Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

1311 Posts

February 10, 2016

John McCain Joins Call to Register Women for the Draft


McCain ripped reports of a possible extension in the Iran nuclear deal deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCain ripped reports of a possible extension in the Iran nuclear deal deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is the latest to say that women should be registering for the draft.

While there’s no expectation the U.S. military will return to conscription any time soon, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is siding with service chiefs who say that with all combat roles opened to women, the Selective Service system should include them, too.

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February 9, 2016

Senate Moves on From Flint Crisis — For Now


With no consensus on how to address water contamination in Flint, Mich., the Senate has shelved discussion of a bipartisan energy bill for at least two weeks and plans to move on Wednesday with debate on a package of sanctions against North Korea.

“This is not an effort to scuttle the energy bill at all, but it is an effort to make sure that we’ve got a path forward on helping the Flint families,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who is seeking federal dollars to help Flint replace the corroded pipes that are leaching lead into the city’s drinking water supply. “Once we get an agreement things will move fast.”

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GOP Senator Wants to Compel Reports on Iran-North Korea Ties


Perdue, left, wants to amend a North Korea sanctions bill authored by Gardner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perdue, left, wants to amend a North Korea sanctions bill authored by Gardner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.

“It’s undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North Korea’s nuclear tests,” Sen. David Perdue said in a statement provided to Roll Call.

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Kelly Ayotte Backs Draft Registration for Women


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Having heard from top military officials, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is backing the idea of requiring women to register for the draft.

“After the hearing that we had the other day about women in combat, I support it. I think that we’ve opened up all the combat billets for women who can meet the qualifications of those billets, and therefore it makes sense that … women would also register for the Selective Service,” the New Hampshire Republican said.

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February 4, 2016

Flint Aid Deal Slows Down Energy Bill


FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27:  A sign at a local restaurant reassures customers that they are not on Flint water but on uncontaminated water pulled from Detroit on January 27, 2016 at Westside Diner in Flint, Michigan.  Local restaurants have faced concerns following the contamination of Flint's water and subsequent federal state of emergency.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

A sign at a local restaurant in Flint, Mich., reassures customers they are not on local water but on water pulled from Detroit. Congressional lawmakers are wrangling over federal aid to help the city. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Updated 12:05 p.m. | Senate Democrats blocked a broad bipartisan energy bill from advancing, while senators discuss the extent of federal assistance needed for Flint, Mich.

Senators voted, 46-50, on a motion to limit debate. That was well short of the 60 votes needed. One senator also voted “present.”

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:18 a.m.
Democrats, Policy

February 3, 2016

Rubio’s Senate Backers Seek to Sway More Colleagues


Daines is among the senators who campaigned for Rubio in Iowa. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Daines is among the senators who campaigned for Rubio in Iowa. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Republican Marco Rubio’s strong third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses could accelerate his bid to secure Senate endorsements for his presidential campaign, supporters said Tuesday.

Rubio’s campaign told Roll Call that in the aftermath of the showing in Iowa, aides have had conversations with many members of the House and Senate about endorsements.

In addition, the aide said that what was described as a handful of additional endorsements should be expected in the days ahead, with the message being that Rubio is best equipped to defeat Clinton in November.

One Senate Republican, South Carolina’s Tim Scott, announced his support for Rubio on Tuesday, bringing the candidate’s congressional endorsement total to five senators and 23 House members. Beyond the endorsements, several senators traveled to Iowa in the past few days to campaign for Rubio.

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February 2, 2016

Reid: ‘Did You See Diversity in Iowa?’


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 15: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks to reporters after the Senate Democrats' lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Reid bemoans the lack of diversity in early contests. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

A day after the Iowa caucuses and a week from the New Hampshire primary, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is back blasting the lack of diversity in the states that come before his home of Nevada in the presidential nominating process.

Asked about the outcome in Iowa, where Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., finishing very narrowly behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Reid highlighted his role in changing the process to put more focus on the subsequent contests in states with more diverse Democratic electorates. His efforts helped move Nevada’s Democratic caucuses earlier in the electoral calendar.

