Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

Posts in "Nancy Pelosi"

April 21, 2014

Ranking Member Fundraising Battle: Pallone Gets Cash From Tech, Health Care Industries

APPLE presser001 020812 445x300 Ranking Member Fundraising Battle: Pallone Gets Cash From Tech, Health Care Industries

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. received donations from health care groups and technology giants, and gave money to more than a dozen fellow Democrats, including some in vulnerable seats, a new filing for his leadership political action committee shows.

The New Jersey Democrat, vying for the ranking member slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee in a closely-contested race, raised $116,000 for Shore PAC in the month of March. Among the groups giving money were Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast and NBC Universal.

Pallone also racked up cash from health care groups, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Hospital Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Cardiology, American College of Surgeons Professional Association and the American Academy of Neurology.

He spent $49,000, according to the PAC filing.

Members he gave to include Reps. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia; Raul Ruiz of California; Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona; Tim Walz of Minnesota; John Barrow of Georgia; Dan Maffei of New York and Timothy H. Bishop of New York; Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Brad Schneider of Illinois, among others.

Pallone’s rival for the panel position to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Anna G. Eshoo of California, raised $203,000 over the quarter, a longer filing period, for her leadership PAC. Her donations mostly came from high-tech and telecommunication firms.

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April 16, 2014

Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking-Member Battle With Pallone

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Rivals for the ranking member slot, Eshoo and Pallone chatted earlier this month at a news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.

The burgeoning war chest provides leverage for Eshoo in the closely-contested ranking member race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., when the new Congress convenes.

Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.

Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.

In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.

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April 10, 2014

Pelosi: ‘Race’ Part of the Reason GOP Won’t Act on Immigration (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “race” is one reason Republicans are avoiding an immigration overhaul.

During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat implied there were ulterior reasons Republicans weren’t addressing immigration.

“I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill,” Pelosi said. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was just you, it would be easy.’”

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April 3, 2014

Pelosi: Campaign Cash Ruling an ‘Existential Threat’ (Video)

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is one of the most prolific fundraisers in congressional history. But that doesn’t mean she’s a fan of Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday that the court decision was “suffocating the voice of the many.”

The 5-4 McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling overturned the overall limit on what an individual may collectively donate to parties, candidates and political action committees in one election. The limit used to be $123,200. While the Supreme Court didn’t touch so-called base limits — such as the $2,600 cap on contributions to candidates per election or the $74,600 limit for political parties per an election cycle — the ruling allows individuals to give the maximum amount to an unlimited number of candidates.

“The Supreme Court decided to pour even more money into our politics and our process,” Pelosi said.

The California Democrat added that she was not surprised by the ruling, given the Citizens United v. FEC case, but the McCutcheon ruling “adds great insult to terrible injury to our democracy.”

“This is a very existential threat to who we are and how we do our campaigning and our government — and it should be something that should be roundly rejected,” Pelosi said.

But, as one reporter pointed out, Democrats can take advantage of this ruling just as much as Republicans.

“It doesn’t make it right,” Pelosi responded.

Pelosi, who raises millions for congressional Democrats, said she wasn’t thinking politically about this. “I’m thinking about our democracy,” she said. “Is this just supposed to be a money war?”

Pelosi agreed that candidates have to raise money to win elections, but she characterized the ruling as “an unlimited, constant spigot of undisclosed, God-knows-from-where-and-from-whom supply of money into the system.”

“It’s just plain wrong,” she said.

Eliza Newlin Carney contributed to this report.

April 1, 2014

Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

dems004 011414 445x305 Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, April 2, 1:15 p.m. | In 2001, just shy of a decade in the House, Rep. Xavier Becerra suggested he was more of a policy wonk than a power broker.

“I understand the politics,” he told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “I’m not the best at playing the game.”

Thirteen years later, whether he was being self-effacing or somewhat disingenuous is debatable. But one thing’s become clear in the intervening decade: As a political operator, Becerra’s come into his own.

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March 25, 2014

CBO Reaffirms: Immigration Bill Cuts Deficit $900 Billion Over 20 Years

tree lighting009 120313 445x288 CBO Reaffirms: Immigration Bill Cuts Deficit $900 Billion Over 20 Years

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the immigration overhaul being pushed by House Democrats — and nearly identical to the version that passed out of committee in the Senate — would slice the deficit by about $900 billion over 20 years.

