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Posts in "Kevin McCarthy"
November 19, 2014
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released the legislative calendar for 2015, and Republicans aren’t deviating from the familiar formula of giving members plenty of time in their districts.
Overall, the House is slated to be in session 132 days next year, without a single five-day week scheduled.
That’s not unprecedented. The House was in session 135 days during the first session of the 113th Congress (after being scheduled to be in session for only 126 days — the extra work days a result of that whole government shutdown thing). Full story
November 18, 2014
In a hotly contested battle over the direction of the Republican Study Committee, Texas Republican Bill Flores beat out his more conservative rivals, South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney and Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, to become the new RSC chairman.
While Mulvaney ran on reasserting a conservative direction at the RSC and Gohmert ran on asserting an entirely new, dramatically more conservative vision, Flores ran as someone who could work with leadership.
“I campaigned on being a collaborative leader,” Flores told reporters after he won.
“By trying to advance the perfect conservative solution, nobody wins,” he said. Full story
November 14, 2014
House Republicans will operate the 114th Congress under essentially the same rules as the 113th — with two exceptions, including one that could have big implications for Rep. Paul D. Ryan.
Republicans voted Friday on conference rules for the 114th, approving a proposal that would allow Congress to hand out more medals and one that would require committee chairmen running for other office to hand over their gavel.
That proposal, from Republican Tom Cole of Oklahoma, calls for chairmen — of committees, of subcommittees, ad hoc committees or joint committees — to step down if they run for another office. Full story
November 13, 2014
Updated 4:18 p.m. | In the one competitive race for a leadership spot, House Republicans elected Luke Messer to serve as GOP Policy Committee chairman.
The Indiana lawmaker beat out Republicans Tom Reed of New York and Rob Woodall of Georgia.
The Policy Committee chairman — the only competitive leadership race as Rep. James Lankford leaves the spot to become Oklahoma’s next senator — is tasked with equipping members with research and aiding committees as they draft legislation. The chairman also gets a spot at the leadership table and a vote on the Steering Committee. Full story
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Thursday won her second term as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
The Washington congresswoman, the No. 4-ranked Republican in the House and the highest-ranked woman in the conference, begins her sixth term in Congress in January. Full story
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise won a full term Thursday as the GOP’s No. 3-ranked leader.
The Louisiana Republican, who moved into the post after former Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., became majority leader earlier this year, said in a statement he looks forward to “working with one of the largest and most dynamic Republican majorities in history to pass legislation that advances the conservative principles that unite us to solve our nation’s problems … .” Full story
The House Republican Conference Thursday gave Kevin McCarthy a full term as majority leader for the 114th Congress.
McCarthy took over for Eric Cantor after the former leader retired this summer, after losing a GOP primary race.
The California Republican was elected by voice vote and members reported the decision was unanimous. Full story
House Republican leaders who have faced opposition from the most conservative wing of their own caucus in recent years may have stumbled across the best way to quash an intraparty revolt: Win.
Last week’s Election Day gains have quieted the talk of a mutiny against John A. Boehner that has obsessed some conservatives since a failed attempt to dethrone the speaker at the start of the 113th Congress. Even tea party members who have long spouted anti-Boehner bombast and candidates who hinted on the trail they would look elsewhere for leadership are sounding pleased with the status quo.
“I like what I’m seeing,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas said Wednesday of Boehner. Full story
November 4, 2014
She won’t be around to attend, but outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann likes the idea of a joint House-Senate retreat if Republicans end up winning control of the upper chamber.
The 2012 GOP presidential contender, appearing Tuesday on Fox, told host Gretchen Carlson she thinks Republicans in the House and Senate can hammer out an agenda for the 114th Congress.
“I think you’ll see a joint retreat between the Senate and the House where we actually come together and talk about what we want to accomplish in the next two years,” said the Minnesota Republican, who is not seeking re-election this year after serving four terms in the House.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a recent interview with Politico, pitched the joint retreat proposal and said he and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in an effort to tone down the partisan rancor on the Hill, have been holding private dinners with lawmakers from both parties.
October 22, 2014
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a memo to House Republicans Wednesday providing an early sketch of how a new Republican Congress would purportedly operate.
While the memo wasn’t exactly a legislative outline — the email is titled “Government Competency,” and seems intended as much for public consumption as for Republican members of Congress — McCarthy alludes to how he would like the GOP House to draft a 2015 legislative agenda.
