Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

April 15, 2014

Unemployment Extension: Republican Gov. Sandoval Joins Democrats’ Call for Action

GOP Convention 091 082812 445x315 Unemployment Extension: Republican Gov. Sandoval Joins Democrats Call for Action

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates are urging Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to take up the Senate’s unemployment extension bill.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, wrote to  Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., asking that the House take up the Senate-passed bill.

“As you know, long-term unemployment remains unacceptably high despite the fact that our economy has been recovering from the worst recession in generations. When our country has experienced similar rates of long-term unemployment in the past, Congress has consistently acted in a bipartisan fashion to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” the governors wrote. Full story

Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans

polis0123141 445x295 Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are holding out hope that their discharge petition on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill can still work — or at least be used as election-year ammo.

House Democrats held a conference call Tuesday to announce their intention to distribute a memo in the districts of 30 House Republicans who have signaled support for an immigration overhaul previously. Democrats are calling on these Republicans, and others, to “put their pen where their mouth is,” as Colorado Democrat Jared Polis put it, and sign the discharge petition for HR 15, the companion bill to the Senate-passed immigration bill.

The discharge petition for the House bill currently has 191 Democratic signatures, meaning nine Democrats still haven’t signed on to the effort. There are, however, 200 co-sponsors for the bill, including three Republicans: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Jeff Denham and David Valadao of California. Full story

April 10, 2014

Black Congresswomen: Military Hair Rules Unfair to Black Servicewomen

fudge 134 062513 445x296 Black Congresswomen: Military Hair Rules Unfair to Black Servicewomen

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The women of the Congressional Black Caucus want Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to rethink recently-revised Defense Department grooming standards that they say unfairly target hairstyles popular among female African-American soldiers.

In a letter dated Thursday, all 16 women of the CBC joined other critics of the DOD’s grooming policy who contend that the new standards make it more difficult for black servicewomen to maintain and upkeep their hair.

“We understand the intent of the updated regulation is to ensure uniformity in our military,” the CBC members wrote to Hagel, “[but] it is seen as discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color with little regard to what is needed to maintain their natural hair. Full story

House Oversight Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt (Video)

irs hearing020 052213 445x296 House Oversight Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Thursday to hold ex-IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

The vote, coming as Congress heads out of town for a two-week recess, is the latest chapter in a year-long probe that has sparked some of the fiercest partisan clashes among panel members in recent memory — from cutting off the ranking member’s microphone as he sought to speak to comparing the chairman to Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis.

Full story

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

April 8, 2014

Hoyer Clarifies: No, I Have Not Smoked Pot

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that he has not smoked marijuana, clarifying his remarks from earlier in the day when he indicated he had.

“At today’s press conference, I was unclear when discussing the Maryland General Assembly’s actions on marijuana. To be clear, I have not used marijuana. The point I tried to make was that I wasn’t going to ask for a show of hands of people who haven’t tried marijuana — because if I did, I would probably be one of very few who could raise my hand,” the second highest-ranking House Democrat said in a statement emailed to CQ Roll Call.

“This issue affects many people in my home state and throughout the country, including those who are non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction over possession. While I indicated early on that I was not in support of legalization of marijuana, I do believe Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly are taking the right step to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.”

Sensenbrenner: Intelligence Director Committed Perjury (Video)

During a Justice Department oversight hearing Tuesday, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accused Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. of committing perjury during his Jan. 29 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he believed Clapper’s refusal to acknowledge whether warrantless searches of Americans’ communications had been conducted was perjurious after Clapper appeared to concede the point in a letter last week to Sen. Ron Wyden.

“Director Clapper’s perjury in my opinion has been covered extensively,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “In light of this, are you willing to discuss whether or not the Justice Department is investigating Director Clapper for his statements before the Senate?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. refused to say whether the DOJ was conducting an investigation.

