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April 16, 2014

Posts in "Kevin McCarthy"

April 3, 2014

Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

energy presser008 032912 445x304 Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

Denham wants an immigration vote in the HASC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4 p.m. | Rep. Jeff Denham wants a vote on his bill that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to gain permanent residence in the United States in exchange for military service — and he’s got a plan in the works.

The California Republican is looking for Democrats and Republicans who are members of the House Armed Services Committee to sign on as co-sponsors of his legislation, known as the ENLIST Act, a House GOP aide familiar with Denham’s efforts told CQ Roll Call.

“We are working to gather co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle,” Denham spokeswoman Jordan Langdon said in a statement.

The panel is set to mark up the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in the weeks ahead and Denham, who is not himself a HASC member, needs to shore up support among committee members who would be willing to vote on the ENLIST Act if it were offered as an amendment to the underlying bill.

Denham also needs a lawmaker on the committee to introduce the amendment, which shouldn’t be a problem: Of the 42 co-sponsors of the ENLIST Act, 11 of them are HASC members, including the chairman, Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.

McKeon, however, has not yet committed to supporting efforts to place the amendment into the bill, either in advance of or during the course of the markup, a Republican committee aide told CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

The aide noted that any member of the panel is free to offer an amendment during the full committee markup so long as the language was “solely the jurisdiction” of the Armed Services Committee. Denham’s bill has only been referred to one committee, Armed Services, and would only change U.S. military code, not immigration law — which falls under the purview of the Judiciary Committee.

Full story

April 2, 2014

McCarthy: Ryan Budget Will Pass Despite Conservative Reservations

mccarthy 013 020414 445x301 McCarthy: Ryan Budget Will Pass Despite Conservative Reservations

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders expressed confidence Wednesday that the Ryan budget blueprint will pass, despite grumbling from some in the conference that the document does not go far enough to curb spending and change social programs.

Yet as leaders consider bringing the resolution to the House floor as soon as next week, several members said they remain undecided on how to vote for the measure, setting up what could be a close vote on another of GOP leaders’ priorities.

“It’ll pass,” GOP Whip Kevin O. McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters one day after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled the 10-year roadmap. Ryan himself was assured as well, telling reporters a day earlier that he been speaking to colleagues for months and expects the budget to be adopted.

Full story

March 18, 2014

When the Speaker Calls: How McMorris Rodgers Was Picked for SOTU Response

boehner 159 022614 445x305 When the Speaker Calls: How McMorris Rodgers Was Picked for SOTU Response

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers was back in Spokane, Wash., for the holidays, hosting her district staff Christmas party at the local Old Spaghetti Factory, when she heard she’d missed a call from Speaker John A. Boehner.

“It was late enough that I decided to wait until the next day to return his call, the next morning,” the Washington Republican recalled in a recent sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call. “But everything runs through your mind as to why Speaker Boehner would be calling.”

A pitch to deliver the official GOP rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address was certainly “not on the list,” McMorris Rodgers said.

But that was exactly what Boehner was calling to discuss.

“He simply said that he and [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell had been talking, and they thought that I was the one that they’d like to see deliver the response to —” McMorris Rodgers stopped herself. “The Republican address. We didn’t call it a response. The Republican address following the State of the Union.”

The work started right away.

Full story

March 14, 2014

Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish Push for Immigration Overhaul

Can the luck of the Irish help overhaul America’s immigration system?  Irish leaders and members of the Irish American community think so.

In a St. Patrick’s Day lunch hosted by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, stressed his support for restructuring the American immigration system.

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., Chair of the Friends of Ireland who attended the lunch, told Roll Call, “John brought up the fact how the Taoiseach was hammering him on immigration.”

King said the Irish prime minister responded, saying the Irish support Boehner’s immigration principles and “will do whatever they can” to advance them.

However, there appears to be little support for Boehner’s immigration principles among his GOP colleagues.

Despite this obstacle, some believe the Irish lobbying effort can have some effect on immigration policy. Full story

March 13, 2014

Pelosi: Obamacare Not to Blame for Alex Sink’s Defeat

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rejected the premise that Democrat Alex Sink’s loss to Republican David Jolly in Tuesday night’s Florida special election was a referendum on Obamacare.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats, not only how they’ve embraced the Affordable Care Act, because they helped create it, but how proud they are of it,” the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference Thursday morning. “I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their election issue and they will find that out.”

Pelosi also praised Sink, noting that the race was close and it was a district Republicans had held for 50 years.

