Samar Khurshid

For Planned Parenthood, Videos Take a Toll on Hill

Democrats have rallied to defend Planned Parenthood in the wake of the recent releases of two graphic undercover videos by an anti-abortion group, but the women's health group is already feeling plenty of heat on Capitol Hill.  

On Thursday, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn, introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on federal funding for Planned Parenthood while it is under investigation. More than 100 members have joined her as co-sponsors on the bill.  

Planned Parenthood Videos: Members Call for Dueling DOJ Probes

In the wake of the release this week of another undercover video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for a Department of Justice investigation — but that's where any bipartisan agreement ends.  

Republicans want Attorney General Loretta Lynch to probe whether the nation's largest provider of abortions is illegally harvesting and selling fetal organs and tissue, while Democrats want the Justice Department to look at whether the anti-abortion activists behind the videos went too far with their secretive recordings.  

Planned Parenthood Video Refuels GOP's Abortion Agenda

In undercover film footage of a Planned Parenthood official discussing in graphic detail how to preserve aborted fetal organs for medical research, anti-abortion Republicans hope they've finally found an opening to advance their agenda.  

So far, they have a few things working in their favor. For one thing, lawmakers know the video will evoke a strong emotional response. In it, anti-abortion activists posing as biomedical firm representatives wore hidden cameras to show Planned Parenthood's senior medical services director sipping wine while discussing the terms of fetal tissue shipments.  

Planned Parenthood Video Refuels GOP's Abortion Agenda

In undercover film footage of a Planned Parenthood official discussing in graphic detail how to preserve aborted fetal organs for medical research, anti-abortion Republicans hope they’ve finally found an opening to advance their agenda.

So far, they have a few things working in their favor.

Lawmakers Knew About Planned Parenthood Video Weeks Ago (Video)

When an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive casually discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue and organs went viral Tuesday, House Republicans took notice , with party leaders calling for investigations just one day later. Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued terse statements, the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees announced hearings and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., called for a Justice Department probe into whether the nation's largest abortion provider broke the law in supplying the tissue to medical research firms.  

All in all, it was a furious, news-cycle dominating flurry of Capitol Hill reaction — to a video that at least two top Republicans said they first saw weeks ago. Boehner Calls Planned Parenthood Video 'Disgusting'

Two Conservatives, Two Takes on Ex-Im Rule Vote

If you wanted to understand the difference between the conservative brands represented by the Republican Study Committee and the House Freedom Caucus, respectively, the Wednesday news conference on the Export-Import Bank was a good place to start.  

Conservative Republicans from the House and Senate, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and outside conservative organizations used the news conference to call on GOP leadership to ensure that Ex-Im — often derided as little more than "corporate welfare" by many on the right — is not reauthorized. And while the big news out of the gathering was that Cruz said he was willing "to use any and all procedural tools" to stop Ex-Im — presumably meaning a filibuster — there was also a question about taking down a rule in the House.  

Amber Marchand's Whirlwind Year | Downtown Moves

It's been quite a year for former Senate staffer Amber Marchand, who left her longtime professional life on Capitol Hill and a little later welcomed her third child to the world.  

Marchand, a former staffer for the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Campaign and House Homeland Security Committee, moved to the Senate in 2011, where she worked for Missouri Republican Roy Blunt from the beginning of the 113th Congress until April, when she went to work at Hamilton Place Strategies as managing director. She says she will miss working with Blunt, as well as “seeing so many friends, reporters, and colleagues simply walking through the halls." But, she said she “was grateful to learn from the best in the Senate.”  

Take Five: Rep. Ruben Gallego

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, freshman Rep. Ruben Gallego , D-Ariz., talks about his favorite food, baseball and "The Walking Dead." Q. What’s your favorite cuisine? A. My favorite is Indian food, especially lamb saag and naan. I love naan. Garlic naan is amazing. I could sit and eat naan all day.  

