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November 28, 2015

Posts in "Staff"

November 19, 2015

House Staffer Takes Stand in Capitol Arrest Hearing

Eidinger was charged with "unlawful entry," (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eidinger was charged with unlawful entry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A House staffer took the witness stand in District of Columbia court Thursday, in a case that has raised questions about Capitol Police policy toward protesters.

Outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform staff director Sean McLaughlin testified that he acted in his professional capacity when telling protesters they would be asked to leave if they were disruptive, in a case stemming from an April arrest of D.C. activist Adam Eidinger during a committee markup.

“Generally I’m the person who is in control of the committee room,” McLaughlin, who has worked as staff director for about one year, told the court. Full story

White House Loses Votes to GOP on Syrian Refugee Bill

syrian refugees

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leadership braced Thursday for at least 60 defections on the Republican bill to strengthen the vetting of Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States.

It wasn’t quite that high, but 47 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with nearly every Republican for Congress’ first legislative response to the terrorist attacks in Paris — despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The coalition of Democrats supporting the measure, which passed 289-137, wasn’t atypical of previous votes for which leadership could not justify opposition. Full story

November 18, 2015

House Democrats Plan Alternative to Syrian Refugee Bill

3: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lofgren tried to get changes made to the GOP refugee bill due on the floor Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.

The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Full story

Congresswoman Left for Dead at Jonestown Recalls the Massacre, 37 Years Later

Jackie Speier, an aide to Congressman Leo Ryan, being taken from a plane at Georgetown on November 19, 1978, after its arrival from Jonestown where Speier was shot five times and Ryan and four others were ambushed and killed by members of the People's Temple.  Congressman Leo Ryan was leading a group that went to Guyana to investigate reports of abuse and human rights violations by the People's Temple and its leader, Jim Jones.  Fearing the results of the murders and further investigations into Jonestown, despite Leo Ryan's assertion that he was going to give a largely positive review of the People's Temple, Jim Jones led his followers in a ?revolutionary suicide?.  On November 18, 1978, 909 Temple members died, all but two of which from cyanide poisoning, forming the largest mass suicide in modern history. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)

(Bettmann/Corbis /AP Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier knows exactly how it feels to be left for dead.

On Nov. 18, 1978, she was shot five times on a remote airstrip in Guyana, South America. Her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others lay dead nearby, killed by gunfire as they tried to escape Jonestown, the commune built by cult leader Jim Jones.

Nearly 40 years later, Speier still remembers why she decided to get on a plane to go down on the ill-fated congressional trip.

“Back in 1978, there were not many women in high-ranking positions in Congress,” said Speier, who was legislative counsel for Ryan at the time. “I felt if I didn’t go, it would be a step back for women holding these high positions. I thought, ‘I can’t not go.’”

So she went, accompanying Ryan and 23 other people to Guyana, on the northeastern coast of South America, attempting to visit Jim Jones and nearly 1,000 followers he’d amassed.

By the end of the trip, Ryan was dead — the first and only congressman to be assassinated in office — along with three journalists and one cult defector. Speier and nine others had been shot and left for dead at a remote airstrip; they waited 22 hours for help to arrive.

Immediately following the shootings, Jones and more than 900 of his followers died from self-inflicted cyanide poisoning in what was seen as a mass suicide at the time, but is now widely considered a mass murder.

The Ryan congressional delegation had no military escort. The State Department had given neither a warning nor protection.

Speier has occupied Ryan’s former seat in Congress since 2008. In an interview with CQ Roll Call, she noted that while much has changed, some fundamental questions about Jonestown remain unanswered. Full story

November 12, 2015

Key Chairmen Could Be Booted From Steering Committee

Ryan holds his first weekly on-camera press conference Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every committee chairperson could soon have a voice in who gets appointed to his or her panel, according to a proposal to revamp the Steering Committee that’s being mulled by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and a seven-member task force.

But there’s a catch: The six chairmen who already have permanent seats on the Steering Committee would have to step aside. Full story

October 30, 2015

Appropriator Praises Speaker ‘Sonny Boy’ Ryan

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 7: Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks during the NDD United "Rally for a Stronger America" outside of the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The rally was held to highlight the need for a bipartisan agreement on appropriations that raises sequester caps on both defense and non-defense priorities. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lowey, D-N.Y. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans showed Thursday they were willing to give Paul D. Ryan a chance when they overwhelmingly elected him the 54th Speaker of the House.

Democrats are also showing signs of enthusiasm for the Wisconsin Republican’s promotion. Full story

October 26, 2015

House Takes Steps to Revive Ex-Im Bank

export-import bank

Hensarling, left, and Boehner. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Monday night to reopen the Export-Import Bank, making history by successfully employing a quirky procedural gambit for the first time in decades.

