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February 11, 2016

Posts in "Congressional Operations"

February 11, 2016

Email Blackout Exposes Tech Problems in House


UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: A Senate staffer works at his desk in the Hart Senate Office Building on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate staffers couldn’t get email through to their House colleagues Tuesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Countless emails to congressional staffers went unseen for hours Tuesday afternoon because of an unexplained internal server problem, raising questions about efficiency and security of the system that House members and their staffs rely on as a primary source of communication.

House officials in charge of the email servers declined to provide basic information about the extent of the problem — including the answers to such questions as how many addresses were blocked, how long it lasted and what caused the delay — citing security concerns. Full story

January 8, 2016

Capitol Visitor Center Gets Body Scanners


Capitol Police screen visitors with full body scanners at the Visitor Center.

Capitol Police screen visitors with full body scanners at the Capitol Visitor Center. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. Capitol Police is beefing up security at the Capitol Visitor Center by installing full body scanners.

But the department won’t say if the move comes as part of extra measures put in place ahead of President Barack Obama’s Jan. 12 State of the Union address, or if visitors can expect the machines to be long-term fixtures.

Full story

December 23, 2015

Steve Scalise Defends Planned Parenthood Strategy


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 15 - House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., heads to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, December 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise, left, says Republican priorities are reflected in the way his office approached the Planned Parenthood defuding effort. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were skeptical when their No. 3 leader started talking back in September about using the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood, knowing full well it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., though, still counts it as one of the GOP’s biggest victories of the 114th Congress. Full story

December 17, 2015

Pelosi Supports Omnibus, but Other Democrats Not Sold


UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 01: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, October 1, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi will support the omnibus, but some of her Democratic colleagues are still on the fence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will vote for the $1.1 trillion spending bill, but it’s unclear how many of her more liberal colleagues will follow her lead, a situation fluid enough that members and aides are concerned there might not be enough Democratic votes to offset Republican no votes.

Full story

December 16, 2015

Ryan Gets High Marks for First Big Showdown


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16: Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts a news conference in the Capitol after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, December 16, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan is planning ahead for 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

John A. Boehner’s last days as speaker in October were spent, as he said, cleaning out the barn, or cutting legislative deals to help his successor, Paul D. Ryan, get off to a good start.

Now that Ryan is close to passing his first real test as speaker by finishing up 2015’s legislative business, the Wisconsin Republican is laying the groundwork to keep things tidy in 2016.

Full story

It’s A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10 - House Speaker Paul Ryan takes a question during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, December 10, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans said Ryan deserved high praise for creating a more inclusive, collaborative environment in the lead-up to the omnibus negotiations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.

He’d been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to “regular order” and run the government as it should.

Full story

December 9, 2015

Meet the 11 Republicans Vying for the Steering Committee


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters with House Republican leaders following the House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of Ryan’s first acts as speaker was to reconfigure the influential Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven House Republicans are pitching their colleagues for a seat at the GOP’s influential Steering Committee, which determines who gets what plum, or not so plum, committee assignments.

Elections are scheduled for Thursday to determine the six at-large members who will be installed on the committee, a situation set in motion when new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., kept a promise to conservatives and changed the makeup of the panel, diluting some of leadership’s influence. Full story

Linda Sánchez Announces Democratic Leadership Bid


UNITED STATES - MARCH 24: Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., speaks as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus hold a news conference to speak out against the House Republican budget and its impact on the Latino community on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Elections for leadership positions are still a year away, but Rep. Linda T. Sánchez is laying the groundwork for her campaign.

The California Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus circulated a letter to each of her colleagues Wednesday asking for their support in her bid to be the Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman for the 115th Congress. Full story

December 8, 2015

Democrats Tie Up House Floor to Force Vote on Guns Bill


dem_meeting002_071515

Israel said Democrats wanted to “shame Republicans into giving us a vote on stopping terrorists for buying guns in America.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want Republicans to give them a vote on legislation to ban individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

On Tuesday, they got to debate the issue — sort of. Full story

King ‘Appreciative’ of Trump, but Won’t Endorse Muslim Comments


Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks with the media after a meeting of the House Republican caucus in the Capitol to discuss an immigration bill, August 1, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

King said he wouldn’t say whether he agreed with Trump on his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most House Republicans are opting not to respond to Donald Trump’s remarks that Muslim immigrants should be barred from entering into the United States. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is not among them, but he wouldn’t say whether he agrees with his party’s presidential frontrunner.

King told reporters he is “appreciative” that the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner “has given some of us a little more room to operate.” Full story

Black Caucus Chairman Seeks Partnership With Paul Ryan


UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call in his Rayburn office, July 9, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is interviewed by Roll Call in his office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield wants the House to address poverty in America, and feels he may have an unlikely partner in new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

“We got into the weeds with him,” Butterfield said of a past meeting between Ryan and the CBC, which took place before Butterfield was made CBC chairman. “He convinced me he understood pervasive poverty in America.”  Full story

December 7, 2015

House Chief Administrative Officer Ed Cassidy to Retire


Cassidy, right, seen here with actor Bryan Cranston, center, and director Jay Roach, is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cassidy, right, seen here with actor Bryan Cranston, center, and director Jay Roach, is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Chief Administrative Officer Ed Cassidy on Monday announced he has submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the year, as he looks to retire from federal service altogether early next year.

To help ease the transition, House Clerk Karen Haas has asked Will Plaster, a senior member of her staff, to serve as interim deputy chief administrative officer. Full story

December 4, 2015

Judiciary Chairman Puts Gun Onus on Executive Branch


Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., runs the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security" on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Goodlatte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The member of Congress leading oversight over the Justice and Homeland Security departments, as well as terrorism and crime, said Thursday it was up to the Executive Branch, not Congress, to make sure guns didn’t get into the wrong hands.

“The biggest thing that we can do in regards to gun violence is enforce the laws that we currently have on the books,” House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., said during a taping of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” that is set to air Sunday. “We have hundreds of them at the federal level, thousands of them at the state and local level, and the record over the last six years is one of steadily declining enforcement.” Full story

December 1, 2015

Democrats Call for Abolition of Planned Parenthood Panel


UNITED STATES - JULY 24: Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark.; and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., testify before a House Judiciary committee hearing on H.R.3179, the "Marketplace Equity Act of 2011," to improve the states' collection of sales tax over the internet. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Speier is one of the six Democrats serving on the select committee investigating Planned Parenthood who are calling for and end to the committee. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats appointed to serve on select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood called Tuesday for an end to the panel, arguing that Republican rhetoric incited anger toward the group that led to the Nov. 27 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

Republicans formed the select committee, which falls under the jurisdiction of Energy and Commerce, to investigate whether Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue. Democrats argue the investigation is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars because three standing congressional committees have found no evidence of wrongdoing and that undercover videos that sparked the investigations were manipulated. Full story

November 30, 2015

Cynthia Lummis: ‘The Only Republican Woman’


Lummis prepares to leave Congress as a proud conservative and frequently the only woman in many GOP circles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lummis frequently found herslef the only woman in many GOP circles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis was elected to Congress in 2008, she wanted to be a “reformer” and rein in spending and squelch bills that infringed on states’ rights.

She’ll retire at the end of 2016, having fallen short of accomplishing her objective. “It has not been the Congress that I hoped it would be during my seven years,” she recently conceded in an interview with Roll Call.

Full story

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