Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 1, 2015

February 11, 2015

Lawmakers Push Longshot Bid to Rewrite Voting Rights Act

Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., prepares to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act" on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sensenbrenner seeks more Republican support for a revived Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner fell short in his 2014 efforts to convince GOP leadership to take up his Voting Rights Amendment Act, but the Wisconsin Republican is ready to take another stab at passing a rewrite of the historic law.

But there’s little indication this year will be any different.

Full story

Former Congressman Michael Grimm Spotted on House Floor (Updated)

UNITED STATES - JULY 11: Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., walks to the Capitol for a vote on Friday, July 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Grimm was visiting former colleagues Wednesday in the Capitol (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:35 p.m. | Former Rep. Michael G. Grimm was spotted visiting old colleagues Wednesday.

Reporters saw Grimm, who resigned on Jan. 5 after pleading guilty in December to a charge of felony tax evasion, walking the Capitol hallways before sheepishly stepping onto the floor. Full story

Boehner on DHS: Senate Democrats Need to ‘Get Off Their Ass’

The back-and-forth between Boehner, right, and McConnell continued Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll)

The back-and-forth between Boehner, right, and McConnell continued Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll)

House leaders emerged from a Republican Conference meeting Wednesday with a persistent refrain on Department of Homeland Security funding: The House has done its job; it’s time for the Senate to act.

During the weekly Republican leadership news conference, Speaker John A. Boehner repeatedly called on the Senate to take up the House-passed funding bill for the DHS, which Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked the chamber from considering. Full story

February 10, 2015

Jordan Becomes House Freedom Caucus Chairman

Jordan is among the working group of conservatives who met with GOP leaders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jordan will head the new caucus of House conservatives. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Freedom Caucus finally has a chairman, and it is, as expected, Jim Jordan.

Members of the HFC met late Tuesday in an unnumbered Cannon House Office Building conference room to vote on the chairman and bylaws, as well as to discuss issues currently before Congress. Full story

House GOP Touts Tax Breaks to Help Feed the Hungry

Mike Curtin, left, CEO of DC Central Kitchen, gives a tour of the facility to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in advance of the upcoming vote on the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act, February 10, 2015. The legislation would provide more tax incentives for donated food inventories. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) kitchen002_021015.JPG Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Mike Curtin, left, CEO of DC Central Kitchen, gives a tour of the facility to McCarthy, Smith, and McMorris Rodgers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans took their show on the road Tuesday morning, eschewing the standard-issue news conference set-up for a location more complementary to the subject at hand.

To tout a GOP bill that would permanently extend expired tax deductions to businesses that donate food inventory to charities, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri chose the backdrop of D.C. Central Kitchen. Full story

Democrats Facing Choice Between Obama, Netanyahu (Updated)

UNITED STATES - JULY 30: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference to discuss Republican lawsuit against President Obama and the House Democrats' focus on the economy on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hoyer said he’ll attend the Netanyahu address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:07 p.m. | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled address to a joint session of Congress on March 3 is starting to look like a watershed moment for Democrats who find themselves facing a choice: Side with Netanyahu, or follow the lead of President Barack Obama.

It’s an open question whether Democrats will honor a decades-long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel and its leaders, or go with the White House, which has criticized the address as a breach of protocol and a threat to ongoing nuclear talks with Iran. Obama has said he has no plans to meet with Netanyahu during the Washington visit, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced he would be out of the country during the address — though exactly where he’ll be traveling remains unknown. Full story

House Says, Senate Says: GOP Split on Next DHS Move (Updated)

McCarthy said it's up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it's up to the House.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy said it’s up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it’s up to the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:28 p.m. | When it comes to Department of Homeland Security funding, the ball is still in the Senate’s court, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“A hundred senators got elected to say they wanted to solve problems,” McCarthy told a small group of reporters Tuesday morning. “They didn’t get elected to say, ‘we’ll wait and see what the House does.’ They should show us where they stand.” Full story

Aide Brings ‘Quirky’ Background to Chief of Staff Ranks

Brophy rides his bicycle in Colorado. (Courtesy Greg Brophy Campaign website)

Brophy rides his bicycle in Colorado. (Courtesy Greg Brophy Campaign website)

Barely a month into his new position as chief of staff to freshman Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Greg Brophy opted, understandably, against sitting down with a reporter who was writing a story about him.

