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October 7, 2015

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September 17, 2015

Republicans Split on Planned Parenthood Strategy as Shutdown Nears (Video)

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cole was laughing, but the Planned Parenthood fight is getting serious. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With only six legislative days left before the government runs out of money, House Republicans still don’t have a conference-unifying strategy to avoid a shutdown and defund Planned Parenthood.

Asked whether he was worried about the rapidly closing window in which to act — current funding runs out on Sept. 30 — senior appropriator Tom Cole, R-Okla., laughed.

“Yeah!” the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee chairman told a group of reporters Thursday morning. “I mean, sooner’s better.” Full story

September 16, 2015

Heritage Action Dismisses Scalise’s Planned Parenthood Strategy

UNITED STATES - JUNE 2: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks to the media following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise has suggested budget reconciliation to defund Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Heritage Action for America is not impressed with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s proposal to address conservatives’ opposition to Planned Parenthood through a budget reconciliation process instead of a continuing resolution.

The conservative advocacy group that helped spur the 2013 government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act is, two years later, demanding lawmakers draw a firm line in the sand a second time, insisting members use a “must-pass” bill like a CR as the vehicle for defunding the network of health services and abortion providers. Full story

August 27, 2015

5 Members of Congress Who Could Endorse Trump

UNITED STATES - August 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Trump greets fair-goers in Iowa earlier this month. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump may be polling far ahead of the rest of the GOP presidential field, but there’s one constituency that remains reluctant to support the insurgent candidate: Congress.

To date, not one member of Congress has formally endorsed the GOP front-runner. Perhaps that’s part of Trump’s charm for some voters. He’s a Washington outsider — as much as a New York billionaire can be, at least — and voters have taken to his monkey-wrench style of politics. Full story

August 13, 2015

Yep, Congress’ Poll Numbers Still Unfathomably Bad

Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on July 28. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you’re Donald Trump, you talk about poll numbers. It’s what you do. If you’re in Congress, well, you’re probably better off changing the subject.

According to a Gallup poll conducted between Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, only 14 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, and the numbers are only slightly better for Speaker John A. Boehner. The Ohio Republican’s favorability rating has fallen to 23 percent, his lowest showing as speaker in the regular Gallup survey. Full story

July 21, 2015

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

April 13, 2015

House Democrats Challenge GOP to Condemn LGBT Discrimination

 Carson, D-IN, in his Cannon office. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call).

Carson is pushing for an official House condemnation of his home state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats, sensing a growing political advantage over Republicans on LGBT issues, are pushing a resolution to express congressional condemnation of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The action comes on the heels of, and in direct response to, the national uproar over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say gives businesses permission to deny service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers. Full story

March 9, 2015

Retribution: King Says Boehner Canceled Trip After Immigration Fight

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner canceled a foreign trip by Rep. Steve King in retribution for his opposition to Boehner’s cave on “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding, according to the Iowa Republican.

Full story

January 29, 2015

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

January 28, 2015

White House Helping Democrats Shape Message to Middle Class

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind is one of the Democrats championing more “aspirational” messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day House Democrats are set to go to their annual issues conference in Philadelphia to discuss messaging for the 2016 election cycle, among other things, the caucus’s new messaging group held its inaugural meeting on Capitol Hill.

The newly minted, 16-member Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which was tailored specifically to be led by recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, heard Wednesday morning from David Simas, the White House director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Full story

January 22, 2015

Democrats to Complete Survey to Help Leadership With Messaging

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel is asking Democrats what they think should have been done differently in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With members still divided on what went wrong for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, the House Democrat in charge of honing messaging for the next two years is trying to build consensus around a revised communication strategy.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who was selected by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to run a new “Democratic Policy and Communications Committee,” is asking every member to fill out a seven-part survey in advance of the caucus’ scheduled retreat next week in Philadelphia. Full story

January 14, 2014

Boehner Touts Poll, Says Obama ‘Can’t Blame Bush Anymore’

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Speaker John A. Boehner is using a poll by veteran Republican pollster David Winston to whack President Barack Obama on the economy.

At the House Republican Conference’s weekly closed-door meeting, the Ohio Republican told his flock Winston had found that, as of November 2013, 49 percent of poll respondents believed the “policies of the present” were responsible for the troubled economy.

That’s up by five percentage points from right after the November 2012 elections, when Winston asked respondents the same question of whether past or present policies were to blame for unemployment, lack of job creation and the like. Full story

May 28, 2013

Democrats Unleash a Binder Full of Obamacare Messaging

House Republican leaders recently subjected their Democratic colleagues to the 37th vote in two and a half years to repeal “Obamacare.”

But heading into the week-long Memorial Day recess, Democratic leadership went on the offensive to prepare the rank and file to defend President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law back home.

The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee sent members back to their districts last week armed with “Affordable Care Act Toolkits,” meticulously organized binders containing every piece of information lawmakers could possibly need to communicate the nuances of the law to their constituents.

“Reforming our health care system is an historic opportunity to make health care more affordable and bring the kind of change we were all elected to achieve for the American people,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and committee co-chairmen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey wrote in a May 22 introductory letter accompanying each toolkit, one of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“Nothing could be more important,” the letter continues, “which is why we now want to educate our constituents about the new law, help to implement it, and strengthen the hands of those who have worked for this historic reform.”

In other words, the toolkits — the culmination of months of collaboration and coordination — are meant to help get Democrats “on message” about the law that’s consistently derided by the GOP as a government overreach that will kill jobs. It’s certainly not the first time Democrats have tried to retool their sales job on the health care law, as polls consistently show Democrats have yet to win over the public. CNN released a new poll on Monday showing 54 percent opposing Obamacare.

Full story

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