Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

January 6, 2016

Obama Preps Last Prime Time Address to Congress


Once more with feeling. Obama is preparing his last State of the Union Address. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once more with feeling. Obama is preparing his last State of the Union Address. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perhaps the surest prediction about the next State of the Union Address is that it’s going to be the last speech afforded that lofty title for fully two years.

The second reliable forecast is that on the night of Jan. 12, President Barack Obama will take a non-traditional approach to his final annual appearance before a joint session of Congress. Full story

January 5, 2016

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: State of the Union


State of the Union

(Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

 

One week before President Barack Obama stands before Congress for his last annual address, CQ Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings lays out what to expect from this year’s State of the Union.

Full story

January 3, 2016

Could Brokered Convention Yield a Ryan Nomination?


UNITED STATES - AUGUST 30: GOP Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney after Romney's speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan, seen here with Romney, right, at the 2012 GOP convention, already has experience on a national ticket. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

During the brief lull in campaign news over the holidays, and with forecasts for the new year popping up on all fronts, folks obsessed with politics could be forgiven for all their idle scenario spinning.

A wave of predictions about at least one brokered convention is a quadrennial flash in the pan. Talk about the Republicans deadlocking in Cleveland come July started more than a month ago. And in recent days, the same climactic plot twist has been envisioned by politically smart people at three successive holiday social gatherings:

Full story

December 29, 2015

How to Tie a Bow Tie | David Hawkings Edition


HawkingsHere10.30.15What better way to round out the old year than to learn a new skill — specifically how to tie a bow tie like a pro.

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December 16, 2015

The Pelosification of Chuck Schumer


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8 - Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., raises his arms as he speaks alongside Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., during the weekly Senate Democrat luncheon news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, December 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer, left, is on his way to being the Republicans’ new bogeyman. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

For those whose lives revolve around the Capitol, the year’s final presidential debate offered two notable insights: Bashing the legislative process remains a pungent applause line, and Republicans may have found their newest liberal boogeyman.

Put another way, all the morning-after assessments of how the candidates performed in Las Vegas overlooked two standouts of particular importance to the congressional class. One of the biggest losers Tuesday night was Congress itself. And one of the biggest winners was, of all people, Charles E. Schumer. Full story

Silence Greets Pleas for War Authority


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 9: Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., (not pictured) hold a news conference on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, outside of the Capitol to de-authorize use of Capitol office space and staff provided to the recent ex-Speaker of the House. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jones says Congress is neglecting its constitutional duty on declaring war. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Politics makes strange bedfellows” is one of the oldest adages around. These days, the prospect of another war is making for some particularly strange bedfellows in the House.

An extraordinarily bipartisan group of 35 members, hoping to benefit from the heightened attention on Congress in the session’s closing days, is pressing anew for a debate on authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State. Full story

December 15, 2015

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: The 2016 Congressional Calendar


As the new year fast approaches, CQ Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings lays out what’s on the docket for members as they run for re-election in 2016.

Full story

Spending Deal a Likely Capstone for a Prominent House Chairman


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: House Appropriations chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rogers has shepherded a host of omnibus packages since becoming the House’s top appropriator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House’s man of the decade on big budget bills, Harold Rogers, may be in his final days in such a catbird seat.

The Kentuckian has been the top Republican engineer on four consecutive omnibus packages during his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. Now he’s on the cusp of completing his fifth, belatedly setting spending levels for a fiscal year with 10 weeks already in the rearview mirror. Full story

December 14, 2015

After the Revolution, a Single New Spot of Influence for the Freedom Caucus


UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 21: Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, October 21 2015. Many questions from reporters were about the likelihood of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., being elected Speaker of the House. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Huelskamp was the second-highest vote-getter in the Steering Committee election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you’re a member of the House Freedom Caucus, are you better off now than you were a dozen weeks ago?

