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April 19, 2014

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April 15, 2014

Republican Governor Makes Unemployment Extension Push (Updated)

GOP Convention 091 082812 445x315 Republican Governor Makes Unemployment Extension Push (Updated)

Sandoval (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated April 16 9:50 a.m. | The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates — including a Republican — are urging Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to take up the Senate’s unemployment extension bill.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, wrote to Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., asking that the House take up the Senate-passed bill.

“As you know, long-term unemployment remains unacceptably high despite the fact that our economy has been recovering from the worst recession in generations. When our country has experienced similar rates of long-term unemployment in the past, Congress has consistently acted in a bipartisan fashion to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” the governors wrote.
Full story

April 10, 2014

Jindal Calls on McAllister to Resign

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McAllister, as his family looks on, at his mock swearing-in last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The chorus calling on Rep. Vance McAllister to resign is growing.

First, on Thursday, it was Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who said McAllister has “got decisions to make,” then it was the chairman of the Louisiana GOP, Roger F. Villere Jr., who released a statement saying “a breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation,” and now it’s Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Jindal released a statement Thursday that said McAllister had “embarrassed” the party and that it was time for him to resign.

“The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress,” Jindal said. Full story

Pelosi: ‘Race’ Part of the Reason GOP Won’t Act on Immigration (Video)

pelosi 260 102313 445x298 Pelosi: Race Part of the Reason GOP Wont Act on Immigration (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “race” is one reason Republicans are avoiding an immigration overhaul.

During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat implied there were ulterior reasons Republicans weren’t addressing immigration.

“I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill,” Pelosi said. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was just you, it would be easy.’”

Full story

House Approves Ryan Budget

Romney Ryan 005 081112 445x297 House Approves Ryan Budget

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House narrowly approved Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint Thursday, 219-205. It’s an important symbolic victory for the Wisconsin Republican and potential GOP presidential contender.

No Democrats voted for the 10-year-spending plan and the bill won’t go anywhere in the Senate, but the document has come to represent a marker for where the Republican Party, its leaders and rank-and-file House members stand on fiscal policy.

Full story

April 8, 2014

Sensenbrenner: Intelligence Director Committed Perjury (Video)

During a Justice Department oversight hearing Tuesday, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accused Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. of committing perjury during his Jan. 29 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he believed Clapper’s refusal to acknowledge whether warrantless searches of Americans’ communications had been conducted was perjurious after Clapper appeared to concede the point in a letter last week to Sen. Ron Wyden.

“Director Clapper’s perjury in my opinion has been covered extensively,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “In light of this, are you willing to discuss whether or not the Justice Department is investigating Director Clapper for his statements before the Senate?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. refused to say whether the DOJ was conducting an investigation.

“I’m really not in a position to confirm whether the department is investigating any particular matter, but we are reviewing the material that you and other members of the committee have provided to us, and I can assure you that we will take any action that is appropriate,” Holder said. Full story

March 26, 2014

‘Doc Fix’ Deal Passes Without Roll Call Vote (Updated) (Video)

boehner 061 020614 445x296 Doc Fix Deal Passes Without Roll Call Vote (Updated) (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated March 27, 12:49 a.m. | The House passed controversial “doc fix” legislation with a voice vote Thursday, after House GOP leaders spent hours scrambling to round up votes for the deal backed by Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The power move bypassed a recorded roll call vote, with the votes remaining in doubt, incensing some members of the House. Asked if she went along with the voice vote plan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., simply said “yes.”

Without a roll call vote, it’s impossible to know exactly who would have voted for or against the measure, or if it would have had the two-thirds needed to pass on the suspension calendar.

The House had recessed unexpectedly Thursday morning as GOP leaders sought to round up the votes needed to pass the measure ensuring Medicare payments to doctors aren’t cut.

“It’s looking very good,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said earlier. “We’re working on it.”

Immediately after GOP aides told CQ Roll Call the bill would be pulled Thursday morning for a lack of votes, the House Republican Doctors Caucus, which had been opposed to the measure, huddled in a room off of the House floor and were soon joined by GOP leaders. Staff was kicked out of the room.
Full story

March 19, 2014

Boehner Rejects Senate Unemployment Extension Bill (Updated)

boehner 144 031214 445x307 Boehner Rejects Senate Unemployment Extension Bill (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:41 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner signaled Wednesday the House will not take up a bipartisan Senate bill to temporarily extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits.

