Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 4, 2015

July 22, 2015

House GOP Leaders Frosty on Senate Highway Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner is cool to the bill, and so are some Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate continues to work through a long-term highway bill, House Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly united on one thing: They’re not exactly enthusiastic about the legislation.

On Wednesday morning, Speaker John A. Boehner seemed less than eager to take up the Senate six-year highway bill. Full story

Freedom Caucus Forms ‘Fight Club’ in House

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jordan, second from left, and Labrador, center, are two of the group’s founding members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Six months after the House Freedom Caucus was founded, it’s still unclear what exactly it is — or will be — beyond two key characteristics: its commitment to secrecy and to being a thorn in the side of House Speaker John A. Boehner.

There is no official roster. Leaders of the hard-line conservative group won’t say exactly how many members are in the caucus, which has already made its mark. The last count, based on conversations with members who are trying to keep track, was 42, but members are being added almost every week; CQ Roll Call has observed 38 attend at least one caucus meeting.

“It’s like ‘Fight Club,’” says Rep. Jim Bridenstine, an Oklahoma Republican and caucus member, referring to a film dialogue in which the first rule is that you don’t talk about it, and the second rule is that you don’t talk about it.

But why all the secrecy? Full story

July 21, 2015

Panel Eyes Debate Over Confederate Symbols in Capitol

Lawmakers will debate the propriety of displaying Confederate imagery, such as that contained in Mississippi's flag. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers could debate displaying Confederate imagery on the Hill, such as that contained in Mississippi’s flag, seen hanging here in the Senate Subway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Could the House Administration Committee actually take up a resolution to take down the Mississippi state flag?

The panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., is still noncommittal on whether she’ll hold hearings or markups on a pair of measures that would bar Confederate imagery on House grounds — including the official Mississippi banner, with its Confederate flag inset, that hangs with 49 other state flags in the tunnel of the Rayburn House Office Building.

But Miller on Tuesday suggested she was open to discussion, penning a letter to the committee’s three Democrats asking for suggestions on who might be good to testify on the matter. Full story

Texas Congresswoman to Trump: Have You No Decency?

Granger is leading a GOP task force to make recommendations on the child migrant border surge (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Granger, R-Texas, ripped into Donald Trump for disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Kay Granger has a reputation for telling it like she thinks it is, from colleagues who have “no business being in Congress” to fellow Texas Republicans who are “misbehaving” — but she usually does it quietly, preferring behind-the-scenes nudges to soundbite-ready shoves.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, she’s not pulling punches. Full story

GOP Leader Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., makes his way to the House floor through the media pack, who were waiting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy, R-Calif., thinks it’s time for an “overall review” of the VRA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.

On Tuesday, Cantor’s leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. Full story

July 20, 2015

In Advance of August Recess, Behind-the-Scenes Battles in the House

Massie, R-Ky., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on legislation that calls for disclosure of 28 blacked out pages of the 9/11 report to Congress on the terrorist attacks, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Massie is whipping against the Innovation Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Absent an agreement on the Confederate flag, the House may not tackle any appropriations bills before August, but that — much to the chagrin of many lawmakers — doesn’t mean the House is headed for an early recess.

Instead, the House will spend much of its time this week on a food-labeling measure, coal-regulation legislation and a number of non-controversial suspension bills — all while the prospect of the Senate sending a long-term highway bill, with an Export-Import Bank extension attached, looms as the next big internecine fight for Republicans in the chamber. Full story

July 19, 2015

Planned Parenthood Video Refuels GOP’s Abortion Agenda

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., leaves the Capitol following a vote on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Franks has consistently backed legislation to ban abortion practices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In undercover film footage of a Planned Parenthood official discussing in graphic detail how to preserve aborted fetal organs for medical research, anti-abortion Republicans hope they’ve finally found an opening to advance their agenda.

So far, they have a few things working in their favor. Full story

July 17, 2015

Lovenheim Joins Xavier Becerra as Communications Director

ocratic Caucus chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Becerra. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic Caucus has a new communications director.

