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March 6, 2015

Posts in "Republicans"

February 26, 2015

Strong Leaving the Senate, Heading to Wisconsin for Walker

Strong is leaving Thune's office to work for Walker's political operation. (Tom Williams/CQ Eoll Call)

Strong is leaving Thune’s office to work for Walker’s political operation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s political operation has lured one of the top Republican communicators in the Senate away from the chamber.

Walker’s bringing on AshLee Strong, the spokeswoman for the Senate Republican Conference, as national press secretary to be based in Madison, a Walker aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call. She has worked for Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., for more than four years, most recently as senior communications director and chief spokesperson, and is departing the Senate after the Republicans regained the majority.

“AshLee has been a trusted advisor of mine for several years so this is bittersweet for me. I’m sad to see her go but this is a tremendous opportunity for her,” Thune said in a statement. “She’s one of the smartest communicators out there and Gov. Walker is fortunate to have her on his team.”

Full story

February 24, 2015

Corker, Menendez on Bipartisan Campaign to End Modern-Day Slavery

 Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has a red X pin, symbol for the End It Movement, applied by aide Tara DiJulio, before a news conference in the Capitol on the introduction of the "End Modern Slavery Initiative Act," February 24, 2015. Ranking Member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Corker has a red X from the anti-slavery END IT movement pinned to his lapel by aide Tara DiJulio Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are pushing for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to rally behind an international effort to raise $1.5 billion to end slavery around the globe.

On Monday, Chairman Bob Corker posted a photo of himself alongside National Football League star Peyton Manning and Todd Helton, another former University of Tennessee signal-caller, each of the three men proudly sporting on the back of their hands the symbol of the anti-slavery END IT movement: a large red X. Full story

Watch Live: John Kerry Testifies Before Senate Foreign Relations

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the first time in the 114th Congress on the State Department’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Full story

February 12, 2015

Senate GOP Pamphlet Touts Continued Fight on DHS Spending

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are being sent home for recess with a message touting their persistence on funding homeland security while blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

“Dems voted three times to filibuster House-passed DHS funding bill,” says a tri-fold card of talking points distributed to GOP senators. “Blocking debate on a bill like this is exactly the kind of gridlock voters rejected in the election.”

The pamphlet, shared with CQ Roll Call by a GOP source, suggests Republicans have yet to give up on winning the public relations argument over funding the Department of Homeland Security, with less than a week left to act when the Senate returns from the Presidents Day recess.

Full story

February 9, 2015

Republicans Want to Send Message to SCOTUS on Obamacare

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barrasso is leading the Senate GOP effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans want to send a message to the Supreme Court that it’s OK to undermine Obamacare.

They keep asking the Obama administration what it plans to do if the Supreme Court upends health insurance subsidies in the King v. Burwell case. It’s a hypothetical question the administration has been reluctant to entertain, leading the GOP to undertake an effort to craft a resolution.

Part of the reason is that Republicans want to try to signal to potentially wavering justices that there would be a path to minimal disruption should the court invalidate tax credits for millions of people in states that didn’t create their own health insurance exchanges.

South Dakota Republican John Thune, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said there is a lot of discussion along those lines.

Full story

February 3, 2015

Lobster and Ham on the Menu for Bipartisan Senate Luncheon (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:23 p.m. | On Wednesday, senators will gather for a most unusual bipartisan Senate lunch.

Senators will gather in the Russell Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room for a feast featuring Maine lobster and Virginia ham, a source familiar with the menu told CQ Roll Call. Not surprisingly, Republican Susan Collins of Maine is behind the lobster salad and Democrat Mark Warner will bring the ham.

Collins, in hosting, will provide Maine-themed offerings including Maine blueberry pie and Gifford’s ice cream. There will also be chips sourced from Maine potatoes, according to her office.

The New York Times first reported on the plan for the lunch coming to fruition, saying it was put together by Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 in the Democratic leadership structure. Sources confirmed the lunch plan.

Full story

Ferrier Takes Helm of Senate Republican Communications Center

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ferrier is returning to the Senate after less than a year in the private sector. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The post-employment “cooling off” period didn’t even have time to expire before Antonia Ferrier found her way back to the Senate as part of the new Republican majority.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office announced Tuesday morning that the Kentucky Republican was bringing in Ferrier as as the new staff director of the Senate Republican Communications Center, replacing the departing John Ashbrook. It’s one of a series of moves as the GOP media and speechwriting operation reloads about a month into life as the majority.

