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August 29, 2015

Posts in "Staff"

August 25, 2015

A Decade After Katrina, 2 New Orleans Lawmakers Look Back

Richmond, left, and Scalise represented New Orleans in the Louisiana State House before being elected to the U.S. House (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Richmond, left, and Scalise represented New Orleans in the Louisiana House before being elected to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Saturday, New Orleans observes the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The storm left behind unimaginable destruction as well as a complicated and emotional legacy with which survivors still grapple. CQ Roll Call met separately recently with Louisiana Reps. Steve Scalise, the House Republican whip, and his longtime friend Cedric L. Richmond, a Democrat, to talk about the impact of Katrina. Their recollections (both were state lawmakers at the time), edited for length and organized for chronology, are part of a series on the storm 218 will publish this week. 

Saturday, Aug. 27
Two days before the storm. Full story

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

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

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

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

July 17, 2015

Lovenheim Joins Xavier Becerra as Communications Director

ocratic Caucus chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Becerra. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic Caucus has a new communications director.

Sarah Lovenheim will start working for Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., on July 22, she told colleagues in a farewell email Friday. Full story

July 6, 2015

Republicans Set to Try Again With Education Overhaul

Kline is among the Republicans who might be forced to hand over a gavel given self-imposed term limits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kline wants to overhaul K-12 education laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In late February, House conservatives were revolting on two different fronts: They didn’t want to fund the Department of Homeland Security without language blocking President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration, and they didn’t want to replace the No Child Left Behind education law without provisions giving more autonomy to states.

At that time, GOP leaders opted to focus their energies on preventing a DHS shutdown instead of navigating a sticky whip operation on a non-time sensitive education bill, and so, mid-floor debate, they hit the “pause” button. 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

Obama Gets Trade Win: Democrats Give In on TAA

Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., leave a news conference on the DHS funding bill in the Capitol's Will Rogers hallway, February 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi and Hoyer will vote for TAA when it comes back to the House floor Thursday (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s over.”

That’s how several House Democrats and senior aides described the current feeling in the caucus regarding their efforts to stop “fast-track” trade authority for the White House.

Over the past two weeks, most members of the House Democratic Caucus have gone from opposing Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation — packaged with the related Trade Promotion Authority, a Republican and Obama administration priority — to acknowledging there’s little point in voting “no.” Full story

June 18, 2015

Boehner Poaches New Press Secretary From the Senate

Schillinger, right, is departing Barrasso's office to work for the Speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Schillinger, right, is leaving Barrasso’s Senate office to work for Boehner, replacing Steel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A longtime Senate spokeswoman is going back across the Rotunda to serve as press secretary for Speaker John A. Boehner.

Emily Schillinger, who has led the press operation for the Senate Republican Policy Committee as its communications director, will take the position vacated when Michael Steel left the Ohio Republican to work for now-presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s political action committee. Schillinger also has been serving as communications director to the RPC chairman, John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Full story

June 12, 2015

President Gets Weekend to Swing Democrats on Trade Deal (Video)

he top three Republicans in the House — from right, Boehner, Scalise and McCarthy — made it clear they intend to pass TPA, with or without the underlying TAA.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The top three Republicans in the House — from right, Boehner, Scalise and McCarthy — made it clear they intend to pass TPA, with or without the underlying TAA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will take a second crack at passing Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation early next week, after giving President Barack Obama and pro-trade Democrats the weekend to flip some of the party’s 144 “no’s.”

Republicans say this is Democrats’ last chance to pass TAA, which provides resources for retraining programs for U.S. workers displaced by international trade agreements, and which Democrats have typically supported. Full story

June 11, 2015

Trade Rule Passes Despite Conservative Mutiny

UNITED STATES - MARCH 24: Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. speaks during a news conference in the Capitol as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., looks on, after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise needed eight Democrats to help Republicans pass the rule for TPA and TAA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Plans to vote Friday on Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance could still fall through, but the House is moving ahead on a multi-pronged strategy to send the measures to the president’s desk by the week’s end.

The House on Thursday voted 217-212 on the rule that sets up votes on a bill to give President Barack Obama latitude to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal and to fund programs to retrain U.S. workers displaced by trade agreements. Full story

House GOP Ready to Move on Trade; Democratic Concerns Linger (Video)

Boehner and Pelosi got the 'doc fix' deal done in a big fashion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Boehner and Pelosi worked all week to get a deal to bring up a package of trade bills — but it might still not be enough. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 11:50 a.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared late Wednesday night to have cleared an impasse preventing the House from moving forward on a package of trade bills and giving President Barack Obama long-sought Trade Promotion Authority.

But on Thursday morning, it was far from certain whether the deal will work, and not immediately clear to what extent Pelosi gave the green light to proceed. Full story

June 10, 2015

Trade Bills Filed With Rules; Possible Votes Friday (Updated)

Ryan and other potential GOP House chairmen will have to seek a waiver if they want to keep their gavels while seeking another office. 014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan and House Republican leaders sound like they’ve got the votes for Trade Promotion Authority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 1:49 p.m. | House Republican leaders early Wednesday filed a package of trade bills with the Rules Committee, putting the gears in motion for the most anticipated floor showdowns of the legislative session so far.

Though nothing is set in stone, lawmakers who support Trade Promotion Authority are growing increasingly confident they have the votes to bring the measure to the floor on Friday.

The Rules Committee is set to meet Wednesday afternoon to establish parameters for floor debate on a TPA, along with two related bills which would clear the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a controversial, 12-nation Pacific trade deal.

Full story

June 5, 2015

White House, Team Boehner Trade Barbs on Cybersecurity (Video)

Boehner speaks to reporters the same week the House passed two cybersecurity bills (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner speaks to reporters the same week the House passed two cybersecurity bills (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House says Congress hasn’t “done a single thing” to stop cyberattacks; House GOP leadership begs to differ.

On Friday, in the wake of revelations that a major cybersecurity breach of records at the Office of Personnel Management compromised personal information of millions of current and former federal employees, White House press secretary Josh Earnest put the onus on Capitol Hill to pass legislation to prevent future episodes. Full story

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