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Senate Democrats want the Republican National Committee to pick up the tab for the House investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
“We write today to demand that the Republican National Committee reimburse the federal taxpayer for the costs incurred by the Select Committee on Benghazi. Over the past several weeks, several House Republicans have made clear what many observers have suspected all along: that the Select Committee has conducted a political inquisition aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the four top Senate Democrats wrote.
Heritage Action for America is not impressed with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s proposal to address conservatives’ opposition to Planned Parenthood through a budget reconciliation process instead of a continuing resolution.
The conservative advocacy group that helped spur the 2013 government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act is, two years later, demanding lawmakers draw a firm line in the sand a second time, insisting members use a “must-pass” bill like a CR as the vehicle for defunding the network of health services and abortion providers. Full story
Rep. Ken Buck learned Thursday morning he could keep his slot as freshman class president, but the Colorado Republican is still calling in the reinforcements.
A few hours after his fellow classmates decided not to punish him for voting against GOP leadership on the rule for Trade Promotion Authority, Buck sent out a fundraising email asking for financial support. Full story
About a month ago, Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff made a request of some House-side colleagues: Would their bosses be willing to say nice things about the Texas Republican’s 2016 presidential bid? Or, even better, would they be willing to endorse him?
Paul Teller, that chief of staff who was once the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, must be feeling pretty good now. Full story
Speaker John A. Boehner canceled a foreign trip by Rep. Steve King in retribution for his opposition to Boehner’s cave on “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding, according to the Iowa Republican.
Activists plan to protest a private fundraising event for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Tuesday afternoon, trying to keep pressure on the Louisiana Republican weeks after the revelation that he addressed a meeting of white supremacists in 2002.
“We’re trying to protest racism in the system,” said Pete Haviland-Eduah of Million Hoodies, one of the groups that will organize outside the Capitol Hill Club. “This is a congressman that has known ties to a racist [organization]. We want to make it well known to leaders in both parties that the people are not supporting of this.” Full story
Not every member of Congress had an A+ year.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., became the first majority leader in decades to go down in a primary; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., only barely avoided being explicitly implicated for campaign finance fraud.
Updated 9:39 p.m. | In a private call with her restive — and shrinking — flock — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed to her fundraising prowess as a reason to keep her post — while some of her top allies blamed President Barack Obama for the party’s woes.
Pelosi hopes to continue leading the caucus although many members are privately discussing when there will be a change in senior leadership ranks.
“I know where the money is,” the California Democrat said, according to sources on the call. “I know where to get it.”
As the party looks ahead to the 2016 presidential election cycle, perhaps Pelosi’s best argument in her favor despite Republicans taking the biggest majority in decades is her fundraising ability. In the last 12 years, she has raised more than $400 million, a staggering sum that no other lawmaker can begin to match. Full story
Since January, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Anna G. Eshoo have been positioning themselves as the obvious choice to be the top Democrat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.
But after 10 months of cutting checks and courting colleagues, they’re still not finished campaigning to replace the panel’s current ranking member, retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California.
Members of the House Democratic Caucus won’t settle the hotly contested race until late-November at the earliest, meaning Pallone of New Jersey and Eshoo of California will have to stay on the offensive, showing they’re both team players and power players who are ready — and able — to help their friends out.
Along the way, they are pulling pages from the same playbook — with a few key exceptions.
Rep. Michele Bachmann may be retiring at the end of this year, but the woman who rose to prominence by founding the Congressional Tea Party Caucus in 2010 and running for president in 2012 isn’t leaving Washington, D.C., quietly.
In a speech and brief question-and-answer session Wednesday morning at the Heritage Foundation — billed as one of her last public speaking engagements as a member of the House of Representatives — the Minnesota Republican refreshed her audience on the history of the tea party movement and made a case for continuing the fight against higher taxes and bigger government.
But Bachmann also made a handful of policy recommendations that indicate she plans to remain engaged in the political debate, albeit from outside Capitol Hill.
House members who want to help their party in the final stretch of campaign season have options. They can offer endorsements. Make calls. Write checks.
But sometimes, nothing says “I care” like getting on a plane and flying across the country to stand alongside a colleague.
