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Posts in "John Boehner"
January 27, 2015
With inclement weather grounding planes across the country Monday, GOP leaders pulled a border security bill from the floor schedule this week, citing the weather and an already condensed schedule.
One day later, though there are no blizzards conveniently scheduled for next week, Speaker John A. Boehner wasn’t about to commit to a timeline for resurrecting the border bill — a delay that some hard-line conservatives are already chalking up as a victory.
January 26, 2015
Updated, 10:23 a.m. | Conservatives announced Monday morning the formation of a new group, the House Freedom Caucus. But with only nine members to start, it’s unclear what such a caucus will mean for another conservative group: the Republican Study Committee.
Instead of a grand news conference, members opted for a quiet press release, announcing the “HFC” before lawmakers even got back to the Capitol. The release said the group — which includes Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Fleming of Louisiana, Matt Salmon of Arizona, Justin Amash of Michigan, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mark Meadows of North Carolina — would have an agenda of “limited, constitutional government in Congress.” Full story
January 22, 2015
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
January 20, 2015
Speaker John A. Boehner’s list of invitees to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address includes two prominent Cuban dissidents, Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez) and Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.
Pérez is a leader of the Cuban resistance movement who was jailed for 17 years for publicly denouncing the Castro regime. He was released in 2007. 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 15, 2015
HERSHEY, Pa. — In their first joint public appearance since Mitch McConnell became Senate majority leader, Speaker John A. Boehner and the Senate’s top Republican came before a Washington press corps — assembled at Lebbie Lebkicher’s Restaurant in the Hershey Lodge Hotel — and described the new relationship between the House and Senate: separate, but together.
Boehner and McConnell were asked how the two chambers would work out the differences on a Department of Homeland Security funding bill, which is the first big test facing Congress. Full story
Updated 2:44 p.m. | HERSHEY, Pa. — Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate came to Hershey for a joint retreat, to get on the same page and get away from Washington for a few days. But they won’t be getting away from lobbyists.
Quite the contrary, actually. According to a GOP lawmaker who requested anonymity to speak more candidly about the retreat, lobbyists — “for those who paid enough, I guess,” the lawmaker said — will be meeting with House Republicans later Thursday, once GOP senators have left after 5:30 p.m.
According to the member, plenty of House Republicans are scratching their heads at that decision. “What are lobbyists going to be doing up here?” the member said.
The president of the Congressional Institute, Mark Strand, who is part of the planning for the GOP retreat, told CQ Roll Call it was “not true” that House Republicans would be meeting with lobbyists at 5:30 p.m. Apparently, there are breakout sessions at that time. But Strand did confirm that “private sector supporters of the institute, some of whom are lobbyists, will attend a reception and dinner later tonight.”
In effect, yes, lobbyists will be meeting lawmakers in Hershey.
That’s nothing new, according to a senior GOP aide.
“While Democrats use taxpayer funds to sponsor their retreats, Republicans have had a long partnership with the bipartisan Congressional Institute to use private funds to organize our issues conferences,” said Nate Hodson, who is the deputy chief of staff for Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
A Democratic leadership aide, asked for a response to the news that Republicans would meet with lobbyists, said the purpose of House Democrats’ Caucus-wide conference was to formulate policy and legislative goals for the year. “Unlike our Republican counterparts, we don’t solicit or accept lobbyist and special interest money to host these working sessions, nor do we invite lobbyists or special interests to attend our conference.”
Overall, the lawmaker who spoke on background said the GOP retreat, which was supposed to put the House and Senate on the same page, had been somewhat disappointing. “It’s all branding, supposedly bigger picture stuff,” the lawmaker said.
“I’ve never been to marriage counseling, but I’m guessing you go there and everyone talks about all these grand things, and then you go back home and do the same old stuff you’ve been doing,” the member said.
The GOP lawmaker told CQ Roll Call that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had given a “pretty good speech” — saying, “he’s a pretty good speaker compared to Boehner” — that was mostly about what Republicans need to get out of Hershey, how they need to work together and with the states.
But the lawmaker questioned the wisdom of always consulting with the states. “Now wait a minute, you came from California: Everything fails there for Republicans,” the member said of McCarthy.
Still, the lawmaker said Republicans were discussing their 100-day strategy, how they have to get the Department of Homeland Security funding bill through, how they’ll start appropriations in February and how Republicans plan to get a budget done.
