Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

April 8, 2014

McAllister Admits Infidelity, Tells Louisiana Paper He Won’t Resign

McAllister005 112113 445x296 McAllister Admits Infidelity, Tells Louisiana Paper He Wont Resign

McAllister, as his family looks on, at his mock swearing-in last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Vance McAllister, embroiled in an infidelity scandal, told The News Star, a Monroe, La., newspaper, that he has no plans to step down from the seat he won in a special election last fall.

According to the paper’s exclusive report, the 40-year-old Louisiana Republican said he plans to run for re-election next fall “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people.”

He said the improper relationship that became public after footage from a surveillance camera in his district office was posted online Monday was the first infidelity in his marriage.

He told the paper he confessed to his wife earlier this year, “before the video came out.”

Related stories:

8 Things to Know About Rep.-Elect Vance McAllister

Vance McAllister Kissing Video Could Prompt Flood of GOP Challengers

Cantor: McAllister Right to Apologize After Kissing Video

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said Tuesday that embattled Rep. Vance McAllister was right to apologize to his constituents, but did not say whether the freshman Louisiana lawmaker would face repercussions within the Republican Conference.

“I think that his constituents deserve an apology. [That’s] why he gave an apology,” Cantor said. “I’ve not had a chance to speak to the congressman, so I’m going to reserve further judgment on the question. I will say the American people deserve all the representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior.”

A video posted online Monday allegedly shows the congressman kissing a staffer in his Louisiana district office. McAllister issued an apology after the video appeared, but a wide field of would-be successors are already jockeying for consideration for the seat, should the 40-year-old lawmaker choose to step down.

Full story

McAllister Skips Votes After Kissing Video Blows Up

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McAllister, left, invited Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty to join him at the State of the Union address earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Vance McAllister, embroiled in a scandal over a video allegedly showing the married Republican kissing an employee, did not vote when the House reconvened Monday night.

The Louisiana Republican was among 36 lawmakers who did not cast votes on the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which had two roll calls Monday night around 7 p.m. when the House returned from the weekend.

McAllister earlier in the day had issued a short statement apologizing and asking for privacy for his family, but didn’t show up for votes and his office door in the Cannon Building was locked. Phone calls to the office went straight to voicemail.

The lights inside were on, but no one so much as opened the door for hours, despite reporters camping out there for a stakeout.

Full story

April 7, 2014

Unemployment Extension: Senate Passage Puts Bill in Boehner’s Court

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s vote late Monday to pass an unemployment extension doesn’t mean the more than 2 million people who have lost their benefits can rest easy — the House isn’t likely to touch the issue until the end of the month, if at all.

While a band of House moderates have written to leaders asking them to consider the issue promptly — either with the Senate’s bill or an alternative — Speaker John A. Boehner has been clear that the Senate measure fails to meet his tests of creating jobs and being fiscally responsible. The Ohio Republican hasn’t put forward an alternative of his own.

The real question for House Republicans seems to be this — is there something they can get out of the White House and congressional Democrats in return for releasing benefits to the unemployed? Full story

Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budget’s Impact on Poverty

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The latest Ryan budget is no more likely than its predecessors to become law. But as with those those earlier documents, this year’s spending blueprint is giving both parties plenty of election-year ammunition.

Democrats, looking for some policy heft to leverage their political talking points, have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the impact on poverty of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget.

“Our budgets serve as an important tool for expressing Congress’s level of support for domestic anti-poverty initiatives and prioritizing investments in opportunity,” Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., wrote in a Monday letter to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf. “Such an analysis will aid Members of Congress in making an informed decision on whether Chairman Ryan’s budget will improve or worsen the state of poverty in America.”trans Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budgets Impact on Poverty

Full story

McAllister, Caught on Tape With Staffer, Asks for ‘Forgiveness’

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McAllister and his family at the Republican’s mock swearing-in last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister, a conservative Louisiana Republican who was sworn-in five months ago, asked for privacy for his children and forgiveness from constituents Monday, acknowledging the validity of a video showing him kissing one of his employees.

