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December 22, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

December 18, 2014

‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Rewrites Legacy With ‘Cromnibus’

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Johnson called the 113th the “Do-Nothingest Congress,” but that label may not fit in the wake of a far-reaching “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 6:37 p.m. | They say numbers don’t lie. But in this case, numbers don’t tell the whole truth, either.

The 113th Congress wrapped up this week with 285 pieces of legislation signed into law by the president as of Thursday — one more than the 284 measures enacted in the 112th, which was previously the modern era’s least productive Congress. Both two-year terms end up well below the average from the preceding 20 Congresses, which typically produced 564 bills signed into law. (The median number of laws enacted for the past 20 Congresses is 604.) Full story

December 16, 2014

Chaffetz Lays Out Different Direction for Oversight

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Chaffetz offered a preview of what’s in store for Oversight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If incoming Chairman Jason Chaffetz made just one thing clear Tuesday, it’s this: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is not Darrell Issa’s anymore — in fact, Issa won’t even be on the committee next year.

Chaffetz gathered roughly a dozen reporters in his new Rayburn office Tuesday to discuss the 114th Congress and his vision for the Oversight panel, one that focuses less on political scandals and more on the “government reform” part. And it was evident to everyone present the Utah Republican has a dramatically different vision for the panel than that of his predecessor. Full story

Dingell’s Condition Improving at Washington Hospital

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Dingell is on the mend at a Washington hospital. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring Rep. John D. Dingell, hospitalized last week after a hip fracture, will likely spend the holidays at George Washington University Hospital recuperating, according to a Facebook update from the congressman’s wife.

The 88-year-old Michigan Democrat, the nation’s longest-serving congressman ever (he took office in 1955), is “making steady progress and is far better than when he was admitted,” Debbie Dingell wrote Tuesday. Full story

December 15, 2014

Defiant Pelosi Stands Firmly on Left

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Pelosi signals she’d rather fight than move to the middle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wide swaths of House Democrats have said they attribute Election Day losses to the caucus’s lack of a unified message, a strong pitch they can sell to voters and, above all else, a true sense their actions will match up with their rhetoric.

So when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke with the White House last week and fought against a trillion-dollar spending package containing policy riders abhorred by her caucus, progressives cheered the return of their liberal champion. Full story

December 13, 2014

John Dingell Fractures Hip

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John Dingell and Debbie Dingell last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Dean of the House, retiring Rep. John Dingell, fractured his hip and will not be able to travel for weeks, according to his wife Debbie.

The Michigan Democrat and longest-serving congressman of all time was admitted to George Washington University Hospital Friday for observation.

Debbie Dingell, who will succeed her husband in January, posted on Facebook thanks for prayers for her husband and said it had been “a rough 24 hours.” Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:11 p.m.
Democrats

December 12, 2014

House Passes Second CR in Near-Empty Chamber

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With Messer presiding over a near-empty chamber, the House approved a continuing resolution to keep the government running. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House quietly passed another continuing resolution Friday that would fund the government through Wednesday, providing the Senate more time, if needed, to pass the longer-term “cromnibus” — but also raising questions about the procedure for a bill that was unexpectedly passed in a nearly empty House chamber.

With just three members on the floor — GOP Policy Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana in the presiding officer’s chair, senior Republican appropriator John Culberson of Texas making the motion, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores of Texas standing by — the House passed a new continuing resolution Friday that would extend government funding through Dec. 17. Full story

Issa Subpoenas Gruber’s Contracts, Documents on Obamacare

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Issa may be wrapping up his term on Oversight, but he’s not done with Gruber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

You didn’t really think House Republicans were done with Jonathan Gruber, did you?

No, of course not.

Outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa late Thursday issued a subpoena for the Obamacare consultant who testified earlier this week before the panel on his comments about “the stupidity of the American voter.” Full story

Incoming House Budget Chairman Hopes for Legislative Gains in New GOP Congress

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Price succeeds Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Price might not have the same star power as Rep. Paul D. Ryan.

