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Posts in "Democrats"
January 22, 2015
With members still divided on what went wrong for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, the House Democrat in charge of honing messaging for the next two years is trying to build consensus around a revised communication strategy.
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who was selected by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to run a new “Democratic Policy and Communications Committee,” is asking every member to fill out a seven-part survey in advance of the caucus’ scheduled retreat next week in Philadelphia. Full story
A significant contingent of women and moderate members of the House Republican Conference prevailed Wednesday, convincing GOP leadership that the political blowback for voting to ban abortions after 20 weeks could far outweigh any favor curried with the anti-abortion base of the party.
It wasn’t clear Thursday whether the decision to swap out the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” for less controversial legislation to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion services signaled a permanent shift back toward the middle for House Republicans. Full story
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dinged Speaker John A. Boehner Thursday for not consulting with Democrats or the White House on the decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.
“It’s out of order in terms of the protocol,” Pelosi said of the invite. Boehner apparently did not consult with the White House on the joint session, nor did he make Democratic leadership aware of the Netanyahu invite. Full story
“Selma” may have been snubbed by the Oscars, but Rep. James E. Clyburn gave the civil-rights movie a very personal endorsement Wednesday during a Democratic Party news conference on voting rights.
The South Carolina Democrat, introduced at the event by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the chairman of a new task force charged with increasing voter participation, shared an anecdote about how the movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s resonated with one of his younger relatives:
I have now seen the movie, “Selma,” twice and I plan to see it again in this building next Tuesday evening. The second time I watched it was last week and I watched it sitting with my just-turned 18-year-old granddaughter. I didn’t say anything to her about the movie. I just told her that I was sponsoring the movie for members of — of my staff and others in the community.
We rented out a theater of 120 seats. Within two hours, we had to go back and get a 300-seat theater. But I was really focusing on my granddaughter, so I sat next to her during the movie. She was — she had her iPhone, doing what 18-year-olds do.
I’m — like a granddaddy; I’m scared to look at see what was going on on that iPad, so I kept looking forward. But she stayed, when even the movie came on, she didn’t turn off that iPhone until those little four girls was walking down the staircase in the church, going to their Sunday School room and the bomb went off.
At that point, she turned off her iPhone and intently watched the movie; even asked me at one point, a question about who that person was that was having a little interchange with John Lewis about whether or not to march, James Foreman, who was one of my best friends in the movement.
And I explained who James Foreman was and she was a little bit surprised to know that I — I knew him and he was a friend. But the next morning, when the movie was over, she went home. I got a call the next morning. She wanted to have lunch. And so I said OK.
And she told me what time and I — I objected to the time. And I said, ‘Well — well, can’t we do it a little earlier?’ She says, ‘No, because I’m going to register to vote. And when I finish my registration, I want to come and have lunch with you.’
And she brought some of her friends with her. And we talked about the movie. And we talked about voting. And when lunch was over, the rest of her friends; they left and went to the voter registration office.
I think that we’re at a time that young people, who seem not to be participating at the same level as young people did when I was young; that we can get people re-engaged once again. And that’s what this task force is all about.
Clyburn, the House’s No. 3 Democrat, will head the 11-person Democratic Outreach & Engagement Task Force, which will also include California’s Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee; New York’s Nydia Velázquez, Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng; Indiana’s André Carson; Louisiana’s Cedric Richmond; Pennsylvania’s Matt Cartwright and Brendan Boyle; and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The House is set to vote next week on what some Republicans are proudly calling “the toughest border security bill ever.”
But once the roll is called and the measure is passed, then what? Full story
January 20, 2015
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama likely will reiterate his call for Congress to pave the way for new trade negotiations — but House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is still demurring on how far he’ll go to help the administration achieve that goal.
The Maryland Democrat said Tuesday at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing with reporters that he was, and would continue, discussing the matter with the White House, Trade Representative Michael Froman and fellow members of House Democratic leadership. Full story
January 19, 2015
A revitalized President Barack Obama and newly empowered Republican leaders are heading into Tuesday’s State of the Union address on a collision course.
At their joint retreat in Hershey, Pa., Republicans fresh off triumphant midterm elections said they are looking for the president to become a legislating partner — even as they promise bold, or even quixotic, clashes with Obama. Full story
January 16, 2015
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus see opportunity in the scandal that inspired a heart-shaped “KKK + GOP” sign outside a recent Capitol Hill Club fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Revelations that the Louisiana Republican rejected a 1996 resolution in apologizing for slavery — six years before his 2002 address at a meeting of white supremacists — “disgusted” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, but the North Carolina Democrat says he doesn’t want to dwell on it. Full story
January 15, 2015
As House and Senate Republicans were plotting their legislative agenda in Hershey, Pa., Democrat Chris Van Hollen touted his own populist economic plan Thursday morning at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Van Hollen’s proposal — new fees on Wall Street to pay for middle-class tax relief — isn’t likely to go anywhere on Capitol Hill, at least not in the GOP-controlled 114th Congress. Full story
January 14, 2015
Co-sponsoring a bill in Congress doesn’t really mean all that much. But — maybe — it ought to at least mean a member has agreed to sign on, and will actually sign.
At least, that’s the argument Washington Democrat Adam Smith made on the House floor Wednesday. Full story
Updated 2:24 p.m. | When House Republicans went to vote on their Department of Homeland Security funding bill Wednesday, they encountered an unusual dynamic.
Instead of the most conservative faction threatening to derail an amendment for not meeting certain ideological purity standards, it was the more moderate contingent rising up against a provision it argued went too far. Full story
January 13, 2015
House Democrats gathered on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday morning with a group of immigration activists to voice their opposition to a Republican tactic to defund the president’s executive actions on immigration.
Republicans plan to attach five amendments to a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security to target the president’s executive actions, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and other practices that loosen enforcement of some immigration laws. The House is expected to vote on the funding bill Wednesday. Full story
January 12, 2015
C.J. Karamargin isn’t the first congressional staffer to cross the partisan aisle, but some Democrats are shocked this former staffer to Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is working for the new Republican congresswoman in Arizona’s 2nd District.
On Jan. 9, in a hiring coup, freshman GOP Rep. Martha E. McSally announced Karamargin as her new district director. Karamargin was communications director for Giffords at the time of the Tucson shootings before handling media relations for Pima Community College. The timing of the hiring — just one day after the four-year anniversary of the Tucson tragedy — also gnawed at still-raw wounds among Giffords’ allies. Full story
January 9, 2015
Defying President Barack Obama, 28 House Democrats joined Republicans Friday to help pass legislation to jump-start the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline project.
The defections are another indication that moderate Democrats, frustrated with midterm losses and weary of defending an unpopular president, may be more willing to break ranks with party leaders in 2015. Full story
President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass legislation that would give him the authority to negotiate a long-sought trade agreement with nearly a dozen countries in the Pacific region.
The problem is, a growing number of House Democrats don’t want to let him have it. Full story