But the lawmaker was disappointed that Republicans seemed to want to only “nibble around on Obamacare” — and there didn’t seem to be any intention of using the budget reconciliation process to tackle the health care law.
“That to me is going to be the big one,” the lawmaker said. “You know, what’s going to happen with the reconciliation, if we’re going to use it for [Obamacare]. And McCarthy made no indication they’d use reconciliation for taking on Obamacare. They’re setting the basis for tax reform.”
Florida Republican Daniel Webster, fresh off his unsuccessful bid for the speaker, told CQ Roll Call Thursday afternoon that Republicans were getting ready to go into a session entirely on budget reconciliation. Earlier Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gave a speech about managing expectations. According to Webster, McConnell told Republicans, “Look: Here’s how our process works. It’s pretty rough. We don’t have 60 votes. There are a lot of things that we’re going to have to work on with coalitions.”
Webster said the reaction to the speech was warm. “People get it,” he said. A former speaker of the Florida statehouse and state Senate majority leader, Webster said Congress works the same way that state legislatures work: “House proposes, Senate disposes.”
On the whole, lawmakers said the retreat had a definite ’90s theme, with speakers such as comedian Jay Leno, pollster Frank Luntz, columnist Peggy Noonan, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Arizona Republican Matt Salmon — who was in Congress in the ’90s, left in 2001, and came back in 2012 — compared the retreat to the movie “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
On the topic of jokes, Leno spoke to members Thursday night for about an hour, and according to the member who spoke on background, the joke that got the biggest laugh was that President “Barack Obama had so messed up this country, that Republicans aren’t even safe in their own country clubs.”
“That’s a joke, it means so much, because so many people still think that we go to exclusive resorts and don’t let people in to see what — oh, that’s kind of what we’re doing,” the lawmaker said ironically, aware that reporters would get limited access to lawmakers while Republicans met behind-closed-doors at a resort spa with a nine-hole golf course.
The lawmaker also said Republicans had a “big long spiel” on how the welfare overhaul happened in the ’90s.
“Find out what was the most popular song in 1995, and that’s the one they’re playing in there,” the lawmaker said.
For the record, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” was No. 1 that year.
Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.
January 14, 2015
Through most of last year, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart asked dozens of members, aides, advocates and reporters to trust him: He had a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill that could actually pass the House.
The proposed legislation that drove the Florida Republican for months ultimately came up short. But one week into the 114th Congress, with tensions around the immigration debate as high as ever, Diaz-Balart said there are rumblings about reviving the bill — the details of which were never shared publicly — that imploded last summer. Full story
January 13, 2015
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
Speaker John A. Boehner wouldn’t rule out Tuesday the possibility the House may have to pass a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that does not block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
That could dampen the enthusiasm of some hard-line conservatives in the House, who were practically ecstatic on Jan. 9 with an emerging GOP strategy to hold votes to defund the president’s executive action and a number of other immigration provisions. But on Tuesday, the speaker was noncommittal. Full story
January 12, 2015
In a clear indication of the divisions facing Republicans in the new Congress, four House GOP freshmen made the pilgrimage to the Massachusetts Avenue headquarters of The Heritage Foundation Monday and offered sharp criticism of a party they don’t seem quite comfortable belonging to.
“I do not blame liberals for the condition of the country,” said newly elected Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., repeating one of his stump speech lines. “I blame us.” Full story
January 9, 2015
Updated 4:20 p.m. | House Republicans emerged from a special conference meeting Friday with a new plan and a new tone pleasing to conservatives who have long been intent on defunding President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
GOP leadership laid out a strategy in which Republicans would have the opportunity to vote on a number of amendments aimed at defunding certain immigration activities: the president’s executive action, his Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program and the so-called Morton Memos, which are formal measures from former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton that relax enforcement of certain immigration laws.
January 8, 2015
Speaker John A. Boehner took to the press conference podium Thursday to set the record straight on a line of attack he seems to be hearing from conservatives: That he has no spine.
“It does pain me to be described as ‘spineless’ or a ‘squish,'” a somewhat-jocular Boehner said. Full story
For many of the 25 House Republicans who broke ranks in the speaker election Tuesday, voting against John A. Boehner was a reflection of a long-simmering dissatisfaction with the Ohio Republican.
But for some other members, it may have just been about political survival. Full story