Emma Dumain

Grijalva Wants to Diversify Environmental Movement

It’s not easy being a ranking member on a congressional committee, where any major legislative and policy decision is made primarily at the discretion of the chairman.  

That struggle is particularly potent for Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. The Arizona lawmaker, who is also the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wants to pass bills that address climate change. He wants to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses federal oil and gas leases to pay for public parks and historic sites and is operating on a three-year extension secured in the 2015 year-end omnibus bill. He wants to shield Native American tribes from congressional interference.  

Steve Scalise Defends Planned Parenthood Strategy

House Republicans were skeptical when their No. 3 leader started talking back in September about using the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood, knowing full well it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., though, still counts it as one of the GOP's biggest victories of the 114th Congress. Ever since the GOP captured the majority in the Senate, Republican lawmakers had been holding out on using the Senate filibuster-proof process until there was a solid plan of attack to dismantle elements of the Affordable Care Act.  

The Planned Parenthood elements muddled that strategy a bit; many Republicans wanted to use the appropriations process to address Planned Parenthood, even though that raised the specter of a government shutdown.  

Pelosi's Victory Lap

As the House on Friday overwhelmingly passed the $1.1 trillion government spending bill, Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shook hands on the chamber floor.  

There's an obvious reason for Ryan, just several weeks into the job, to be celebrating his legislative victory. But Pelosi, too, has reason to claim a win. The California Democrat has fewer ways to show strength than when she was speaker, of course. But catch-all government funding measures like the one passed Friday are one way, since conservative opposition to such measures make Democratic support a must.  

Congress Sends Omnibus to Obama

The Senate passed a year-end omnibus package that combined a $1.1 trillion spending bill with a tax extenders measure, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature and wrapping up Congress' 2015 legislative session.  

The Senate voted 65-33 to pass the package, after a series of procedural votes Friday morning. Twenty six Republicans, including GOP presidential hopefuls Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, voted against the package, along with seven members across the aisle, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.  

Congress Sends Omnibus to Obama

The Senate passed a year-end omnibus package that combined a $1.1 trillion spending bill with a tax extenders measure, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature and wrapping up Congress’ 2015 legislative session.

The Senate voted 65-33 to pass the package, after a series of procedural votes Friday morning. Twenty six Republicans, including GOP presidential hopefuls Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, voted against the package, along with seven members across the aisle, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.

Ex-Speaker Hastert Recovering From Stroke

Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is recovering from a stroke as he awaits sentencing for his guilty plea stemming from a hush-money scheme.  

Hastert's attorney, Thomas Green, confirmed the Illinois Republican's health status in a statement provided to Roll Call. “In light of inquiries from the press I am confirming that during the first week of November our client Dennis Hastert was admitted to the hospital," said Green, a senior counsel in the Washington, D.C., office of Sidley Austin. "Mr. Hastert has suffered a stroke and has been treated for Sepsis. While in the hospital two surgeries on his back were performed. We are hopeful that Mr. Hastert will be released from the hospital in the early part of the new year.  

Pelosi Supports Omnibus, but Other Democrats Not Sold

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will vote for the $1.1 trillion spending bill, but it's unclear how many of her more liberal colleagues will follow her lead, a situation fluid enough that members and aides are concerned there might not be enough Democratic votes to offset Republican no votes.  

Members of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American caucuses are inclined to vote against the omnibus, citing a variety of flaws in the bill they can't ignore.

Ryan Gets High Marks for First Big Showdown

John A. Boehner's last days as speaker in October were spent, as he said, cleaning out the barn, or cutting legislative deals to help his successor, Paul D. Ryan, get off to a good start.  

Now that Ryan is close to passing his first real test as speaker by finishing up 2015's legislative business, the Wisconsin Republican is laying the groundwork to keep things tidy in 2016.  

Ryan Gets High Marks for First Big Showdown

John A. Boehner’s last days as speaker in October were spent, as he said, cleaning out the barn, or cutting legislative deals to help his successor, Paul D. Ryan, get off to a good start.

Now that Ryan is close to passing his first real test as speaker by finishing up 2015’s legislative business, the Wisconsin Republican is laying the groundwork to keep things tidy in 2016.

It's A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.  

He'd been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to "regular order" and run the government as it should.  

It's A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.

He’d been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to “regular order” and run the government as it should.

Every December, Why All the Drama?

