a shorter length of time.

It’s a plan still very much in flux. However, if the Republicans want to go through with it, they had better have enough of their own members ready and able to vote “yes,” because Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has it made it clear she won’t be offering assistance from her side of the aisle.

On Tuesday afternoon, the California Democrat slammed the emerging gambit known as a “Cromnibus” — part short-term continuing resolution, or CR, and part long-term omnibus — saying it would be tantamount to a “partial” government shutdown.

“House Democrats have fought against Republican attempts to shut down the government,” the California Democrat said in a written statement. “Now, House Republicans are seeking to disguise their efforts, threatening our national security in order to undermine the President’s clear legal authority. We will not be enablers to a Republican Government Shutdown, partial or otherwise.” Full story

November 24, 2014

Democrats Praise Obama for Immigration Action, but Wanted More

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Fasting immigration reform activists in front of the White House listen to President Barack Obama’s speech on his executive action on immigration policies Nov. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While Republicans in Congress aren’t holding back on their criticism of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, some Democrats are trying to navigate a more difficult position: Supporting the president’s action while also arguing he could have gone further.

Some of the strongest congressional proponents of an immigration overhaul — Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Sen. Robert J. Menendez, D-N.J. — held a conference call Monday to discuss the president’s action. And while all three were effusive in their praise, it was also clear they believe Obama could have put forward a more ambitious executive order.

“We made the argument that he could go further,” Gutierrez said on the conference call. “We lost that argument.” Full story

November 21, 2014

House Finally Files Affordable Care Act Lawsuit Against Obama

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Boehner said the House has formally filed a lawsuit against the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four months after the chamber authorized a lawsuit against President Barack Obama — and on the third try with an attorney after the first two lawyers bailed — the GOP-controlled House has formally filed its case, Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday.

“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress,” the Ohio Republican said in a statement. “That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.

“If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action,” Boehner said. Full story

Boehner: ‘House Will Act’ in Response to Obama’s Immigration Orders (Video)

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Immigration activists gathered at the White House on Thursday in the wake of Obama’s announcement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner said “the House will, in fact, act” to respond to President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration executive orders — but the Ohio Republican offered no details on the type, scale and scope of such action Friday morning.

In a 4-minute news conference outside his office, Boehner said the nation’s immigration system is “broken,” and “the American people expect us to work together to fix it.

“And we ought to do it in a Democratic process,” he continued, “moving bills through the people’s House, through the Senate and to the president’s desk.”

But Boehner also accused Obama of trying to “deliberately sabotage” the prospects for congressional action by issuing his executive orders and “making it impossible for me to do what he wanted me to do.”

Boehner said, “I warned the president over and over again.” Full story

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