“To be successful, we need every member and every committee to participate in this grand and ongoing project of government reform,” McCarthy wrote. “In the coming weeks, please take a moment and think about areas of government reform you would like to focus on during the next Congress.”
McCarthy mentions that, “working with our committees,” Republicans will be formulating the components of a government operations overhaul for 2015.
“A portion of our 2015 legislative agenda will focus on reforming and streamlining federal agencies so government works as it should,” McCarthy said.
The 1,410-word email reads more like a press release than a memo intended just for the eyes of House Republicans. It starts with an anecdote from former President Ronald Reagan on buying a car in the Soviet Union, provides numerous instances of government inefficiency or incompetence and blames many of those issues on President Barack Obama and his administration.
The full text of the memo:
TO: House Republicans
FROM: Kevin McCarthy
DATE: October 22, 2014
SUBJECT: Government Competency
“Sincerity and competence is a strong combination. In politics, it is everything.”
– Peggy Noonan
Ronald Reagan joked “in the Soviet Union automobiles were mainly owned by elite bureaucrats. For average citizens it could take an average of 10 years to get a car, you had to file paperwork with the government…and you had to pay in advance! So one day a man did this and the dealer said, ‘okay in 10 years come get your car.’ ‘Morning or afternoon?’ the man asked. ‘Well what difference does it make?’ asked the dealer. The man replied, ‘the plumber is coming in the morning.’” Today, Reagan’s quip could be an apt description of dealing with the federal government. Consider the following:
· Last month, the FDA finally approved the use of a second 3-D imaging system, which can improve the detection of breast cancer in women. Multiple 3-D imaging systems have been used outside the U.S. for years. The lack of access to multiple systems in the U.S. has meant fewer diagnoses and higher costs.
· A non-partisan study last year found that the average government processing time for an interstate natural gas pipeline from pre-filing to certification was 558 days. The government’s failure to approve energy infrastructure projects in a timely fashion means higher energy prices for families and businesses.
· In August of this year, an individual requesting a hearing to review a decision made by the Social Security Administration regarding their eligibility for benefits faced an average wait time of 7 to 22 months (depending on where in the country they live).
· Before Congress enacted reforms earlier this year, it could take from 10 to 15 years for the Corps of Engineers just to complete a feasibility study for a flood control or navigation project.
· It can take more than a decade to acquire all the government permits for a mineral production project. According to one report, the United States currently ranks last, along with Papua New Guinea, in permitting delays out of the twenty-five major mining countries.
· A recent non-partisan study found that nearly half of the Social Security Administration’s scheduled continuing disability reviews for children with mental impairments were overdue, and an estimated 205,000 were overdue by more than 3 years.
Every week seems to bring a new revelation of government agencies failing to accomplish their core functions. The Veterans Administration for years did not treat patients in a timely manner and covered up the backlogs; the IRS did not adequately preserve basic records; the Administration spent more than $2.1 billion on a broken and unsecure website to facilitate a law that Americans don’t like; the Secret Service failed to protect the White House; the government had a failed strategy to confront Ebola; and on foreign policy, nobody thinks America is safer or stronger than we were six years ago. The list goes on and on.
The recent blunders and scandals are not just the product of failed policy, but represent serious management failures by the President and his Administration.
Some of these problems cannot be fully addressed without a change of Administration. However, the bullets above detail many government failures that Congress can fix, even if they don’t make front page headlines.
It is important to emphasize that we want our government to be competent not just for competency sake. Rather, the government’s role in our lives must be measured, limited in its ambitions, constitutionally based, and focused on the big things that only governments can address. Unfortunately, the federal government today interferes too often in too many aspects of our daily lives, both big and small.
Restoring competency in government requires both shrinking government to its appropriate scope and mission and reforming how government operates in its core sphere.
Inefficient, ineffective, and incompetent federal agencies along with failed government policies have real world consequences. They hurt economic growth and job creation. Restoring economic growth and job creation will be the central policy goal of the next Congress and restoring competence in government will be part of that effort. The inability of the government to accomplish its most basic tasks has eroded the public’s trust in government, as polls have repeatedly shown. Worse, throughout the country there is an emerging sense of resignation that our great country is on the decline.
