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September 4, 2015

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September 2, 2015

Papal Address Comes With Complications for Both Parties

(Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis has shown repeatedly he’s willing to wade into controversial topics. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

With his ongoing criticisms of hardline immigration policies and consistent warnings about climate change, Pope Francis’ address to Congress later this month is starting to look a little uncomfortable for Republicans — especially Catholics such as Speaker John A. Boehner, who invited the religious leader to speak.

This week, with the pope’s new comments on abortion, Democrats got a reminder that the head of the world’s largest church can make politicians from either party squirm. Full story

September 1, 2015

Report: Hensarling’s Ex-Im Bank Opposition Costs Dallas

UNITED STATES - APRIL 14: Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, listens as House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hensarling and other opponents of the Ex-Im Bank may start to feel some heat themselves. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Export-Import Bank’s charter now expired for two months and counting, pro-Ex-Im businesses are putting new pressure on the House Republicans behind the effort to shut down the federal credit agency.

General Electric has dropped Dallas from a list of prospective sites for a new corporate headquarters as punishment for some Texas lawmakers who oppose the bank, Bloomberg News recently reported. Full story

August 28, 2015

Iran Deal Puts Jewish Democrats in Spotlight

Israel, D-N.Y., arrives at the House steps of the Capitol before the final votes before the August recess on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The House of Representatives will not meet again until September 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Israel is one of the few Jewish members — past or present — weighing in against the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

With Senate Democrats getting closer to thwarting a GOP override vote on the Iran deal, and with House Democrats increasingly showing their own strength in upholding a presidential veto, one constituency remains a key focus in the public relations battle over the Iranian nuclear agreement: Jewish Democrats.

On Friday, six Jewish House Democrats sent a letter to colleagues pointing out the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has their support and support from a number of former Jewish members. The “Dear Colleague” letter directs Democrats to a New York Times ad in which 11 former Jewish members endorsed the agreement on Thursday. Full story

American Refugees: Hill Staffers Share Katrina Stories

UNITED STATES - August 14: From left, Peter Hunter, Senior Legislative Assistant, Joe Lustig, Legislative Assistant, and Brandon Gassaway, Press Secretary, all for the office of Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., pose for a portrait in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Friday, August 14, 2015 (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Katrina’s impact continues to be felt in the lives of Louisianians, including Hunter, left; Lustig, center; and Gassaway, all staffers for  Richmond. 
(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In the final installment in a series of stories on Hurricane Katrina, House staffers reflect on the storm’s impact. 

Everyone who lived through Hurricane Katrina has a story: where they were, what they did and how they coped.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who both represented pockets of New Orleans in the Louisiana Legislature before coming to Washington, reflected on their experiences ahead of this weekend’s 10th anniversary of the storm.

But they aren’t the only ones on Capitol Hill with tales to tell. 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 21, 2015

Despite Side Deal Report, Support Lines Up for Iran Deal (Updated)

Nadler, D-N.Y., participates in the news conference at the Capitol to introduce H.R.1962, the "Free Flow of Information Act of 2013" on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The legislation would "increase protections for member

Nadler is the latest Democrat to back the Iran deal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:49 p.m. | Despite revelations this week of a previously undisclosed side deal, despite face-to-face entreaties from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and despite nonstop criticism from Republicans, the Iran nuclear deal continues to pick up steam in Congress.

On Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler announced his support, saying the deal, “for all its flaws, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”

Full story

August 20, 2015

Congress’ Squishy Financial Disclosure Deadline

UNITED STATES - JULY 24: Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, heads to the House floor for a vote on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCaul, one of Congress’ wealthiest members, has yet to file a 2014 disclosure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A week after Congress’ Aug. 13 deadline for members filing financial disclosures — a deadline already extended 90 days from May 15 — there are still almost a dozen members who have not turned in their forms.