In a short statement issued a few hours after the Ouachita Citizen, a West Monroe, La., newspaper posted what appeared to be surveillance video, McAllister gave no indication he would resign.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness,” McAllister said in a statement. “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve. Trust is something I know has to be earned whether your a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”

Full story

April 4, 2014

Steve King: Illegal Immigrants Kill Americans Every Day (Video)

Rep. Steve King has been known to make, from time to time, some controversial remarks about immigration — and his floor speech on Friday was no exception.

Speaking to a nearly empty chamber, the Iowa Republican said the result of an immigration overhaul would be more dead Americans.

“Because there’s not a day that goes by in this country that there isn’t at least one American citizen that dies at the hands of someone who’s unlawfully present in the United States, whether it is an act of homicide or it’s an act of willful manslaughter, whether it’s an [Operating While Intoxicated] in the streets of America, hardly anybody has gone through the last 10 years and doesn’t at least show that up in their local newspaper, if it doesn’t show up in their neighborhood. And so Steve King’s not dead wrong. Let’s keep more Americans alive.”

The statement was nothing new for King. He made similar remarks to an Omaha, Nebraska crowd in September, estimating that “multiples of the victims of Sept. 11″ had been killed by illegal immigrants, and in 2006, King somehow calculated that 12 Americans die every day because of illegal immigrants. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 7:11 p.m.
Immigration

Moran Reignites Perennial Pay Raise Debate

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., isn’t the only lawmaker to spark a national debate over congressional pay in recent years.

Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy took flak in 2011 when he said he was struggling to pay his bills.

Last year, Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, the second richest member of Congress, complained on the House floor about having to pay higher health insurance premiums.

And Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., got into hot water during last year’s shutdown when she initially refused to give up her pay. “I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line,” she said, before later backtracking.

The issue, of course has perennially been a thorny one for members of Congress. Decades ago, a freshman Moran and a freshman Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, were among the 35 new lawmakers who banded together to push pay raise reform.

Over the years, leaders in both parties have worked across the aisle to protect their pay raises, although in recent years, congressional pay has been frozen, including with a provision in the fiscal cliff deal.

ENLIST Act Rebuffed by McKeon, But Denham Wants Immigration Amendment Vote in NDAA

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Denham was rebuffed, but will keep trying to attach his immigration plan to other legislation. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon said Friday afternoon there will be no pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military attached to this year’s defense spending bill.

The decision poured cold water on a behind-the-scenes bipartisan effort, headed up by another California Republican, Rep. Jeff Denham, to include such a provision in the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

Denham said he understands the chairman’s decision and predicted there will be opportunities to resurrect his bill, the ENLIST Act.

McKeon, a co-sponsor of the Denham bill, said the timing wasn’t right.

“I have reached this conclusion without regard to my views on the underlying policy, but because I do not believe the chairman’s mark should be the original venue for this debate,” McKeon said. “Over the past several days I have heard from members on and off the committee on both sides of the issues. They have made sound arguments and raised valid concerns.”

Full story

Jim Moran, John Boehner Sought Congressional Pay Raise Reform as Freshmen

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(Maureen Keating/Roll Call File Photo)

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in Roll Call on Aug. 5, 1991. We discovered it when looking for archival photos of Rep. James P. Moran, who made headlines by telling CQ Roll Call reporter Hannah Hess that members of Congress are “underpaid.” Moran, actually one of Congress’ poorest members, is retiring instead of seeking a 13th term.

Turns out Moran was among a group of freshmen calling for pay raise changes in an effort spearheaded by now-Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. (The effort was successful. The 27th Amendment was ratified a year later, in 1992.) The caption on the photo caught our attention and is priceless. It reads: Some 35 of this year’s 45 House freshmen are calling for changes in the way Congress works. They’re doing it now, they say, before they get co-opted by the system themselves. At a Thursday press conference (from left) Reps. Larry LaRocco, Jim Moran and Rick Santorum.

Full story as it appeared on page 3 nearly 23 years ago below.

Freshmen Ask Limit on Pay-Raise Power Of Congress as Part of Broader Reforms

By Karen Foerstel

Three-quarters of House freshmen have signed onto a resolution to limit the pay-raise authority of Congress.