Sixty-two Republicans bucked their leadership to join with every House Democrat on a “motion to discharge” petition to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, for which the charter expired at the end of June. Full story

October 25, 2015

Ryan Staffing Up for Speaker’s Office

paul ryan

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If he’s elected speaker Thursday, Paul D. Ryan plans to name David Hoppe — a man best known around the Capitol for his Senate experience — to be his chief of staff.

Hoppe is a lobbyist who has worked as a chief of staff on both sides of the Rotunda. Most notably, Hoppe has worked under senators including Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona. Like his new boss, Hoppe is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan and fellow shareholder. Full story

October 22, 2015

Conservative Debt Limit Plan Shelved

debt limit

Boehner wants to raise the debt limit before he resigns next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner said he hoped to raise the debt limit before he resigns from Congress, but he’s running out of time to meet the Nov. 3 deadline in advance of his scheduled Oct. 30 departure.

The Ohio Republican has five more legislative days to avoid a federal government default before the politically messy task falls to his successor. Full story

October 21, 2015

Meet Nancy Pelosi’s New Floor Director, Keith Stern

Keith Stern

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith Stern sat at a table in the Rayburn room outside Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office eager to start as director of floor legislative operations for the California Democrat.

It was Oct. 9, his last day as chief of staff for Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, the second highest-ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee. He is replacing 28-year veteran Jerry Hartz, who left Pelosi’s office in September for the nonprofit National Democratic Institute. Full story

October 13, 2015

While Waiting for Ryan, Would-Be Speakers Weigh Bids

UNITED STATES - MARCH 20: House Budget Chairman , Paul Ryan, R-Wis., flanked by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL., and members of the House Budget Committee during the House Budget Committee's news conference on the "Introduction of the FY2013 Budget - Pathway to Prosperity." (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call)

Almost everyone is awaiting Ryan’s decision. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

If Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan decides against a run for speaker, the race to lead the House could turn into a free-for-all: A half-dozen Republicans are quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a slew of Texans, a couple of the wealthiest men in Congress and at least one woman.

Two Texas Republicans have confirmed they’re getting into the game: Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul, who is No. 2 on Roll Call’s 2014 list of the wealthiest members of Congress. Full story

October 9, 2015

Members See No Problems With McCarthy Staying On (Video)

McCarthy, D-Calif., is photographed in his Capitol office, June 4, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy dropped his speakership bid, but plans to stay in the No. 2 slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What’s next for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy?

For two weeks the California Republican was the favorite to succeed John A. Boehner as speaker, but just minutes before his colleagues were set to vote on his nomination he pulled back, saying he was “not the one” to lead the deeply fractured GOP conference.

But is he “the one” to stick around as the No. 2 House Republican? Full story

October 8, 2015

Republicans Eye Rules Changes as Possible Conference Unifier

Messer, R-Ind., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Messer co-hosted a meeting to discuss possible House GOP rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina wants leadership candidates to confess to their “misdeeds” before they can be elected by their peers. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky wants to dilute the speaker’s power of the Republican Steering Committee.

Rep. James B. Renacci of Ohio wants leadership to prioritize floor votes on bills that have the support of a majority of members, not just the measures leaders like best. And Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia wants anyone running for elected leadership to give up whatever elected leadership positions they currently hold.

These are just some of the dozens of changes rank-and-file members of the House Republican Conference want to see addressed in the weeks and months ahead.

Full story

October 4, 2015

GOP Split Over Whether to Fast-Track Elections or Take More Time

UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with House Majority Leader elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Majority Whip elect Steve Scalise, R-La., looking on, speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability after the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy, center, and Scalise, right, are still expected to move up in the wake of Boehner’s resignation. But both face complications. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were already divided over the candidates for speaker, majority leader and whip. Now they’re finding themselves split over when to hold elections.

Over the weekend, the expectation that members would vote on Thursday for a new leadership slate was turned upside down, as some lawmakers amped up lobbying efforts to postpone votes for majority leader and whip.

Members were also whispering about the ramifications of letting almost a month go by between nominating a new speaker candidate and holding the decisive roll call vote on the House floor.

Full story

October 2, 2015

Sources: Chaffetz Readies Run for Speaker

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, places his name plate at his seat as he arrives for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "White House Perimeter Breach: New Concerns about the Secret Service" on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz is reportedly making the rounds to run for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Earlier this week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was busy trying to push his colleague Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to run for majority leader.

On Friday, news broke that Chaffetz was laying the groundwork for a leadership run of his own. Full story

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