We must work to end this cycle of failings and make government functional again. Building off our progress in the 2012 highway bill and WRRDA this year, a portion of our 2015 legislative agenda will focus on reforming and streamlining federal agencies so government works as it should.
The House has already passed energy legislation to improve the permitting process for pipelines, and with a new majority, I am confident the bill won’t be ignored in the Senate. The same is true for reforms we passed for federal mining permits and FDA reforms that the Energy and Commerce Committee has already begun working on.
While individual parts of our agenda may not grab headlines, we must make government work if we are to promote a growing economy that brings stability and greater opportunity for all Americans.
To be successful, we need every member and every committee to participate in this grand and ongoing project of government reform. In the coming weeks, please take a moment and think about areas of government reform you would like to focus on during the next Congress. Working with our committees, we will be formulating the components of this reform initiative as we put together the legislative agenda for 2015.
But beyond reforming agencies, we must legislate differently in order to restore trust in government. When we took the majority in 2011, we introduced greater transparency and accountability to the legislative process. For example, we ended the practice of approving “such sums” authorizations where legislation would authorize new spending without actually specifying the amount to be spent.
I am in the process of reviewing and updating these protocols (LINK) for the new Congress, and already have a few ideas. One reform I would like to include is sunsetting new agency reports. Different provisions added to our laws over the years has resulted in a legal requirement that 466 different agencies and non-profits submit over 4,200 different reports to Congress this year. The annual number of reports demanded by law increased nearly 25 percent in the past 25 years.Many, like the annual “Report to Congress on Dog and Cat Fur Protection,” are no longer relevant. However, absent Congressional action, agencies and non-profits must still submit these reports. We can save taxpayer money and thousands of hours of time by sunsetting these requirements.
I would also like to work with the committees to include basic regulatory reforms in any legislation that authorizes or requires new regulations. As you know, we have passed a number of government-wide reforms to the regulatory process, such as increasing public input in the regulatory process, requiring agencies to adopt the least costly proposal, and requiring regulators to limit the impact of regulations on small businesses. Unfortunately, these bills have not advanced in the Senate. Yet, there is no reason we cannot work towards implementing these reforms on an agency by agency or program by program basis.
Government competence requires collaboration, which is why I want to hear from you as to any ideas you may have on how we proceed to rebuild trust in government. Specifically, if you have any legislative ideas or process reforms you would like considered as we formulate next year’s legislative agenda and revise on our internal protocols, please email or call me or have your staff reach out to mine.
I look forward to seeing you in November and, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.
Finally, congratulations to James Lankford for being the first to correctly identify Statuary Hall as the room in which the British started the fire that destroyed most of the Capitol on August 24, 1814. This month’s trivia question:
In 1789, Congress sent twelve proposed Constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. By December of 1791, a sufficient number of states had ratified amendments three through twelve and they became our Bill of Rights. In 1992, with the vote of Michigan, the second of the original twelve amendments was ratified and became our 27th Amendment.
What is the remaining unratified amendment and were it to be ratified today, what would be the impact on Congress?
Updated, 2:27 p.m.: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed Wednesday that House Republicans will not sit idly by while the Obama administration unilaterally negotiates a resolution with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.
The Obama administration, according to news reports, is considering sweetening its offer to Iran in the ongoing negotiations, allowing the regime to operate 4,000 centrifuges, up from an earlier 1,300.
The White House and the State Department have not commented on the the reports, which originated with an Iranian news agency.
But the development has set off alarms with lawmakers like McCarthy, who called the news “worrisome.” The California Republican promised “extensive oversight” of the administration’s handling of the Iranian negotiations.
The Senate’s No. 2-ranked Republican, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, also warned the president against overstepping his authority on the Iran deal.
“The American people will not tolerate a President who wheels and deals with a radical regime behind their backs and dodges congressional oversight every chance he gets,” the Texas Republican said in a statement. “Any agreement with Iran to provide further relief from U.S. sanctions must be done in conjunction with Congress in an open and transparent way to ensure it advances America’s national security.”
Here’s McCarthy’s full statement:
Recent reports have suggested the Obama Administration believes it can negotiate a deal with Iran and provide significant sanctions relief to the Iranian regime without Congressional support. This Administration has a long record of ignoring and threatening to ignore Congress.
