Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

1127 Posts

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

Local Senators Want Highway Bill to Overhaul Metro

 

Mikulski had lunch with Obama Thursday ahead of his address to the Democratic retreat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mikulski is among the local senators pushing a Metro safety overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate delegations from the states adjoining the nation’s Capitol have a proposal to improve the beleaguered Metro system.

Specific to the D.C.-area system, the bill would change the way federally designated members of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority get their appointments. Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:54 a.m.
Policy

With Votes to Advance, Inhofe Makes Highway Bill Sales Pitch to House

Inhofe plans to force votes to block EPA regulations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Inhofe is arguing that the Senate highway bill is a more conservative policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

With a series of obstacles being cleared late Monday, the Senate’s on the road to passing a long-term highway bill, and one of the chamber’s most conservative members is trying to make the case that his product will be more conservative than the House’s stopgap approach.

Following the 62-32 vote to invoke cloture and thus limit debate on a highway bill substitute amendment that was the product of bipartisan negotiations led in the end by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and ranking Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe urged House Republicans to take up the Senate’s bill.

“They know what the bill is, they’ve had it in front of them for two months,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “When they see the bill and they see how much money it’s going to cost if they don’t pass it, then I think [House Republicans will realize] that the conservative position is to pass a long-term bill.”

Full story

July 27, 2015

Rand Paul Planned Parenthood Bill May Get a Vote

Paul (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood might be the one that gets a Senate vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before leaving the Capitol for August recess.

It’s an effort that is unlikely to be much more than a procedural or show-vote given that they only control 54 seats in the chamber and the Democratic minority is certain to balk at any vote without a 60-vote threshold.

Full story

Campaigning on the Floor Not Going Away Anytime Soon

Paul reacts to a question about Cruz as he arrives for a rare Sunday session in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul reacts to a question about Cruz as he arrives for a rare Sunday session in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If the Senate’s old guard has its way, the campaigning from the Senate floor would end. But don’t bet on it.

“We must ensure that the pernicious trend of turning the Senate floor into a forum for advancing personal ambitions, for promoting political campaigns, or for enhancing fundraising activities comes to a stop,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch said Sunday. “There are enough other platforms for those seeking to accomplish those objectives; the Senate floor need not be one.”

Full story

What Robert Byrd Thought of Calling Colleagues Liars

Byrd said that until 1995, he had never heard a senator accuse colleagues of lying on the floor. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Byrd said that until 1995, he had never heard a senator accuse colleagues of lying on the floor. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“The decorum in the Senate has deteriorated, and political partisanship has run rife, and when the American people see and hear such intellectual pemmican as was spewed forth on this floor last Friday, no wonder there is such a growing disrespect for Congress throughout the country.”

No, that wasn’t a statement in response to last week’s startling floor speech from Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had lied about renewing the Export-Import Bank. But it did bring back memories of one of the most memorable speeches in Senate history, nearly 20 years ago, another time accusations of lawmaker lying flew in the chamber.

Full story

July 26, 2015

Senate Votes to Revive Export-Import Bank, Keep Obamacare (Updated)

McConnell set up Sunday's victory for Ex-Im Bank supporters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell set up Sunday’s victory for Ex-Im Bank supporters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | In a pair of losses for conservatives, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Sunday to revive the Export-Import Bank while failing to overcome a filibuster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare — with more fireworks to come.

The rare Sunday votes set the stage for the Senate to send a long-term highway bill tied to the Ex-Im Bank to the House later this week, but not before facing other gambits by conservatives, including a procedural vote forced by Sen. Ted Cruz regarding the Iran deal and an effort to deploy a maneuver akin to the “nuclear option.” Full story

Despite Rebukes, Ted Cruz Doubles Down on Charge McConnell Lied (Updated)

McConnell defended his decision to set up a vote on the Ex-Im Bank two days after Ted Cruz called him a liar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell defended his decision to set up a vote on the Ex-Im Bank two days after Cruz called him a liar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:05 p.m. | The Senate opened Sunday with a reading by the Senate President Pro Tem Orrin G. Hatch of the Senate’s rules of decorum, in an apparent rebuke of Sen. Ted Cruz calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on Friday. And things got more personal from there.

Shortly thereafter, McConnell defended his actions setting up a vote to revive the Export-Import Bank, even though he opposes it — and other top Republicans rebuked Cruz on the floor even as the Texas Republican defended his comments in an extraordinary speech of his own.

The back and forth between Hatch, Cruz and Cruz’s senior Texas colleague, Majority Whip John Cornyn, made for an extraordinary sequence. Full story

Cruz Calling McConnell a Liar Likely to Linger

Cruz spoke against the Ex-Im Bank on July 15. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz spoke against the Export-Import Bank on July 15. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Rush Limbaugh asked Sen. Ted Cruz what blowback he expected from accusing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of lying about reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, the Texas Republican said he was gearing up for more fights.

“Teeth are bared, the knives are out and the cartel is coming after me,” Cruz said in the radio interview Friday, as he was on the way to catch a flight.

Full story

July 24, 2015

Cruz Accuses McConnell of Lying About Deal on Reviving the Export-Import Bank (Updated) (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused his own majority leader of effectively lying to fellow senators about his intentions Friday in a floor speech that could have serious repercussions.

“The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over and over again was a simple lie.”

Full story

July 23, 2015

Senate Taking Scenic Route on Highway Bill (Updated)

highway bill

Senators confer before a July 9 news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATED 7:17 p.m. |Senate negotiators on a long-term highway bill worked out some issues in a new version unveiled Thursday afternoon, but lawmakers appeared on track for weekend work, including potential Sunday votes.

A shortfall in transit funding in the original agreement led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Environment and Public Works ranking member Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., put the deal at risk early, though 62 senators ultimately voted Wednesday to limit debate on advancing to the vehicle for the bill.

Full story

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