Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Posts in "Dave Camp"

April 14, 2014

Boehner Leads Delegation to Afghanistan to Observe Presidential Elections

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner kicked off the two-week congressional recess with a visit to Afghanistan to observe the historic presidential election there.

According to a statement and press release from the Ohio Republican’s office Monday morning, datelined from Kabul, Boehner was accompanied by Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline, R-Minn.; Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash.; Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.; and National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Also in attendance were some of the Speaker’s friends and allies: Republican Reps. Tom Latham of Iowa, Devin Nunes of California and Steve Womack of Arkansas.

House GOP leadership aides could not shed light on why this particular “Gang of Eight” had been assembled — it could just be that Boehner wanted to bring lawmakers with whom he has a good rapport. Full story

April 10, 2014

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.

Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.

Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.

Watch the full press conference below:

April 9, 2014

House Republicans Ask Holder to Pursue Criminal Charges for Ex-IRS Official (Updated)

irs hearing020 052213 445x296 House Republicans Ask Holder to Pursue Criminal Charges for Ex IRS Official (Updated)

Lerner (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | The House Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday in support of launching a criminal investigation into the woman at the center of the IRS scandal — just one day before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is set to vote on holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

In a 23-14 party line vote, the Ways and Means panel approved submission of a formal letter to Eric H. Holder Jr., asking that the attorney general pursue charges against the former IRS official using evidence uncovered during the committee’s year-long investigation.

Wednesday’s action — coming after a rare closed-to-the-press meeting — is the latest salvo in what has rapidly escalated into a fiercely partisan battle over the extent to which lawmakers should probe Lerner’s actions. Full story

March 24, 2014

Tax Reform to Start With Baby Steps in the House

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is pushing ahead with an incremental approach on tax reform for now.

In a memo to committee colleagues on Monday, the Michigan Republican said he planned to take several steps over the next several months, “pav[ing] the way for tax reform by making incremental progress towards full reform.”

In addition to holding “bipartisan meetings with the staff of the [Joint Committee on Taxation] until we have walked through the entire draft” and convening “public hearings on specific portions of the bill,” Camp said that the panel would mark up “permanent legislation” to address the so-called tax extenders which expire every year. Full story

February 28, 2014

GOP’s Obamacare Rewrite Remains Uncertain

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McCarthy and McMorris Rodgers hosted a discussion with members on how to sell a health care bill to the conference. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are proceeding cautiously on a rewrite of Democrats’ health care law amid skepticism that any plan can pass muster in a conference with widely differing ideas about how to move forward.

Several members said this week that they realize the public relations problems Republicans have in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act five years after it was passed. So leaders are building the bill out from the message, in order to convince their members the endeavor is worthwhile and to show the electorate that their ideas merit control of both chambers of Congress.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. “We want to have the policy solutions as well as the communications strategy so that America knows that Republicans are committed to quality affordable health care.”

McMorris Rodgers and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California hosted a group of roughly 30 members in the whip’s office on Wednesday, where they discussed, how to sell a bill to the conference.

Full story

Kevin Brady Challenging Paul Ryan for Ways and Means Chairmanship

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Brady has put his hat in the ring for the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan has said he wants the Ways and Means Committee gavel next year, but the Wisconsin Republican will face a challenge from Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Brady, the current chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, told columnist Al Hunt in an interview that will air Friday evening that he wants the top slot on the Ways and Means Committee, where he is currently the No. 2 Republican.

Reigning Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., must relinquish his title next year due to term limits.

Full story

February 26, 2014

Camp Gets Plaudits for Tax Plan’s Audacity, but Few Endorsements

camp 179 022614 445x296 Camp Gets Plaudits for Tax Plans Audacity, but Few Endorsements

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp released his long-awaited rewrite of the nation’s tax code into a hostile political environment Wednesday afternoon, earning plaudits for his audacity, but little backing for moving the plan this year.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and top party leaders received Camp with pats on the back, but largely kept their hands off the substance of the bill.

“Chairman Camp’s worked on this for years. It’s time to have a public discussion about the issue of tax reform, and so I welcome the conversation,” Boehner told reporters earlier in the day. Full story

Boehner Declines to Endorse Camp’s Tax Reform (Updated) (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours ahead of the rollout, Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to endorse Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s plan for a rewrite of the country’s tax code.

Pressed repeatedly on whether he supports the bill that the Camp, R-Mich., will unveil Wednesday afternoon, Boehner said only that it is a “discussion draft” that will begin a “conversation” about the issues.

Full story

February 19, 2014

Dave Camp to Unveil Tax Code Overhaul, Despite Long Odds

camp021914 445x293 Dave Camp to Unveil Tax Code Overhaul, Despite Long Odds

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp appears determined to take one last stab at making good on his promise to pass an overhaul of the nation’s tax code by the end of the 113th Congress.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Republican told GOP members of the committee that he would, next week, release a “comprehensive discussion draft” of a tax code rewrite, one that would make the tax code “simpler and fairer for families and employers, and … strengthen our economy — meaning higher wages and more take home pay for the American worker.”

