Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2015

Posts in "Politics"

August 31, 2015

McConnell Expects to Cut Budget Deal, Avert Shutdown (Video)

Immigration reform is dead in this Congress, per McConnell. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell expects government-funding talks with the administration will begin after Labor Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that funding the government is the top challenge facing him when he returns to the Capitol next week.

The Kentucky Republican said he would work with the White House to come up with budget levels to keep the government open past Sept. 30, conceding that President Barack Obama won’t sign a measure with a rider defunding Planned Parenthood.

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August 28, 2015

Inviting Fight With China, Rubio Says Disputed Islands Belong to Japan

Rubio has been outlining his policy views in early primary and caucus states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio has been outlining his policy views in early primary and caucus states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio said bluntly Friday the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea belong to Japan.

The Chinese government “has unilaterally declared an ‘air defense identification zone’ over international waters and the Senkaku Islands, which are the territory of our ally Japan. In the South China Sea, Beijing has dispatched ships and planes, moved oil rigs and even constructed artificial islands in an attempt to strengthen its position militarily,” the Republican presidential hopeful said during a broader speech in South Carolina about U.S.-China relations.

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August 20, 2015

What Ted Cruz Thinks About Manned Spaceflight

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 9: Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) poses for a selfie with a supporter after the town hall meeting with Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. The campaign event was part of The Cruz Country bus tour through the South. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz took a selfie with a supporter after the town hall in Huntsville. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Sen. Ted Cruz took questions at a campaign town hall in Huntsville, Ala., on his bus tour of SEC country last week, a boy scout from the area raised his hand. But the Texas Republican called for the last question before his staff could get the presidential candidate’s attention.

So CQ Roll Call approached the young man and his parents later that evening to ask what was on his mind. Nine-year-old Paul Byrd wanted to know what Cruz thought about the future of manned spaceflight. It was a good question, particularly in the northern Alabama city that is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

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August 13, 2015

Thune Wants GOP Senators Touting Productivity

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thune, left, says the August recess message is that a GOP majority matters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators were sent home for August recess with a pocket card printed with a simple message.

“When Republicans took control of the Senate, we promised to get the Senate working again,” the card reads. “We are keeping our promise.”

The card lists an assortment of legislation passed in the Senate, from long-term highway and education reauthorizations to the anti-human trafficking bill. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, leads the operation that produces the materials for the August recess.

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August 11, 2015

Democrats’ Heir Apparent Looks Past Obama Era on Iran Deal

The White House may want Charles E. Schumer tossed overboard as the next Democratic leader, but presidents don’t get a vote.

The senior New York Democrat’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal comes as Schumer looks ahead to an era when Obama will be writing his memoirs and Schumer will set the Senate agenda. Full story

August 7, 2015

Ted Cruz Won’t Rule Out Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

The Texas senator struck a different tone than his party's leader on Planned Parenthood. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Texas senator struck a different tone than his party’s leader Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mitch McConnell may be ruling out a government shutdown at the end of September, but Sen. Ted Cruz certainly is not.

“The last government shutdown occurred because Barack Obama and Harry Reid took an extreme position and they were unwilling to compromise and negotiate,” the Texas Republican said of the 2013 budget standoff. “So, I cannot give any guarantee as to whether the Obama administration will once again play partisan political games. For six-and-a-half years, that has been their pattern. So, no one would be surprised to see them go down that road again.”

Cruz was in suburban Charleston to kick off a 2016 presidential campaign bus tour that will see him hit seven states in seven days throughout the South, following Thursday night’s GOP debate in Cleveland. Full story

Cruz Calls on Schumer to Lead the Charge Against Iran Deal

Cruz called on Democrats to join Schumer in denouncing the Iran nuclear deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz called on Democrats to join Schumer in denouncing the Iran nuclear deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)




MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Amid a deluge of criticism from Obama administration allies for stepping forward and speaking against the international agreement with Iran regarding nuclear development, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer is winning praise from unlikely quarters.

On Friday, Republican presidential hopeful and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz joined the list, applauding the No. 3 Democratic leader for his “bravery.” Full story

August 6, 2015

Candidates Need Answers to New Hampshire’s Heroin Crisis

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ayotte gave a floor speech Tuesday about her home state’s battle against heroin addiction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s hard to get through a political event in New Hampshire these days without someone mentioning heroin.

The Granite State’s problem with opiate addictions has been leading news, and 2016 presidential candidates should be prepared to weigh in.

Asked for his views about legalizing marijuana during the Voter’s First Forum Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he understood states were working through that debate. He opposed recreational marijuana legalization, but quickly pivoted to the heroin issue.

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August 4, 2015

Cruz Ready for Next Debt Limit Debate

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz recalled the last fight over the nation’s debt ceiling. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Remember what happened the last time Congress acted to raise the debt limit?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, certainly does.

The 2016 presidential hopeful found himself right in the middle, stopping a February 2014 effort to allow the Senate to vote on a debt ceiling measure with a simple majority.

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August 3, 2015

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.”

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July 29, 2015

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.

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July 28, 2015

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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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