Sarah Lovenheim will start working for Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., on July 22, she told colleagues in a farewell email Friday. Full story

July 16, 2015

Return to Normal: Pelosi’s Got Obama’s Back on Iran (Video)

Pelosi stopped short of saying she wouldn't support a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi enthusiastically endorsed the Iran nuclear deal Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House’s top Republican and Democrat switched normal roles during the “fast-track” debate, with President Barack Obama relying on the GOP, rather than his own party, to carry his trade package across the finish line.

But when it comes to the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran, it’s back to normal for Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: She’s backing Obama, he isn’t.

Full story

Lawmakers Knew About Planned Parenthood Video Weeks Ago (Video)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 17:  Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., attends Speaker John Boehner's, R-Ohio, weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Murphy said he saw the Planned Parenthood video weeks ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive casually discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue and organs went viral Tuesday, House Republicans took notice, with party leaders calling for investigations just one day later. Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued terse statements, the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees announced hearings and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., called for a Justice Department probe into whether the nation’s largest abortion provider broke the law in supplying the tissue to medical research firms.

All in all, it was a furious, news-cycle dominating flurry of Capitol Hill reaction — to a video that at least two top Republicans said they first saw weeks ago. Full story

July 15, 2015

Democrats Back Another Short-Term 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., has been one of the strongest opponents of short-term highway bills (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

See if this sounds familiar.

House Democrats back in May said they didn’t want to vote for another short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, but most of them ultimately relented, preferring to go on record supporting a two-month patch rather than be blamed for causing major disruptions to transportation projects across the country.

But don’t expect their help to pass another stopgap bill in July, House Democrats warned their Republican colleagues. Full story

Two Conservatives, Two Takes on Ex-Im Rule Vote

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 16: Rep. Jim

Jordan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you wanted to understand the difference between the conservative brands represented by the Republican Study Committee and the House Freedom Caucus, respectively, the Wednesday news conference on the Export-Import Bank was a good place to start.

Conservative Republicans from the House and Senate, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and outside conservative organizations used the news conference to call on GOP leadership to ensure that Ex-Im — often derided as little more than “corporate welfare” by many on the right — is not reauthorized. Full story

Breast Cancer Coin Bill Back on Floor Schedule

Raul Hernandez unfurls a banner in preparation for the Susan B. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure that will take place Saturday on the Mall.

House Republicans dropped the Komen organization from a breast cancer-support funding bill Wednesday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are slated to vote on a revised version of the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act Wednesday afternoon, after leaders temporarily pulled the bill from the floor amid concerns about money going to Planned Parenthood.

The new version of the bill would not give any money to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and would instead send proceeds from the selling of commemorative coins to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. That organization was already set to receive some funds from the original bill, but will now also get the Komen funds as well. Full story

Planned Parenthood Video Spurs Probe on Fetal Tissue Sales (Video) (Updated)

Boehner is calling for hearings on the Planned Parenthood allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:16 p.m. | Fueled by the emergence of a new undercover video showing a high-ranking Planned Parenthood official discussing logistics for donating organs and tissues of aborted fetuses, House Republicans are preparing to re-enter the fray of the abortion debate.

Referring to the practices of the nation’s leading abortion provider as “gruesome” and “grisly,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, on Wednesday released a statement calling for hearings on allegations Planned Parenthood seeks to profit financially from terminating pregnancies in such a way as to preserve the fetuses for use in medical research. Full story

The One Republican Who Met With Hillary Clinton

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Love is the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had to settle for throwing rhetorical shots at Hillary Rodham Clinton from across the Capitol Tuesday — quipping, “I wonder if she brought her emails,” — Rep. Mia Love talked with Clinton directly, in the very same room.

The Utah freshman was the only Republican who got to enjoy a personal audience with the 2016 presidential candidate during her visit to Capitol Hill. Clinton, a former senator herself, was there to meet with House and Senate Democrats. She also chatted with various breakout groups, including the Congressional Black Caucus, a group made up entirely of Democrats save one.

Full story

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