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April 16, 2014

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April 10, 2014

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.

Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.

Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.

Watch the full press conference below:

April 8, 2014

Holder to Gohmert: ‘You Don’t Want To Go There, Buddy’ (Video)

Things got heated Tuesday between Rep. Louie Gohmert and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department.

Gohmert, who was questioning the attorney general about releasing documents relating to the Holy Land Foundation’s 2008 conviction of providing financial assistance to Hamas, then suggested contempt was “not a big deal” to Holder.

“You don’t want to go there, buddy,” Holder quickly shot back. “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. … Don’t ever think that.”

The Texas Republican was quick to respond.

“So we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of [Operation] Fast and Furious where people died … and we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt,” he said.

Gohmert, who last May told Holder not to cast “aspersions on [his] asparagus,”  was at the butt end of the joke Tuesday, when Holder got the last word.

“Good luck with your asparagus,” Holder said.

Sensenbrenner: Intelligence Director Committed Perjury (Video)

During a Justice Department oversight hearing Tuesday, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accused Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. of committing perjury during his Jan. 29 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he believed Clapper’s refusal to acknowledge whether warrantless searches of Americans’ communications had been conducted was perjurious after Clapper appeared to concede the point in a letter last week to Sen. Ron Wyden.

“Director Clapper’s perjury in my opinion has been covered extensively,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “In light of this, are you willing to discuss whether or not the Justice Department is investigating Director Clapper for his statements before the Senate?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. refused to say whether the DOJ was conducting an investigation.

“I’m really not in a position to confirm whether the department is investigating any particular matter, but we are reviewing the material that you and other members of the committee have provided to us, and I can assure you that we will take any action that is appropriate,” Holder said. Full story

March 26, 2014

Boehner on Obamacare Delay: ‘What The Hell Is This, a Joke?’ (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner lambasted the Obama administration again Wednesday over the Affordable Care Act, this time for extending the health care insurance enrollment period beyond March 31 for individuals who had begun, but not completed enrollment.

“Last night brought us yet another delay of Obamacare,” the Ohio Republican said at his weekly press conference. “Another deadline made meaningless. The administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it. What the hell is this, a joke?”

As enrollment has surged on the federal exchanges over the last few weeks, House Republicans continue to work on an alternative to the Democrats’ law.

“I’ve got to live by the law, you’ve got to live by the law, the American people have to live by the law and guess what? The president needs to live by the law as well.”

March 17, 2014

House Stenographer: ‘I Did Not Have a Breakdown’ (Video)

The House stenographer who was dragged from the floor by Capitol Police last fall after shouting about God, the Freemasons and a House divided counts the Oct. 16 incident as the fourth time “the lord has put on my heart to speak.”

Dianne Reidy said she remembers “walking to the dais and speaking, and standing at the podium where the president speaks as God would have it, but I did not lose my mind.”

Speaking publicly for the first time in the nearly five months since the outburst, Reidy maintained she was driven to act by God.

“I did not have a breakdown,” she said in a 38-minute video posted Sunday afternoon.

Reidy said she loved working on Capitol Hill and knew the speech, characterized as an “assignment” from the Holy Spirit, would likely cost her the job she held for eight years. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:27 a.m.

February 5, 2014

Boehner Challenges Obama to Push Democrats on Trade (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday called on President Barack Obama to use his bully pulpit to push Senate Democrats to back fast-track trade rules.

“I hope he will help us move this bill forward on behalf of the American workers,” the Ohio Republican said, saying that trade promotion authority would make it easier for American workers to compete with China and boost jobs.

January 29, 2014

After Threatening Local Reporter, Michael Grimm Apologizes for ‘Losing His Cool’

grimm012914 445x303 After Threatening Local Reporter, Michael Grimm Apologizes for Losing His Cool

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The morning after threatening to throw a local reporter off a balcony and “break [him] in half,” Rep. Michael G. Grimm sought to assure the Capitol Hill press corps that all was now well.

The New York Republican spoke to journalists as he left the House floor on Wednesday morning, explaining that NY 1 reporter Michael Scotto had accepted his apology and “we’re gonna go to lunch and put it all behind us.”

“There’s no excuse for it,” Grimm said, “and Michael Scotto was very gracious and he was gracious enough to accept my apology, so we put it past us and now I’ve got work to do.”

After a brief interview from the Capitol Rotunda following the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Scotto had attempted to tack on a question about the ongoing federal investigation on Grimm for alleged campaign finance fraud.

Grimm did not take kindly to the unexpected inquiry.

“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—ing balcony,” Grimm said during the exchange that was captured by NY1′s rolling camera. “You’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

The second-term lawmaker who represents Staten Island issued a statement after the fact, explaining that “I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. Full story

January 15, 2014

Boehner Calls on Obama, Senate to Act on Jobs (Video)

One day after House Speaker John A. Boehner hammered President Barack Obama at the Republican Conference’s weekly closed-door meeting, the Ohio Republican riffed on the president’s economic “Year of Action.”

