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October 4, 2015

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October 4, 2015

Saying McCarthy Lacks 218 Votes, Chaffetz Announces Bid for Speaker (Updated)

 Chaffetz, R-Utah, becomes emotional during an opening statement at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether Planned Parenthood Federation of America should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. In the statement, he recalled his mother's battle with cancer and his wife's work with the disease. PPFA President Cecile Richards, testified. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz says McCarthy doesn’t have enough support in the House Republican Conference to win the speakership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 10:19 a.m. | Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will run for speaker.

The Utah Republican announced his decision on Fox News Sunday, citing support from colleagues who “recruited” him to challenge the establishment favorite, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Full story

September 30, 2015

Rules Could Complicate Leadership Fight (Updated)

UNITED STATES - September 29: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., listens as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks during a new conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise listens as McCarthy speaks Tuesday during a new conference on Capitol Hill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:26 p.m. | A rules fight could determine who holds power in the House Republican Conference under a new speaker when the elections are held on Oct. 8.

While Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California remains the odds-on favorite to inherit John A. Boehner’s gavel, the race for his position remains fluid and that has caused all kinds of uncertainty down the ballot. Full story

September 25, 2015

Conservatives Take Credit for Boehner Resignation (Video)

Massie, R-Ky., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on legislation that calls for disclosure of 28 blacked out pages of the 9/11 report to Congress on the terrorist attacks, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner’s resignation was inevitable, Massie said.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner surprised the GOP conference Friday by announcing he would resign at the end of October. But among all the shock and disbelief was the quiet acknowledgment among conservatives that it was time for the Ohio Republican to go.

“I thought it was expected, and I think it’s probably the best avenue,” Ted Yoho told reporters minutes after Boehner announced his decision. The Florida Republican was one of the co-sponsors of a resolution to remove Boehner. And while Yoho wouldn’t explicitly take credit, he noted the resolution and associated efforts to take down Boehner probably played a role. Full story

September 18, 2015

Six Party Defections in Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks with the media after a meeting of the House Republican caucus in the Capitol to discuss an immigration bill, August 1, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

King voted “present” on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood for one year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It was mostly a party line affair when the House voted Friday to defund Planned Parenthood for one year, 241-187.

But, there were six exceptions: Three Republicans voted with the majority of Democrats against the bill, while two Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in favor. One Republican, Iowan Steve King, voted “present.” Full story

September 17, 2015

Would-Be Boehner Successors Jockeying to Line Up Support

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The chatter about deposing Boehner is louder than usual. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Talk of deposing John A. Boehner has reached such a crescendo that one frustrated House Republican stood up in a closed-door meeting Wednesday night and said she was tired of would-be leadership candidates contacting her about supporting them.

Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota told the GOP conference Wednesday she didn’t appreciate all the calls she’s received from potential leadership candidates asking for her vote, multiple members told CQ Roll Call.
Full story

September 9, 2015

Conservatives Force Boehner to Rethink Iran (Updated)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 9: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves the House GOP leadership press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner’s speakership could depend on September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:38 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner’s latest cave to conservatives may not portend well for this September. Or it’s a signal Boehner is listening to the House Republican Conference and could emerge from a busy month even stronger.

Either way, the verdict isn’t likely to be clear until the Ohio Republican and his unruly conference settle on a path forward through the latest battle for the soul of the party. Full story

September 8, 2015

Conservative Reform Network Argues for Compromise

UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Neil Bradley, chief strategy officer Conservative Reform Network, poses in their office on Capitol Hill on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conservatives and Republicans win — with strategic compromises, Bradley says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans face some challenges this fall, including government funding, a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, spending level negotiations, the debt ceiling — but an outside center-right group is telling conservatives these challenges can be opportunities, if lawmakers are realistic.

Neil Bradley, the former deputy chief of staff for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former Majority Leader Eric Cantor and now the chief strategy officer for the Conservative Reform Network, dropped an open letter Tuesday titled “Policy Challenges and Opportunities.”

