Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 4, 2015

August 3, 2015

Cruz, Rubio and Paul Make New Hampshire Forum — Sort Of

Rand Paul was among the presidential candidates who came to Washington to cast votes against Planned Parenthood, participating in the Voters First candidate forum via remote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul was among the presidential candidates who came to Washington to cast votes against Planned Parenthood, participating in the Voters First candidate forum via remote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For three of the 14 presidential candidates participating in Monday’s Voters First Forum, the timing was less than ideal.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida all opted to be present for Monday evening’s procedural vote on taking up a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Since actual teleporting isn’t an option, they made do, appearing St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., through the magic of television.

Full story

Democrats Vote to Filibuster Planned Parenthood Defunding Bill (Updated)

Manchin voted with Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Manchin announced he would vote with Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:33 p.m. | Planned Parenthood funding will continue despite outrage — mostly from Republicans — over videos showing officials discussing the sale of aborted body parts.

Senate Democrats filibustered the bill to defund the group Monday, refusing to allow Republicans to bring it to the floor for debate. The 53-46 vote fell well short of the 60 needed to advance. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 6:07 p.m.
Abortion

Manchin to Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood (Updated)

Manchin broke ranks and said he will vote to defund Planned Parenthood. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Manchin broke ranks and said he will vote to defund Planned Parenthood. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:44 p.m. | Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., announced Monday that he’ll join Republicans in the evening to bar funding for Planned Parenthood.

While the vote is still expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance, Manchin splits what has been a largely unified Democratic front, and comes the same day Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a strong defense of the group and two moderate Republicans offered a more targeted defunding proposal. Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 3:57 p.m.
Abortion

What’s McConnell’s Next Move on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan? (Updated)

What McConnell called the Obama administration's "war on coal" was a key theme in his 2014 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What McConnell called the Obama administration’s “war on coal” was a key theme in his 2014 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:55 p.m. | The Obama administration’s final Clean Power Plan unveiled Monday sets aggressive goals for reducing carbon pollution — but the first challenge on the road to implementation will be working around Republican opposition on Capitol Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been cautioning state governments against developing their own implementation plans as prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and on Monday he swung the door wide open to a legislative response.

“We can pursue other avenues, like [Congressional Review Act] resolutions and further appropriations riders, as these regulations are published and as they wind their way through the courts. But here’s the bottom line about today’s announcement: if the Obama administration were actually serious about advancing renewable energy, then it would follow the example of what leaders like Sen. [Lisa] Murkowski has been achieving in the Energy Committee,” McConnell said. “She’s showing how we can make big strides on energy diversification, that we can do it in a bipartisan way, and that we don’t have to punish the middle class to do it.”

Full story

Pot Bills Stalled Despite Increased Support

Colorado Politics

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Even though Senate support for a medical marijuana bill is building, it’s not getting the backing it needs to advance.

Two influential Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, announced their support for the bill that would reschedule marijuana and let states set medical marijuana policy. But it needs more Republicans. Full story

July 31, 2015

Ted Cruz Defers to House Members on Bid to Boot Boehner

Cruz would not weigh in specifically on the effort to oust Boehner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz would not weigh in specifically on the effort to oust Boehner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Upending the “Washington cartel” of career politicians may be the theme of Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for the White House, but the Texas Republican is not weighing in on a bid to oust John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, from his role as speaker.

“Questions of leadership in the House are questions to be decided by Republican members of the House,” Cruz said when asked whether he would be supportive of a resolution filed by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to vacate the chair. (Cruz has been close to many of the House Republicans who have fought regularly with Boehner.)

Full story

Menendez Offers Legislative Response to Killing of Cecil the Lion

Menendez (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Menendez and Blumenthal are two of the senators behind the Cecil legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Robert Menendez is spearheading a new effort to curtail trophy killings after national attention was drawn to the killing of Cecil the lion.

Cecil was the African lion in Zimbabwe who was ultimately shot and killed after being struck with an arrow by an American dentist, sparking no shortage of outrage.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:11 p.m.
Potpourri

July 30, 2015

Takoma Park Feels the Bern

Federal Minimum Wage Rally

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)


TAKOMA PARK, Md. — Thousands of “house parties” gathered throughout the country Wednesday night to collectively #feelthebern.