The Ohio Republican posted a statement on his blog, reacting to a letter from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies warning the Senate unemployment bill would take most states one to three months to implement and create new bureaucratic requirements that would be “virtually impossible” to enforce retroactively.

“We have always said that we’re willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again, if Washington Democrats can come up with a plan that is fiscally-responsible, and gets to the root of the problem by helping to create more private-sector jobs.  There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader Reid meets that test, and according to these state directors, the bill is also simply unworkable,” Boehner said in the statement.

After Boehner’s statement, the top Republican author of the Senate bill slammed what he called the latest “excuse” to deny benefits and a spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urged Boehner to come to the table to deal with his concerns.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dismissed Boehner’s concerns.

“Obviously, the administration would have to issue guidance to the states as has been done in past extensions,” Hammill said. “Using these relatively minor concerns to continue to justify leaving more than two million people out in the cold further illustrates that unemployed Americans are invisible to House Republicans.”

March 13, 2014

Dingell Has ‘Minimally Invasive’ Heart Procedure in Detroit Hospital (Updated)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | Rep. John D. Dingell underwent a “minimally invasive” heart procedure today at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and is “resting comfortably,” according to his office.

“He recently developed atrial fibrillation, and the procedure will seek to find the source of the abnormal heart rhythm and correct it. He is expected to stay in the hospital overnight and be released Friday,” his office said in a statement.

The Michigan Democrat plans to have a light workload during next week’s recess and plans to return to work when Congress reconvenes March 24.

Dingell recently announced that he would not run for re-election.

By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:54 a.m.
Breaking News

March 7, 2014

Alan Grayson Will Not Face Charges in Marital Spat

Grayson007 031413 445x307 Alan Grayson Will Not Face Charges in Marital Spat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Alan Grayson will not face charges after a marital spat devolved into accusations of domestic abuse earlier this month.

The Florida Democrat was accused by his wife, Lolita Grayson, of shoving her during an argument at her home. Grayson denied the allegation and cast doubt on his wife’s mental state.

On Friday, the Orange County Police Department announced it would not file charges against the congressman, according to Grayson’s office.

“Today the Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed what we have known all along: Congressman Grayson did nothing wrong. We are relieved that this ridiculous ordeal is over, and that the congressman can continue to focus on taking care of his family and serving his constituents,” said Grayson spokeswoman Lauren Doney.

March 6, 2014

Issa Apologizes to Cummings, but Accuses Him of ‘Hissy Fit’ (Updated)

DCbuildings 007 120213 445x289 Issa Apologizes to Cummings, but Accuses Him of Hissy Fit (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated March 7, 6:20 p.m. | In an interview with his local newspaper, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa said he has apologized to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for cutting off his microphone at a Wednesday hearing — although in a separate interview he told Fox News that Cummings had a “hissy fit” and “broke the decorum of the House.”

“Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents,” Issa told U-T San Diego after the House voted 211-186 on party lines to shelve a resolution offered by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge to condemn Issa’s actions.  Fudge also wrote to Speaker John A. Boehner asking the Ohio Republican to strip Issa of his gavel over his treatment of Cummings, D-Md.

Boehner had backed Issa and said he was within his rights to adjourn the hearing. Full story

Congressional Black Caucus Brings Resolution Condemning Issa, Asks Boehner to Take His Gavel (Video) (Updated)

fudge 134 062513 445x296 Congressional Black Caucus Brings Resolution Condemning Issa, Asks Boehner to Take His Gavel (Video) (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:23 p.m. | The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus brought a resolution to the floor Thursday condemning Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and asked Speaker John A. Boehner to take his gavel, after Issa cut off Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ microphone at a hearing Wednesday.

Flanked by CBC colleagues and other Democrats, Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, stood on the House floor to introduce a privileged resolution condemning the California Republican for the “offensive and disrespectful manner in which [he] conducted the hearing” and for “turn[ing] off the microphones of the Ranking Member while he was speaking and adjourn[ing] the hearing without a vote or a unanimous consent agreement.

Within hours, the House voted on party lines to shelve the resolution, with Republicans lining up to back Issa.

Cummings, a CBC member and the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was attempting to ask a procedural question and deliver general remarks at a resumption of a May 2013 hearing to question IRS official Lois Lerner, who again declined to answer questions by citing her Fifth Amendment rights.

Issa’s refusal to allow the Maryland Democrat to engage has set off a new chapter in a running feud between the two senior lawmakers on the panel.

This time, however, Democrats are taking it personally. In addition to the CBC privileged resolution, Fudge sent a letter to Boehner asking that Issa be removed from his chairmanship.