The move is part of a broader effort by 35 of the 48 freshmen in the Class of 1990 to reform the way Congress works. They say they want to act now — before they themselves become entrenched in the system.

Full story

‘Underpaid’ Jim Moran One of the Poorest Members of Congress

moran 030 030114 445x296 Underpaid Jim Moran One of the Poorest Members of Congress

(By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. James P. Moran, who has sparked a national debate after saying that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are “underpaid,” is one of the poorest members of Congress after decades in office and a host of financial troubles over the years.

Moran’s latest financial disclosure statement lists a single reportable financial asset to his name — a money market account with $1,000 to $15,000. He doesn’t list any liabilities.

In fact, Moran has been pulling down a second job of sorts, making $10,000 in 2012 for teaching at George Mason University.

He’s not quite poor enough to land him on this year’s Top 10 ‘Poorest’ list, however.

The longtime appropriator has had plenty of financial difficulties in the past — but has at times been a millionaire too, thanks to marriage.

(Related: Jim Moran, John Boehner Sought Congressional Pay Raise Reform as Freshmen)

Moran in 2004 described himself as “the poorest member of Congress” after he racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from options trading. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:35 p.m.
Ethics

Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has given the White House six pages of recommendations on how the Obama administration might proceed with executive orders to curb deportations of illegal immigrants.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate for rewriting the nation’s immigration laws on Capitol Hill, told reporters during a conference call Friday that the CHC had “adopted a very strong memo” of suggestions the day before in advance of a scheduled meeting next Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Full story

With an Eye on the Party’s Image, House GOP Puts Women Front and Center

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are 19 women in the House Republican Conference, and on Thursday, 11 of them came to the chamber floor in support of a bill they said was a woman’s issue at its core.

The spotlight on GOP women came as part of a debate over changing the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time job from 30 hours a week to 40.

The bill, which passed 248-179, is destined to be ignored by the Senate. But the vote offered Republicans a chance to push back against the Democrats’ election-year narrative that the GOP is just a club for powerful old white men.

That Democratic line of attack has been fueled by embarrassing reports that the GOP party establishment has coached male candidates on how to run against women without being sexist or offensive.

Full story

April 3, 2014

Obama Talks Pope, Ukraine, IMF With Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell

Updated 10 a.m. | President Barack Obama discussed the crisis in Ukraine, his visit with Pope Francis and other issues with congressional leaders Thursday evening at the White House, according to a readout from a White House official.

The meeting with Congress’s big four — Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — was called by Obama to discuss his big overseas trip and Ukraine.

The White House readout noted the president’s discussion with Pope Francis of immigration and reducing inequality. UPDATE: A Boehner aide said Friday, however, that there was no discussion of immigration at Thursday’s meeting.

Immigration has stalled in the House, and the leaders have been far apart on the president’s agenda to combat inequality, including a minimum wage hike and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Obama also once again urged the leaders to pass IMF legislation, which Boehner has refused to bring to the House floor, and updated the leaders on nuclear security and Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the full White House readout: Full story

Boehner Confuses Mental Health Measure for Gun Control, GOP Author Says (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:50 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner Thursday morning said that Congress had recently passed a provision to address whether people with mental health issues have access to weapons, but the measure’s Republican author said his bill actually does nothing of the sort.

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., told CQ-Roll Call that despite Boehner’s assertion, his measure to incentivize outpatient treatment for mental health issues has nothing to do with keeping guns out of the hands of the severely mentally ill.

“Not our bill, no. It’s a whole different issue,” Murphy said. “I think he confused that. When he said that it dealt with it, I think he confused that.”

At his regular weekly press conference, Boehner was asked whether Congress should act to address Wednesday’s mass shooting at Fort Hood. He responded by telling reporters that Congress approved “funding for a pilot project dealing with mental health issues and weapons” as part of the “doc fix” deal to keep doctor pay from being cut.

“There’s no question that those with mental health issues should be prevented from owning weapons or being able to purchase weapons,” Boehner said. “This issue we need to continue to look at to find ways to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

Full story

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