Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

May 14, 2014

Heritage Action: Don’t Tack Immigration Onto Defense Bill

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Denham supports the ENLIST Act. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

An effort to legalize illegal immigrants who join the military sputtered weeks ago in committee when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon declined to put it in his defense-authorization bill. But Heritage Action sent out word Wednesday the proposal better stay dead.

The advocacy arm of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation announced it would key vote against the National Defense Authorization Act if the ENLIST Act is added as an amendment.

Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Needham called the proposal “amnesty.” Full story

Immigration Overhaul Backed by Growing Number of Tea Partyers (Video)

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More Republicans are pushing for an immigration overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:11 p.m. | House Republican leaders are mum on a timetable for advancing immigration overhaul legislation and have so far been noncommittal on moving on the issue before the end of the 113th Congress.

But a group of mayors and business leaders from across the political spectrum is determined to prove that momentum is growing for a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws — even among conservatives.

The coalition, Partnership for a New American Economy, on Wednesday held the first in a series of monthly conference calls moderated by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and featuring public figures in the conservative movement who support immigration overhaul efforts.

Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 3:49 p.m.
Uncategorized

Texas Republican Steve Stockman May Face FEC Probe

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Stockman (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman may face legal action from the Federal Elections Commission over failure to pay back political donations after his loss to Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas Republican Senatorial primary.

Stockman reportedly received $5,000 from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political action committee, earmarked specifically for use in the 2014 general election, not the primary. But since Stockman did not win his Senate primary and will not be running again for his House seat, FEC rules require that he return the money before he dissolves his campaign committee.

Stockman was sent two letters by the FEC last week noting that he cannot terminate his campaign arm, Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman, until he settles up. Full story

If Conyers Leaves Congress, Fight for Top Judiciary Democrat Looms

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After Conyers, Nadler is next in line in seniority on the Judiciary Committee, but others could challenge him if Conyers fails to win re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Rep. John Conyers Jr. can’t win re-election after he was ruled ineligible for the Democratic primary ballot Tuesday, it could set up a fight for the ranking member slot on the Judiciary Committee, with House Democrats already divided in an increasingly ugly showdown between two colleagues vying for their party’s top slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The re-election of Conyers has been thrown into doubt after the 25-term Michigan Democrat failed to collect valid signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot.

Conyers could seek to keep his seat by challenging the ruling, launching a write-in campaign or running as an independent, but if none of those contingency plans pan out, it will leave an opening several of his colleagues could be eager to fill. Full story

Tea Party Express Co-Founder Backs Immigration Overhaul Efforts

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A tea party leader has written that “conservatives need to seize on immigration reform” as a push for a bill has ramped up in recent weeks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The co-founder of and chief strategist for one of the biggest tea party organizations is coming out in support of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, a bold statement that could energize advocates and alienate conservatives.

Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express broke the news in an op-ed titled “Conservatives Need to Fix the Broken Immigration System,” published by CQ Roll Call early Wednesday morning. Full story

May 13, 2014

Subpoena on Hold: Kerry Won’t Appear at May 21 Hearing

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Kerry won’t appear before Congress on May 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A subpoena for John Kerry to testify before Congress next week on Benghazi has been put on hold while the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the State Department negotiate when — or if — the secretary of state will appear.

Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said Monday night that Kerry will be in Mexico May 21 on a previously scheduled trip, and that the department is working with the committee to “explore whether there are better means of addressing the Committee’s interests, including through a more appropriate witness.”

She said there has been no deal on arrangements for an alternative date.

We and the Committee have been in touch to determine how to resolve their subpoena, but we have not yet made arrangements for a hearing date. We look forward to addressing the matters raised in the Committee’s letter and subpoena,” she said in a statement. Full story

May 12, 2014

Boehner ‘Nudging’ Jeb Bush to Run in 2016

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Boehner says he’s “nudging” Jeb Bush to run. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said Monday he is “nudging” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to run for the Republican nomination to be president.

Though he stopped short of endorsing anyone early in the process, Boehner named Bush, son of President George H. W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush, as a favorite.

“We’ve got a lot of good candidates out there. If you look historically, our best candidates have come from the ranks of governors, of former governors, and yes, Jeb Bush is my friend, I think he’d make a great president, and I’ve been nudging him for some time,” Boehner said while speaking in San Antonio to a luncheon sponsored by several area business groups. Full story

Boehner: Most Republicans Want to Deal With Immigration

 

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Boehner said that most Republicans want to change the nation’s immigration system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that most Republicans want to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, but that a lack of trust in President Barack Obama’s will to enforce the laws is keeping them from doing so.

The Ohio Republican, speaking at a luncheon sponsored by several San Antonio business groups, acknowledged that there are some in his conference who do not want to take on the issue, but he was measured in speaking about his colleagues’ resistance.

“There are some members of our party who just do not want to deal with this. It’s no secret,” he said. “I do believe the vast majority of our members do want to deal with this, they want to deal with it openly, honestly and fairly.” Full story

Boehner: Lack of Democrats Would Not Impede Benghazi Committee’s Work

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Boehner says lack of Democratic participation would not impact Benghazi committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that a Democratic boycott of the special committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, will not impede the panel from doing its work, but the Ohio Republican said he is trying to assure Democrats of a fair process.

