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July 1, 2015

Posts in "Whip Count"

June 30, 2015

Zombie Bank: Why Killing Ex-Im Doesn’t Mean It’s Dead

Congressional staffers stand below a television monitor as Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, testifies during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on June 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional staffers stood below a television monitor on June 3, as Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, testified before the House Financial Services Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With only hours to go before the Export-Import Bank’s charter expires for the first time in its 81-year history, lawmakers who support the agency are pointing fingers at the base of opposition — but not sounding the alarm bells of imminent catastrophe.

Starting Wednesday, the bank won’t be able to extend new loans — but it will still be able to serve out existing contracts. Most members are confident the operation will get reauthorized, some way or another, in the weeks before the month-long August recess and before the funding lapse becomes a real problem. 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 25, 2015

One Lawmaker’s Supreme Court Gloom Is Another’s ACA Joy

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, received the gavel from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the first day of the 113th Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi and Boehner didn’t make news at news conferences post-Supreme Court ruling upholding Affordable Care Act subsidies. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday’s weekly leadership news conferences, coming in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to uphold subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, were studies in contrast: One one side was a somber John A. Boehner, vowing to keep fighting, on the other, an ecstatic Nancy Pelosi, celebrating the affirmation of her signature legislative achievement.

Full story

House Sends Trade Adjustment Assistance to President’s Desk

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi voted for TAA after leading a prior mobilization of members in opposition (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House did Thursday what two weeks ago might have seemed impossible: Cleared for President Barack Obama the second and third of four necessary components to his ambitious and contentious trade agenda.

Lawmakers voted 286-138 on a bill to establish broad trade preferences and extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which facilitates trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. 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 22, 2015

House Poised to Let Ex-Im Bank Charter Expire

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cole has spoken with leadership regularly about the future of the Ex-Im Bank. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will consider its seventh appropriations bill of the year this week — one to fund the Interior Department and related activities — and possibly more legislation related to trade in the event the Senate keeps to its schedule.

But with only four scheduled legislative work days left before the weeklong July 4 recess, there’s one thing the House is not expected to take up: reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Full story

June 18, 2015

House Passes Trade Promotion Authority Bill (Updated) (Video)

Benghazi Committee Democrats

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., has been leading the charge against Trade Promotion Authority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:22 p.m. | The House narrowly passed Trade Promotion Authority Thursday — the first step of many to resurrect President Barack Obama’s trade agenda after his own party torpedoed a combined bill last week.

The chamber voted 218-208 on TPA, which will give him the latitude to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal sought by most Republicans and a small number of Democrats. Full story

June 17, 2015

CBC Chairman Concerned Trade Maneuvers Imperil Africa Pact

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., speaks to reporters before a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center to receive a briefing on security from Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse and Assistant Chief Dan Nichols in the wake of Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is recovering from surgery after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Butterfield is concerned about what would happen if the AGOA reauthorization bill is amended to include TAA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation could be a casualty of efforts to stymie Trade Promotion Authority; now, some members fear the long-heralded African Growth and Opportunity Act could fall to the wayside, too.

As pro-trade lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate move ahead with an effort to pass “fast-track” negotiating authority Thursday using a complex procedural maneuver, some skeptical Democrats are raising concerns the TPA maneuvering endangers the renewal of AGOA, a multi-nation pact that has long enjoyed bipartisan support.       Full story

War on Islamic State Finally Gets House Floor Debate

Farm Bill's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

McGovern spearheaded the push to force a floor debate on U.S. military action in Iraq and Syria (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Three House lawmakers wanted a robust debate on whether there should be boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

On Wednesday, they got their wish. Full story

Bipartisan Duo: Use ‘Queen of the Hill’ for Highway Bill

Welch, D-Vt., speaks during a news conference to announce efforts to oppose legislation to roll back Defense cuts on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welch, D-Vt., is urging leadership to pass a longterm highway bill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Remember when House Republican leaders solved their budget resolution woes by bringing a number of options to the floor under a quirky procedural maneuver where “winner takes all?”

A bipartisan duo is hopeful leaders will be amenable to employing the “Queen of the Hill” rule again later this summer, this time in the interest of passing a long-term highway bill. Full story

June 16, 2015

How Republicans Could Get Obama Trade Promotion Authority (Video)

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions in his office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions could set up a vote on TPA this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are mulling their options for forcing a vote on Trade Promotion Authority while saving reconsideration of Trade Adjustment Assistance for another day.

The Rules Committee could meet this week to establish parameters for floor consideration of TPA that, if approved, clears the way for President Barack Obama to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal. Full story

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

Diaz-Balart Gumming Up Obama’s Cuba Thaw Plans

House Republican Conference

Diaz-Balart prefers a low-key style of legislating through the appropriations process (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is not a quiet man. The gregarious Florida Republican, known for sudden eruptions of laughter and dramatic gesticulations, is hard to miss in a crowd. But when it comes to legislating, the seven-term lawmaker blends in, working methodically, usually behind the scenes, to put his stamp on policy.

That’s how the son of Cuban exiles has become one of the Obama administration’s biggest obstacles to normalizing relations with the communist nation 90 miles south of Florida. Full story

June 15, 2015

White House Officials to Meet With Pro-Trade Democrats Tuesday

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.  Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool Copyright ©2015 Agence France Presse Photos

Obama’s team hits the Hill again Tuesday. (Agence France Presse)

President Barack Obama and his team made a rare trip to Capitol Hill last week to personally lobby for help from House Democrats on his trade agenda. On Tuesday, top administration advisers from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will return to the halls of Congress — though this time they’ll be meeting with a more select, and sympathetic, audience.

Rather than try to appeal to lawmakers who are increasingly hostile to the president’s wish to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal, representatives from the White House are turning to the 28 Democrats who voted for Trade Promotion Authority to plot out next steps. 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

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