“Our candidate Alex Sink, she was so excellent, she was so superb, and she said it just right: There are many good things about the Affordable Care Act that are good for the health and wellbeing for the American people, there are some things that need to be fixed,” Pelosi countered. “And that is the message of our members.” Full story

March 12, 2014

House GOP Leaders Gloat Over Jolly’s Victory in Florida (Updated) (Video)

House Republican leaders enjoyed some bragging rights at their Wednesday morning press conference after their candidate, David Jolly, won Tuesday’s hotly-contested special election in Florida to succeed late-Republican Rep. C. W. Bill Young.

“I’ve stood here after losing some special elections,” said Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio. “I’ve tried to put lipstick on a pig, and it was still a pig. So you can bet they’ll try to put lipstick on it today but you all know what the facts are.”

Full story

February 28, 2014

GOP’s Obamacare Rewrite Remains Uncertain

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McCarthy and McMorris Rodgers hosted a discussion with members on how to sell a health care bill to the conference. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are proceeding cautiously on a rewrite of Democrats’ health care law amid skepticism that any plan can pass muster in a conference with widely differing ideas about how to move forward.

Several members said this week that they realize the public relations problems Republicans have in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act five years after it was passed. So leaders are building the bill out from the message, in order to convince their members the endeavor is worthwhile and to show the electorate that their ideas merit control of both chambers of Congress.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. “We want to have the policy solutions as well as the communications strategy so that America knows that Republicans are committed to quality affordable health care.”

McMorris Rodgers and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California hosted a group of roughly 30 members in the whip’s office on Wednesday, where they discussed, how to sell a bill to the conference.

Full story

February 11, 2014

Breaking Down the Debt Ceiling Vote

The House voted 221-201 to pass a clean debt ceiling hike for more than a year — and there are a few interesting trends hidden in the breakdown. (The Senate then passed the increase on Wednesday.)

Twenty-eight Republicans voted for the bill, which means this debt ceiling vote was the most extreme example of violating the principle that the speaker does not bring a bill to the floor without a “majority of the majority” — the so-called Hastert Rule, named after former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who broke that principle 12 times himself.

Before Tuesday, the greatest number of majority defections on a bill that passed the House was 41. (Coincidentally, Democrats and Republicans both achieved that same watermark. Democrats in 2007 with the “Protect America Act” and Republicans in 2002 with the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.”)

But Tuesday’s debt limit vote now stands alone with the fewest number of votes from a majority on a bill that passed the House since at least 1991, when digital records of roll call votes became available. Full story

January 30, 2014

GOP Leaders to Obama: Sign Our Bills

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – In a letter to President Barack Obama, House Republican leaders asked him to push four House-passed proposals they say fit the priorities he set out in his State of the Union address, but which are largely panned by Democratic groups and have in some cases drawn veto threats.

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, along with his top leadership team, cited Obama’s “year of action” theme to revive four controversial bills on job skills, drilling and pediatric research the House has already passed and they say should move in the Senate.

“Naturally, we don’t agree with all of the proposals you outlined in your speech, but where there is potential for agreement we believe it is critical that we come together to advance the interests of the American people,” they wrote. Full story

January 29, 2014

Immigration, Debt Ceiling Take Center Stage at GOP Retreat

When President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass an immigration rewrite this year at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, House Republican leaders responded with applause and ovation.

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio clapped from the dais while Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California joined him from the House floor. Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin jumped to his feet just a few seats away.

But by and large, members of the House Republican Conference in attendance remained seated and stoic, un-enthused at the prospect of undertaking the politically perilous immigration overhaul during an election year, or at all.

As Republicans head to their annual three-day retreat, the challenge for leadership is to ensure that if the team chooses to rise in favor of immigration changes on the House floor again later this year, their conference follows. Full story

October 15, 2013

Tortilla Coast Group Tight-Lipped

The day after a group of rebellious House Republicans met with Sen. Ted Cruz in the basement of a Capitol Hill restaurant, lawmakers were cagey about what exactly they discussed.

A number of lawmakers confirmed they participated in the dinner meeting with the Texas GOP senator at Tortilla Coast late Monday night, but they declined to offer details.

“Just talking what we do when the Senate passes something, what’s our strategy going forward with that,” Marlin Stutzman of Indiana said. He added that he was willing to see what the House and Senate could come up with, “but, you know, I know that it’s not enough for me.”

Asked if they were plotting a revolt over a dish of guacamole, most members laughed off the question.

