Roll Call Staff

Paul Ryan Defends CBO Role as Referee
Speaker makes comments one day after White House swipe

One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. 

“Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman. 

Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.

22 Million More Uninsured Under Senate Health Care Bill, CBO Says
$321 billion would be saved over 10 years

The Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million over a decade to 49 million, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. This estimate likely will increase the challenges for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in trying to pass the bill before the July Fourth recess.

In comparison, the version the House passed May 4 would increase the uninsured population by 23 million over a decade, the CBO said last month. The Senate bill would save $321 billion over a decade, more than the House bill’s $119 billion reported by the CBO last month.

Scalise Gets Good Vibes from Colleagues

The injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise wasn’t far from his colleagues’ thoughts Tuesday, as several of them wished him well and provided impromptu status reports on the Louisiana Republican’s condition. 

Scalise “is doing a lot better,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at an event at the National Association of Manufacturers on Tuesday. “He’s responding, breathing on his own,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Vague Signs of Movement on GOP Health Care Measure
Legislative text could be available within days

Senators returned to work on Tuesday in an escalating atmosphere of uncertainty about legislation to alter the U.S. health insurance system, with outstanding questions about the measure’s timing, cost and even the chamber’s committee schedule.

Before the Senate gaveled in, Democrats signaled they would invoke the so-called two-hour rule that restricts the time and duration of committee meetings. The upshot is that panels that meeting in the morning would largely be cut off after two hours, and any hearings scheduled to take place in the afternoon would be rescheduled.

Highlights From the Congressional Baseball Game
Winning Democrats elect to put trophy in Scalise’s office

After a tight first couple of innings, the Democratic team blew the game open on their way to an 11-2 win Thursday at the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game.

The day after a gunman opened fire at the Republican team’s practice session, the winning Democrats elected to put the coveted Roll Call Trophy in the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was one of five wounded in Wednesday’s attack. News that he had come out of his third surgery in two days and that his condition was improving was released just before the game started.

A Note to Our Readers
Roll Call extends its longtime support for the Congressional Baseball Game

To our readers,

Partisan rancor reached new levels during the past election season and has persisted through political tussles over policy.

Highlights From Comey’s Trump Hearing
Fired ex-FBI director gives his side of conversations with Trump

In one of the most highly watched congressional hearings since the days of Watergate and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, former FBI Director James B. Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his conversations with President Donald Trump, who fired him in May, about the investigation into some of his associates’ ties to Russia.

Comey is testifying Thursday in an open hearing in the morning and in a closed session in the afternoon.

Montana Candidate Gianforte Cited for Misdemeanor Assault
Witnesses say Republican body-slammed and punched journalist

Updated Thursday 1:08 a.m. | Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Thursday’s special election in Montana, was cited for a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening after allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman earlier that day.

On the eve of a special election in which many early votes have already been cast, it’s unclear what effect the incident could have on what has been expected to be a close race. Gianforte has been ahead by single digits in most public and private polling. But Montana’s largest newspapers pulled their endorsements of the two-time GOP candidate Wednesday night, and Democratic outside groups lost no time producing digital ads using Jacobs’ audio of the altercation. 

ISIS Strategy Gets an Update
National security officials outline Trump administration changes

Senior national security officials Friday outlined what they claim is a new approach to addressing the Islamic State, the same day President Donald Trump left for an extended overseas trip with the first leg of the journey touching down in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump has authorized a change in tactics in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The tactical shift moves to a campaign aimed at surrounding and then seizing ISIS’ urban strongholds in order to prevent the escape of fighters.

House Oversight Requests Trump-Comey Communications from FBI
Sets May 24 deadline

The House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the FBI Tuesday night requesting all communications between President Donald Trump and former bureau director James B. Comey.

Earlier in the evening, Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz tweeted that he had his subpoena pen ready after a New York Times story alleged Trump had asked Comey to drop an investigation into ties between former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia.

Rising Stars 2017: Advocates
On the front lines in a new era

All this week, CQ Roll Call has been looking at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

Rising Stars 2017: Administration Staffers
A mix of fresh and familiar Washington faces

Over the course of this week, CQ Roll Call is taking a look at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

Rising Stars 2017: Hill Staffers
Two experienced hands make the list

Over the course of this week, CQ Roll Call is taking a look at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

Rising Stars 2017: Members of Congress
Four lawmakers to watch

Washington has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump, but there are many in this city who will now wield power and influence either through their wits, careful planning or just dumb luck. 

CQ Roll Call has identified 17 of these people to watch in 2017. Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. 

Shots Fired Near Capitol Building
Traffic incident near Botanic Gardens involved gunshots

Capitol Police walkie talkies started blaring “shots fired” shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, a jarring start to the workday as members of Congress, staffers and visitors arrived at the Capitol grounds. 

A Capitol Police source said there was a traffic incident that involved gunshots being fired. The source said no one was injured and the suspect was in custody as of 9:40 am. The source also said there was damage to a police cruiser.

Republicans Cancel Vote on Health Care Bill
Democrats chant ‘Vote, vote, vote’

The House on Friday canceled a scheduled vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, in what could be a catastrophic blow to the party’s seven-year campaign against the law.

Cheers could be heard from the House Democratic cloakroom as the news spread.

The Latest on Republican Health Care Bill Vote
With Republicans unable to corral enough votes, bill is pulled from the floor

House Republicans on Friday pulled their health care bill from the floor on Friday when it became clear they didn’t have the votes to pass the measure, dealing a major setback to their efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law that was the centerpiece achievement of President Donald Trump’s predecessor.

The announcement came after a frenzied two days of lobbying when major divisions emerged between leadership and its conservative and moderate blocs.

House Heads to Do or Die Vote on Health Care
White House threatens to walk if health bill fails

Regardless of whether the votes are sewn up, the House will likely vote Friday on Republican leaders’ plan to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law — and President Donald Trump is willing to walk away from the effort if the measure fails in the chamber. 

In a closed-door meeting of the Republican conference attended by Trump’s senior aides, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, Counselor Kellyanne Conaway and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the president’s aides delivered the message that they were done negotiating and the time was now to vote, win or lose.

New DNC Chairman Tom Perez Calls Donald Trump a Fraud
President claims election was ‘rigged’

Newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez didn’t waste any time taking on President Donald Trump in very blunt terms, describing him as a fraud on Sunday.

“Literally hours into the Trump Administration, he was a fraud,” the former Obama Administration labor secretary said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”