Boehner said that if Democrats do not appoint members to the special committee, Republicans will have to hold themselves to a higher standard so as not to appear partisan.

“It will not impede the investigation. I do think it will cause us to have to adhere to a higher standard if they don’t participate, but this is about one issue, it’s about getting to the truth of what happened on Sept. 11, 2012,” Boehner said, speaking at a question-and-answer session at a luncheon hosted by several San Antonio chambers of commerce. Full story

Catholic Bishops Set to Lobby Lawmakers on Immigration Overhaul

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Faith leaders are ramping up their lobbying of lawmakers, pushing them to pass an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws as the window is rapidly closing for the House to act this year.

On May 29, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration will take to Capitol Hill to make their case to members of Congress.

Participants will hail from parts of the country where immigration is an especially hot-button issue: Las Cruces, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Miami. Bishops from Salt Lake City and Seattle will also be present. Full story

Boehner: Arrest of Lois Lerner Up to Eric Holder

John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, asked about using his power as speaker of the House to order the arrest of Lois Lerner, told Fox News he doesn’t think invoking the “inherent contempt” clause is appropriate.

The speaker, in an interview with Maria Baritomo that aired on “Sunday Morning Futures,” said it’s up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to arrest Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official the House voted to hold in contempt last week.

“Will he do it? We don’t know. But the ball is in his court,” Boehner said.

But, as CQ Roll Call’s Katy O’Donnell reported April 29, the speaker has the power, upheld by the Supreme Court, to order the Capitol Police to arrest Lerner and hold her for trial. Full story

Boehner Aide Brendan Buck Will Be Top Spokesman for Health Insurance Industry (Updated)

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Buck, left, walks with Boehner and fellow Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:31 p.m. | Brendan Buck, a longtime spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, is leaving Capitol Hill to become the chief spokesman for the health insurance industry.

Buck will become the vice president of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans, per a statement from AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni. AHIP is the main lobby for the health insurance industry.

Buck spent three years with the Ohio Republican — leaving for a stint as press secretary for Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., during his run for vice president. He’s also been a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Study Committee and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

AHIP’s positions don’t always match up with the GOP’s. The insurance industry group backed universal coverage during the 2009 health care debate, backed up by a stiff individual mandate to buy insurance. But the group spent millions opposing Democratic efforts — and especially the public insurance option before it was scuttled. It continues to fight various provisions in the law, including a tax on insurance premiums and a cut in subsidies for private Medicare Advantage plans.

It has opposed efforts — including by Boehner’s GOP, to delay or repeal the individual mandate.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:57 a.m.
John Boehner

May 9, 2014

Pelosi Wants Meeting on Benghazi Committee Rules With Boehner

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Pelosi wants to meet with Boehner to discuss the newly established Benghazi committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats will decide whether to participate in the newly formed House Benghazi committee once she’s met with Speaker John A. Boehner to discuss concerns that control of the panel is tilted too heavily toward the Republican majority.

The California Democrat on Friday talked with reporters about the concept of meeting with Boehner about the new Benghazi committee. The Ohio Republican suggested letting staffers handle negotiations on rules for the new House panel investigating the attacks that led to the death of four Americans, including an ambassador.

“The speaker called me the other day. He said, ‘I’m very serious about this, I want this to be no circus. … We should sit down and come to terms on it,’” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference Friday morning. “‘Fine,’ I said, ‘I can be there in a minute.’”

Pelosi sent a letter to the speaker later Friday rejecting the conditions set out by the GOP as “fundamentally unfair,” and asking again for a face-to-face meeting. Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 3:10 p.m.
Benghazi

Man Accused of Threatening to Kill Boehner Over Unemployment Extension (Updated) (Video)

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The lack of an unemployment extension allegedly prompted death threats against the speaker. Boehner and his wife Debbie. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:25 p.m. | An Indiana man has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly threatening to kill Speaker John A. Boehner over his refusal to pass an unemployment extension, according to court filings.

Brandon J. Thompson, 32, of New Castle, Ind., faces federal charges for allegedly making email and telephone threats to an elected official, according to a news release. FBI agents arrested Thompson at his home Thursday night, where he admitted to the charges, according to a criminal complaint. He faced a U.S. magistrate judge on Friday morning. Full story

Boehner Satisfies Many Constituencies With Benghazi Panel Picks (Video)

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Republicans named to the Benghazi Committee include Roby, middle, and Roskam, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday announced the Republicans who will serve on the special committee to investigate the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The Ohio Republican stood on the House floor and read off the names of the selected members before a chamber hushed in anticipation, noting in a statement following the selections that the investigation is about getting truth for the victims’ families.

“These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, fact-based inquiry. As I have expressed to each of them, I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi,” Boehner said in the statement.

The appointees are Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana. Boehner named Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina the chairman-designate earlier this week. Full story

By Emma Dumain and Daniel Newhauser Posted at 12:42 p.m.
Benghazi

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