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October 6, 2015

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October 5, 2015

Boehner Throws Leadership Races a Curveball

McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks beside House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., center, and outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, right, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. McCarthy is reinforcing to Republicans that he can keep them united, despite conservatives trying to move their party to the right after Boehner's sudden resignation. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner, right, said the decision on down-ballot leadership races will be up to his successor. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In the latest plot twist to House Republicans’ leadership drama, Speaker John A. Boehner announced Monday that potential majority leader and majority whip contests would only take place if Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is confirmed as speaker on the floor at the end of October.

Boehner set Oct. 29 as the date for a floor vote for speaker, after which the person holding that title could set the date — if necessary — for a majority leader race, which could then set off a majority whip race. And while the domino-effect timetable might not change the outcome, the extra weeks of uncertainty about GOP leadership has some happy and others worried. Full story

Boehner Postpones Elections for Majority Leader, Whip

UNITED STATES - JULY 23: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, arrives to hold his weekly on-camera media availability in the Capitol on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner, R-Ohio (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner said he wanted to “clean the barn” before his resignation at the end of October, but he’s leaving his successor with at least one key bit of housekeeping business: Setting the date and parameters for down-ballot leadership elections, should they occur.

On Monday, the Ohio Republican confirmed the House Republican Conference’s nominee for speaker would be picked on Thursday, as originally planned. Three weeks later, on Oct. 29, the House will vote to confirm that nominee on the floor, he said. Full story

Chaffetz: McCarthy Support ‘Dwindling, Not Growing’

Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz speaks with reporters last month as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not that Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz thinks he’s going to be elected speaker on Thursday — though he said he’s not giving up on that idea — it’s just that the Utah Republican doesn’t think Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy can be elected on the floor.

“Clearly Kevin McCarthy has the majority of the conference. I have no doubt about that,” Chaffetz told reporters Monday morning. “The math problem is on the floor.”

Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 12:58 p.m.

October 4, 2015

Scalise Says He’s Already Got Votes to Win Majority Leader (Updated)

Scalise, R-La., leaves a news conference in the Capitol that followed a meeting of the House Republican Conference, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No. 3 House Republican Scalise says he’s got the votes to be majority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 7:48 p.m. | Majority Whip Steve Scalise is telling members he has the race to be majority leader locked up — as long as there is a race to be majority leader.

Scalise held a roughly 15-minute conference call with committed supporters Sunday night to tell them he is well beyond having a majority of the conference behind him.

A source with knowledge of the whip operation told CQ Roll Call on Sunday the Louisiana Republican has more than 140 committed votes, while — by Scalise’s count — his only announced opponent, Budget Chairman Tom Price, has just over 50 members firmly supporting him. Scalise’s operation estimates there are roughly 50 members still undecided.

“The winning number is 124,” the source told CQ Roll Call, “and Scalise is well past it. He has an opportunity to absolutely run away with this.” Full story

October 2, 2015

In Majority Leader Race, Scalise Lapping Price in This Key Measure

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., talk as they walk back to their offices following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Pool)

By one key measure, Scalise, right, is trouncing the competition in the race to succeed McCarthy, left. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

While there’s no definitive favorite in the majority leader race — especially with lingering questions about Select Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy’s interest — Majority Whip Steve Scalise has one distinct advantage over Budget Chairman Tom Price: Scalise has spread around a lot more cash.

According to Federal Election Commission documents reviewed by CQ Roll Call, Scalise has given roughly $700,000 to fellow Republican members and candidates over the course of the first three quarters of 2015. (The third quarter data, which is not yet public, was supplied by Scalise’s office.) In contrast, Price has transferred at least $139,000 to members and candidates through the third quarter.

Full story

October 1, 2015

Pelosi Touts Export-Import Rescue, Chastises Abortion Reporter (Video)

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly on camera media availability in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi suggests Democrats would help a Republican-led effort to save Ex-Im. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Export-Import Bank future still in doubt, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday Democrats would sign on to a Republican-led discharge petition for the embattled export-credit agency.

Pelosi, speaking at her weekly on-camera news conference, said Democrats would support the discharge petition from Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher for the Ex-Im Bank, as long as Fincher collected enough signatures from Republicans first so that, with the addition of the Democratic Caucus, it would trigger a vote.

Fincher introduced the discharge petition Thursday morning, and while finding enough Republicans willing to force their leadership into the position of holding a vote could be a challenge, it will certainly help to know that Democrats will sign on.

Full story

September 29, 2015

Rules Chairman Running for Whip: ‘Process Is Broken’

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Sessions speaks with reporters Tuesday as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you don’t remember Rules Chairman Pete Sessions’ run for majority leader in 2014, you can’t be blamed.

After Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary, Sessions was quick to jump in to the leadership race — and just as quick to jump out when he realized he didn’t have the support. Full story

September 28, 2015

Roskam: Republicans Cannot Be Led Unless Changes Are Made

UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., walks across the East Plaza as he leaves the Capitol on Friday, July 25, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roskam says the House GOP conference is at a crossroads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While most members running for leadership are scrambling to win over as many members as possible, Rep. Peter Roskam reports he hasn’t made a single phone call soliciting support.