Full story

January 29, 2015

Capito Fills Out Team

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has unveiled a raft of senior staff appointments, including Bipartisan Policy Center veteran Ashley Berrang as communications director.

“This extremely talented group is committed to serving West Virginians and taking on the challenges facing our state,” Capito said in a release. “The wealth of knowledge and experience each member of this team brings to the table will serve West Virginia well.” Full story

January 20, 2015

Rand Paul’s Message: ‘Do No Harm’ In Foreign Affairs

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., makes his way through the basement of the Capitol before a vote on the Senate floor, December 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul will have his own response to the State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Possible 2016 contender Sen. Rand Paul says that the foreign policy potion of his own response to Tuesday’s State of the Union address will focus on an old adage from his medical career: “Do no harm.”

“I think one the biggest things about foreign policy is that you should think before you act, and that’s one of the themes that I’ll have tonight is: First, do no harm. As physicians, we’re taught first to do no harm, which means think through,” the Kentucky Republican said. “You have enormous power as a surgeon. Before you cut into someone, make sure you have the right diagnosis. Try not to make mistakes.”

Paul is issuing his own video response, separate from the official message to be delivered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

In an interview in his Washington office ahead of the speech by President Barack Obama, Paul used the potential for additional sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program as an example where Congress should avoid doing such harm. Full story

January 16, 2015

Tony Blair Delivers ‘Churchillian’ Speech to Senate, House GOP

Blair testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blair testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair drew three standing ovations when he addressed the joint House-Senate Republican retreat Thursday with a speech that one lawmaker likened to the oratory of Winston Churchill.

Blair’s speech, which was closed to the public and the media, included a call for America to lead on the world stage rather than to try to be loved there, according to a person in attendance. Rep. Tom Cole said Blair focused on the importance of fighting against extremism around the world at an event said to be well attended by members and staffers alike. Full story

January 15, 2015

Ernst Gives GOP #SOTU Rebuttal a Folksy Feel

State of the Union 2015

Ernst heads to the Senate subway following a vote on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are going folksy with their choice to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., jointly announced at their retreat Thursday that Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would deliver the Republicans’ rebuttal.

Ernst, who upset former Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa in 2014 as one of the party’s majority-makers, gained notoriety during her campaign for an ad she ran conflating her childhood on the farm castrating pigs with her ability to cut government spending. Full story

At Retreat, GOP Struggles to Find DHS Funding Exit Strategy

Republicans still don’t have an exit strategy that will allow them to fund the Department of Homeland Security while canceling President Barack Obama’s temporary administrative amnesty for millions of immigrants.

The uncertainty over the future of the DHS funding measure — which must be cleared by the end of next month or partially shut down the department — sets up a tension with the message the GOP is seeking to send from their bicameral retreat that they intend to govern responsibly.

“Obviously we want to show the American people that we can function in a very responsible way, with no stop/starts, no government shutdowns; [that] we have the ability to have foresight … to deal with these issues in a manner that show tremendous responsibility,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 1:32 p.m.
Republicans

January 13, 2015

The Tweeting Whip

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Send a tweet to @JohnCornyn, and it turns out you’re actually reaching Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.

The Texas Republican says he uses the account to share what he’s reading or paying attention to with his constituents and other followers (he has more than 63,000). Cornyn’s Twitter account has issued more than 15,000 tweets since the early adopter joined in February 2008, and he’s the highest-ranking member of Congress who is regularly doing the tweeting on his own.

Full story

January 12, 2015

Cornyn: ‘We Learned the Hard Way’

"We have the responsibility to govern," Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“We have the responsibility to govern,” Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the start of the last Congress, John Cornyn wrote an editorial titled “Partial Government Shutdown May Be Needed to Restore Fiscal Sanity.” He’s singing a different tune today.

“I’ve evolved,” the Texas Republican and newly minted Senate majority whip said in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call.

For starters, the memory of the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare instigated by his fellow Texas senator, Ted Cruz, remains fresh. Full story

January 10, 2015

Rand Paul Skipping Joint Republican Retreat

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one of the Senate’s 2016 contenders is bailing on the big House-Senate Republican conference gathering next week in Hershey, Pa.

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul confirmed the Kentucky Republican would not attend the retreat — the first joint gathering of the majorities on both sides of the Rotunda.

Full story

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