“I don’t know. I don’t know if they got it in there,” Louie Gohmert of Texas said as he entered Tuesday’s GOP Conference meeting.

“That’s quite a question this morning,” said Steve King of Iowa.

Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho said he wanted to hear what GOP leaders had to say before he could answer that.

What leadership had to say was unexpected, however. They told members that they would attempt to send the Senate a proposal that would suspend the Obamacare medical device tax for two years and eliminate health care benefits for lawmakers and Cabinet officials, though not congressional staff.

The bill would not include a provision to eliminate an Obamacare fee on reinsuring health plans. That provision was under consideration as part of a still emerging Senate bipartisan plan. Full story

Ted Cruz, House Republicans Meet in Secret at Tortilla Coast

dining 02 050608 427x335 Ted Cruz, House Republicans Meet in Secret at Tortilla Coast

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Oct. 15, 11:58 a.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz met with roughly 15 to 20 House Republicans for around two hours late Monday night at the Capitol Hill watering hole Tortilla Coast.

The group appeared to be talking strategy about how they should respond to a tentative Senate deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling without addressing Obamacare in a substantive way, according to sources who witnessed the gathering. The Texas Republican senator and many of the House Republicans in attendance had insisted on including amendments aimed at dismantling Obamacare in the continuing resolution that was intended to avert the current shutdown.

Sources said the House Republicans meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast with Cruz were some of the most conservative in the House: Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Justin Amash of Michigan, Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

The group is a collection of members who have often given leadership headaches in recent years by opposing both compromise measures as well as packages crafted by fellow Republicans. And, it seems, leadership unwittingly became aware of the meetup.

While the dinner meeting was held in a private basement room, the group was spotted by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was dining with some other members, including Gregg Harper, R-Miss. McCarthy is a regular at the Capitol Hill restaurant, and a source said he seemed particularly interested in what the group was up to.

While the emerging deal to reopen the government and hike the debt ceiling increase may have been a hot topic, it was not immediately clear what the group actually discussed. But the fact that such a group met with Cruz at all could give House GOP leaders even more heartburn as they consider what to do if the Senate passes the measure. Full story

October 14, 2013

Obama Dropped House GOP ‘Like a Hot Potato’

House Republicans are mulling their next move as Senate leaders look to jam them with a watered-down package far weaker than the lofty concessions Republican leaders once demanded for raising the debt limit and reopening the government.

At the end of a huddle in Speaker John A. Boehner’s office Monday, most Republican leaders remained mum on details — although one ripped President Barack Obama for doing an end run around the House GOP.

“I would say that we believed that we could have worked with the president, and then the president dropped us like a hot potato, because our deal, he didn’t want to deal with,” said Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions R-Texas. “He wanted to deal with the senators, so that’s what he’s done.” Full story

September 30, 2013

GOP Plots Shutdown Gameplan on Deadline Day

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Lankford said Monday that a government shutdown appears likely to happen. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the government hurtles toward a probable shutdown at midnight, House Republican leaders huddled with select rank-and-file lawmakers as they began plotting their response to the Senate’s expected rejection of the House’s attempt to once again delay implementation of Obamacare.

A small number of GOP lawmakers — including Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Pete Sessions of Texas and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina — trickled out of Speaker John A. Boehner’s office om Monday morning and afternoon. The Ohio Republican was meeting with members in advance of a 2 p.m., members-only conference meeting where Republicans are expected to discuss their next move if the Senate, as expected, votes to table the amendments the House adopted to a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded past Tuesday.

Republicans insist they are doing everything they can to avoid a shutdown.

“I think we’re in for a long night,” said Republican Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. When he was asked if there would be a shutdown, Lankford said it “sure seems like it right now.”

Aides indicated that the House is expected to work late into the night — even early into the morning — to send the Senate yet another proposal that would amend the continuing resolution with some sort of GOP policy priority. Part of the calculus from House leaders seems to be a belief that whichever chamber holds the CR during a shutdown will hold the blame.

Full story

September 20, 2013

Cantor’s Farm Bill Strategy Pays Off

It’s not easy to pass a farm bill in the House without a single Democratic vote. House Republicans, however, accomplished just that feat — twice.

The farm and nutrition bills were vital affirmations for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after the first bipartisan farm bill crashed and burned. As Republicans tussle with the White House and the Democratic Senate over the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling, it was important for House GOP leaders to illustrate control over their sometimes-unruly conference.

It was especially important for Cantor, who made the farm bill and “Welfare Reform 2.0″ his pet issue. Full story

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