But fear not, those who might be inclined to worry about the difficulties and demands of congressional life. According to financial disclosure rules — confirmed by a House Ethics Committee aide on Wednesday — members get an additional 30-day grace period before they are penalized. Full story

August 12, 2015

Democrats, Republicans Tour Israel Ahead of Iran Vote

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

Republicans, led by McCarthy, met Wednesday with Netanyahu. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s foundation hosts a biennial trip to Israel for House Democrats and Republicans, and this August recess is no exception.

But this year there are two notable differences. For one, this is the first time in anyone’s memory that the Democratic and Republican trips overlapped, if just for a day, as Democrats were preparing to return to the U.S. and Republicans were just arriving. Full story

July 30, 2015

Democrats’ August Messaging Plan: ‘Call a Fork a Fork’

 Israel, D-N.Y., talks with press after a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center that featured a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, July 15, 2015. Biden was on the Hill to brief members on the nuclear deal with Iran. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel’s DPCC says Democrats too often over-explain. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House Democrats head back to their districts for the August break, the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee’s 12-page “August Playbook” gives a key messaging strategy: Communicate more like Republicans.

Remember the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee?  Full story

July 29, 2015

Anti-Boehner Motion Muddies GOP’s Recess Messaging (Video)

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly on camera media availability in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:53 p.m. | House Republicans may have left Washington for the next five weeks, but the divided conference’s problems will be tagging along with them.

The GOP conference reached a new point of division this week, when North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows offered a resolution to remove John A. Boehner as speaker. Full story

Pelosi Cites Fattah’s Service, Calls Charges ‘Saddening’ (Updated) (Video)

UNITED STATES - JULY 16: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds up a copy of the Iran nuclear deal as she speaks during her weekly on camera media availability on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released the following statement Wednesday after news that Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., has been indicted on 29 counts of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of an FBI and IRS probe.

Full story

Republicans Enter Policing Debate With New Task Force

UNITED STATES - JULY 28: Rep. David Reichert, R-Wash., left, and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., speak during an interview in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Reichert is the previous Sheriff of King County, Wash. and is working to improve community policing. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reichert and Messer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans have, for the most part, avoided one of the thorniest debates roiling the country in recent months: How does the United States begin to address the crisis of people, often minorities, being killed in violent encounters with police?

Now, 11 House GOP lawmakers think it’s time Republicans enter the fray. Full story

July 28, 2015

Meadows Explains Effort to Overthrow Boehner

Meadows, R-N.C., is taking his dissatisfaction with GOP leadership to the next level (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meadows,is taking his dissatisfaction with leadership to the next level. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So why exactly did Rep. Mark Meadows offer a resolution to strip Speaker John A. Boehner of his gavel?

Holding court with reporters Tuesday night, nearly an hour after stunning colleagues by filing a motion to “vacate the chair,” the North Carolina Republican’s message was simple: He was left with no choice. Full story

Mark Meadows: A Brief Biography

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A member of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, Meadows has fought his battles with House Republican leaders, but he remains unbowed. After Meadows voted against the rule setting up debate on the fast-track Trade Promotion Authority bill, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz took away his gavel as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee.

A few days later, Chaffetz reversed that decision, explaining that he’d spoken with Meadows several times after his removal and “we both better understand each other.”

Like other House Freedom Caucus members, Meadows voted against the trade bill when the House finally passed it in June 2015 on a 218-208 vote. Full story

House Preps 3-Month Highway Bill, Sans Ex-Im Bank

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 Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With House Republicans — for now — unwilling to take up the Senate’s six-year highway bill, and with the Senate unwilling to act on the House’s five-month bill, House GOP leadership has a legislative offer it’s hoping can get them to the August recess a day early.

Just minutes before midnight Monday, Republicans posted the text of a three-month bill that would extend the Highway Trust Fund until Oct. 29. It would not include a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, but would also take care of a Veterans Affairs hospitals shortfall. (The bill would allow the Veterans Choice program to transfer $3.3 billion to other VA health programs.) Full story

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