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November 28, 2015

Posts in "Democrats"

November 19, 2015

White House Loses Votes to GOP on Syrian Refugee Bill

syrian refugees

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leadership braced Thursday for at least 60 defections on the Republican bill to strengthen the vetting of Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States.

It wasn’t quite that high, but 47 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with nearly every Republican for Congress’ first legislative response to the terrorist attacks in Paris — despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The coalition of Democrats supporting the measure, which passed 289-137, wasn’t atypical of previous votes for which leadership could not justify opposition. Full story

November 18, 2015

House Democrats Plan Alternative to Syrian Refugee Bill

3: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., 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)

Lofgren tried to get changes made to the GOP refugee bill due on the floor Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.

The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Full story

Congresswoman Left for Dead at Jonestown Recalls the Massacre, 37 Years Later

Jackie Speier, an aide to Congressman Leo Ryan, being taken from a plane at Georgetown on November 19, 1978, after its arrival from Jonestown where Speier was shot five times and Ryan and four others were ambushed and killed by members of the People's Temple.  Congressman Leo Ryan was leading a group that went to Guyana to investigate reports of abuse and human rights violations by the People's Temple and its leader, Jim Jones.  Fearing the results of the murders and further investigations into Jonestown, despite Leo Ryan's assertion that he was going to give a largely positive review of the People's Temple, Jim Jones led his followers in a ?revolutionary suicide?.  On November 18, 1978, 909 Temple members died, all but two of which from cyanide poisoning, forming the largest mass suicide in modern history. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)

(Bettmann/Corbis /AP Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier knows exactly how it feels to be left for dead.

On Nov. 18, 1978, she was shot five times on a remote airstrip in Guyana, South America. Her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others lay dead nearby, killed by gunfire as they tried to escape Jonestown, the commune built by cult leader Jim Jones.

Nearly 40 years later, Speier still remembers why she decided to get on a plane to go down on the ill-fated congressional trip.

“Back in 1978, there were not many women in high-ranking positions in Congress,” said Speier, who was legislative counsel for Ryan at the time. “I felt if I didn’t go, it would be a step back for women holding these high positions. I thought, ‘I can’t not go.’”

So she went, accompanying Ryan and 23 other people to Guyana, on the northeastern coast of South America, attempting to visit Jim Jones and nearly 1,000 followers he’d amassed.

By the end of the trip, Ryan was dead — the first and only congressman to be assassinated in office — along with three journalists and one cult defector. Speier and nine others had been shot and left for dead at a remote airstrip; they waited 22 hours for help to arrive.

Immediately following the shootings, Jones and more than 900 of his followers died from self-inflicted cyanide poisoning in what was seen as a mass suicide at the time, but is now widely considered a mass murder.

The Ryan congressional delegation had no military escort. The State Department had given neither a warning nor protection.

Speier has occupied Ryan’s former seat in Congress since 2008. In an interview with CQ Roll Call, she noted that while much has changed, some fundamental questions about Jonestown remain unanswered. Full story

November 17, 2015

House’s Muslim Members Brace for Charged Terror Debate

UNITED STATES - MARCH 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., arrives to testify during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" on Thursday, March 10, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Ellison, in 2011, arrives to testify at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Updated 5:30 p.m. | The two Muslim members of the House share the sentiments of their fellow Democrats: Under no circumstances should the United States block Syrian refugees from this country in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris..

But for Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and André Carson of Indiana, there’s a greater sense of urgency in how Congress responds to the violence at the hands of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, that has a stranglehold in Syria. Full story

November 16, 2015

Ryan Calls for Classified Briefings After Paris Attacks

paris terrorist attack

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is laying the groundwork for the House’s active engagement in the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Wisconsin Republican asked the Obama administration to provide lawmakers with classified briefings in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 shootings and bombings carried out by Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, he said Monday morning in an interview on Bill Bennett’s radio program. Full story

November 12, 2015

Key Chairmen Could Be Booted From Steering Committee

Ryan holds his first weekly on-camera press conference Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every committee chairperson could soon have a voice in who gets appointed to his or her panel, according to a proposal to revamp the Steering Committee that’s being mulled by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and a seven-member task force.