“I no longer do press interviews,” Brophy told CQ Roll Call. “I get to be quirky all by myself.” Full story

February 6, 2015

House Progressives Cheer Populism in Van Hollen Plan

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., participates in the Congressional Progressive Caucus forum titled “The Impact of Current Immigration Policy on Women and Children” on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen’s economic plan, with its transaction tax on Wall Street, has Grijalva and other members of the CPC encouraged. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the question of whether Democrats should move to the center or double down on left-leaning populism after November’s midterm whacking was never in doubt.

Three months after those historic losses, it seems party leaders agree as CPC-endorsed policies — once dismissed as fringe ideas — are increasingly providing a new framework for the party. Full story

Rep. Alan Nunnelee Dies at Age 56

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 8:30 p.m. | Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., the stalwart social conservative who spearheaded efforts to ban same-sex marriage in the Magnolia State, died Friday from complications from brain cancer, his spokeswoman confirmed to CQ Roll Call. He was 56.

“Congressman Alan Nunnelee has gone home to be with Jesus. He was well loved and will be greatly missed,” read a statement from his family.

In May, doctors found a tumor in the right side of Nunnelee’s brain after he was complaining of fatigue. He underwent brain surgery in June to remove the mass, and suffered a stroke during the procedure, which left him with impaired speech and numbness in his left side. On Jan. 26, doctors moved Nunnelee into hospice care at his home in Tupelo, Miss., after they found another tumor had formed and no further treatment was possible. Full story

February 5, 2015

Pelosi Plans to Attend Netanyahu Address ‘As of Now’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As many House Democrats mull skipping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled joint address to Congress next month, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “as of now” plans to attend.

“I’m seriously considering going,” the California Democrat told reporters at her weekly news conference Thursday morning. “I am. As of now it is my intention to go.” Full story

Pope Francis to Give Speech to Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio announced that Pope Francis will address Congress on Sept. 24.

Francis will be in Philadelphia in late September for a global conference on Roman Catholic family values.

Full story

AUMF Expected in ‘Coming Days’ (Updated)

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his first press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, following the Republican wave midterm elections. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Authorizing more military action in the Middle East won’t be an easy vote for Congress, Boehner said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:13 p.m. |Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters Thursday he believes President Barack Obama will be sending an Authorization for Use of Military Force to Congress very shortly.

“I’m expecting that there will be an Authorization for Use of Military Force sent up here in the coming days,” Boehner said. “And we’re going to go through a rigorous set of hearings, and continue to discuss this.” Full story

Kyrsten Sinema’s Unconventional Style: Play Well With Others

Sinema, D-Ariz., and Aaron Schock, R-Ill., say goodbye after votes at the bottom of the House Steps after the last vote of the week in the Capitol, December 4, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sinema and Aaron Schock, R-Ill., say goodbye at the bottom of the House steps after the last vote of the week in the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t dress like the typical member of Congress — opting for youthful, fashion-forward designs and splashy, bright colors over Capitol Hill’s ubiquitous tailored suits and muted blazers.

She doesn’t act like the typical Democrat, either. Sinema’s unafraid to criticize the president, voted to repeal portions of the party’s precious health care law and even fraternizes with the enemy: Republicans. Full story

February 4, 2015

Netanyahu Invite Continues to Divide Democrats

Some Democrats plan to boycott Netanyahu address — but Israel, left, won't be among them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Some Democrats plan to boycott Netanyahu address — but Israel, left, won’t be among them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The messy politics surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled joint address to Congress continue to play out in a less than private way, as Democrats try to show discontent for how the speech ended up on the congressional calendar while not turning their back on Israel and the powerful political lobby it controls.

“There’s a lot of unnecessary drama occurring when we should be focusing on the substance of the negotiations with Iran and the outcome of those negotiations,” said Rep. Steve Israel, the new chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. “Israel” — the state, that is — “has never been used as a political football,” he said. “And we shouldn’t start now.” Full story

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