Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2014

November 14, 2014

Benghazi Committee Will Meet During Lame Duck, Chairman Says

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Gowdy says the Benghazi committee will meet during the lame-duck session. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Remember the Select Committee on Benghazi?

The panel convened to probe the 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was created in the spring and had its first public hearing in September — but otherwise has been quiet.

Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told CQ Roll Call Friday the committee will meet “in public and in private” between now and the end of the lame-duck session, which is currently open-ended.

“I can’t give you any more specifics,” he said as he exited the House chamber following votes on Friday, “but Mr. [Elijah E.] Cummings and I were just chatting about it.”

Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, is the Benghazi committee’s ranking member. Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 3:52 p.m.
Uncategorized

New House GOP Rules Impact Medals, Gavels — and Paul Ryan?

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Ryan and other potential GOP House chairmen will have to seek a waiver if they want to keep their gavels while seeking another office. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans will operate the 114th Congress under essentially the same rules as the 113th — with two exceptions, including one that could have big implications for Rep. Paul D. Ryan.

Republicans voted Friday on conference rules for the 114th, approving a proposal that would allow Congress to hand out more medals and one that would require committee chairmen running for other office to hand over their gavel.

That proposal, from Republican Tom Cole of Oklahoma, calls for chairmen — of committees, of subcommittees, ad hoc committees or joint committees — to step down if they run for another office. Full story

Next Congress to Formally Convene on Jan. 6, 2015

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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)

Mark your calendars: The 114th Congress is planning to convene just a few days late.

The House on Friday agreed to a joint resolution setting the convening date for Jan. 6, 2015, which is three days after the date specified in the Constitution. The change, which must also be endorsed by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, comes as no surprise since next Jan. 3 falls on a Saturday.

Full story

Gutiérrez: There Are ’40, 50, 60′ GOP Votes in House for Immigration

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Gutierrez  wants GOP leadership to allow a House vote on an immigration bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, the Illinois Democrat who has been at the forefront of efforts to overhaul immigration in Congress, said Friday there are enough votes in the House Republican caucus now to pass a bipartisan bill.

“There are 40, 50, 60 … Republicans” who will join Democrats to pass a bill, Gutiérrez said in an appearance on MSNBC. The congressman and other Democrats, frustrated with lack of action from GOP leaders, are urging on President Barack Obama, who has indicated he will take unilateral action on immigration perhaps as early as next week.

“The problem is they won’t give us a vote on all of the wonderful work. I don’t want to mention the names of my Republican colleagues that I worked with but you know who they are,” the Illinois Democrat told MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart, whose brother is a Republican congressman from Miami. “There are dozens of them.”

Diaz-Balart’s brother, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told CQ Roll Call earlier this year that he was close to having enough Republican votes to pass a bipartisan immigration overhaul in the House that would balance GOP demands for border security with Democratic calls for legal status for the undocumented.

But Republicans backed off the issue this summer after an unprecedented surge of Central-American children and women crossing illegally into Texas and the primary loss of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who previously had indicated some support for an overhaul.

Related:

GOP: Obama’s Immigration Action Will Cripple 2016 Democrats

Obama Hasn’t Decided When to Act on Immigration 

Ted Cruz Rallies House Conservatives to End ‘Obama’s Amnesty’

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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November 13, 2014

Black Caucus Defends Seniority System as Members Try to Buck the Trend

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Don’t undercut seniority, warns Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Fudge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus is fighting back against new suggestions — particularly coming from the very top of House Democratic leadership ranks — that seniority ought not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to doling out plum committee leadership assignments.

Spearheaded by outgoing Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, the CBC sent out a “dear colleague” email Thursday night to reiterate its support for seniority “as the primary determinant in the committee leadership selection process.”

Under the current system, the CBC would be represented at the top of seven House committees — a record CBC members contend was only possible because seniority prevents black lawmakers from being passed over, intentionally or otherwise.

Fudge’s email comes as the conference weighs a ranking-member race on Energy and Commerce between the more-senior Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Anna G. Eshoo of California.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has endorsed her close friend Eshoo multiple times over the past 10 months, on Monday going so far as to send out a letter of her own, calling seniority “a consideration” but “not a determination.”

The real test for the CBC, however, could be if one of its own members, Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida, loses the ranking member spot on Veterans’ Affairs to the least-senior member of the panel, Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota. Full story

Boehner Will Fight ‘Tooth and Nail’ Against Obama’s Executive Amnesty, Doesn’t Rule Out Shutdown (Updated) (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:58 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner said Republicans will fight “tooth and nail” against President Barack Obama’s plans to act on immigration by himself, and didn’t rule out a government shutdown.

“We’re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path,” the Ohio Republican said at a press conference introducing the new GOP leadership team. “This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on Election Day they didn’t want. And so, all the options are on the table.”

Boehner is facing pressure from conservatives to pre-emptively defund any amnesty, but that could lead to a shutdown fight.