Full story

Planned Parenthood Battle Puts Boehner in Bind

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly on camera media availability in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner faces balancing act this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the end of the fiscal year, September is almost always a busy month on Capitol Hill. But this year, a funding fight over Planned Parenthood is shaping up to be emblematic of John A. Boehner’s entire speakership: a subtle and chaotic effort to lead a divided Republican Conference while avoiding the most damaging public relations pitfalls.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said Republicans don’t have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood. But House conservatives — mobilized by the release of a series of undercover videos featuring officials talking about abortion procedures — seem undeterred. Full story

August 11, 2015

The Bipartisan Working Group’s Elusive Target

Clockwise from left, Reps. David Joyce, R-Ohio, Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, Daniel Webster, R-Fla., Lou Barletta, R-Pa., Mark Amodei, R-Nev., Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., Scott Peters, D-Calif., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and John Carney, D-Del., attend a Bipartisan Working Group (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Clockwise from left, Reps. Joyce, Renacci, Webster, Barletta, Amodei, Maloney, Peters, Welch and Carney attend a BPWG meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

About a dozen House Republicans and Democrats sat around a table on a recent early morning, eating doughnuts and discussing the highway bill.

The Highway Trust Fund’s July 31 expiration date was near, party leaders seemed resigned to advance yet another stopgap extension and the assembled rank-and-file lawmakers wondered whether they could fully unite around a strategy to force passage of long-term legislation. Full story

June 30, 2015

Zombie Bank: Why Killing Ex-Im Doesn’t Mean It’s Dead

Congressional staffers stand below a television monitor as Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, testifies during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on June 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional staffers stood below a television monitor on June 3, as Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, testified before the House Financial Services Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With only hours to go before the Export-Import Bank’s charter expires for the first time in its 81-year history, lawmakers who support the agency are pointing fingers at the base of opposition — but not sounding the alarm bells of imminent catastrophe.

Starting Wednesday, the bank won’t be able to extend new loans — but it will still be able to serve out existing contracts. Most members are confident the operation will get reauthorized, some way or another, in the weeks before the month-long August recess and before the funding lapse becomes a real problem. Full story

June 26, 2015

How One House Democrat Helped Save Trade for Obama

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the House New Democrat Coalition news conference to unveil a policy agenda "aimed at creating a new era of American prosperity" on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind, D-Wis., helped get 28 Democrats to vote for TPA (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At midday Thursday, there was a gathering in Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s members’ lounge off Statuary Hall to toast House passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance, the last piece of a legislative package giving Trade Promotion Authority to President Barack Obama.

But among the select group of lawmakers and aides from both parties, there was one notable absence: The House Democrat who helped win for Obama the ability to negotiate a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Full story

June 24, 2015

House Rebels Warn of Blowback for Boehner

Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner’s crackdown has Republican dissidents talking about retaliation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Freedom Caucus has a secret it wants to share with Democrats.

“If the Democrats were to file a motion to vacate the chair and were to vote for that motion unanimously, there probably are 218 votes for it to succeed,” one member of the House Freedom Caucus told CQ Roll Call Tuesday night, as he exited an meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast. Full story

June 20, 2015

Rule Vote Retribution Continues; Chaffetz Takes Away Subcommittee Gavel

 Meadows, R-N.C.,questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who has bucked leadership, has been demoted. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

And the payback keeps on coming.

After three conservative House Republicans were kicked off the whip team as a result of voting against a rule for trade legislation on June 11, a new round of punishment is being meted out: Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has taken away the gavel of Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows. Full story

June 18, 2015

Boehner Confident on Trade. Pelosi? Not So Much (Video)

Boehner says it's been a strange couple of weeks in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner said things have been “close to bizarre” in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


With a new Trade Promotion Authority bill now through the House chamber, and with its chances of passage in the Senate looking good, you might think House Democrats would be prepared to wave the white flag and pass a worker-aid bill they had been holding hostage.

But maybe the Trade Adjustment Assurance bill isn’t such a sure thing. Speaker John A. Boehner is saying one thing. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is saying another.

What we have here, it seems, is a failure to communicate  or maybe something even stranger. Full story

June 16, 2015

GOP Leadership Metes Out Retribution for Rules Votes (Updated)

a Lummis, R-Wyo., participates in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Inspectors General: Independence, Access and Authority" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lummis and two other members of the GOP whip team were demoted Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 10:29 p.m. | It may not stop the most diehard conservatives — six Republicans voted against yet another procedural motion Tuesday — but GOP leadership is pushing back against members of its own party who vote “no” on rules, removing from the whip team three members who voted against last week’s resolution to bring Trade Promotion Authority to the floor.

Reps. Cynthia M. Lummis, Steve Pearce and Trent Franks have all been kicked off the team tasked with holding Republicans together following a 34-member House floor revolt on the TPA rule last Thursday. (Republicans were only able to adopt the rule because eight Democrats broke from the normally party-line vote to support the rule.) Full story

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