Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 24, 2015

Posts in "Congressional Operations"

May 22, 2015

Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Israel has a tough road ahead in crafting a party message everyone can get behind (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s some good news for the moderate House Democrats who believe they’ve been marginalized in discussions on party messaging: Leadership might be starting to listen.

On Thursday morning, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin met privately with Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, both lawmakers confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
Full story

May 20, 2015

Once-Bipartisan COMPETES Act Leaves Democrats Cold

Smith, R-Texas, makes his case for funding of his committee during the House Administration Committee hearing on "Committee Funding for the 113th Congress" on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith put a GOP stamp on legislation Democrats once ran on: the COMPETES Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back in 2007, the America COMPETES Act — landmark legislation aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness through federal investments in scientific research and development — was a bipartisan labor of love.

Inspired by a National Academies’ report published in 2005, the bill was particularly lauded by Democrats, especially the moderates of the New Democrat Coalition who were instrumental in getting the measure over the finish line — and who later laid claim to the act on the stump.

But what a difference eight years makes. Full story

May 19, 2015

Democrats Hold Their Noses, Help Pass Highway Fund Patch

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Amodei voted “present” Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats had two difficult votes to take on Tuesday, and for the most part, they held their collective noses and voted “yes” with Republicans.

Lawmakers passed, 357-67, the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill to fund the operations of the House and congressional support agencies. They also voted to float the Highway Trust Fund an additional two months in an even larger bipartisan showing, 387-35, with one lawmaker, Mark Amodei, R-Nev., voting “present.” Full story

Boehner: Obama Should Start Over on War Authority Request (Video)

 Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, May 14, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner steps up criticism of Obama as ISIL takes Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner, escalating his criticism of the administration’s handling of the war against the Islamic State terror group, said Tuesday the president should scrap his Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal and submit something different to Congress.

“The president, frankly, should withdraw the [AUMF] and start over,” Boehner said at a news conference. “We don’t have a strategy. … For over two years I’ve been calling on the president to develop an overarching strategy to deal with the terrorist threat. We don’t have one, and the fact is the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Full story

Opponents of Highway Trust Fund Patch Look to Next Fight (Updated)

Welch, D-Vt., speaks during a news conference to announce efforts to oppose legislation to roll back Defense cuts on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welch is collecting signatures of lawmakers who’ve had enough of stop-gap highway spending bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:29 p.m. | Plenty of House Democrats — and even a few moderate Republicans — fed up with Congress’ inability to reach agreement on a multi-year Highway Trust Fund deal are likely to vote “no” Tuesday on a bill that would extend spending authority through July 31

The ringleaders of an effort to derail the latest stop-gap bill, however, have changed their strategy. Full story

May 18, 2015

McCarthy: No Plans in House to Budge on NSA Curbs

McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for Senate Republicans: If they want to extend expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, they aren’t going to do any better than the so-called USA Freedom Act.

The California Republican wouldn’t say whether there was a contingency plan if the Senate doesn’t heed that advice. Full story

Democrats: Don’t Cut Medicare to Fund Trade Deal

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., reads from his new book "My Country 'Tis of Thee," during a conversation at the Center for American Progress. The books touches on issues from his Muslim faith and family to the future of the country. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellison and Grijalva want changes to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats successfully blocked debate on Trade Promotion Authority in their chamber until they were promised a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance.

A similar gambit faces longer odds in the House, but Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota began Monday an effort to rally support among Democrats to force changes to the pending TAA legislation.

Full story

Democrats Face Risky Votes Ahead of Memorial Day Recess

Carney, D-Del., arrives for the House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Assessing the Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later" on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal

Carney acknowledged the effort to quash another short-term highway fund extension sends a message, even if it comes up short. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats have some tough decisions to make before Congress breaks for a week-long Memorial Day recess.