But the Ohio Republican issued a strong defense of Issa Thursday morning at his weekly press conference. Full story

March 3, 2014

Boehner Predicts He Will Keep Speaker’s Gavel, Calls Putin a ‘Thug’

Updated 6:59 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner told The Cincinnati Enquirer he will seek to remain the speaker in the next Congress and is confident his conference will keep him in the top slot.

“It won’t even be close. …I think I’m in better shape with my own caucus than I have ever been in the last three years,” Boehner told the paper, tamping down persistent speculation inside Washington that Boehner could be eyeing the exits, particularly after he recently bought a condo in Florida.

Boehner said the condo purchase “has nothing to do with my future,” the paper reported.

Boehner also called Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a “thug” and backed a round of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the standoff in Ukraine.

February 24, 2014

Boehner, Obama Meet in Oval Office (Updated)

Updated: Feb. 25 2:52 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner and President Barack Obama met for about an hour in the Oval Office Tuesday morning on a wide range of subjects and agreed to work together “wherever we can.”

That was according to a readout from an aide to the Ohio Republican.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the meeting “good and constructive” and “useful.”

Carney noted Boehner had previously said he would not negotiate with the president again. He said generally that Obama is looking at ways to advance his agenda.

Here’s the Boehner aide statement: Full story

Rep. John Dingell’s Retirement Announcement

The dean of the House, Rep. John D. Dingell, is announcing his retirement to the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Here’s the Michigan Democrat’s speech as prepared for delivery:

Greetings to all guests, those at the head table, distinguished guests, elected officials and friends.

What a great thing to be home amongst the people that Deborah and I love and have loved for so many years. This has been our home, full of loving friends and people whose goodness to all of us Dingells means so much.

We need to understand how blessed we are to be Americans, the richest, finest, most fortunate people in history. We need to criticize harshly those who do not brag of these facts and rejoice in our blessings. Full story

February 11, 2014

Republicans Plan ‘Clean’ Debt Limit Vote Today (Updated)

Updated 11:42 a.m. | Unable to sell their conference on their latest plan to raise the debt limit, Republican leaders plan to vote today on a “clean” debt limit increase.

“We don’t have 218 votes,” Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters. “When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing.”

Boehner said he expects nearly every Democrat to back the clean debt limit increase and said he had spoken to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and she agreed they would.

“Let his party give him the debt ceiling he wants,” the Ohio Republican said of President Barack Obama, who had vowed not to negotiate on the debt limit again.

But some Republicans will still have to vote for the bill.

“We’re going to have to find ‘em, I’ll be one of them,” Boehner said.

Boehner, who has long sought to use the debt limit as a leverage point to move other priorities, called the party’s inability to agree on a plan a “lost opportunity” and “a disappointing moment.”

The plan released last night would have restored military pensions that were cut in last year’s budget deal. Republicans now plan to vote on that issue separately — with both votes planned to be held later today to get ahead of a snowstorm expected later this week, GOP leadership aides said.

The military pension plan was only the latest of many Republican leader trial balloons to get shot down by their rank and file — including proposals to attach the Keystone XL pipeline and repeal a portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican leaders were caught between White House and Democratic demands for a clean hike and Republican conservatives who didn’t want to vote for anything, and others who were angry that they would have to choose whether to vote to support the troops or vote against raising the debt limit. Other Republicans complained that the plan would effectively increase spending for nine years only to cut it in the 10th year by extending part of the sequester — when many wanted more cuts sooner.

The difficulty of the task was noted by Boehner last week when he said attaching the canonization of Mother Teresa to the debt limit hike probably wouldn’t be enough to get enough Republican votes to pass a debt limit hike.

“Listen: You’ve all known that our members are not big about voting for an increase in the debt ceiling,” Boehner said today.

Republican were “upset” with Obama’s insistence that he would not negotiate on the issue.

And so, Boehner said, Republicans were asking, “‘Why should I have to deal with his debt limit?

“And so the fact is: We’ll let the Democrats put the votes up. We’ll put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed.”

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats would provide 180 or more votes. “We’ll see how many Republicans act responsibly,” he said.

But Hoyer reacted incredulously to the GOP leadership’s inability to find 218 Republican votes for any plan.

“Isn’t that pathetic? Isn’t that pathetic? Isn’t that pathetic?” Hoyer said.

Earlier, Boehner left his news conference today singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Emma Dumain, Daniel Newhauser and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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