But there’s a catch: The six chairmen who already have permanent seats on the Steering Committee would have to step aside. Full story

November 5, 2015

Pelosi Pans Planned Parenthood Special Committee

planned parenthood

Pelosi, D-Calif. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At her weekly news conference Thursday afternoon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised the six Democrats she appointed to serve on the new subcommittee to investigate Planned Parenthood.

In criticizing the panel’s creation, she renamed it, “The Republican Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health.” Full story

Ryan Takes Crowdsourcing Approach to Spending Bills

paul ryan

Ryan holds his first weekly on-camera press conference Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In pursuing a departure from “business as usual,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan is crowdsourcing his members for ideas on how to craft a spending deal for the remainder of fiscal 2016.

“So things are gonna be done a little differently around here,” Ryan said Thursday, at his first solo news conference. Full story

November 4, 2015

Parsing Ryan: Immigration Stance Open to Interpretation

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul D. Ryan has made one thing clear: He’s taking immigration off the table for the remainder of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Yet members on both sides of the aisle are still finding plenty to read into the new speaker’s statements on the subject as they try to game out what Ryan’s plans for immigration mean for them.

Full story

November 3, 2015

Takai to Undergo Surgery for Cancerous Tumor

takai_147_072315 (1)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Mark Takai will undergo surgery next week to remove a small, cancerous tumor in his pancreas. Full story

October 30, 2015

Appropriator Praises Speaker ‘Sonny Boy’ Ryan

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 7: Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks during the NDD United "Rally for a Stronger America" outside of the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The rally was held to highlight the need for a bipartisan agreement on appropriations that raises sequester caps on both defense and non-defense priorities. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lowey, D-N.Y. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans showed Thursday they were willing to give Paul D. Ryan a chance when they overwhelmingly elected him the 54th Speaker of the House.

Democrats are also showing signs of enthusiasm for the Wisconsin Republican’s promotion. Full story

October 29, 2015

Meeks Suffers Heart Attack

UNITED STATES - JULY 22: Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference at the Capitol's House triangle on the Joint Economic Committee's report supporting the Export-Import Bank, July 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Meeks expects to return to work in a few days. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When the House clerk called for Rep. Gregory W. Meeks’ vote for speaker on Thursday, there was silence.

The New York Democrat was rushed to the hospital the day before after experiencing chest pain. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 3:58 p.m.
Democrats, Members

Mark Takai to Undergo Treatment for Pancreatic Tumor

Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, attends a meeting of the House Armed Services Committee in Rayburn, January 14, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Takai will undergo treatment for the tumor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, has been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas after undergoing tests to determine the source of stomach pain.

Takai, 48, released a statement about the health issue after it caused him to miss House votes on Monday and Tuesday. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 3:08 p.m.
Democrats, Members

October 28, 2015

Paul Ryan Nominated for Speaker (Video)

paul ryan speaker

Ryan makes his way through the Cannon tunnel Wednesday en route to the House Republican Conference meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:19 p.m. | Republicans nominated Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., for speaker Wednesday, all but ensuring he is selected to succeed John A. Boehner in Thursday’s vote on the House floor.

Ryan was backed by the vast majority of the conference in the secret ballot election, receiving 200 votes, according to an official readout of the results. Forty-three members voted for Rep. Daniel Webster, a Florida Republican whose supporters think Ryan is too enmeshed in the establishment, while Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., each received a single vote.

Full story

October 27, 2015

House Votes to Revive Ex-Im Bank (Video)


Ryan conducts a pen and pad briefing with reporters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ryan opposes the Export-Import Bank  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House conservatives are bracing themselves for indignity later this week, when a budget deal they hate is expected to be carried across the finish line by Democratic votes.

They got warmed up early Tuesday evening, when the support of nearly every Democrat made it possible for 127 Republicans to circumvent GOP leadership and pass legislation to reopen the Export-Import Bank.

Full story

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