“The middle class is getting squeezed, and the policies from this administration have not worked,” Boehner said. “Unfortunately, instead of helping to create jobs, the president is focused on making it easier to live without one. We’ve passed dozens of bills that are sitting over in the Senate. The president says he wants to make this year a year of action; sounds good to me.”

January 10, 2014

Hoyer, Cantor Spar Over Unemployment Benefits (Video)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer sparred over unemployment benefits Friday as they discussed next week’s floor schedule.

Cantor confirmed that the House would move on a short-term stopgap spending bill next week and the three day measure would expire on Saturday, Jan. 18 — a date picked to give both chambers some wiggle room to pass an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

Cantor also complained about the lack of bipartisan support for a GOP job-training bill and suggested that Congress should be correcting the problem of chronic unemployment through such training. The Virginia Republican invited Hoyer to look “toward the more optimistic future for this country and economy.”

Hoyer, D-Md., said passing a long-term job-training bill wouldn’t solve the short-term problem of families who are looking to put “food on their table today, tomorrow and the next day.”

“I think the richest country on the face of the earth can do both,” Hoyer said. “I think that we ought to do both, and we have done both in the past.”

January 8, 2014

Engel Likens Rodman’s North Korea Trip to Taking ‘Hitler to Lunch’ (Video)

Turns out members of Congress are just as irked by Dennis Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” as everyone else.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel criticized the former NBA star Tuesday on the House floor.

“Bringing American basketball to North Korea … and sitting down with a dictator like Mr. Kim would be the equivalent of taking Adolf Hitler to lunch,” the New York Democrat said. “We shouldn’t be clicking glasses with him or playing basketball with this dictator, we should be demanding that an American citizen who committed no crime be released.”

Rodman, who first visited North Korea last February, sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday. Engel was referring to Kenneth Bae at the end of his statement, an American citizen who has been held in North Korea for more than a year.

By JM Rieger Posted at 11:47 a.m.
Democrats, Videos

December 4, 2013

‘Do-Nothing’ Label Belongs to Democrats, Boehner Says (Video)

One day after Speaker John A. Boehner told Senate Democrats to “get serious” about negotiations over the farm bill and a budget agreement, the Ohio Republican gave a defensive speech on the House floor blaming Democrats for Congress’ lack of legislative accomplishments this year.

“The Senate and the president continue to stand in the way of the American people’s priorities,” Boehner said. “When will they learn to say ‘yes’ to common ground? When will they start listening to the American people?”

Boehner seemed to be responding to various news reports that the first year of the 113th Congress has been the least productive in modern congressional history.

That will likely still be true even if Congress is able to craft a budget agreement, as well as a farm bill deal before leaving town for the holidays. The top four farm bill conference committee members are scheduled  to meet Wednesday and budget negotiators have until Dec. 13 to deliver a budget agreement for fiscal 2014.

October 30, 2013

Best Moments From the Sebelius Obamacare Hearing (Video)

From quoting the “Wizard of Oz” to comparing red Solo cups and wine glasses, House Republicans grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday, questioning the website as well as the underlying law.

The hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last more than three and a half hours. Watch the best moments from today:

June 28, 2013

DNC Chairwoman Warns GOP on Hypocrisy for Transportation Projects

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz warned Republicans during an Appropriations Committee markup that they will be exposed for hypocrisy if they vote in committee to kill transportation funding in their districts while backing the projects back home.

The Florida Democrat, a longtime appropriator, opposed Republican efforts to slash TIGER grants, a competitive program that has received applications from all 50 states, during a Thursday markup.

“If you’ve written a letter on behalf of a TIGER grant in your district … then you are going to have to deal with that kind of contradiction coming back to bite you,” Wasserman Schultz warned the GOP. “You are voting against job creation in your district.”

Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., blamed the deep cuts in his committee on growing entitlements.

“We had to because the entitlements were crowding us out,” Rogers said, saying that they are “growing like a weed.”

He said that means some worthwhile programs, “perhaps this program,” needed to be cut.

“We don’t have a choice. It’s nobody’s fault,” the chairman said. “We’ve got to reform the entitlement programs.”

Wasserman Schultz starts speaking an hour and 33 minutes into this video.

June 26, 2013

Tammy Duckworth Mocks Witness Over Alleged Veteran’s Injuries (Video)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth lit into an IRS contractor at a Wednesday hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, mocking the witness for claiming a veterans disability for an old prep school injury.

As Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., explained in his opening statement, the witness may have used the agency’s contractor selection process, which includes a preference for businesses run by wounded veterans, in a potentially fraudulent way:

“The intention of, without a doubt, that disabled military veterans receive preference flies in the face of a small injury in 1984 while attending the military academy prep school, one so minor that it had no effect on college football participation for years to follow, and that took 27 years to conveniently ask to have this put in as a disability, not because of a true disability or inability to perform a job, but in fact, in order to qualify for a preference statement.”

But Duckworth — a double amputee Iraq War veteran — really took the contractor to task. As Issa said when the Illinois Democrat apologized for using more than her allotted questioning time, “The time was well spent.”

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