Walking a fine line between practicality and messaging, rank-and-file members are weighing their options for having the most impact on two legislative agenda items: A short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund and the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. Full story

May 14, 2015

Pro-Immigration Provision Stripped From Defense Bill

Brooks' amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brooks’ amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan coalition came close Thursday to protecting immigration-related language in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act — but not close enough.

A 221-202 vote on an amendment, offered by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., stripped a provision in the underlying bill encouraging the Pentagon to study options for enlisting undocumented immigrants into the military in exchange for a pathway to legal status.

All 182 Democrats voted “no,” joined by 20 Republicans. Full story

Revolt Brews Over Short-Term Highway Trust Fund Bill (Updated)

Welch, D-Vt., conducts a briefing with reporters in Russell office of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., on the re-introduction of the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. The legislation would give investors in renewable energy projects the same tax advantages that are enjoyed by investors in fossil fuel-based projects. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Welch is looking for lawmakers in both parties who are fed up with short-term highway bill extensions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:52 p.m. | A growing number of Democrats and some moderate Republicans in the House are coming out against any short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund.

This week, they’re signing on to a letter pledging they’ll vote against another stopgap extension of the account funding transportation and infrastructure projects around the country. Full story

May 12, 2015

Hoyer Slams GOP for Lack of Highway Trust Fund Progress

Hoyer says Republicans have had enough time to craft a long-term highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hoyer says Republicans have had enough time to craft a long-term highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The No. 2 House Democrat ripped Republicans Tuesday for looking for another patch job for the Highway Trust Fund before the current patch expires at the end of May.

Another short-term patch would buy the GOP time to come up with a long-term solution to pay for transportation and infrastructure projects around the country, but House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer says the GOP has taken long enough with no results. Full story

May 11, 2015

Michael Steel Trades Boehnerland for Bushworld

teel talks with reporters after the republican leadership weekly press conference in the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Steel, right, pictured here in 2013 wrangling reporters after a Republican news conference, will work for a political action committee supporting Jeb Bush. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Michael Steel, one of John A. Boehner’s top aides, is leaving the speaker’s office for a job in Miami as an adviser to a Jeb Bush political action committee.

The speaker, in an emailed statement, called his longtime spokesman a “pro’s pro.” Full story

May 8, 2015

Partnership-Minded Ryan Pushing, Promoting Pacific-Trade Deal

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with Roll Call in the House Ways and Means Committee room in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, April 30, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll

Ryan isn’t afraid to forge political partnerships. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I find it a little sad that you feel like this is even a story,” Rep. Paul D. Ryan said recently, mid-conversation with CQ Roll Call. “Because it shouldn’t have to be.”

The Wisconsin Republican had just been asked about the sometimes surprising political alliances he’s forged, both inside his own party and across the aisle.

Ryan, who at 45 still radiates the boy-next-door quality that helped land him on the 2012 national GOP ticket alongside Mitt Romney, credits his Midwestern roots for his genial approach to coalition-building — whether it’s working with Democrats on a budget or enlisting a tea party warrior such as Sen. Ted Cruz to talk up a trade deal. Full story

May 6, 2015

Conservatives Set for Immigration Fight on Defense Bill

Gallego, D-Ariz., gestures to other freshman members as they arrive early on the House steps for the House Democratic Caucus media event "to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Pr

Gallego’s amendment supporting the rights of undocumented immigrants to serve in the military has been targeted by House conservatives. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee voted 33-30 for an amendment to the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would encourage the Pentagon to affirm undocumented immigrants should be permitted to serve in the military.

This week, more than two dozen conservative House Republicans are threatening to derail the must-pass legislation unless that language is removed. Full story

May 1, 2015

Immigration Fight Could Return to House This Month

immigration news

Denham will try again to include in this year’s defense bill a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the armed forces. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy opened his Friday memo to House members regarding May’s legislative agenda by quoting Steve Jobs and praising Republicans for the victories they’ve overseen in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress.

But GOP success stories may be overshadowed later this month when Republicans again face one of the most politically dangerous and unforgiving issues for the party: immigration. Full story

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