While this unilateralism alone is distressing, it is made even more worrisome in light of additional reports that the Administration may be willing to yet again make significant concessions to the Iranians in the nuclear negotiations. As the President and his team know full well, there is overwhelming, bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill about Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, its sponsorship of terrorism, its promotion of instability throughout the region, and its appalling human rights record. Congress will not simply look the other way if the Administration agrees to a deal that does not make sufficient progress in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. Although the precise mechanics of Congressional approval or disapproval will depend on what exactly the President decides to do, the nature of the agreement, and a variety of other factors, I can promise that Congress will conduct extensive oversight regarding the details of any deal or extension of the current Joint Plan of Action.
Separate from the conduct of the nuclear negotiations, I remain concerned the Administration lacks an effective strategy to combat Iran’s malign influence throughout the region. Whether in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, or Yemen, Iran’s support for terrorism and its destabilizing activities threaten the interests and security of the United States and its key allies and partners in the region. I look forward to the Administration consulting with Congress about how to confront this grave threat.
October 10, 2014
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.
October 9, 2014
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, showing off a lighter side rarely seen in his predecessor, offered some overly-elaborate highway navigation tips — a la Saturday Night Live’s soap-opera parody “The Californians” — for President Barack Obama’s fundraising trip to the West Coast.
The Bakersfield native, who took over the No. 2 position in the House from Virginia Republican Eric Cantor less than three months ago, made the driving suggestions in a press release encouraging the president to get out of Los Angeles and visit struggling agricultural areas in the state’s interior.
Borrowing from SNL’s goofy recurring sketch, in which characters with exaggerated Valley accents obsess over navigational details, McCarthy (or, more likely, his press shop) offered Obama an alternative to hanging out in Hollywood with the glitterati:
“He should take Colorado to Lincoln, hop on the 10, go north on the 405 to the 5 — get off at Lyons for a double-double from In-n-Out — then take the 5 to the 99 to the 65.”
Here’s the whole release:
In California, the President Should Take the 10 to the 405 to the 5 to…
Today, the President will be in West L.A. enjoying the Santa Monica sunshine and giving a speech on the economy. The President has been talking a lot lately about how great the economy is doing. While it may look good for some in the Los Angeles basin, a trip throughout the Golden state would show the President that many Californians are frustrated with his Administration’s economic policies.
So, before the President leaves California, he should take a little trip. He should take Colorado to Lincoln, hop on the 10, go north on the 405 to the 5—get off at Lyons for a double-double from In-n-Out—then take the 5 to the 99 to the 65.
On this route, he’ll pass through Bakersfield and into the Central Valley, where the nation’s largest vegetable, fruit, and nut producers are located. But right now the drought has made life tough for people in Central Valley communities, and the Obama Administration’s policies sure haven’t helped. Sadly, the Obama economy and the Administration’s harmful water regulatory burdens have left California in a far more precarious place than West L.A.
Labor force participation in California is only 61.9 percent, below the national rate of 62.7 percent, which is a full 3.4 percent lower than in 2008. Unemployment in counties across California, especially in the Central Valley, is still in the double digits.
If the President is serious about growing the economy and creating opportunity in California, he should direct his Administration to immediately ease the harmful policies that send precious water out to the ocean instead of to our communities. That would create real economic growth and provide greater opportunity to the next generation of our farmers.
So while the President is out West, he should take a trip on the freeway out of the big cities and see how the rest of California is doing.
October 6, 2014
Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay — or “The Hammer,” as he was known in his leadership days — recently called the GOP Class of 1994 “the greatest freshman class … to walk into the House of Representatives.”
Newt Gingrich, who won the speaker’s gavel in 1995 as a reward for orchestrating the first House Republican takeover in four decades, agreed.
“This is not just a game,” he said last month. “This is about how the free people govern themselves, and [that] class was as fine an example of that as I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
The men, from Texas and Georgia respectively, were preaching to the choir: They’d been invited back to Capitol Hill to deliver remarks to more than 40 members of the ‘94 class who reunited to celebrate the fast-approaching 20th anniversary of the historic election.
But the praise did more than just puff the egos of former and current lawmakers attending the event. It unplugged a spigot of nostalgia for what many of the Republicans on hand recalled as halcyon days of legislating. Full story
September 17, 2014
Updated 7:03 p.m. | After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.
House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.
A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.
That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.
“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement. Full story