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February 13, 2016

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January 13, 2016

The Ryan Speakership Will Be on Time

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12 - President Barack Obama speaks during his final State of the Union to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Behind him Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Paul Ryan listen. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Obama didn’t mention the 10 sailors captured by Iran. The House missed its chance to register its displeasure on Wednesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans eager to register their displeasure with the Obama administration’s posture toward Iran teed up an easy vote for their members Wednesday: A bill to tighten oversight of the Iran nuclear sanctions program.

There was just one thing they forgot to do: Show up on time. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:18 p.m.
GOP Brand

January 4, 2016

Republicans to Start 2016 by Targeting Obamacare

Ryan's influence was felt on the tax deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan and other GOP leaders are anticipating the president’s gun annoucementl. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans will begin the 2016 legislative session with another vote attacking the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, and are also prepping their response to President Barack Obama’s upcoming executive actions on gun control.

The House will vote Wednesday on a reconciliation measure to repeal most of Obama’s signature domestic achievement. It will be the chamber’s second vote on the measure, which the Senate altered to roll back more of the health care law than the original House version. Using the budget reconciliation process allowed the Senate to consider the measure without the threat of a filibuster. Full story

December 31, 2015

Best Non-Boehner Leadership News of 2015

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 29 - Outgoing Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wipes his nose while waiting for a vote on the new Speaker in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, October 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

We won’t have Boehner to kick around anymore. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House leadership news in 2015 was dominated by Speaker John A. Boehner’s decision to resign and  Paul D. Ryan’s path to be his successor. but the year brought several other moments of leadership intrigue: Full story

December 23, 2015

Steve Scalise Defends Planned Parenthood Strategy

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 15 - House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., heads to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, December 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise, left, says Republican priorities are reflected in the way his office approached the Planned Parenthood defuding effort. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were skeptical when their No. 3 leader started talking back in September about using the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood, knowing full well it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., though, still counts it as one of the GOP’s biggest victories of the 114th Congress. Full story

December 16, 2015

It’s A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10 - House Speaker Paul Ryan takes a question during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, December 10, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans said Ryan deserved high praise for creating a more inclusive, collaborative environment in the lead-up to the omnibus negotiations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.

He’d been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to “regular order” and run the government as it should.

Full story

December 10, 2015

Ryan: House GOP Will Build 2016 Legislative Agenda Together

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 1: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., walks back to his office following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan said the GOP agenda would be a consensus effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced his big 2016 priority would be advancing a “pro-growth agenda.”

And although he doesn’t yet know what that agenda will look like, he wants all Republicans to have a say in its shaping. Full story

Tuesday Group Wins Big on Steering Committee


Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The conservative House Freedom Caucus was the first faction to start pushing leadership to expand diversity on the House Republican Steering Committee, but it was the center-right Tuesday Group that ended up winning the lion’s share of the influential panel’s six open seats.

It’s a modest but significant victory for moderates who want to show their far-right colleagues in the GOP Conference they, too, are capable of coalition-building and exerting influence. Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 12:16 p.m.
GOP Brand

December 9, 2015

Meet the 11 Republicans Vying for the Steering Committee

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters with House Republican leaders following the House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of Ryan’s first acts as speaker was to reconfigure the influential Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven House Republicans are pitching their colleagues for a seat at the GOP’s influential Steering Committee, which determines who gets what plum, or not so plum, committee assignments.

Elections are scheduled for Thursday to determine the six at-large members who will be installed on the committee, a situation set in motion when new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., kept a promise to conservatives and changed the makeup of the panel, diluting some of leadership’s influence. Full story

December 8, 2015

Democrats Tie Up House Floor to Force Vote on Guns Bill


Israel said Democrats wanted to “shame Republicans into giving us a vote on stopping terrorists for buying guns in America.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want Republicans to give them a vote on legislation to ban individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

On Tuesday, they got to debate the issue — sort of. Full story

White House Blasts Trump, Says Comments Should Bar Him From Being President

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters with House Republican leaders following the House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


The White House blasted GOP front-runner Donald Trump Tuesday, saying his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States should disqualify him from being president.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest pulled few punches, telling reporters Trump’s presidential campaign “has had a carnival-barker aspect,” and criticized congressional leaders and other GOP power brokers for enabling the real estate mogul’s bellicose campaign.

“The question now is about the rest of the Republican party and whether or not they’re going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him,” Earnest said. “And right now, the current trajectory is not very good.”

President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman hit the other GOP presidential hopefuls for taking “an oath pledging to support Donald Trump for president of the United States if he wins the nomination.”

There also was criticism for Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who earlier Tuesday made a rare exception to his rule not to get involved in presidential politics by weighing in on Trump’s proposal.

“This is not conservatism,” Ryan said, addressing the remarks without naming Trump. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for. Not only are there many Muslims serving in our Armed Forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House, working every day to uphold and to defend the Constitution.”

