The House rejected a sweeping $37.4 billion spending bill Thursday morning with conservative Republicans saying they opposed the inclusion of an amendment related to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The House voted 112-305 to defeat the bill that would provide fiscal year 2017 funding for the Energy Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation and several commissions.
The rejection of an appropriations bill is a rare occurrence, with leadership typically choosing to withdraw a measure from consideration before it is voted down.
"The energy and water bill failing is a tremendous setback for the Congress. It takes dysfunction to a whole new level and dysfunction prevailed," said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., a member of the Appropriations Committee. "I thought this might happen sooner or later but not this soon."
Speaker Paul D. Ryan blamed Democrats for the failure of the energy and water appropriations bill. “What we learned today is that the Democrats were not looking to advance an issue but to sabotage the appropriations process,” the Wisconsin Republican said, noting that their voting against it proves that point.
An LGBT amendment that threw the House floor into a frenzy last weekwon approval late Wednesday night, meaning that some Republicans switched positions on the discrimination issue yet again. The amendment, offered byRep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., had failed by a single vote(212-213) last week after a handful of Republicans changedtheir vote from yes to no at the last minute. Democrats erupted into rage, repeatedly shouting "shame," as the vote was held open after time expired and the number of yes votes slowly dropped. [ Moral Victory on Confederate Flag, Painful Defeat on LGBT Protection ] The scene on Wednesday night as the House adopted the amendment, 223-195 , was significantly more subdued. As the vote was called shortly after time expired,Democrats applauded their victory but the volume of cheers was much lighter than the jeers the week prior. Maloney'samendment would uphold President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He first offered itlast Thursday on a military construction and veterans spending measure. A total of 43 Republicans voted for the amendment Wednesday after only 29 Republicans supported it last week. A similaramendment offered last year byRep. Scott Peters, D-Cali., won the support of 60 Republicans. [ Really, 30 Republicans Switched Sides on LGBT Discrimination ] The seven Republicans who Democrats claim switched their votes from yes to no on the Maloney amendment last week all voted for it on Wednesday.The sevenareCalifornia Reps. Darrell Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, and Mimi Walters; Oregon Rep. Greg Walden; Iowa Rep. David Young; and Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin. [ 7 Republicans Flipped Their Vote on LGBT Amendment, Setting Them Up for Attack ] Other Republicans that flip flopped, voting yes on the second Maloney amendment after voting no on the first were: Reps.Susan W. Brooks of Indiana,Rodney Davis of Illinois,Adam Kinzinger of Illinois,Luke Messer of Indiana,James B. Renacci of Ohio,Tom Rooney of Florida andTodd Young of Indiana. They all voted for the similar amendment last year. “A bunch of members were misled as to what [last week's] amendment was or was not, what it was about," Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday. "A lot of people thought it was about bathrooms and guidance letters. And then the bill managers and the floor managers very legitimately thought it was going to take down the bill funding veterans in the military.” Ryan attributed part of the confusion to the "unpredictable and sloppy" open amendment process. "When you do two-minute votes, with very little notice, stacking them together, it produces a little bit of confusion," he said. [ House GOP Mulls Changing Amendment Process for Spending Bills ] When Maloney resubmitted the amendment on Wednesday -- this time onan energy and water spending bill --Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., offered an amendment to Maloney’s measureto ensure the discrimination ban would not run afoul of the Constitution. Pitts' amendment seemingly was designed to make a point thatObama does not have the power to write laws, only Congress does. But it failed to detract from theunderlying issue, as Maloney did not object to it. “We don’t fear the Constitution," Maloney said. "We welcome it. We embrace it.” Pitt’s amendment to Maloney's amendment was passed via voice vote, and then Maloney requested a roll call vote on his amendment, which was heldlater Wednesday night. The House on Wednesday night also adopted, 233-186,an amendment from Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., that would ensure the provisions in the spending measure do not contradict existing religious protections. Byrne said Obama's executive order did not provide protections for religious-based organizations who engage in government contracting. He said his amendment would ensure religious protections applied if Maloney's amendment were to be included in the bill. Young was seemingly using the Byrne amendment as rationale for switching his vote on the Maloney amendment again. [ Ask a Wonk: Time's Expired, So How Can Members Change Their Votes? ] "Thelanguage offered this evening offers vital workplace protections from discrimination of both personal religious beliefs and sexual orientation," he said in a statement claiming he's always been consistent in his position. "It is a common sense solution which furthers policies that adhere to our nation’s principles and religious beliefs." An amendmentRep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., offered to prohibit the Obama administration from blocking North Carolina from receiving federal funds in retaliation to its transgender bathroom law was adopted227-192. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats were happy to see Maloney’s amendment pass Wednesday after Republicans worked so hard to defeat it a week ago. But undermining that success, she said, were the Pittenger and Byrne amendments. “Republicans overwhelmingly voted to support HB 2, the hateful and discriminatory state law in North Carolina, and to enable anti-LGBT bigotry across our country,” Pelosi said. “House Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. History will not look kindly on the votes Republicans proudly took to target Americans because of whom they are or whom they love.” Contact McPherson at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Donald Trump has the delegates needed to become the Republican presidential nominee, according to its delegate count.