In a letter to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., CBO Executive Director Douglas Elmendorf essentially reiterated the CBO’s earlier forecast for the Senate’s overhaul, while noting that the House version, H.R. 15, does not include $38 billion for border security in the first 10 years like the bill that passed the Senate. The CBO has estimated nearly $200 billion in cost savings in the first decade and about $700 billion in the second. Full story

March 24, 2014

Pelosi Brings George Miller Back to the Steering and Policy Committee

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is reinstalling fellow California Democrat George Miller as co-chairman of the Steering and Policy Committee, a Democratic leadership aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Monday evening.

Miller, now the ranking member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, is retiring at the end of this year after four decades in Congress. He replaces Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., who resigned last month to take a job at a Philadelphia law firm amid an ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation. Miller will serve as co-chairman alongside another Pelosi ally, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.

 ”With only six months left in this session, the Leader felt it was best for someone who knows the job to be in the role,” said a Pelosi aide.

Miller stepped aside at the start of the 113th Congress to allow for new some new blood at the top of the Steering and Policy Committee, which is responsible for doling out committee assignments and advising party leaders on a range of issues.

Pelosi’s decision to bring her close friend back into the fold might surprise some colleagues who expected the lawmaker to use the open slot to elevate some younger Democrat with ambitions to move up the leadership ranks, or at least a member who has been waiting in the wings for an opportunity to take on more responsibilities within the House Democratic Caucus.

March 20, 2014

Pelosi: Affordable Care Act a ‘Winner’ on Its 4th Anniversary

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was on the defensive Thursday at a news conference convened, in part, to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law.

The California Democrat, backed by Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., spoke in support of the law she helped to craft and pass — despite the fact that its rocky rollout has made it a problem for vulnerable House and Senate Democrats facing tough re-election races this year.

That conversation has been reignited in the wake of last week’s defeat of Democrat Alex Sink by Republican David Jolly in the Florida special election to succeed late-Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Sink ran on a platform of “fix, not repeal” regarding the 2010 health care law.

“Just because people say, ‘I don’t want to repeal it but I want to fix it’ doesn’t mean they’re walking away from it,” Pelosi said, pointing out that the Florida special election took place in a swing district.

When asked by a reporter whether Obamacare was becoming a liability in midterm election campaigning, Pelosi replied, “I believe it’s a winner.

“And by the way,” she corrected, wryly, “it’s called the Affordable Care Act. Affordable Care Act.”

Pelosi strongly rejected the premise that Democrats were running from, rather than embracing, the health care law, saying that Washington, D.C., journalists do not see how well the law is faring in districts across the country.

“This isn’t about politics, this is about the health of America. This is about standing tall,” said Pelosi. “We don’t weigh its value as to what it means politically, we weigh its value as to what it means to the health, well-being, economic security of America’s families.

“Change is hard,” Pelosi said of the growing pains that have arisen as the law has gone through implementation. “This is transformational in the lives of American people.”

Pelosi and Van Hollen, former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also argued that the post-Citizens United landscape has allowed outside groups allied with Republicans to spend massive amounts in ad campaigns to undermine the health care law.

“Citizens United [came] just in time for them to put out all their misrepresentations about the Affordable Care Act, and that’s hard to counter,” Pelosi said.

“It’s hypocritical and grossly misleading,” Van Hollen added.

Pelosi: GOP ‘Extreme’ for Blocking Unemployment Insurance Extension

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed House Republicans on Thursday for their “extreme nature” and “indifference” to extending unemployment insurance benefits, a day after Speaker John A. Boehner torched a bipartisan Senate bill.

“Here we go again,” the California Democrat said at her weekly press conference. “Washington Republicans have painted themselves into the far extreme.” Full story

March 14, 2014

Eshoo Launches Anna PAC In Her Bid for Ranking Member Slot

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(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo advanced her bid for Energy and Commerce ranking member on Wednesday night with the launch of her new political action committee, Anna PAC.

It’s an important move for the California Democrat, who needs to use every tool at her disposal to beat Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who has the edge in seniority on the powerful panel in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

The PAC will allow Eshoo to raise money and write checks for colleagues whom she needs to win over between now and November, when the House Democratic Caucus will vote between the two lawmakers vying for the slot.

“Anna talked in a very personal way about the race, and about the group of her closest friends and the people she has come to rely on,” a lobbyist present at the event told CQ Roll Call. “It was more than a fundraising stump speech.” Full story

Cantor: Pelosi Should Apologize for ‘Hungry Children’ Comment (Updated)

Updated 12:04 p.m. | House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wants House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to apologize for saying that an anonymous Republican friend told her the party does not care about struggling families and hungry children.