In the month before Election Day, members not fighting for their political lives are expected to be team players — and one way to do that is by traveling to different congressional districts as campaign “surrogates.”
It’s not as simple as just showing up: Being a good surrogate is an art, and considerable thought, time and effort go into deciding who should go where, and when, and in what capacity.
Each member has his or her own edge.
Budget Chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., will draw a crowd, while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., can bring in buckets of money (she’s raised more than $400 million for Democrats since 2002). Others can open doors that might otherwise be closed, or help a vulnerable member shore up support among a flagging constituency.
And every ambitious lawmaker on Capitol Hill knows that stumping for a fellow member or potential colleague can pay off down the road.
While most of Congress trekked down Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday night to the annual White House picnic, a select group of current and former members took a trip down Memory Lane instead, converging on the Hill to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic House GOP class of 1994.
A half-dozen lawmakers joined nearly 40 former colleagues, including former speaker Newt Gingrich, inside the National Resources Committee hearing room to reminisce about one of the biggest “wave” elections in congressional history.
In the midterms that year, the party recaptured power in the chamber, with new members having campaigned successfully on what would become the 104th Congress’s defining document: The Contract with America.
“You are going to go down in history … as the greatest freshman class, at least in the last century, to walk into this House of Representatives,” said Tom DeLay of Texas, who in 1995 was the House majority whip before going on to serve as majority leader. “You are people of incredible character and incredible strength and you stood on your principles.” Full story
RICHMOND, Va. — Political forces from the left and the right gathered at the Virginia state Capitol Wednesday with a shared objective: Ratchet up the immigration pressure on Eric Cantor.
On one side were the pro-immigration activists — led by an Illinois Democrat — calling for the House majority leader to at least allow legislation an up-or-down vote. On the other was a political rival all-too-ready to hang the word “amnesty” around the Virginia Republican’s neck.
In the middle of the debate, walking a political tightrope with less than two weeks to go before a closely-watched primary and as the clock steadily ticks down on the 113th Congress, is Cantor.
“We have come here to say … stop being an obstacle. Stop standing in the way,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leader in the national fight to pass an immigration overhaul bill who was invited to speak at Wednesday’s event by the group CASA de Virginia. “Become a hero of our community and become someone who can help the tens of thousands of Virginians who need help because of this broken immigration system.”
Half an hour earlier, Cantor’s June 10 primary opponent David Brat held a brief outdoor news conference on the steps of the building, where he had a different perspective on Cantor.
“Eric Cantor has been the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Brat told a half-dozen reporters. “Eric Cantor has spearheaded the amnesty push in the House. … There is no Republican in this country who is more liberal on immigration than Eric Cantor.”
Conservatives’ biggest turncoat? Immigration’s most stubborn opponent?
It wouldn’t seem Cantor could be both, but the No. 2 Republican in the House has tripped alarms on both sides of the sprawling, complicated and emotional debate in recent weeks. Full story
House Democrats are still weighing whether they will appoint members to the GOP-led special committee to investigate the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — but don’t call it a caucus-wide “division,” two senior lawmakers implored.
“[It’s] the wrong word,” Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “The caucus is not divided. … What the caucus is doing is helping our leadership come up with a plan on how to approach what is a very serious issue.”
“Democrats’ concern has always been whether this will be a legitimate process, to make a sincere effort to learn something new, or whether it’s really … a campaign cash-raising tool,” added Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. Full story
Curt Clawson, the self-funding businessman who won Tuesday’s Republican primary scramble to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. (cocaine scandal), would be among the richest members of Congress if he wins the GOP-leaning Florida district in the special election June 24.
Clawson is a former college basketball star (during his campaign, he challenged President Barack Obama to a shooting contest) and manufacturing executive who spent most of the last decade running the world’s largest maker of aluminum auto wheels.
He loaned $2.65 million to his own campaign, according to his pre-primary Federal Election Report.
According to financial disclosures, the automotive CEO, who consistently cast himself as the Washington “outsider” during his campaign, has a minimum net worth of more than $13 million, which would place him in the middle of the pack on Roll Call’s most recent “50 Richest” list. Full story