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July 31, 2015

Posts in "Messaging"

July 29, 2015

Chaka Fattah Case Could Get Awkward Fast for Democrats (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has been under federal investigation for years, so for many of his colleagues the question was not whether an indictment would come, but when. But it could get awkward for Democrats in a hurry, as Fattah holds prominent positions within the party’s establishment and next year’s presidential nomination convention is being held in his native Philadelphia.

Within hours of being slapped with 29 counts — for racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud — the Pennsylvania Democrat had agreed to relinquish his post as ranking member on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, per rules and precedent. Full story

Pelosi Spokesman: Anti-Boehner Move Signifies GOP Dysfunction (Video)

Pelosi and the Democrats forced Republicans to retreat Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pelosi could be key to Boehner’s fate if the House votes to “vacate the chair” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Would House Democrats vote to remove John A. Boehner’s speaker gavel?

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., isn’t tipping her hand on which way she would urge her members to vote, should Rep. Mark Meadows’s motion to “vacate the chair” receive consideration on the House floor. Full story

July 28, 2015

Meadows Explains Effort to Overthrow Boehner

Meadows, R-N.C., is taking his dissatisfaction with GOP leadership to the next level (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meadows,is taking his dissatisfaction with leadership to the next level. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So why exactly did Rep. Mark Meadows offer a resolution to strip Speaker John A. Boehner of his gavel?

Holding court with reporters Tuesday night, nearly an hour after stunning colleagues by filing a motion to “vacate the chair,” the North Carolina Republican’s message was simple: He was left with no choice. Full story

July 27, 2015

House GOP Threatens Contempt Vote for IRS Head

John Koskinen

Chaffetz announces next phase in Congress’s IRS investigation (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is the latest Obama administration official House Republicans want fired — or, in Koskinen’s case, held in contempt of Congress, or even impeached.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee put out the proverbial call for Koskinen’s head Monday, alleging he lied under oath and oversaw the destruction of key records that might have shone light on the IRS’s improper scrutiny of conservative nonprofit groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Full story

On Highways and Ex-Im, House Watches Senate

Crowley (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., is not enthusiastic about the Senate’s highway bill (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This week, the House is expected to take up legislation to make new major executive branch rules contingent upon congressional approval, consider a bill to streamline “accountability” at the Department of Veterans Affairs and vote on a whole slew of suspensions.

But it’s the legislative business not currently listed on the floor schedule that’s likely to make the most headlines in the last days before the monthlong August recess. Full story

July 24, 2015

Despite White House’s Iran Blitz, Democrats Struggle With Backing Deal

The State Department isn't saying whether Kerry plans to testify May 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kerry is making frequent visits to Capitol Hill to sell lawmakers on the Iran nuclear agreement (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats were briefed on the Iran nuclear deal Thursday afternoon by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Earnest J. Moniz, but many sounded as undecided when they came out as when they went in.

“I’m working through it,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “That’s why we have 60 days.” Full story

July 22, 2015

House GOP Appropriators Prepare for Sequester Showdown

Harold Rogers

Rogers, R-Ky., gathered top House GOP appropriators Wednesday for a meeting to discuss how to avoid a year-long continuing resolution (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders don’t want to be the first to flinch at Democrats’ calls to repeal sequester-level spending caps, but senior GOP appropriators emerged from a closed-door meeting Wednesday in agreement: Congress has to do something.

Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., gathered his 12 subcommittee chairmen together to discuss next steps for the fiscal 2016 appropriations process that has ground to a halt on Capitol Hill with just 15 scheduled legislative days left to avert a government shutdown in September. Full story

Freedom Caucus Forms ‘Fight Club’ in House

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jordan, second from left, and Labrador, center, are two of the group’s founding members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Six months after the House Freedom Caucus was founded, it’s still unclear what exactly it is — or will be — beyond two key characteristics: its commitment to secrecy and to being a thorn in the side of House Speaker John A. Boehner.

