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July 7, 2015

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July 6, 2015

House Conservatives Emboldened, Despite Crackdown Attempt

 

Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Inspectors General: Independence, Access and Authority" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz kicked over a hornet’s nest when he tried to demote Meadows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The tension between GOP leadership and House conservatives might have eased somewhat, now that Rep. Mark Meadows has his subcommittee gavel back. But the distrust, even anger, within the conference after last month’s crackdown on House Freedom Caucus members hasn’t quite been relieved.

Instead, leadership’s effort to subdue the 34 Republicans who defied the speaker on a June 11 trade vote seems to have left conservatives emboldened, not cowed.

Full story

June 26, 2015

For Gay Lawmaker, Court’s Decision Personal, Powerful, Profound

Takano, D-Calif., left, celebrates after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to legalize gay marriage throughout the United States, June 26, 2015. Members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, Mark Uhen, in glasses, and Bill Cutter, led the National Anthem after the announcement. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Takano, left, celebrates outside the Supreme Court after Friday’s ruling to legalize gay marriage. Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Mark Uhen, in glasses, and Bill Cutter, led the National Anthem after the announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The crowd in front of the Supreme Court awaiting Friday’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage included one of the country’s most eligible bachelors — openly gay Rep. Mark Takano.

The California Democrat said he wanted to be right at the spot where civil rights history was made. But it was also personal for Takano, who said the ruling “allows me the same degree of freedom any other American has to a marriage partner. That’s pretty profound.” Full story

June 25, 2015

Meadows Gets Subcommittee Gavel Back (Updated) (Video)

 Meadows, R-N.C.,questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Meadows got his gavel back Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 12:55 p.m. | After all the infighting, after all the threats and bad blood caused by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz stripping Mark Meadows of his subcommittee gavel, Meadows is staying put.

In a joint news release, Chaffetz announced that he was keeping Meadows in his role as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee. Chaffetz said a number of people had asked him to reconsider his decision. Full story

Retribution for Buck? No. Frustration? Yes.

Buck, R-Colo., 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)

Buck keeps freshman class president post. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman class president Ken Buck will keep his mostly ceremonial position, after members of the freshmen class met Thursday morning to air their grievances.

Following a string of punishments for members who voted against a rule to bring trade legislation to the floor, it looked as if Buck — one of the 34 Republicans who voted “no” on the procedural motion — could be the next House Freedom Caucus member facing retribution. The meeting Thursday morning was painted as a coup to do just that. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 10:31 a.m.
Uncategorized

June 24, 2015

House Rebels Warn of Blowback for Boehner

Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner’s crackdown has Republican dissidents talking about retaliation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Freedom Caucus has a secret it wants to share with Democrats.

“If the Democrats were to file a motion to vacate the chair and were to vote for that motion unanimously, there probably are 218 votes for it to succeed,” one member of the House Freedom Caucus told CQ Roll Call Tuesday night, as he exited an meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast. Full story

June 23, 2015

The Return of ‘Speaker Cruz’

Cruz, R-Texas, talks with reporters after voting against cloture on the Trade Promotion Authority bill, June 23, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz talks with reporters after voting against cloture on the TPA bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Speaker Cruz” is looking for a comeback.

With House GOP leaders meting out punishment against conservatives, and with the House and Senate moving ahead on a plan that would give President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate a major trade deal, Sen. Ted Cruz changed his mind on Trade Promotion Authority Tuesday and, in a blistering op-ed, decided to take some shots at GOP leaders along the way. Full story

Friday Votes Canceled in Deference to Charleston Funerals (Updated)

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

Boehner’s team canceled Friday votes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 4:50 p.m. | House GOP leaders announced Tuesday afternoon they would end the week’s legislative business Thursday in an effort to allow members more time to travel to Charleston, S.C., to participate in funeral proceedings for the nine victims of last week’s church massacre.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to Charleston on Friday, he said in a statement later in the day.

“The people’s House continues to keep the people of Charleston in our prayers as they mourn such senseless loss,” Boehner said.

Full story

June 22, 2015

Conservatives Fume Over Leadership’s Crackdown on Rebels

Meadows, R-N.C., listens as IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Meadows is firing back at leadership over his demotion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The punishment from GOP leadership over a procedural vote didn’t start with Mark Meadows — and it might not end with him either.

The two-term North Carolina Republican is the latest conservative to face retribution for voting on June 11 against the rule to bring trade legislation to the House floor, joining 33 other Republicans in a major sign of defiance that embarrassed leadership. Full story

June 20, 2015

Rule Vote Retribution Continues; Chaffetz Takes Away Subcommittee Gavel

 Meadows, R-N.C.,questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who has bucked leadership, has been demoted. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

And the payback keeps on coming.