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January 28, 2016

Michigan Democrats Want GOP Governor to Lobby for Flint Aid


Schumer, Stabenow and Peters look at poster showing dirty water in Flint during the Senate Democrats' news conference on the lead contaminated drinking water. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer, Stabenow and Peters look at poster showing dirty water in Flint during the Senate Democrats’ news conference on the lead contaminated drinking water. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan’s Democratic senators, who are seeking $600 million in federal dollars to replace Flint’s toxic water pipes and support families affected by lead exposure, are hoping the state’s GOP governor will lobby his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill to help foot the bill.

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January 27, 2016

Democrats Seek $400 Million for Flint Repairs


UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER12: Senator-elect Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., does a television interview on the Cannon balcony on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Peters is hoping for bipartisan support to fix Flint’s water system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats are seeking as much as $400 million in emergency federal money to fix or replace the corroded pipes polluting the water in Flint, Mich., part of a proposed amendment to the bipartisan energy bill being considered in the Senate.

As drafted, the amendment would require the state of Michigan to match the federal contribution, dollar for dollar, and would give the state greater flexibility to forgive loans for water infrastructure. It would also call for spending $200 million in federal money for a center that would support the children and adults exposed to lead in the tainted water.

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January 26, 2016

Sanders Is Latest Obstacle to Obama Nominee


Bernie Sanders VA Health care deal crisis

Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration is facing friendly fire, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey both placing a hold on the nomination.

Sanders said Tuesday that Robert Califf, currently serving as deputy commissioner at the FDA, is too closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf ran a research operation while at Duke University that received funding from that industry. Full story

January 22, 2016

John Thune Gets a Sneak Peek at the Washington Auto Show


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 21: A bright orange Ford Mustang convertible catches Sen. John Thune's eye as he tours the Washington Auto Show at the DC Convention Center in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bright orange Ford Mustang convertible catches Thune’s eye as he tours the Washington Auto Show at the DC Convention Center in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The focus of Sen. John Thune’s sneak preview of the Washington Auto Show on Thursday was new safety and environmental technologies, but that didn’t keep the South Dakota Republican from spending time with new toys.

In the midst of a presentation from Ford, Thune’s attention was drawn to a Mustang convertible, and he was quite interested in the features of the newest pickups from the big three. Full story

January 21, 2016

Graham on Cruz v. Trump: Like Being ‘Shot or Poisoned’


UNITED STATES - September 8: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters following a luncheon, as he strengthens his opposition against the Iran nuclear agreement, at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, September 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Sen. Lindsey Graham sees it, making a binary choice between real estate mogul Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nominee is like picking between being “shot or poisoned.”

“You get the same result,” the South Carolina Republican said Friday of the difference between the leading GOP contenders. To Graham, who already gave up on his own presidential bid, either of the candidates  loses to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Campaign Venom Blocks Syrian Refugee Debate


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell arrives for the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Wednesday in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The rancorous politics of the presidential campaign spilled onto the Senate floor Wednesday and blocked debate on a bill that would effectively keep refugees from Iraq and Syria from entering the United States.

Republicans argued that the legislation, which cleared the House in November with an overwhelming majority, is needed after recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists. But Democrats said the bill only feeds the fear and hatred stirred up by GOP presidential candidates.

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January 20, 2016

McConnell Counts Down Days Until Obama Leaves


Perhaps no one has a more expansive view of how the First Amendment protects campaign speech and donations than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So it’s no surprise that the Kentucky Republican would respond to news that President Barack Obama is mulling an executive action on campaign expenditures by reminding reporters that since it is Jan. 20, “a year from today he will be gone.”

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Politics Sink Refugee Bill in Senate


McConnell, left, and Reid, right, claimed victory in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell, left, and Reid, right, are on opposite sides of the debate on the Syrian refugee bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate rejected taking up a bill Wednesday to enhance screening of refugees, after Republican and Democratic leaders failed to strike a deal on politically charged amendments.

The procedural vote on the refugee legislation fell five votes short of the 60-vote margin needed to bring the bill to the floor; two Democratic senators Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, voted with 53 Republicans to invoke cloture on the bill, which cleared the House in November.

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