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January 29, 2015

Posts in "Kevin McCarthy"

January 29, 2015

February Memo Plants Seeds for GOP’s New Immigration Strategy

McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

McCarthy hints at a new GOP line of attack on the president’s immigration policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent House Republicans a legislative memo Thursday, laying out a February agenda of repealing Obamacare, taking on unfunded mandates, and permanently providing a tax deduction for charitable giving.

But more than messaging, McCarthy may have also begun planting the seed that Republicans might need a different vehicle to fight President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration other than the Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Full story

January 27, 2015

Conservatives Take Credit for Derailing Border Security Bill

 left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., leave a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, January 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) gop_meeting003_012715.JPG

Boehner, second from right, was joined by other House Republican leaders Tuesday to talk about why the GOP’s border security bill was delayed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Full story

January 22, 2015

What the House GOP’s Abortion Bill About-Face Really Means

Ellmers, R-N.C., questions HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during her testimony before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the failures of Affordable Care Act's enrollment website. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers and other Republican women had concerns about the way the 20-week abortion ban was written. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

January 15, 2015

Lobbyists to Meet With Members at GOP Retreat (Updated)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress  on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy made a pitch for Republican unity, but some are questioning why some lobbyists are on hand at the Hershey retreat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Related:

GOP Heads to Joint Retreat With Coordination, Realism on Agenda

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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January 13, 2015

Demonstrators Plan to Disrupt Scalise Fundraiser

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

January 7, 2015

Boehner Weighs Punishments for Speaker Election Dissidents

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 7: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrive to speak to the media following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrive to speak to the media following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The morning after Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent were kicked off the Rules Committee, freshly re-elected Speaker John A. Boehner left the door open to possibly reinstating the two Florida Republicans.

Webster launched a surprise challenge to Boehner in Tuesday’s leadership election, garnering 12 votes — including his own and one from Nugent. Twenty-three other Republicans also defected, voting present or for Webster or other candidates, including Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Ted Yoho of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Full story

January 5, 2015

GOP Ready to Move On From Scalise Scandal

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress  on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are sticking with Scalise. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are hopeful there will be enough distractions at the start of the 114th Congress to deflect attention from Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his 2002 meeting with a white supremacist group.

But just how quickly the embarrassment goes away depends on how much members in both parties insist on talking about it — and whether there are any details of the incident that have yet to be uncovered. Full story

5 Legislative Hurdles for New House GOP

use John Boehner, R-Ohio, makes his way to his news conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 20

Boehner has more Republicans in the 114th, but still may need help from Democrats on some of the stickier votes coming this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

John A. Boehner’s first test in the 114th Congress comes Tuesday, when he could face as many as 20 defections to his speakership.

He’s ultimately expected to win a third term as the House’s top Republican, but the level of opposition could be an early indicator of how difficult a time he’ll have corralling the necessary number of votes for a whole host of sticky legislative items — from extending the debt limit sometime midyear to giving President Barack Obama ground rules for negotiating a new trade agreement. Full story

December 31, 2014

The Year According to Rep. Tom Cole

Cole, R-Okla., speaks to reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol, June 18, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cole offers CQ Roll Call his take on 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Cole, the unofficial spokesman of the GOP rank and file in the House, has never been shy about telling the truth — at least the truth as the Oklahoma Republican sees it — with anyone who’ll listen.

Continuing a tradition that began last year, Cole got on the phone recently with CQ Roll Call for more than an hour to review the ups and downs of 2014 (something he also did in a recent column). Like last year, the 65-year-old former history professor thinks Republicans — and especially Speaker John A. Boehner — enter the new year with momentum. Full story

December 30, 2014

Boehner, McCarthy Circle Wagons for Scalise

 

UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with House Majority Leader elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Majority Whip elect Steve Scalise, R-La., looking on, speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability after the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise, right, still has the support of Boehner, left, and McCarthy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pressure was building on Majority Whip Steve Scalise Tuesday in the wake of revelations the Louisiana congressman spoke at a meeting of white supremacists in 2002 — but Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are standing by the No. 3 Republican in the House.

“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate,” Boehner said in a statement Tuesday. “Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans.”

Full story

Kevin McCarthy, Ben Ray Luján Among Capitol Hill’s Big Winners in 2014

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy was one of 2014’s big winners. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

December 11, 2014

Breaking Down the ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Updated)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 29:  Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks at a news conference after the 113th Congress Democratic Caucus Organizational Meeting in Cannon Building. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

‘Cromnibus’ Strains GOP Principles on Open Process

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 4: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during his weekly press conference on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

December 10, 2014

House Republicans Scattered on ‘Cromnibus’ Support

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, December 2, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

How many Republicans will bolt on Boehner? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just hours after releasing the text of a 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion bill to fund the government, House GOP leaders stood before their members Wednesday morning to sell the plan.

Lawmakers emerging from the closed-door meeting offered a checkered assessment of the collective response among the rank-and-file, and a true read on the level of support for the bill within the conference might not come until the formal whipping begins later Wednesday afternoon. Full story

November 24, 2014

Paul Ryan Woos Ex-Boehner Aide Back to Capitol Hill

Ryan and other potential GOP House chairmen will have to seek a waiver if they want to keep their gavels while seeking another office. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call Fast File)

Ryan and Brendan Buck worked together on the Wisconsin congressman’s 2012 vice-presidential run. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call Fast File)

Rep. Paul D. Ryan must have made Brendan Buck a pretty strong case to leave his still-new K Street gig to come back to Capitol Hill.

The Wisconsin Republican and incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee announced Monday that Buck, a former spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, will be coming on board as the panel’s communications director.

Buck left his job as a congressional aide six months ago to be the vice president of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans, the health insurance industry’s lobby. When he joins the GOP Ways and Means team at the start of the 114th Congress, he’ll be in a position to help message on Ryan’s ambitious goals, like a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.

Full story

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