After three conservative House Republicans were kicked off the whip team as a result of voting against a rule for trade legislation on June 11, a new round of punishment is being meted out: Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has taken away the gavel of Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows. Full story

June 17, 2015

House Prepares for TPA Re-Vote (Updated) (Video)

Connolly, D-Va., speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee markup in Rayburn Building to consider a resolution holding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for invoking her Fifth Amendment right at two separate hearings on the IRS's alleged targeting political groups. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., also appear. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Connolly was one of the pro-trade Democrats who met with Boehner Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 5:51 p.m. | The House is set to vote Thursday on Trade Promotion Authority, with GOP leaders employing procedural maneuvers and indirect promises to make sure the bill eventually gets signed into law.

Pro-trade lawmakers are moving ahead with a vote on TPA without Trade Adjustment Assistance, which aids U.S. workers displaced by international trade.

The success of their plan hinges on whether Democrats who voted for TPA will still support that measure without immediate certainty they’ll also get TAA, which trade opponents voted down on June 12 to derail the entire package.

Full story

June 16, 2015

GOP Leadership Metes Out Retribution for Rules Votes (Updated)

a Lummis, R-Wyo., participates in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Inspectors General: Independence, Access and Authority" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lummis and two other members of the GOP whip team were demoted Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 10:29 p.m. | It may not stop the most diehard conservatives — six Republicans voted against yet another procedural motion Tuesday — but GOP leadership is pushing back against members of its own party who vote “no” on rules, removing from the whip team three members who voted against last week’s resolution to bring Trade Promotion Authority to the floor.

Reps. Cynthia M. Lummis, Steve Pearce and Trent Franks have all been kicked off the team tasked with holding Republicans together following a 34-member House floor revolt on the TPA rule last Thursday. (Republicans were only able to adopt the rule because eight Democrats broke from the normally party-line vote to support the rule.) Full story

Pro-Trade Democrats Welcome More Time to Make Their Case (Updated)

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, who backs the stymied trade deal, said extra time will help. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 2:23 p.m. | Four days after House Democrats sank the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill necessary to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation, lawmakers on both sides of the trade debate have different takes on what happened — and what comes next.

The original plan was to reconsider on the House floor Tuesday the previously failed vote on TAA, which would provide training programs for U.S. workers displaced by global trade agreements. But GOP leaders opted instead to extend the deadline for holding that vote until the end of July, a chance to buy more time to figure out how to advance the bill that would give President Barack Obama authority to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade agreement. Full story

June 15, 2015

McCarthy: Trade Vote Reveals ‘Civil War’ in Democratic Party

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: House Majority Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., addresses the media following the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy says “there are options” for the trade deal, even if Democrats don’t come around. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following last week’s failed vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was more than happy Monday to point his finger at the other side of the aisle and say, “Look at the dysfunction inside the Democratic Party!”

“It’s almost like a civil war in the Democratic Caucus,” McCarthy said during a pen-and-pad briefing with reporters. Full story

Hastert Portrait Still Looms In Capitol

Hastert, center, at the unveiling of his portrait. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hastert, center, at the unveiling of his portrait. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lurid charges levied against J. Dennis Hastert have sent chills through lawmakers who know the former House speaker — but Republican leaders have remained largely silent on what, if anything, Congress should do in response.

After the Illinois Republican was indicted last month and accused of paying hush money to keep secret allegations he molested male students when he was a high school teacher, Hastert’s alma mater, Wheaton College, took his name off the school’s center on economics and public policy. On Capitol Hill, members are being asked whether his official portrait should be removed from its place of prominence in the wall of the Speaker’s Lobby.

Full story

June 14, 2015

Ryan Still Optimistic on Trade Deal: ‘Heavy Lift Is Done’

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with Roll Call in the House Ways and Means Committee room in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, April 30, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll

Ryan is still optimistic on trade bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan, Capitol Hill’s biggest Republican proponent of “fast-track” trade legislation, said Sunday he remains optimistic, despite the recent collapse of a deal that would have cleared the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific pact.

Ryan, R-Wis., in an interview on Fox News Sunday, said the most difficult legislative work required for fast track — lining up GOP and Democratic votes for Trade Promotion Authority for the president — is done. Now it’s up to Obama and the Democrats to come to an agreement on an underlying worker-training bill that failed on the floor Friday, derailing the entire package. Full story

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