“It is time to make a choice,” said Camp in his email to colleagues, obtained by CQ Roll Call. “We can choose to have a real discussion about what tax reform can mean for American families and employers or we can choose to cower to special interests and maintain the status quo. Clearly, I choose the former.”

Though Camp’s decision to unveil his draft legislation marks a turning point for proponents of overhauling the tax code on both sides of the aisle, the political odds remain stacked against him. Full story

January 8, 2014

Anniversary of War on Poverty Splits GOP, Democrats

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Lee, second from left, gathered with other Democratic lawmakers and Robb, center, for an event to mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of the “war on poverty” on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats may have taken up income inequality as their election-year campaign platform, but Republicans appear determined to not let their counterparts own the subject.

To the annoyance of some Democrats, six members of the conservative Republican Study Committee held a news conference Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “war on poverty” and to call for a different tactic to address indigence in this nation — one that is leaner on direct aid and more robust in job creation.

“While this war may have been launched with the best of intentions, it’s clear we’re now engaged in a battle of attrition that has left more Americans in poverty than at any other point in our nation’s history,” Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., said at the beginning of the news conference, noting that more than 46 million Americans live in poverty today. He did not point out, however, that even though the raw number of poverty-stricken people has increased, the percentage of poor Americans has fallen from 19 percent when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his “unconditional war on poverty” in 1964 to about 15 percent today.

Southerland, the chairman of the RSC’s anti-poverty initiative, said that in the 50 years of the war on poverty, the government has spent more than $15 trillion on programs designed to combat those issues.

“Clearly, the big government ideas of the past need to be improved and aren’t working to the extent that they should,” Southerland said. ”We have a moral obligation to break the mold.”

Southerland said there were three pillars to fighting poverty: two-parent families, quality education and a stable job.

“Over the next year, we will be bringing interested members together to discuss conservative solutions that empower individuals and not the federal government,” he said. Full story

December 23, 2013

The House Winner and Loser of the Year — and Other Notable Members’ Highs and Lows

At the end of the first session of the 113th Congress, it’s hard to call anybody much of a “winner,” as no one got close to everything they wanted. Republican leaders had an ambitious legislative agenda that was repeatedly squelched by a rebellious rank and file — or by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s circular file. Democrats hoped for more relevance, given the GOP leadership’s precarious grip on its conference, but Democratic “victories” were mainly a result of Republican meltdowns.

For the power players in the House of Representatives, it was mostly a year of lows, with not-so-very-high highs, and few lawmakers emerged unscathed from the heartburns of 2013. But when 218 took up the daunting task of designating the year’s “winners” and “losers,” it was hard to fit members into that binary, which felt overly simplistic, anyway.

So in the very first, year-end wrap-up post since the blog’s inception, 218 is offering up, for your consideration, one “winner” and one “loser” of 2013 — with a few runners-up. The rest of the the lawmakers profiled here defied those clear-cut characterizations, and are instead viewed through the prism of simply their wins and losses.

In 218′s estimation, the one clear winner of 2013 was …  Full story

November 6, 2013

Levin: Camp’s Actions ‘Beneath the Ways and Means Committee’

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Rep. Sander M. Levin, right, and Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, center. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee blistered the Republican chairman Wednesday for, in his words, turning the panel into “a tool for opposition research” while failing to pass any legislation to boost the economy.

Rep. Sander M. Levin released the unusually scathing and personal letter to his fellow Michigander, Chairman Dave Camp, accusing him of using the committee as a bully pulpit for sabotaging the Obama administration.

“I am deeply troubled by the partisan turn this Committee has taken in recent months, having delayed — and in some cases completely abandoned — action on many issues of vital importance to American families and our economy while pressing ahead with a political agenda to undermine President Obama’s second term,” read the opening lines of Levin’s memo. Full story

October 16, 2013

House Republicans: ‘We Lost’

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Despite defeat, Republican rank and file largely support Boehner. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans emerged from an all-hands meeting Wednesday afternoon waving the white flag.

After a two-and-a-half-week government shutdown and on the brink of the deadline to raise the debt ceiling, the GOP rank and file said leadership was prepared to bring up the Senate-crafted compromise bill that largely skimps on the Obamacare concessions for which they fought.

The mood was somber in the basement of the Capitol as lawmakers trickled out of the conference room, readily sharing with reporters their sense of resignation. Even if Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, loses votes from the majority of his majority on the Senate deal, nearly all House Democrats are expected to vote in favor, which would ensure the package’s victory.

Some of the starkest pronouncements of defeat came from committee chairmen.

“It’s better to win than it is to lose,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan. “We lost.” Full story

October 1, 2013

Republicans Ready for Conference, but Still Missing Their Dance Partners

Exactly 12 hours after the government shutdown began, the eight House Republicans appointed to serve on a continuing resolution conference committee staged a photo-op.