There is no official roster. Leaders of the hard-line conservative group won’t say exactly how many members are in the caucus, which has already made its mark. The last count, based on conversations with members who are trying to keep track, was 42, but members are being added almost every week; CQ Roll Call has observed 38 attend at least one caucus meeting.

“It’s like ‘Fight Club,’” says Rep. Jim Bridenstine, an Oklahoma Republican and caucus member, referring to a film dialogue in which the first rule is that you don’t talk about it, and the second rule is that you don’t talk about it.

But why all the secrecy? Full story

July 21, 2015

Panel Eyes Debate Over Confederate Symbols in Capitol

Lawmakers will debate the propriety of displaying Confederate imagery, such as that contained in Mississippi's flag. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers could debate displaying Confederate imagery on the Hill, such as that contained in Mississippi’s flag, seen hanging here in the Senate Subway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Could the House Administration Committee actually take up a resolution to take down the Mississippi state flag?

The panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., is still noncommittal on whether she’ll hold hearings or markups on a pair of measures that would bar Confederate imagery on House grounds — including the official Mississippi banner, with its Confederate flag inset, that hangs with 49 other state flags in the tunnel of the Rayburn House Office Building.

But Miller on Tuesday suggested she was open to discussion, penning a letter to the committee’s three Democrats asking for suggestions on who might be good to testify on the matter. Full story

Texas Congresswoman to Trump: Have You No Decency?

Granger is leading a GOP task force to make recommendations on the child migrant border surge (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Granger, R-Texas, ripped into Donald Trump for disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Kay Granger has a reputation for telling it like she thinks it is, from colleagues who have “no business being in Congress” to fellow Texas Republicans who are “misbehaving” — but she usually does it quietly, preferring behind-the-scenes nudges to soundbite-ready shoves.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, she’s not pulling punches. Full story

GOP Leader Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., makes his way to the House floor through the media pack, who were waiting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy, R-Calif., thinks it’s time for an “overall review” of the VRA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.

On Tuesday, Cantor’s leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. Full story

July 19, 2015

Planned Parenthood Video Refuels GOP’s Abortion Agenda

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., leaves the Capitol following a vote on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Franks has consistently backed legislation to ban abortion practices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In undercover film footage of a Planned Parenthood official discussing in graphic detail how to preserve aborted fetal organs for medical research, anti-abortion Republicans hope they’ve finally found an opening to advance their agenda.

So far, they have a few things working in their favor. Full story

July 16, 2015

Return to Normal: Pelosi’s Got Obama’s Back on Iran (Video)

Pelosi stopped short of saying she wouldn't support a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi enthusiastically endorsed the Iran nuclear deal Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House’s top Republican and Democrat switched normal roles during the “fast-track” debate, with President Barack Obama relying on the GOP, rather than his own party, to carry his trade package across the finish line.

But when it comes to the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran, it’s back to normal for Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: She’s backing Obama, he isn’t.

Full story

July 15, 2015

Democrats Back Another Short-Term Highway Bill

Welch, D-Vt., speaks during a news conference to announce efforts to oppose legislation to roll back Defense cuts on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welch, D-Vt., has been one of the strongest opponents of short-term highway bills (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

See if this sounds familiar.

House Democrats back in May said they didn’t want to vote for another short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, but most of them ultimately relented, preferring to go on record supporting a two-month patch rather than be blamed for causing major disruptions to transportation projects across the country.

But don’t expect their help to pass another stopgap bill in July, House Democrats warned their Republican colleagues. Full story

Planned Parenthood Video Spurs Probe on Fetal Tissue Sales (Video) (Updated)

Boehner is calling for hearings on the Planned Parenthood allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:16 p.m. | Fueled by the emergence of a new undercover video showing a high-ranking Planned Parenthood official discussing logistics for donating organs and tissues of aborted fetuses, House Republicans are preparing to re-enter the fray of the abortion debate.

Referring to the practices of the nation’s leading abortion provider as “gruesome” and “grisly,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, on Wednesday released a statement calling for hearings on allegations Planned Parenthood seeks to profit financially from terminating pregnancies in such a way as to preserve the fetuses for use in medical research. Full story

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