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January 31, 2015

Posts in "Congressional Operations"

January 29, 2015

Obama Fires Up House Democrats (Updated)

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.  Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool Copyright ©2015 Agence France Presse Photos

Obama told Democrats to take credit for the improving economy (Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)

Updated 10:55 p.m. | PHILADELPHIA — A fiery President Barack Obama addressed House Democrats Thursday night, saying while there’s more work to do in restoring the economy, Democrats can’t be shy about what they’ve already accomplished.

His remarks, delivered in the ballroom of a Sheraton hotel on the second evening of the House Democratic retreat, were tailored to the caucus’s new strategy: Focus the party’s message on growing the middle class and take full credit for the nation’s economic recovery of the past six years.
Full story

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

January 28, 2015

White House Helping Democrats Shape Message to Middle Class

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind is one of the Democrats championing more “aspirational” messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day House Democrats are set to go to their annual issues conference in Philadelphia to discuss messaging for the 2016 election cycle, among other things, the caucus’s new messaging group held its inaugural meeting on Capitol Hill.

The newly minted, 16-member Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which was tailored specifically to be led by recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, heard Wednesday morning from David Simas, the White House director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Full story

January 27, 2015

House Democrats Brace for Potentially Tense Retreat

elosi, D-Calif., arrives for her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, January 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi’s Democrats head to Philadelphia looking for unity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The official theme of the House Democrats’ annual “issues conference” this week is “Grow America’s Economy, Grow American Paychecks.”

But the three-day retreat in Philadelphia, which kicks off Wednesday afternoon, could be a test of whether leaders and rank-and-file members can return to Washington, D.C., having found some common ground. Full story

January 22, 2015

What the House GOP’s Abortion Bill About-Face Really Means

Ellmers, R-N.C., questions HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during her testimony before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the failures of Affordable Care Act's enrollment website. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers and other Republican women had concerns about the way the 20-week abortion ban was written. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A significant contingent of women and moderate members of the House Republican Conference prevailed Wednesday, convincing GOP leadership that the political blowback for voting to ban abortions after 20 weeks could far outweigh any favor curried with the anti-abortion base of the party.

It wasn’t clear Thursday whether the decision to swap out the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” for less controversial legislation to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion services signaled a permanent shift back toward the middle for House Republicans. Full story

January 20, 2015

Hoyer Mum on Whether He’ll Help Obama, GOP on Trade Deal

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hoyer hasn’t committed his support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama likely will reiterate his call for Congress to pave the way for new trade negotiations — but House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is still demurring on how far he’ll go to help the administration achieve that goal.

The Maryland Democrat said Tuesday at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing with reporters that he was, and would continue, discussing the matter with the White House, Trade Representative Michael Froman and fellow members of House Democratic leadership. Full story

January 15, 2015

Van Hollen’s New Pitch for Democrats: Middle-Class Tax Cuts

Van Hollen, D-Md., delivers a speech at the Center For American Progress on middle-class wages, January 12, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen’s proposal calls for middle-class tax cuts and new fees on Wall Street. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House and Senate Republicans were plotting their legislative agenda in Hershey, Pa., Democrat Chris Van Hollen touted his own populist economic plan Thursday morning at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Van Hollen’s proposal — new fees on Wall Street to pay for middle-class tax relief — isn’t likely to go anywhere on Capitol Hill, at least not in the GOP-controlled 114th Congress. Full story

January 14, 2015

26 House Republicans Stand Up to Anti-DACA Contingent (Video) (Updated)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Blackburn’s anti-DACA amendment was one of the five GOP riders attached to the Homeland Security funding bill that passed the House Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:24 p.m. | When House Republicans went to vote on their Department of Homeland Security funding bill Wednesday, they encountered an unusual dynamic.

Instead of the most conservative faction threatening to derail an amendment for not meeting certain ideological purity standards, it was the more moderate contingent rising up against a provision it argued went too far. Full story

January 9, 2015

TPP Trade Deal Could Divide Obama, House Democrats

DeFazio, D-Ore., along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., not pictured, conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce legislation that will strengthen social security by making wealthy Americans pay the same payroll tax as most citizens. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans will go after “weak-kneed” Democrats to back the trade deal, DeFazio said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass legislation that would give him the authority to negotiate a long-sought trade agreement with nearly a dozen countries in the Pacific region.

The problem is, a growing number of House Democrats don’t want to let him have it. Full story

January 8, 2015

The Real Reason Some Members Voted Against Boehner

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the news conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some of the 25 Republicans who bucked Boehner on Tuesday feared that a vote for the Ohio Republican could hurt them in their districts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For many of the 25 House Republicans who broke ranks in the speaker election Tuesday, voting against John A. Boehner was a reflection of a long-simmering dissatisfaction with the Ohio Republican.

But for some other members, it may have just been about political survival. Full story

January 7, 2015

House GOP Extends Contract for Obama Lawsuit

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 4: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during his weekly press conference on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and House leaders extended to 2017 the Obama lawsuit contract with attorney Jonathan Turley. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans will continue to pay an outside attorney to handle its lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

At the direction of leadership, House General Counsel Kerry Kircher has extended the official contract with Jonathan Turley to pursue legal action against the president through Jan. 3, 2017, at noon — or earlier, should the case conclude by then, according to a document obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

January 5, 2015

GOP Ready to Move On From Scalise Scandal

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress  on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are sticking with Scalise. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are hopeful there will be enough distractions at the start of the 114th Congress to deflect attention from Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his 2002 meeting with a white supremacist group.

But just how quickly the embarrassment goes away depends on how much members in both parties insist on talking about it — and whether there are any details of the incident that have yet to be uncovered. Full story

5 Legislative Hurdles for New House GOP

use John Boehner, R-Ohio, makes his way to his news conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 20

Boehner has more Republicans in the 114th, but still may need help from Democrats on some of the stickier votes coming this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

John A. Boehner’s first test in the 114th Congress comes Tuesday, when he could face as many as 20 defections to his speakership.

He’s ultimately expected to win a third term as the House’s top Republican, but the level of opposition could be an early indicator of how difficult a time he’ll have corralling the necessary number of votes for a whole host of sticky legislative items — from extending the debt limit sometime midyear to giving President Barack Obama ground rules for negotiating a new trade agreement. Full story

December 30, 2014

Kevin McCarthy, Ben Ray Luján Among Capitol Hill’s Big Winners in 2014

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy was one of 2014’s big winners. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not every member of Congress had an A+ year.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., became the first majority leader in decades to go down in a primary; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., only barely avoided being explicitly implicated for campaign finance fraud.

Full story

December 23, 2014

In New Role on Capitol Hill, Duppler Goes From ‘Outsider’ to ‘Insider’

House Republicans hired Duppler away from Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans hired Duppler away from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a town where everyone wants to be heard, a big part of Mattie Duppler’s job is to listen.

Duppler, who made a name for herself as the director of budget and regulatory policy for Americans for Tax Reform, is the new coalitions director for the House Republican Conference. Full story

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