“There’s nothing to run for right now,” Roskam told CQ Roll Call in his Rayburn office Monday. “My theory is this: Unless we change as a conference, we can’t be led.” Full story

Leadership Shuffle Puts Spotlight on GOP’s Up and Coming

McHenry, R-N.C., attends the Bills and Brews launch party in Columbia Heights. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At 39, McHenry, R-N.C., is one of the new generation of up-and-coming Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The leadership shuffle set off by Speaker John A. Boehner’s impending resignation has made one thing clear in the House Republican Conference: There’s a younger generation of lawmakers eager to take the reins.

Congress is an institution that has traditionally rewarded lawmakers for biding their time and waiting their turn for a plum position or assignment. It’s particularly true in the Democratic Caucus, which generally adheres to a seniority system.

Full story

September 25, 2015

Boehner Resignation Sets Off Chaotic Leadership Scramble (Video) (Updated)

 McCarthy, R-Calif., Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conduct a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, January 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If McCarthy, left, moves up, where does that leave Scalise, center? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 9:51 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner’s announcement he’s stepping down sets off a leadership scramble that, while not wholly unpredictable, puts Republicans in Congress at a crossroads: Will they continue down a similar path of leadership or choose an entirely new direction?

Many Republicans might publicly say they want change, but there’s good reason to believe they will simply advance Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to speaker, and move another Republican in leadership — Majority Whip Steve Scalise or Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers — to majority leader, which in turn would set off an election for one of those positions. Full story

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

After Sentencing 2 to Death, Former Judge Reflects on Pope, Capital Punishment

Gohmert, R-Texas, takes his seat for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Examining the Adequacy and Enforcement of Our Nation's Immigration Laws" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gohmert, R-Texas, says the death penalty is appropriate in some cases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Pope Francis called for the death penalty to be abolished Thursday, there was at least one person in the audience who had condemned convicted criminals to death.

“Having been a judge in Texas who handled capital murder cases, I had come to a conclusion that there were some cases … where that was appropriate, and I still think that way,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said in an interview while passing through the Capitol basement after the historic address to Congress.

Full story

September 24, 2015

Boehner Tries to Navigate Shutdown, Coup

UNITED STATES - September 10: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, September 10, 2015.(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner is trying to keep the government open and retain his grip on the gavel. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Less than a week away from a government shutdown, Speaker John A. Boehner seems to have two core goals: Keep the government open and hang on to his gavel in the process.

The Ohio Republican will somehow have to persuade the rowdier corners of his conference that shuttering the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding isn’t in the GOP’s best interest, while also convincing critics he’s still the best person to lead the conference as Republicans and Democrats potentially negotiate a massive spending bill this fall. Full story

September 23, 2015

Paul Ryan to Obama: Don’t Lift Punitive Tax Laws for Iran

Ryan, R-Wi., walks down the House steps at the Capitol following the final vote of the week in Washington, Friday, September 11, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan letter indicates the Iran fight is far from settled. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Paul D. Ryan is in full Ways and Means chairman mode with his most recent letter to President Barack Obama, which asks the president whether the Iran deal means Obama intends to waive certain tax code provisions “directed at illicit Iranian behavior, including its support for terrorism.”

In the letter, Ryan notes Obama has the right under current law to waive certain punitive tax laws for U.S. companies or individuals doing business with Iran — as long as he gives Congress 30 days of advance notice. But Ryan also notes that waiving U.S. sanctions against Iran will give the country, “at a minimum,” $100 billion to $150 billion in frozen funds. Full story

Former Rep. Howard Coble in Critical Condition

UNITED STATES - JUNE 12: Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., heads to the Rayburn subway from the House floor following votes on Thursday, June 12, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Coble, pictured here in 2014, is in critical condition.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Howard Coble is in critical condition, breathing with the aid of a ventilator, after complications from a skin cancer surgery, according to a Greensboro, N.C., news report.

A former staffer confirmed that Coble was recently admitted to the hospital for surgery related to skin cancer. From the Fox 8 report:

His nephew said that not long after the procedure, he developed complication with his breathing and was unable to swallow. He was put on a ventilator.

Howard Coble was taken off the ventilator a couple of days ago and started experiencing the same problems, so doctors put him back on it Monday.

Ray Coble said it looks as if his uncle will probably have to have long-term care indefinitely.

Ray Coble said a decision will probably have to be made “within a day or two” whether to give him a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. This will only be done if doctors feel he can tolerate the procedure.

Coble, 84, retired from Congress last year after a 30-year career on Capitol Hill. The North Carolina Republican, known among staffers and lawmakers for his love of madras jackets, was well-respected on both sides of the aisle for his work on the Judiciary Committee. In the later years of his congressional career, Coble chaired the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet as well as the Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law panel.

On the Judiciary Committee, Coble’s legislative work focused on strengthening copyright and patent laws. He also co-founded the Creative Rights Caucus, which works to protect intellectual property.

Before coming to Congress, Coble served in the Korean War and remained a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve for 22 years. Born in Greensboro, N.C., in 1931, Coble graduated with a history degree from Guilford College, later earning a law degree from University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill — despite first expressing an interest in becoming a minister.

One of Coble’s former senior aides, Kirk Bell, who is now the chief of staff for Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, offered this sentiment: “Howard was a good mentor to many staffers here on Capitol Hill and left an impressive legislative record. More so, he is just a great guy. Our prayers go out to him and his family.”

Coble announced in November 2013 that he would not run for re-election, citing health concerns. In his announcement, the North Carolina Republican said he was proud of his office’s support for the people of his district.

“I think it is important for elected officials to be visible and accessible and, pardon my immodesty, I feel I have lived up to that goal,” he said.


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