Still, Earnest criticized the new speaker for opting against condemning Trump’s entire White House bid, and blasted the Republican campaign machine for endorsing the front-runner’s tactics.

“You’ve got somebody at the Republican Senate Campaign Committee trying to design a strategy that will allow Republican candidates across the country to benefit from Mr. Trump’s incendiary and offensive rhetoric,” Earnest said. “And you have the speaker of the House saying that he’d vote for Donald Trump. So that does not indicate that the Republican Party has joined the rest of us in the 21st century.”

Earnest described the White House’s call for the end of Trump’s candidacy after his comments about banning Muslims as the final straw, saying “there has been an accumulation of offensive and incendiary comments from Mr. Trump — this is only the latest.”

So, why now?

“The first thing a president does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Earnest said. “And the fact is that what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president.”

He then turned his sights on Trump’s Republican primary opponents: “For Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Trump, that in and of itself is disqualifying.”

The White House’s rebuke came a few hours after Ryan spoke to reporters.

Ryan said the “vast, vast, vast, vast  majority” of Muslims are peaceful individuals who believe in freedom, democracy and individual rights and that they have been allies in the fight against radical terrorists. “I told our members this morning to always strive to live up to our highest ideals, to uphold those principles in the Constitution on which we swear every two years we will defend,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Asked if he was concerned Trump’s comments would cause lasting damage to the Republican Party, Ryan said he was not but he said he was concerned about standing up for the country’s principles. “It’s incumbent upon leaders of our party like myself to stand up and defend what conservatism is and what the Republican Party stands for,” he said.

Ryan’s comments came as Democratic leaders trotted out Trump as representative of the GOP.

“Trump is saying out loud what other Republicans merely suggest,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said during remarks on the Senate floor.

“Because it’s not just him; many of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have said the same hateful things, especially about Muslims,” the Nevada Democrat said. “Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz proposed a test for refugees. You can’t condemn Trump when you want to impose a religious test for women and children fleeing death and persecution. Ben Carson has called Muslims rabid dogs. Chris Christie said they should be tracked.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra said in a statement that Trump’s comments hit a new low.

“This is still America, with a Constitution and Bill of Rights, and these are certainly not the Crusades,” the California Democrat said. “We need strong, smart leaders who know how to lead us all, not leave us behind. “


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Black Caucus Chairman Seeks Partnership With Paul Ryan

UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call in his Rayburn office, July 9, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is interviewed by Roll Call in his office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield wants the House to address poverty in America, and feels he may have an unlikely partner in new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

“We got into the weeds with him,” Butterfield said of a past meeting between Ryan and the CBC, which took place before Butterfield was made CBC chairman. “He convinced me he understood pervasive poverty in America.”  Full story

December 4, 2015

Judiciary Chairman Puts Gun Onus on Executive Branch

Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., runs the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the United States Department of Homeland Security" on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Goodlatte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The member of Congress leading oversight over the Justice and Homeland Security departments, as well as terrorism and crime, said Thursday it was up to the Executive Branch, not Congress, to make sure guns didn’t get into the wrong hands.

“The biggest thing that we can do in regards to gun violence is enforce the laws that we currently have on the books,” House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., said during a taping of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” that is set to air Sunday. “We have hundreds of them at the federal level, thousands of them at the state and local level, and the record over the last six years is one of steadily declining enforcement.” Full story

December 2, 2015

Republicans Looking for a Way to ‘Yes’

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 1: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., walks back to his office following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan has been reaching out to all corners of his conference on the omnibus package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans have traditionally voted in large numbers against year-end spending bills, relying heavily on Democratic votes to avoid shutdowns. But this year, more GOP members are trying to get to “yes” on the bills.

“I don’t think we want to overreach; we’d like to figure out something that’s doable,” Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., said when asked what would earn his vote and the votes of his fellow House Freedom Caucus members for the year-end omnibus spending bill. Full story

November 30, 2015

Congress Has a List of Deadlines, Is Checking It Twice

Ryan speaks to reporters.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ryan has a long month ahead. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress returns this week for a pivotal work period with multiple deadlines, a busy schedule for an institution that tends to wait until the very last minute to get things done.

House lawmakers will spend the next four legislative days laying the groundwork on crucial pieces of legislation for the rest of the month, negotiating terms and conditions among themselves and with their counterparts across the aisle and Rotunda.

Full story

November 24, 2015

Congress Largely Cut Out of Refugee Certification

UNITED STATES - JUNE 31: Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Babin wants Republican leaders to address the refugee situation through the appropriations process, but the tools for doing so are limited. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican lawmakers who see the year-end omnibus spending bill as a vehicle to slow the flow of Syrian refugees to the United States might need to get creative. Why? The certification process for refugees critics are concerned about is funded by fees, not appropriated by Congress.

In the week following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republicans called for a pause in the program that allows Syrians to flee their civil war and see refuge in the United States, arguing there are gaps in the process used to verify and certify refugees. Full story

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