“I’m really not in a position to confirm whether the department is investigating any particular matter, but we are reviewing the material that you and other members of the committee have provided to us, and I can assure you that we will take any action that is appropriate,” Holder said. Full story

Hoyer Suggests He’s Smoked Pot, Backs Maryland Decriminalization Effort

maryland gala029 091213 445x298 Hoyer Suggests Hes Smoked Pot, Backs Maryland Decriminalization Effort

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 2:30 p.m. | Two high-ranking Maryland Democrats said they support Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to sign a bill decriminalizing recreational marijuana in the state.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said there are too many people in prison or with a criminal record for using marijuana, something many people have done. And he suggested he’s among them.

“I’m not going to ask for a show of hands. If I did, I could raise my hand,” Hoyer told a roomful of reporters in the Capitol, raising his hand. “The use thereof, or the trying thereof. Inhaling or not. Experimentation.”

Soon after the session with reporters, Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Young told CQ Roll Call her boss was not saying what it sounded like. “Mr. Hoyer has not used marijuana. His point was that this issue affects many people and he believes the Maryland General Assembly took the right step to decriminalize marijuana.”

Three hours after the pen-and-pad briefing, Hoyer’s office issued a statement in his name clarifying what the lawmaker said.

“At today’s press conference, I was unclear when discussing the Maryland General Assembly’s actions on marijuana. To be clear, I have not used marijuana. The point I tried to make was that I wasn’t going to ask for a show of hands of people who haven’t tried marijuana — because if I did, I would probably be one of very few who could raise my hand.

“This issue affects many people in my home state and throughout the country, including those who are non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction over possession. While I indicated early on that I was not in support of legalization of marijuana, I do believe Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly are taking the right step to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.”

Hoyer said he has in the past objected to decriminalizing marijuana because drug rehab experts have told him it is a gateway drug, but he will not criticize the governor for signing the bill.

Full story

By Daniel Newhauser Posted at 12:17 p.m.
Democrats

Republicans: Democrats Using Women as Pawns in Pay Debate

mcmorris rodgers 074 041613 445x298 Republicans: Democrats Using Women as Pawns in Pay Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Senate poised to act this week on the gender pay gap, Republicans pushed back again Tuesday against the notion the GOP is waging a “war on women,” with GOP leaders accusing Democrats of using women as “pawns” to score political points.

Republican leaders wouldn’t say at their Tuesday morning news conference whether they’d bring their own legislative solution to the floor, focusing instead on rebutting Democrats’ “Equal Pay Day” criticisms that the GOP is anti-woman. 

“Women understand the direct impact of the policies and the impact that they have on them, so on this Equal Pay Day, I would urge us to stop politicizing women and let’s start focusing on those policies that are actually going to help women and everyone else in this country have a better life,” said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “Let’s focus on those policies that are actually going to move forward on a jobs plan that will create a higher paycheck, [and] more opportunities … for a better life we all want.” Full story

April 7, 2014

Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budget’s Impact on Poverty

hoyer093013 445x296 Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budgets Impact on Poverty

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The latest Ryan budget is no more likely than its predecessors to become law. But as with those those earlier documents, this year’s spending blueprint is giving both parties plenty of election-year ammunition.

Democrats, looking for some policy heft to leverage their political talking points, have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the impact on poverty of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget.

“Our budgets serve as an important tool for expressing Congress’s level of support for domestic anti-poverty initiatives and prioritizing investments in opportunity,” Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., wrote in a Monday letter to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf. “Such an analysis will aid Members of Congress in making an informed decision on whether Chairman Ryan’s budget will improve or worsen the state of poverty in America.”trans Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budgets Impact on Poverty

Full story

April 4, 2014

Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders

immigration hearing018 0205131 445x297 Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has given the White House six pages of recommendations on how the Obama administration might proceed with executive orders to curb deportations of illegal immigrants.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate for rewriting the nation’s immigration laws on Capitol Hill, told reporters during a conference call Friday that the CHC had “adopted a very strong memo” of suggestions the day before in advance of a scheduled meeting next Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Full story

With an Eye on the Party’s Image, House GOP Puts Women Front and Center

jenkins 154 112812 445x313 With an Eye on the Partys Image, House GOP Puts Women Front and Center
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are 19 women in the House Republican Conference, and on Thursday, 11 of them came to the chamber floor in support of a bill they said was a woman’s issue at its core.