Trump passed the threshold after some of the party's unbound delegates told the news organization they would support the billionaire businessman at the party's convention in July.
That gave Trump one more than the 1,237 delegates needed to win the party's nomination, by AP's count.
Trump was already the last Republican in race after Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich dropped out. There were concerns that Trump might not reach the magic number, which would lead to a contested convention.
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Former House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t seem angry with the Republican conference that sent him packing in 2015. But you couldn’t blame Boehner if he felt just a little annoyed with the bunch, especially the loudest among them, whom he called “knuckleheads.” Despite the moans and groans about Boehner’s leadership from his own caucus, his strongest legacy for the Republicans in the 114th Congress will likely be their own glide paths to reelection. So far in 2016, not one incumbent Republican has lost a primary in a year that will be remembered for millions of angry voters going to the polls demanding change. This week’s Georgia primaries were only the latest to see incumbents cruise past challengers in conservative districts to what should be easy November wins. [ How House Republicans Can Survive Trump ] If they’re all looking for someone to thank, they should thank Boehner for generous donations to their campaigns, short Washington work weeks and his almost maniacal effort to keep controversial votes off the floor and his own members out of the headlines. Many of them didn’t like the way he did it, but all of them are reaping the rewards. The first thing any incumbent will tell you they need in order to fend off challengers is money to scare off upstarts, and Boehner gave his people a lot of it. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Boehnerraised nearly $100 million over the course of his career and gave most of it away to other Republicans. In 2014,he wasthe single largest donor to the National Republican Congressional Committee that got the 114th class elected. [ Boehner Elected Speaker Despite 25 Republican Dissidents ] Even themembers who gave Boehner the biggest headaches in 2015 took his money for their re-elections the year before. Of the 25 lawmakers who voted against the Ohio Republicanfor speaker in 2015, the CRPfound that 19 of them took money from his Freedom Project leadership PAC, including Florida Rep. Daniel Webster, whora n againstBoehner for speaker. For the 2016 cycle, Boehner's PAC has already given to 81 House incumbents, the Republican National Committee, the NRCC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to Federal Election Commission filings, and will likely give away more. With money in the bank, the next thing incumbents want is time to campaign. The Boehner era gave them a steady stream of three-day work weeks that allowed for more time at home with constituents. In 2014, the House had 113 works days scheduled for the year even before Boehner canceled the last week of session to let members get home to campaign. Democrats howled about the vacation time, but Republicans reapedthe benefit. The 2014 midtermelections gave Republicans their largest majority since the Great Depression. The incoming freshmen had a light workload in 2015, with 132 days in session and no five-day work weeks. [ Taxpayers Foot Bill for Boehner's Post-Speaker Office ] When Congress was in session, Boehner typically gave his members the path of least resistance, with as few controversial votes as possible. If it looked like a bill wouldn’t pass, heoften pulled it off the floor. Even getting a vote usually required a majority of the majority, a strategy designed to keep legislation in line with what conservatives would support and that had the added benefit of saving incumbents the effort of explaining a vote that could be unpopular back home. A rare exception to following the so called Hastert rule —which somebody should probably rename —was the 2015 debt ceiling deal that Boehner negotiated with the White House in one of his last acts as speaker. With Paul Ryan already selected as his successor, Boehner pushed for a two-year deal to keep the issue and, worse, a possible government shutdown from coming up again before the 2016 elections. Ironically, the most explaining that many incumbents have had to do in their 2016 primaries has been why they voted for John Boehner for speaker. But by leaving before the next Congress, he’s taken even that issue off the table for incumbents, too. [T rump, Women and World War III ] Boehner’s approach didn’t always yield great legislative achievements — the 113th Congress bottled up all kinds of bills and produced the fewest pieces of enacted legislation of any Congress in 60 years. But it