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

July 1, 2015

Capitol Police Chief Responds to Hearing Arrest Questions

Dine responded to questions about congressional hearing arrests. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dine responded to questions about congressional hearing arrests. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine has clarified the process for removing demonstrators from congressional hearings, ahead of a Thursday court hearing for one activist who alleges he was unlawfully arrested.

In April, local activist Adam Eidinger was arrested during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee markup on a resolution blocking a D.C. law, and charged with “unlawful entry.” His arrest prompted Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., to ask the Capitol Police for clarification on policies regarding removing demonstrators from congressional hearings. Full story

June 30, 2015

D.C. Gun Fight Advancing Through Courts

Norton (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norton has accused GOP lawmakers of bullying D.C. over its gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal appeals court has expedited the case of a trio of men who filed suit against the District of Columbia in February after being denied handgun carry licenses, and ruled that D.C. can keep enforcing a key provision of its concealed carry licensing system in the meantime.

Backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit based in the state of Washington, the men challenged the discretionary nature of the D.C.’s gun licensing system, which requires gun owners demonstrate a “good” or “proper” reason to obtain a concealed carry permit. Full story

Vatican Releases Schedule for Pope Francis U.S. Visit

Boehner invited Pope Francis to address Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Boehner invited Pope Francis to address Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Vatican on Tuesday released Pope Francis’ schedule for his September visit to the United States, where he will spend five days and address a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24.

“It is with humility and deep gratitude that we will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol in September for a Joint Meeting of Congress,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “His visit to the U.S. Capitol is unprecedented, and it is with open ears and hearts that we will welcome his address to the Congress.” Full story

June 29, 2015

Rick Renzi Appeal Denied, Limiting Congress’ ‘Speech or Debate’ Immunity

Rick Renzi (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court refused to hear Renzi’s appeal. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the Supreme Court declined to hear former Rep. Rick Renzi’s latest appeal Monday, it was the latest blow to Congress’ ability to shield its work from prosecutors under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.

An amicus brief filed in April by the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group warned of dire consequences for Congress unless the court struck down the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against Renzi’s defense.

“The Ninth Circuit rulings, if allowed to stand, would decimate the protections of the clause, and with them the independence of the legislative branch,” the House’s lawyers argued. Full story

D.C. Statehood Bill a ‘Take That’ to Republicans

Carper, left, chaired a hearing on D.C. statehood last Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Carper, left, chaired a hearing on D.C. statehood last Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the uphill battle for District of Columbia statehood, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., has reintroduced a statehood bill noting that the District’s unique political status is contrary to the American values celebrated on Independence Day.

“These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes,” Carper said of District residents in a statement. “Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress. This situation is simply not fair, and it isn’t consistent with the values we celebrate as a country on July 4th every year.” Full story

June 26, 2015

Norton Picks Gun Fight With Sergeant-at-Arms, GOP

UNITED STATES - MARCH 4: Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., heads to the House floor for votes on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schweikert argues D.C. would be a safer place with fewer gun restrictions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of mass shootings in Charleston, S.C., Washington murmured about resurrecting failed firearm control legislation, yet the House’s Second Amendment defenders stuck to their guns about a push to further dismantle local weapons laws in the District of Columbia.

“Even though we have a lot of folks on this issue that speak emotionally, we have really good data sets from at least our state that show from experience,” said Rep. David Schweikert, an Arizona Republican who endorsed a bill supporters say would take away the D.C. Council’s ability to enact gun control measures. Full story

SCOTUS Scene Contrasts With Quiet Capitol

UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Madeleine Troup, of Houston, wipes tears of joy away after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide on Friday, June 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Madeleine Troup, of Houston, wipes tears of joy away Friday after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Except for some reporters and cameras on the East Front, the Capitol grounds were fairly quiet Friday morning, standing in stark contrast to the electric crowds across the street.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing in the majority opinion that same-sex couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Full story

June 25, 2015

Confederate Flag Debate Comes to the House

The Mississippi flag in the Senate subway tunnel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Mississippi flag in the Senate subway tunnel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As lawmakers reflected on Confederate symbols in the Capitol, members of the House began to take legislative action on the hotly debated issue.

Two measures were discussed in the House chamber Thursday: one pertaining to Confederate Battle Flag imagery in the U.S. Capitol, and another banning the iconography from the South Carolina Capitol and any government property. Full story

SCOTUS Decision Met With Anger, Joy and Relief

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

If you stood outside of the Capitol’s East Front just before 10:30 a.m. Thursday, you could hear cheers emanating from across the street.

“A-C-A is here to stay!” chanted the crowd outside the Supreme Court, applauding the high court’s 6-3 ruling in King v. Burwell to uphold health insurance subsidies for federally run exchanges, a key component of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Minutes before in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, staff began muttering behind the dais at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing as news broke that the Supreme Court had issued its decision. Full story

Rohrabacher Accuses Campaign Treasurer of Embezzlement

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., left, and Dana Rohrabacher, D-Calif., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Congress's role in local and state marijuana laws, November 13, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alleged embezzlement was discovered due to irregular activity on the credit card belonging to Rohrabacher’s campaign committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has alleged his former campaign treasurer, Jack Wu, stole approximately $173,500 in campaign funds from the California Republican’s campaign committee.

A Sacramento-based lawyer representing the 14-term congressman Wednesday announced Rohrabacher and his federal campaign committee, The Committee to Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, filed a criminal complaint with the Orange County District Attorney and the California Attorney General for embezzlement. Full story

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