The spotlight on GOP women came as part of a debate over changing the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time job from 30 hours a week to 40.

The bill, which passed 248-179, is destined to be ignored by the Senate. But the vote offered Republicans a chance to push back against the Democrats’ election-year narrative that the GOP is just a club for powerful old white men.

That Democratic line of attack has been fueled by embarrassing reports that the GOP party establishment has coached male candidates on how to run against women without being sexist or offensive.

Full story

April 3, 2014

Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

energy presser008 032912 445x304 Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

Denham wants an immigration vote in the HASC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4 p.m. | Rep. Jeff Denham wants a vote on his bill that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to gain permanent residence in the United States in exchange for military service — and he’s got a plan in the works.

The California Republican is looking for Democrats and Republicans who are members of the House Armed Services Committee to sign on as co-sponsors of his legislation, known as the ENLIST Act, a House GOP aide familiar with Denham’s efforts told CQ Roll Call.

“We are working to gather co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle,” Denham spokeswoman Jordan Langdon said in a statement.

The panel is set to mark up the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in the weeks ahead and Denham, who is not himself a HASC member, needs to shore up support among committee members who would be willing to vote on the ENLIST Act if it were offered as an amendment to the underlying bill.

Denham also needs a lawmaker on the committee to introduce the amendment, which shouldn’t be a problem: Of the 42 co-sponsors of the ENLIST Act, 11 of them are HASC members, including the chairman, Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.

McKeon, however, has not yet committed to supporting efforts to place the amendment into the bill, either in advance of or during the course of the markup, a Republican committee aide told CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

The aide noted that any member of the panel is free to offer an amendment during the full committee markup so long as the language was “solely the jurisdiction” of the Armed Services Committee. Denham’s bill has only been referred to one committee, Armed Services, and would only change U.S. military code, not immigration law — which falls under the purview of the Judiciary Committee.

Full story

April 2, 2014

Democrats Force Immigration Vote at Budget Hearing

immigration 207 032614 445x275 Democrats Force Immigration Vote at Budget Hearing

Democrats, who recently gathered on the Capitol steps in support of immigration, are using committee hearings to continue to push for the issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats Wednesday used a meeting intended to advance House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint to force Republicans into a symbolic vote on immigration reform.

Freshman Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., used an all-day markup convened by the Budget committee to force the roll call vote on the Democrats’ immigration legislation. Cardenas offered the text of the immigration bill as an amendment to Ryan’s proposed 2015 budget.

“This is the only amendment that would create jobs and reduce the deficit in one amendment,” Cardenas argued.

He added, “this is the only vote we can get.”

Full story

April 1, 2014

Van Hollen Rips 2015 Ryan Budget as ‘The Worst’

ryan vanhollen 043 111313 445x285 Van Hollen Rips 2015 Ryan Budget as The Worst

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s no surprise the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, didn’t like the Republican budget proposal from the Budget Chairman, Paul D. Ryan. But it might be a surprise exactly how much Van Hollen hates it.

“This is the worst budget for America that we’ve seen,” Van Hollen said as he began a pen-and-pad briefing on the blueprint Tuesday.

Ryan officially released his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday morning, and it was clear from the outset that Democrats were not going to like the Wisconsin Republican’s spending vision.

While the budget abides by the defense and non-defense caps laid out in the recent budget deal for fiscal 2015, Ryan’s newest blueprint proposes raising defense spending by $483 billion over 10 years and cutting non-defense spending by $791 billion in that same period.

“It takes that area to sequester levels,” Van Hollen said of non-defense spending, “then doubles the sequester cut to those non-defense areas — and then goes beyond that.” Full story

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