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April 28, 2015

Posts in "Members of Congress"

April 28, 2015

Flat Funding Could Hurt the Congressional Research Service

CRS is an agency within the Library of Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The CRS is an agency within the Library of Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As appropriators work to keep spending for the legislative branch stagnant, the flat funding could have an adverse effect on an agency that affects virtually every office and committee: the Congressional Research Service.

“CRS is here to help Members and their staffs with the information and analysis that they need,” CRS spokesman Ellis Brachman wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call. “We are committed to doing that as thoroughly and efficiently as possible with the resources Congress provides.” Full story

April 27, 2015

Senators Call for Higher Wages for Senate Workers

Elections 2016

Sanders speaks during a rally with striking federal workers on the East Front of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of senators are pushing for Senate contract workers to be paid a “living wage” following reports of workers barely getting by.

“The U.S. Congress should be working to improve the economic security of middle class families across the country.  We should start right here in the U.S. Senate,” nine senators wrote in a letter sent Monday to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Full story

April 23, 2015

Norton Rips Vitter for ‘Mean-Spirited’ Obamacare Probe

Vitter's attempt to subpoena documents from the D.C. government failed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vitter’s attempt to subpoena documents from the D.C. government failed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., applauded a Senate committee for declining to subpoena the District of Columbia government Thursday, but not before saving some choice words for its chairman, Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

“Perhaps after having his hat handed to him by his own colleagues, Vitter will cease this mean-spirited attempt to deprive Members and staff of employer contributions to their health insurance premiums,” Norton said at the end of her lengthy statement. Full story

Republicans Vote Against Vitter’s Obamacare Subpoena

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Vitter’s quest against the government contribution to congressional health care hit a road block Thursday, as a number of Republicans on the panel he chairs declined to support his effort to subpoena the District of Columbia government for health care documents.

In a 14-5 vote, members of the Senate Small Business Committee voted not to subpoena the D.C. Health Benefit and Exchange Authority, with five Republicans voting against their chairman’s effort to compel DCHBEA to reveal which House and Senate employees authorized Congress to be classified as a small business. Participating in the D.C. small business exchange allowed members of Congress and congressional staff to keep the government-employer contribution to their health care plans. Full story

April 22, 2015

Vitter’s Obamacare Probe Continues With Subpoena Vote

Vitter is continuing to demand answers about congressional health care enrollment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vitter is continuing to demand answers about congressional health care enrollment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. David Vitter’s crusade against government contributions to congressional health care plans continues this week with a vote to subpoena documents from the D.C. government, but he may have some dissenters in the Republican ranks.

The Louisiana Republican is the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, and he has used his perch to investigate congressional enrollment in the District of Columbia’s small-business exchange, which allowed for a government contribution to congressional health care plans. But his investigation has some members questioning whether this is an issue for his committee. Full story

As Campaigns Heat Up, Candidates Mind Senate Rules

Paul's campaign video raised questions about a Senate rule governing floor footage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul’s campaign video raised questions about a Senate rule governing floor footage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Juggling a grueling campaign schedule and work as a U.S. senator can be a daunting task for the ones running for president, but as election season picks up, they’ll also have to be mindful of the Senate rules for campaigning.

For example, speaking on the prestigious Senate floor about policies affecting the nation would be prime fodder for a campaign video, but the candidates are not allowed to use floor footage in videos — or are they? Full story

April 21, 2015

House Committee Approves Resolution Blocking D.C. Law

Ranking member Cummings, left, and Chairman Chaffetz, right, head the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cummings, left, and Chairman Chaffetz, right, head the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Tuesday evening to strike down a D.C. bill.

Committee members voted 20-16 to approve a disapproval resolution blocking the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, which aims to prohibit workplace discrimination based on reproductive health decisions. Republicans, who voted to adopt the disapproval resolution, say it could force employers to violate their religious beliefs, while Democrats say it prevents employer discrimination based on private health decisions.

“There are important feelings on both sides of the issue but I’m pleased to see it pass with such a wide margin,” Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said after the hearing. “We have strength in numbers on the Republican side of the aisle but I hope it gets taken up by the full House. The clock’s ticking.” Full story

April 20, 2015

Congressman Can’t Use Franked Mail to ‘Thank a Veteran’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The folks in charge of franked mail in the House refuse to allow members of Congress to send official mail for the sole purpose of encouraging their constituents to “thank a veteran,” a policy one Illinois Democrat calls “a disservice to the brave men and women who sacrifice so much for this country.”

Rep. Bill Foster found out about the prohibition in February, when a Valentine’s Day message his office submitted for review by the House Franking Commission ran afoul of the bipartisan, six-member panel’s proverbial red pen. Full story

Another Schock Staffer Served Grand Jury Subpoena

Schock resigned on March 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Schock resigned on March 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Another staffer for ex-Rep. Aaron Schock has been served with a grand jury subpoena to testify as part of the investigation into the Illinois Republican’s spending.

Shea Ledford formally notified Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, of the subpoena Monday afternoon as the House gaveled into its pro forma session. According to the Legistorm database, Ledford has served as a “district special assistant” since April 2014. Full story

April 17, 2015

Boko Haram Survivors Renew Push to #BringBackOurGirls

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, hugs Nigerian student Saa, as Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., looks on during a news conference at the House Triangle, April 15, 2015, to draw attention to the plight of girls who have been kidnapped by terrorists. Saa and another girl, Patience, were held captive by Boko Haram but were able to escape. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jackson Lee hugged Nigerian student Saa, on the one-year anniversary of her kidnapping. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two schoolgirls who escaped the terrorist group Boko Haram solemnly marked the one-year anniversary of their kidnapping by climbing the steps of the Capitol to tie a red ribbon around one of its stately columns.

As part of the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, Saa, 19, and Patience, 18, joined House lawmakers pleading for the U.S. government and the international community to intervene in and assist Nigerian efforts. During the April 15 press conference on the East Front, Democrats talked about bipartisan efforts underway to provide more resources and Saa shared her resolve to escape from Boko Haram. Full story

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