Every December brings anxieties about Congress finishing its work in time to avert a government shutdown. Christmas cheer is overshadowed by partisan finger pointing; lawmakers have months to come to an agreement on spending priorities and policy riders, but don't.  

Before they headed home this past weekend, many rank-and-file lawmakers paused to consider why they find themselves in a deadline rush every December and whether it will ever be different. Speaker Paul D. Ryan caught people by surprise when he said the day before the government's funding expired that Dec. 11 was an "arbitrary" goalpost.  

Every December, Why All the Drama?

Every December brings anxieties about Congress finishing its work in time to avert a government shutdown. Christmas cheer is overshadowed by partisan finger pointing; lawmakers have months to come to an agreement on spending priorities and policy riders, but don’t.

Before they headed home this past weekend, many rank-and-file lawmakers paused to consider why they find themselves in a deadline rush every December and whether it will ever be different.

Majority Whip Gets New Chief of Staff in the New Year

In the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the year-end scramble will involve a personnel transition in the very senior ranks.  

Lynnel Ruckert, who has served as the Louisiana Republican's chief of staff since he won a special election to the House in 2008, is leaving Capitol Hill after 14 years total as a GOP aide.  

Ryan: House GOP Will Build 2016 Legislative Agenda Together

Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced his big 2016 priority would be advancing a "pro-growth agenda."  

And although he doesn't yet know what that agenda will look like, he wants all Republicans to have a say in its shaping. The Wisconsin Republican said Thursday he's asking his members to come to the annual legislative retreat early in the new year with ideas for what they want the party to accomplish.  

Tuesday Group Wins Big on Steering Committee

The conservative House Freedom Caucus was the first faction to start pushing leadership to expand diversity on the House Republican Steering Committee, but it was the center-right Tuesday Group that ended up winning the lion's share of the influential panel's six open seats .  

It's a modest but significant victory for moderates who want to show their far-right colleagues in the GOP Conference they, too, are capable of coalition-building and exerting influence. Reps. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., were the official Tuesday Group candidates, receiving 42 and 30 votes, respectively. That makes them the first and third highest vote-earners of the 11 contenders vying to serve on the panel for the rest of the 114th Congress. The committee doles out committee assignments to colleagues.  

Meet the 11 Republicans Vying for the Steering Committee

Eleven House Republicans are pitching their colleagues for a seat at the GOP's influential Steering Committee, which determines who gets what plum, or not so plum, committee assignments.  

Elections are scheduled for Thursday to determine the six at-large members who will be installed on the committee, a situation set in motion when new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., kept a promise to conservatives and changed the makeup of the panel, diluting some of leadership's influence. The six lawmakers will only serve on the Steering Committee for the remainder of the 114th Congress, "placeholders" until leadership can reconsider the allocation of regional representatives on the board. The stated goal in reconfiguring the committee is to diversify the ranks for the 115th Congress, starting in 2017.  

Linda Sánchez Announces Democratic Leadership Bid

Elections for leadership positions are still a year away, but Rep. Linda T. Sánchez is laying the groundwork for her campaign.  

The California Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus circulated a letter to each of her colleagues Wednesday asking for their support in her bid to be the Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman for the 115th Congress. "Over the next several months I will work to earn your support to be the next Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus,"Sánchez wrote in her letter, obtained by Roll Call. "I look forward to continuing our discussions about your priorities and share with you my vision of how we can lead our caucus, and our country, forward."  

Democrats Tie Up House Floor to Force Vote on Guns Bill

House Democrats want Republicans to give them a vote on legislation to ban individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.  

On Tuesday, they got to debate the issue — sort of. Members of the House Democratic Caucus launched a plan to force as many as 15 procedural motions to adjourn throughout the day, with others expected throughout the balance of the week, in a bid to force GOP leaders to bring up legislation that would give the attorney general authority to deny gun licenses to anyone deemed to be engaged in terrorist activities.  

King 'Appreciative' of Trump, but Won't Endorse Muslim Comments

Most House Republicans are opting not to respond to Donald Trump's remarks that Muslim immigrants should be barred from entering into the United States. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is not among them , but he wouldn't say whether he agrees with his party's presidential frontrunner.  

King told reporters he is "appreciative" that the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner "has given some of us a little more room to operate." One of Congress' most vocal and unapologetic opponents of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, King said Trump "has triggered ... discussion" about what policies the government should enact to keep the United States safe.