Facing a crowd of reporters and flashing cameras, the gentlemen sat on one side of a long conference table in the speaker’s suite of offices, all in their shirtsleeves to visually signal their readiness to get to work and reopen the government — and to try to point out that Democrats were not there to join them.

“As you see, there’s no one here on the other side of the table,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. “All of us are here, sitting at a table, waiting for the Senate Democrats to join us so we can resolve our differences.”

After three unsuccessful attempts to force the Senate to accept a short-term spending bill that contained different riders aimed at undermining Obamacare, the House, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, sent the other chamber a motion to go to conference — along with a CR that would delay the individual mandate’s implementation for one year and eliminate health care subsidies for those serving in the legislative and executive branches.

The Senate packed up and left after the stroke of midnight on Tuesday before the House had even voted on that measure. Senators came back at 9:30 a.m. and swiftly voted to table it, with Democrats saying there was nothing to negotiate. Senate Democratic leaders have said they will accept nothing more than a rider-free CR to resume government funding. Full story

June 5, 2013

A House-Senate Budget Deal Isn’t Unthinkable, Price Says

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., indicated Wednesday that a budget conference between the House and Senate is not out of the question, but that the House wants to set some ground rules before agreeing to make any formal moves.

In a wide-ranging discussion at the Christian Science Monitor’s recurring breakfast with policymakers, the five-term lawmaker, who sits on the powerful House Budget and Ways and Means committees, also provided his thoughts about the trajectory of an immigration overhaul and what the GOP might put on the table as part of a deal on raising the debt limit.

Here are the highlights from the hourlong discussion at a conference room in the St. Regis Hotel.

1. The Budget. Political watchers and frequent readers of our sister blog, #WGDB, are familiar by now with Democratic senators’ frequent unanimous consent requests to go to conference on the budgets both chambers passed earlier this year, but which Senate Republicans have blocked every time. The task of merging two very different budget frameworks is going to be a major challenge, and Price said on Wednesday that the delay can be traced to House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and others, who are hoping to lay down some conference “ground rules” before opening up the process for “demagoguery.”

“It’s important for people to know that [Senate Budget Chairwoman and Washington Democrat Patty] Murray and Chairman Ryan are, indeed, meeting and talking with great regularity and trying to come to an agreement on the parameters of a budget conference,” Price said. “It’s important to develop that framework before we sit down … so it’s not a free-for-all … [with] partisan back and forth that won’t reach any solutions.

“Chairman Ryan is very wise in laying out the goal of defining those parameters,” he said.

2. The Debt Limit. Even though President Barack Obama has said he won’t negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt limit, Price said there were certain things he’d like to see that, while controversial, could provide some opportunity for bipartisan discussion and probably represents a more realistic sampling of what the majority of his colleagues would like to see come out of the looming negotiations.

“I think it’s important for us to put an array of options out there,” he said, and they included entitlement changes, embracing the dollar-for-dollar “Boehner rule,” and what Price called “pro-growth tax reform.”

He added that he suspects any debt limit deal would be a part of the budget conference report, if and when that happens.

3. Overhauling the tax code. After years of lawmakers bemoaning the state of the current code, Price says he thinks the time is finally right to draft and pass a substantive bill — by the end of the year, in fact.

The scandal with the IRS has provided an impetus for action, he said.

“I’m not one of those who believes this puts the kibosh on tax reform,” Price explained. “I think it gives us a greater opportunity and we embrace this greater opportunity. When all folks look at this issue, recognize it’s this huge monolith and frightening to many Americans and anything we can do to simplify the tax code and make the [IRS] less threatening … would be a good thing.”

4. Immigration overhaul. Price — like some of his House GOP colleagues, including Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va. — wants to see Congress take a piecemeal approach to overhauling the nation’s immigration system, while the Senate is on track to begin floor debate on a comprehensive bill next week.

This approach, Price suggested, would allow lawmakers to pass what would be tantamount to comprehensive immigration changes without letting one or two unpopular provisions sink the entire effort, though senators and most House Democrats would like to address many facets of a “broken” system in one go.

And in the event that a House bipartisan working group delivers such a bill to the Judiciary Committee, Price predicted on Wednesday that Goodlatte would just break down the bill into self-contained measures to pass separately.

“That’s not any internal knowledge, that’s just my sense of what would occur because that holds the greatest amount of promise for moving something forward,” Price offered by way of a caveat.

One area in which Price expressed considerable skepticism, however, was in Congress’ ability to pass, as any part of its immigration overhaul efforts, legislation providing pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“I think at this point that would be highly unlikely because I don’t think there is any trust,” he said, “and not just [of] of this administration, it’s been previous administrations as well. American people don’t trust Washington because they broke a promise that was made in 1986″ to allow undocumented immigrants to be naturalized while at the same time controlling the borders.

“The first step in regaining that trust is living up to the promise,” he said.

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