Huddled in living rooms, basements, coffee shops, libraries and anywhere else they would fit, more than 100,000 people united for the change they’ve craved since at least the last Bush administration. They started as strangers, but they left as a fledgling grass-roots campaign network for 2016 Democratic hopeful, Bernard Sanders. Full story

Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill, Short-Term Extension

Inhofe and Boxer conferred before an interview with CQ Roll Call about the highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Inhofe and Boxer conferred before an interview with CQ Roll Call about the highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:14 p.m. | The Senate passed its long-term highway bill (HR 22) shortly after noon Thursday, and then agreed to a House-passed three-month extension (HR 3236) before completing work for the day.

The margin for final passage of the long-term bill was fairly healthy, 65-34. The House’s patch was passed in overwhelming fashion: 91-4.

For senators involved in crafting the bipartisan bill — a six-year authorization with about three years worth of offsets to plug the hole in the Highway Trust Fund — the solution is not ideal. They would have preferred the House stick around to at least consider accepting the Senate bill.

Full story

July 29, 2015

Highway Bill Might Be Senate’s Last Accomplishment Before August

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s on the road to shipping the House a six-year highway bill before leaving for August recess, despite the fact House members won’t be around to debate it.

Senators voted Wednesday morning to clear the final major procedural hurdle on the highway measure, but that could be the chamber’s last significant bill before the August recess, even with the Senate planning to stick around for another week. Other than advancing a three-month bill to keep transportation programs running past the end of July, there’s little thus far on the schedule for the first week of August. Full story

Boxer, Inhofe Want to Avoid Highway Bill Trick or Treat

Boxer and Inhofe discussed the highway bill in the EPW hearing room. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boxer and Inhofe discussed the highway bill in the Environment and Public Works hearing room. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ask Sens. James M. Inhofe and Barbara Boxer about most issues, and they will disagree.

But when it comes to building roads and bridges, the conservative Oklahoma Republican and liberal California Democrat are in lockstep. That was on full display during a rare joint interview Tuesday afternoon, as they encouraged the House to move quickly after the Senate on a six-year highway bill, rather than allow the expected three-month extension to turn into a punt right up to another deadline ahead of Halloween.

Full story

July 28, 2015

Republicans Reach Planned Parenthood Deal (Video) (Updated)

Paul waits to speak at a midday rally outside the Capitol Tuesday, in support of defunding Planned Parenthood. During the rally, Paul announced a commitment from Senate leadership for a vote on his legislation to defund Planned Parenthood prior to the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul waits to speak at a midday rally outside the Capitol Tuesday, in support of defunding Planned Parenthood. During the rally, Paul announced a commitment from Senate leadership for a vote on his legislation to defund Planned Parenthood prior to the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:32 p.m. | A working group of Republican senators has reached a deal on the details of a bill to stop funding Planned Parenthood that will get a vote before the August recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the procedural gears to bring that bill directly to the floor just before the Senate adjourned Wednesday.

“The horrendous videos of senior executives from Planned Parenthood discussing in callous tones and shocking detail their role in a national scandal requires a congressional response. Our constituents demand it; the unborn deserve it,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. “This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are actually spent on women’s health — not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant.”

Full story

Senate to Accept 3-Month Highway Bill, Stay Another Week (Video)

The Senate will accept a House bill to provide a three-month extension of highway programs, as well as preventing a veterans funding shortfall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the Senate will take up the highway extension from the House that will run to Oct. 29. He also said the House will pass a long-term bill that will ultimately go to conference with the Senate’s long-term bill.

And he confirmed a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before recess. Full story

Rand Paul: GOP Will Discuss Best Way to Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a rally with supporters of his effort to defund Planned Parenthood, Sen. Rand Paul said it’s not yet certain whether his bill will get a vote.

“I don’t think it’s decided which bill it’s going to be. The only thing that’s been decided is that there will be a bill to defund, and I’ll be part of the discussion,” the Republican from Kentucky said in a brief interview. “I respect Sen. Lankford and others who want to do it, so we’ll just have to work on exactly what the final bill is.”

Full story

Schumer Signs on to Medical Marijuana Bill

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:54 p.m. | The medical marijuana movement just got a big boost. Sen. Charles E. Schumer has become a co-sponsor to legislation that would give states greater flexibility to use medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana is the only recourse for many in New York and across the country who are in a great deal of pain, and it is only humane and fair that they have access to the treatment they need when prescribed by a doctor,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate and the heir apparent to Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is an influential co-sponsor. But the bill will likely need more support on the other side of the aisle to get through the Republican-controlled Senate. Full story

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