“We’re going to have conversations with our members and when we have a decision, we’ll let you know. … Our goal here is to stop the president from violating his oath of office and violating the Constitution. It’s not to shut down the government.”

Full story

Indiana’s Messer Wins Republican Policy Committee Gavel (Updated)

 

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Indiana’s Messer, center, will take over the Republican Policy Committee. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images File Photo)

Updated 4:18 p.m. | In the one competitive race for a leadership spot, House Republicans elected Luke Messer to serve as GOP Policy Committee chairman.

The Indiana lawmaker beat out Republicans Tom Reed of New York and Rob Woodall of Georgia.

The Policy Committee chairman — the only competitive leadership race as Rep. James Lankford leaves the spot to become Oklahoma’s next senator — is tasked with equipping members with research and aiding committees as they draft legislation. The chairman also gets a spot at the leadership table and a vote on the Steering Committee. Full story

McMorris Rodgers Re-Elected as GOP Conference Chairwoman

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McMorris Rodgers retains her post on the House GOP leadership team.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Thursday won her second term as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.

The Washington congresswoman, the No. 4-ranked Republican in the House and the highest-ranked woman in the conference, begins her sixth term in Congress in January. Full story

Garamendi Withdraws From Ranking Member Race on Transportation Committee

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Garamendi dropped out of the race.(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., has withdrawn his bid for ranking member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

His decision to drop out of the race clears a path for the panel’s existing No. 2 Democrat, Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, to take the helm in the 114th Congress. Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 3:05 p.m.
Democrats

Scalise Wins Full Term As GOP Whip in 114th Congress

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Scalise wins a full term as GOP whip in the 114th. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise won a full term Thursday as the GOP’s No. 3-ranked leader.

The Louisiana Republican, who moved into the post after former Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., became majority leader earlier this year, said in a statement he looks forward to “working with one of the largest and most dynamic Republican majorities in history to pass legislation that advances the conservative principles that unite us to solve our nation’s problems … .” Full story

GOP Caucus Picks McCarthy for Full Term as Majority Leader

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Republican Conference Thursday gave Kevin McCarthy a full term as majority leader for the 114th Congress.

McCarthy took over for Eric Cantor after the former leader retired this summer, after losing a GOP primary race.

The California Republican was elected by voice vote and members reported the decision was unanimous. Full story

Boehner Wins GOP Nod for Third Term as Speaker

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Boehner won the nod from his caucus Thursday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans renominated John A. Boehner as speaker Thursday, putting the Ohio Republican in line for a third term in January, when the entire House will vote on leadership positions. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 2:12 p.m.
Uncategorized

As Obama Weighs Executive Action on Immigration, Is Government Shutdown Possible? (Video)

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Rogers, left, said a government shutdown is off the table. But some Republicans disagree. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While House Republicans consider how to fund the government beyond December and how to stop President Barack Obama’s expected executive action on immigration, there are two words that have suddenly, unexpectedly re-entered the GOP lexicon: government shutdown.

Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon has penned a letter, with more than 50 Republican co-signers, to House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky and ranking Democrat Nita M. Lowey of New York asking them to include a rider on a bill to fund the government — either an omnibus or another continuing resolution — that would block funds for the purpose of implementing any executive action on immigration. Full story

Pelosi Defiant: ‘When Was the Last Time You Asked Mitch McConnell’ if He’s Too Old? (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In her first public remarks since Election Day last week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended her decision to run to keep her post atop the House Democratic Caucus, and doesn’t sound likely to relinquish it anytime soon.

“I don’t understand why this question should even come up,” the California Democrat said at a press conference Thursday. “I’m here as long as the members want me to be here.

Pelosi suggested that she wasn’t, as many expect, looking to serve one more term as minority leader before retiring in 2016 — when, colleagues hope, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected president.

“I’m not here on a schedule,” Pelosi said, “except for a mission to get a job done.”

She also hinted that there was implicit sexism in the constant rhetoric of “will she or won’t she.”

“When was the last time you asked Mitch McConnell … ‘aren’t you getting a little old, Mitch?’” said Pelosi of the Republican senator from Kentucky. Full story

Republicans Move to Ban Funding for Obama’s Immigration Action

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Salmon and other GOP lawmakers want to ban funding for executive action on immigration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A movement is growing among rank-and-file House Republicans to explicitly ban funding for White House executive actions on immigration.

Just one day after the chamber returned from a seven-week recess, more than 50 GOP lawmakers have signed on to a letter asking House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member, to include a rider on the upcoming government funding bill that would essentially block implementation of the executive actions that could come as early as next week.

Specifically, the letter calls for banning funding for enacting “current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits and green cards outside the scope prescribed by Congress.”

In the letter, lawmakers led by Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., call for including the language in all relevant appropriations legislation for fiscal 2015. Full story

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