But the Georgia Republican, who’s stepping in to replace his Wisconsin colleague as chairman of the House Budget Committee, could end up having the kind of tangible successes that eluded his predecessor. Full story

December 11, 2014

Breaking Down the ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Updated)

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Clyburn and 56 other Democrats backed the “cromnibus.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:18 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12: The House passed the cromnibus Thursday night 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats voting for the bill, and 67 Republicans and 139 Democrats voting against. While the vote was close, the breakdown split along familiar lines. But there were some interesting trends and deviations in the vote. Full story

After Hours of Uncertainty, House Passes ‘Cromnibus’ (Updated)

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Boehner needed help getting the bill over the finish line. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Updated 10:19 p.m. | The House narrowly advanced a trillion-dollar spending bill Thursday night to fund nearly all federal operations through the end of the fiscal year.

The measure passed 219-206 and now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have just a few hours to avert a government shutdown; funding runs out at 11:59 p.m.

Sixty-seven Republicans joined 139 Democrats voting “no,” a volume of opposition ultimately not great enough to stymie the bill that was, by all accounts, controversial — even for those who voted “yes.” Full story

Obama, Hoyer Split With Pelosi on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Hoyer could be the key to finding enough Democrats to pass the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just hours from a government shutdown that everyone once insisted would never happen, House Democrats emerged from an emergency caucus meeting Thursday night much the same way they walked in: without a unified strategy.

Democrats are split on the “cromnibus” spending plan agreed upon by Republican House and Democratic Senate negotiators. The White House and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland want the cromnibus to pass. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California is against it, and she has significant backing from her caucus. Those who might be inclined to vote “yes” are keeping quiet, dodging reporters or saying they are still undecided.

Full story

Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:09 p.m. | Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.”

They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.

Full story

Nail-Biting Vote Moves ‘Cromnibus’ Closer to House Passage (Video)

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Waters and other Democrats slammed “last-minute” riders in the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The product of hours and hours of hard-fought negotiations could be lost Thursday if House Democrats decide, just hours before the government is to due to shut down, to band together and rebuff a trillion-dollar federal spending bill over two so-called “poison pill” policy riders.

Judging by a nail-bitingly close vote on a procedural measure to bring the legislation to the floor for full consideration, Democrats could have leverage to get the riders scrapped, or at least kill the bill and force what could be a better or worse deal, depending who’s being asked: A three-month continuing resolution that would fund government operations into the new year.

“If we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned. In a rare move for the House’s most senior lawmaker, Boehner voted on the rule to give his party another “yes.”

Full story

Boehner Backs Bill, Condemns ‘Cromnibus’ Process (Video)

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Boehner acknowledged frustrations with “cromnibus” process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The “cromnibus” came together with a last-minute backroom deal between Republicans and Democrats that forced the House to vote on the 1,603-page measure before anyone could reasonably read it, and plenty of lawmakers are upset — including Speaker John A. Boehner.

“This is exactly the way I don’t want to do business,” Boehner said Thursday, just hours before the House was slated to vote on the funding package.

The Ohio Republican campaigned for the speaker’s gavel by pledging to give lawmakers 72 hours before voting on pieces of legislation, and he’s previously been an opponent of pieces of thousand-page legislation.

Full story

‘Cromnibus’ Strains GOP Principles on Open Process

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Boehner put a brave face on the accelerated “cromnibus” process Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the House prepares to pass a trillion dollar, 1,603-page “cromnibus” Thursday, at least one criticism can be applied to both Republicans and Democrats when the bill comes to a vote: few lawmakers — if any — will have read the entire thing.

It’s not that a $1.1 trillion piece of legislation can — or should — be written in 140 characters like a tweet, or as a 4,543-word document, such as the Constitution. But the cromnibus, coming in at 289,861 words, represents a particularly challenging public relations moment for members of Congress. Full story

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