did help Boehner's members keep their seats to live to fight another day. In the next few months, some Republicans will lose their primaries when redistricting in states like Florida puts two House Republicans in a race against each other. And more House Republicans in swing districts are in danger of losing with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. But Boehner did his part to get House Republicans this far, and there’s only so much a man can do from the 19th hole of his time as speaker. Roll Call columnist Patricia Murphy covers national politics for The Daily Beast. Previously, she was the Capitol Hill bureau chief for Politics Daily and founder and editor of Citizen Jane Politics. Follow her on Twitter @1PatriciaMurphy.
Democrats are wasting no opportunity to lash any Republican to Donald Trump, whose turbulent run to the brink of the GOP presidential nomination has upended the party. But contrary to conventional wisdom, a sampling of polling suggests that he actually may not hurt Senate candidates this fall. A recent WBUR poll showed Trump running just two points behind likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire — that’s head-to-head when the margin of error is considered. [ How Senate Republican Campaigns Will Handle Trump ] Also in the Granite State, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., trails Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan in her re-election bid by a similarly narrow margin. A Quinnipiac University poll released this month found the expected general election presidential race basically even in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida—all swing states. Another Qunnipiac survey found Senate races in those states similarly tight. "It’s certainly encouraging that Trump appears to be polling well in some key swing states," said Mark McKinnon, a Republican adviser and global vice president of Hill & Knowlton Strategies. "But let’s see what it looks like after the conventions.” The tough-talking businessman claims to have attracted to the political process millions of new voters feeling unrepresented by their elected leaders and falling behind economically. His most fervent supporters are predominantly white males in mainly rural communities. He also benefits from a Republican base energized to take on Clinton and the fact that the public dislikes them both about about the same, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey of registered voters. [ How Much of a Weight Is Trump on Portman? ] Indeed, Trump has garnered a record-breaking 11.5 million votes in primary balloting so far — about 45 percent of the total on the Republican side, according to Real Clear Politics. "I don't know what's going to happen in the end, but I think he'll be helpful because he's bringing new people to the party,” said Republican Sen. Rob Portman who's in a tight re-election fight in Ohio. The stakes are particularly high for Trump in Ohio, if history is any indicator. No Republican has lost Ohio and won the White House. But it’s unclear how many actual new voters he’s attracted and what impact, if any, that total is having on polling and down-ballot races. Also, Trump has a frosty relationship with establishment political figures, who continue to keep him at arm’s length and still worry about their majorities in Congress, especially the Senate. His endorsement tally from Capitol Hill and from state officials remains light. Moreover, just over half of 100 GOP aides who responded to the latest CQ Roll Call Capitol Insiders Survey now expect Democrats to pick up the four or five seats they will need to control the Senate next year. With polling showing tight races in general in a narrowly divided electorate, Senate incumbents, especially, continue to try to keep Trump out of their picture. They want to make it harder for Democrats to tar them with Trump's controversial positions on foreign policy, immigration and topics important to women. [ Senate Republicans Try to Escape Trump Vortex ] In Pennsylvania, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey holds press conferences to condemn his opponent’s support of “sanctuary cities.” Ayotte’s campaign has attacked Hassan forholding another Washington fundraiser. And Sen. John McCain’s campaign in Arizona has targeted his likely Democraticfoe, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, in a hard-hitting ad that focuses on President Barack Obama's health care law. [ What's a Vulnerable Republican To Do? ] Bob Kish, an Ohio-based Republican consultant who is critical of the presumptive GOP standard-bearer, said that it would be hard for Democrats to link Trump to Portman, who’s up against former Gov. Ted Strickland. "Rob Portman has made it clear he's running his own race," he said. "He's just a different kind of person.” Democrats aren't backing off. In Ohio, Strickland juxtaposes Portman with Trump in a new ad. "Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket is shining a bright spotlight on Senator Rob Portman’s status as the ultimate Washington insider and his decades long, unabashed support for unfair trade deals,” said Strickland spokesman David Bergstein in a press release. And a recent effort by state Democratic leaders in New Hampshire sought to make the Trump-Ayotte link stick. But former State Sen. Burt Cohen, a Democrat who is backing Bernie Sanders, said he did not think it would work because Trump racked up 50,000 more votes than Clinton totaled in the Democratic primary, he said. Alex Roarty contributed to this report. Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia . Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it might be time to give Sen. Bernie Sanders a break. At a moment when the underdog presidential candidate and his supporters have taken on the Democratic party establishment with endorsements, lawsuits and unruly behavior, Reid cautioned restraint Tuesday. "I think we should kind of lay off Bernie Sanders a bit, okay?" Reid said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he was concerned about Vermont senator's loyalty to the Democratic Party. "He has done, I think, some really good things. The party has changed during his tenure here. And we'll see whathappens," Reid said. "I think Bernie's a good man, he tries to do the right thing, and everything will work out well." Sanders, who has served for years as an independent caucusing with Democrats, has troubled some party members as he continues to pursue the presidential nomination, despite being well behind former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in both pledged and super delegates. This week Sanderswent after the party establishment, backing the primary opponent trying unseat Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. His supportersfiled a lawsuitin California over voter registration. Last week Sanders defended the conduct of his supporters who disrupted the Nevada State Convention on May. 14. Sanders delegates reportedly threw chairs, shouted and sent threats to the state's Democratic Party chairwomandue todiscontent over delegate distribution. Sanders condemned the violence, but pointed to what he called irregularities at the Nevada convention. The Senate minority leader offered no commentary on how Sanders dealt with the situation in Reid's home state. "I have no criticism of Bernie at this stage," Reid said Tuesday. Reid indicated that Sanders will still support the party's choices in other races. Reid saidhe spoke with former Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who is challenging current Sen. Ron Johnson, on Tuesday, and Reid was pleased to hear Sanders was supporting Feingold's bid for his former seat. Contact Bowman firstname.lastname@example.org follow her on Twitter at @bridgetbhc. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
Both Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed Wednesday night to the suggestion — raised as a joke — that they could meet for a debate before the June 7 California primary.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel proposed a hypothetical face-off during a taped interview with Trump on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" talk show.
[Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump 'Will Never Be President'] Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, responded that he would consider it, as long as the proceeds went to charity.
A Trump/Sanders debate, "would have such high ratings," he said.
[Trump Admits he Sometimes Used Aliases] Sanders immediately took him up on it. "Game on," Sanders tweeted. Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
House Republicans passed a bill Wednesday that strips the District of Columbia of any autonomy over how it spends its own money.
The measure, which passed 240-179, seeks to overturn a local law passed by D.C. officials and affirmed by voters in a referendum allowing the city to control how it spends money it raises through its taxes. The House measure also spelled out that all city funding is subject to Congress’s annual appropriations process.
[ DC Budget Autonomy Ban Clears House Committee ] But the debate over the D.C. Budget Autonomy Act isn’t expected to clear a more closely divided Senate, and it faces the threat of a veto by President Barack Obama.
Still, Republicans in the GOP-led House chamber are so determined to keep their grip on the city’s finances that they slipped similar language into the draft of an appropriations bill marked up Wednesday.
[ Bowser, Council Score D.C. Budget Autonomy Victory ] At the same time, the North Carolina Republican leading the charge suggested the language can be inserted into a “must pass” resolution to keep the government funded even if Congress doesn’t pass a budget.