“The minority leader in the House should really, I think, apologize for that statement. That’s outrageous. We all want to help inner city kids. We all want to help people, and the debate should be around what’s the best way to help people,” the Virginia Republican told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. 

Pelosi said over the weekend at the California Democrats State Convention in Los Angeles that an anonymous Republican friend told her that “struggling families and really hungry children” are “invisible, and the Republican caucus is indifferent to them.”

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement that Pelosi will not apologize: “Leader Pelosi’s statement is consistent with the House Republican record, with which Leader Cantor is surely familiar.”

Cantor said during the Fox News interview that he and other Republicans in fact do care about struggling children.

“I have traveled almost every month to an inner city school both in my hometown of Richmond and elsewhere across the country, spending time in these schools with inner city students and kids. I don’t look at them being invisible, I look at them as being an inspiration,” he said.

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

Pelosi Praises Feinstein, Calls CIA Director’s Statements ‘Befuddling’

pelosi031314 445x264 Pelosi Praises Feinstein, Calls CIA Directors Statements Befuddling

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow California Democrat, on Thursday for her “courage” in standing up to the intelligence community, though stopped short of saying whether she believed the CIA had, in fact, spied on Senate Intelligence Committee computer files.

“I salute Sen. Feinstein,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: “You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth.

“Whatever else there is should be examined in terms of what happened and who let that happen,” she continued. “This may be one of the healthiest things we can do because I know one thing: Whatever it is, the intelligence community writes a report on that, they leave, they write a book on it, all of a sudden it becomes conventional … gossip that that’s what happened there and we really have to have the ground truth.”

While Pelosi admitted she was not intimately familiar with CIA Director John O. Brennan’s statements in which he vehemently denied Feinstein’s claims but said that she found what comments of his she had read “befuddling.”

“I have high regard for him,” Pelosi caveated. “I’ll probably see him over the St. Patrick holiday and maybe get an attitude where he thinks this is going.”

March 4, 2014

Pelosi-Hoyer Rivalry Flares Anew With Eshoo-Pallone Fight

The long-running leadership rivalry between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is flaring anew as the two Democrats take different sides in the fight over who will be the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee

On Tuesday, Hoyer said he would back New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California as the panel’s top Democrat in the 114th Congress.

“I’m not going to get into this publicly other than to say that I have historically been for the ranking member, the senior member, if that member is capable and able and if that member has contributed significantly to the legislative product, to the party efforts, and I think Frank Pallone has done all of those, but I’m not going to get into it further than that,” Hoyer said in his weekly media briefing. Pallone is the No. 3 Democrat on the committee.

Word had been circulating that Hoyer was supporting Pallone behind the scenes. The Maryland Democrat’s delicate articulation of support for Pallone is in stark contrast to Pelosi’s endorsement last week of fellow California Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, which she made with significant fanfare in a strongly worded letter circulated among her colleagues. Eshoo is No. 5 in seniority on the panel.

It’s uncommon for party stalwarts to insert themselves in committee races, particularly this early in the game — members won’t vote on committee assignments until after the midterm elections. It was also another break from the party’s usual deference to seniority.

But Pelosi’s unexpected decision to intervene on Eshoo’s behalf was a game-changer: What was at first a face-off between Eshoo and Pallone could now become another showdown between Pelosi and Hoyer, rivals who have often fought for the most influence among members of the House Democratic Caucus.

February 28, 2014

Pelosi Ignites Caucus by Choosing Sides in Ranking Member Battle

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Pallone, right, hopes to succeed Waxman as Energy and Commerce ranking member. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats could soon be at war.

The internal drama over who will take the top Democratic slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee next year has spilled into public view, with some lawmakers unhappy with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for taking sides so early — or at all.

Pelosi stunned colleagues on Thursday with a letter outlining support for her fellow Californian and close friend Anna G. Eshoo against Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, and now some Democrats find themselves in a difficult position. House Democrats put significant stock in years of service when doling out plum committee assignments, and the simple choice of picking the Energy and Commerce Committee’s current No. 3 — Pallone — now has been complicated by Pelosi’s endorsement of Eshoo, who is No. 5 in seniority.

Many lawmakers and aides told CQ Roll Call they don’t see stark enough differences between the members to justify waiving the seniority precedent and allowing Eshoo to leapfrog over Pallone. Both lawmakers, they have argued, are equally able to do the job, and there is little reason for Pelosi to choose sides so publicly in a move surely aimed at influencing undecideds.

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