That question is worth asking in light of last week’s down-ballot House Republican leadership election. It was a sort of insiders-only coda to all those months of turmoil in the ranks that climaxed with Speaker John A. Boehner’s resignation announcement at the end of September. Full story

December 10, 2015

Senate and Obama’s Final Round Over Judges


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 28: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tn., and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tn., hold a press conference to talk about their alternatives to the Democrat's approach to solving the "Fiscal Cliff." (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Tennessee’s two GOP senators, Lamar Alexander, left and Bob Corker have signed off on Crenshaw’s nomination, but the nomination is still stalled. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

To predict how the judicial wars between this Republican Senate and President Barack Obama will end, keep an eye on labor lawyer Waverly Crenshaw Jr.

A quarter-century ago, he was the first African-American hired at one of Nashville’s most prominent law firms. Ten months ago, he was chosen for the opening on the local federal trial court. Five months ago, with the blessing of both of Tennessee’s Republican senators, he was endorsed without a dissenting voice in the Senate Judiciary Committee. And since then … nothing, except that as of last week the judgeship had been vacant a full year, and the backlog of cases has grown such that court administrators have declared a “judicial emergency.” Full story

December 9, 2015

Kasich Labors to Make ’90s Hill Win Work for Him Now


7-1-99.BUDGET AND CBO REPORT -- Pete V. Domenici, R-N. M., and John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, during a press conference on the budget and the CBO report..CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY DOUGLAS GRAHAM

Kasich, right, with his Senate counterpart, Pete V. Domenici, left, helped forge a historic budget agreement in the 1990s. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 presidential field started with a pair of former congressional power players, one from each party, with singular lawmaking achievements on their record.

Jim Webb, who engineered a big GI Bill of Rights expansion as a Virginia senator almost a decade ago, has now slipped off to Democratic oblivion. It’s not clear how much longer John Kasich, the Republican with an even bigger legislative accomplishment under his belt, will survive in a contest where standing out as the outsider has become the most rewarding approach. Full story

December 8, 2015

Corporate Conservatives Strike Back with Ex-Im Win


Ryan let the House work its will when it came to the Export-Import Bank. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ryan let the House work its will when it came to the Export-Import Bank. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maybe the lopsided votes clearing what’s colloquially dubbed “the highway bill” didn’t put a sufficient drumroll under the potentially historic nature of the occasion.

The new law does more than set surface transportation policies and spending levels for five years, the first time since 2009 that road and mass transit improvements have enjoyed an extended lease on life.

The measure, passed overwhelmingly last week and signed into law Friday, has also resurrected the Export-Import Bank — and credit for that goes to the first success of a discharge petition in almost 14 years. That cumbersome procedure is in almost all cases only theoretically available to a majority of House members when their leadership is ignoring them. Full story

December 7, 2015

Treaty Semantics, Senate Politics and the Paris Climate Talks


Loy thinks Paris has the potential to be stronger than the treaty he helped negotiate, the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Loy says there is little consensus on what would constitute legally binding language in a climate agreement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the simple world of civics class, the president gets to make treaties and they’re binding on the United States when two out of three senators say so.

In today’s complex political world, that’s almost never how it plays out. Beyond baked-in partisanship and steep distrust of whoever occupies the White House lies this obstacle to Senate ratification of any international agreement: The protection of American sovereignty is among the most basic conservative objectives. Full story

December 2, 2015

Schooling Time for New Crop of Hill Education Leaders


When Kline retires at the end of next year, it will mark a passing of the guard for congressional education leaders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Kline retires at the end of next year, it will mark a passing of the guard for congressional education leaders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the more remarkable aspects of the bipartisan agreement on a replacement for the No Child Left Behind law, which the House is on course to embrace this week, is the team of authors’ relatively modest level of collective devotion to education policy.

This is especially true on the south half of Capitol Hill, which is on the backside of a changing of the guard for House members who make improving our schools one of their big interests. Full story

December 1, 2015

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: Omnibus


CQ Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings explains Congress’ monster of a budget bill, the omnibus.

Related:

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: The 2016 Congressional Calendar

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