Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Posts in "Politics"

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 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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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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January 14, 2016

GOP Mull Budget Resolution to Set Up 2017


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 13: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., stands by the buses outside of the Rayburn House Office Building bound for the Joint Republican Issues Conference in Baltimore on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., stands by the buses outside of the Rayburn House Office Building bound for the Joint Republican Issues Conference in Baltimore on Wednesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — With President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in the rear view mirror, Republicans gathering at the Inner Harbor this week will have the 2016 elections on their minds.

And that includes how to best set up the GOP for the next year should elections go their way, up and down the ballot. Full story

January 11, 2016

Paul Admits ‘Uphill Climb’ for ‘Audit the Fed’


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)

Paul is pushing his vote on auditing the Federal Reserve ahead of a GOP debate this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

He may be at risk of falling off the main presidential debate stage, but Sen. Rand Paul is at long last getting his colleagues to vote on his proposal to audit the Federal Reserve.

The Kentucky Republican said he tried and failed to get Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to schedule a vote on the central bank legislation back when the Democrats held the majority. When asked if he would ultimately like to wind down the Federal Reserve, Paul focused on the task at hand.

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January 4, 2016

Rubio: ISIS Would’ve Lobbied for USA Freedom Act


UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 3: Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio, a presidential candidate, slammed the USA Freedom Act on Monday.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-Intelligence law that was just passed with the help of some Republicans now running for president.”

That’s what Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Monday in a foreign policy speech of the surveillance overhaul that he’s long opposed, drawing a contrast with his Republican presidential rivals from the Senate. But the rhetoric against the USA Freedom Act has not led to concern by supporters of his White House bid who also backed — or even advocated for — to have concerns about Rubio or his message.

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December 17, 2015

Senate Clinches Deal to Finish Omnibus on Friday


GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has the lowest vote participation rate of any senator in 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio had hinted at a slow down of the omnibus, but it won’t take place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No level of consternation about the big omnibus spending and budget deal will interfere with this year’s Christmas getaway.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced an agreement that will allow the Senate to quickly call up and pass the combined measure after the House finishes work Friday — without a weekend session.

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December 14, 2015

Portman’s Communication Director Leaving for Family Reunion


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16: Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks with reporters following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Portman is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman’s communications director Caitlin Conant is decamping for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, where she’ll join her husband.

Portman’s longtime spokeswoman will join her husband Alex, who is the communications director for the Rubio campaign. Caitlin Conant will run regional communications and surrogate operations for the campaign as the calendar turns into the presidential election year.

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December 10, 2015

Trump Comments Spark Senate Fireworks


Sessions said immigration policy should be mindful of security risks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Sessions said immigration policy should be mindful of security risks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

“Is it in the national interest to admit the ISIS member equally with the Buddhist?”

That was one of the rhetorical questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, as the Senate Judiciary Committee debated religious tests for immigrants, and a Senate hearing room became the latest venue for a rebuke to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

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December 8, 2015

GOP Elders Critical of Trump’s Muslim Comments


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8 - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks back to his office after the weekly Senate Republicans luncheon news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, December 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell walks back to his office after the weekly Senate Republican luncheon news conference on Tuesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not wait to be asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to exclude Muslims from entering the United States.

Before turning to the upcoming passage of an education overhaul and end-of-the-year business, the Kentucky Republican on Tuesday said the proposal  was “completely and totally inconsistent with American values.”

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December 1, 2015

Ted Cruz, Condoms and Bathroom Politics


UNITED STATES - September 25: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Values Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington D.C., Friday, September 25, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz has made outreach to social conservatives a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz was in a groove in Iowa Monday, weighing in on issues that underscore his efforts to appeal to socially conservative voters in the nation’s first caucus state.

The Texas Republican did so by blasting the Department of Education for allowing a transgender student to use a girl’s locker room — and even weighed in on the availability of prophylactics in America, soundbites that could have been lead news in their own right on most any other day.

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November 20, 2015

Domestic Surveillance Re-Emerges in Senate, on the Trail


rand paul

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A debate over domestic surveillance that appeared resolved months ago is getting new life in the Senate — and on the 2016 presidential trail.

Speaking to college students Thursday at George Washington University, presidential hopeful Rand Paul called “bullshit” on the idea there should be expanded screening of phone records in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in France. Full story

November 17, 2015

McConnell Joins Call for Syrian Refugees Admission ‘Pause’


syrian refugees

McConnell and other Republican senators conduct a news conference Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined the calls for a “pause” in Syrian refugees admissions, echoing Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The Kentucky Republican pointed to the influx of Iraqi refugees in his home state indicted on terrorism charges back in 2011. Full story

McCain: Obama Assertion on ISIS ‘Embarrassing’


paris attacks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain criticized President Barack Obama’s defiant defense of the administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State terror group.

Speaker with reporters Tuesday, the Arizona Republican took umbrage with Obama’s assertion that GOP hawks have failed to offer an alternative plan for fighting the violent extremist groups. He also said building the Arab ground force he envisions is possible as long as Obama pledges to help it take down Syrian President Bashar Assad. Full story

Paris Terror Attacks Give Graham an Opening in 2016 Race


Graham (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has tried in vain to make the GOP presidential race a fight over who has the best plan to crush the Islamic State. But as coordinated terror attacks on Paris dominate headlines, will primary voters finally listen to the South Carolina Republican?

Graham has long pushed for military intervention in Syria, with a substantial ground component. He told CQ Roll Call Monday that he hoped his message would pick up traction, particularly in New Hampshire — host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary and where he will travel this weekend with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain.

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