The Pages of History Will Be Televised

For 200 years, congressional pages — the young messengers recognizably clad in blue blazers — have stood on the sidelines witnessing some of the most momentous occasions in the nation’s legislative history. A documentary set to be released this fall will recount that history, the peaks and pitfalls of one of the most prestigious training programs in the country.  

The Capitol page program brought high school students for a semester or a summer to work and study while serving on the floors of the House and Senate. There were even pages at the first Continental Congress, according to Jerry Papazian, founder and president of the U.S. Capitol Page Alumni Association, an independent nonprofit in Washington, D.C.  

The Pages of History Will Be Televised

For 200 years, congressional pages — the young messengers recognizably clad in blue blazers — have stood on the sidelines witnessing some of the most momentous occasions in the nation’s legislative history. A documentary set to be released this fall will recount that history, the peaks and pitfalls of one of the most prestigious training programs in the country.

The Capitol page program brought high school students for a semester or a summer to work and study while serving on the floors of the House and Senate. There were even pages at the first Continental Congress, according to Jerry Papazian, founder and president of the U.S. Capitol Page Alumni Association, an independent nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

Breaking Down the 21st Century Cures Act Vote

The House passed the 21st Century Cures Act Friday with a resounding 344-77 vote, despite worries that a last-minute amendment might derail support.  

The Cures Act, which reauthorizes the National Institutes of Health through 2018, is a bipartisan bill designed to promote breakthroughs in medical research with $2 billion in mandatory annual spending. An amendment introduced by Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., threatened to throw the entire bill off track by providing discretionary funding for the new NIH and Cures Innovation Fund instead of mandatory funds. Despite worries among both parties, however, the Brat amendment was defeated, 141-281.  

D.C.-Area Leaders Protest Donald Trump Hotel

Local leaders from around the nation's capital gathered Thursday on Pennsylvania Avenue to protest at the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion, which Donald Trump is converting into a luxury hotel.  

Their message was simple: "Dump Trump!" This is the latest in the widespread backlash against Donald Trump for incendiary remarks he made about Mexican immigrants last month in a speech announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.  

House Democratic Leaders' Mixed Outlook on Guns

After last month's shooting at an AME church in Charleston, House Democrats are renewing calls for gun-control legislation — but members of leadership have differing outlooks on prospects of anything happening.  

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, speaking to reporters at Wednesday's weekly news conference, expressed frustration with Congress' slow movement on important issues generally. "Congress is spectating," he said. "We seem to be stuck here in Congress in a permanent moonwalk where very little gets done."  

McCain Awards Service Medal to World War II POW

From one military pilot prisoner of war to another.  

Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., awarded a distinguished service medal to a World War II veteran, 2nd Lt. John Pedevillano, at a small ceremony Tuesday on Capitol Hill.  

Himes Consoles Family of Slain Former Intern

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., was in his home state Monday paying respects to the family of former intern Kevin Sutherland, who was stabbed to death on July 4 in Washington, D.C.  

Sutherland, a 24-year-old American University graduate, worked in Himes' congressional office as an intern from September to December 2013. He recently began working as a digital strategist for New Blue Interactive, a new media strategy firm specializing in Democratic campaigns. On July 4, Sutherland was stabbed on a Red Line train as it approached the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station. Sutherland died from his injuries before paramedics could reach him. Police arrested Jasper Spires Monday on a first-degree murder charge.  

Harry Reid Awarded for Environmental Efforts

In the vaulted atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, D.C., more than 500 people gathered Tuesday evening for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Capital Dinner.  

The highlight of the evening, attended by activists, environmentalists and members of Congress, was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who was given a lifetime achievement award for his efforts in promoting environmental conservation and championing attempts in Congress to address climate change. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who is expected to take over Reid's leadership post in 2017 , presented the award to his colleague on behalf of LCV. Speaking fondly of Reid, Schumer called him a “foxhole buddy.”  

Congressional Baseball Game Managers Face Off on C-SPAN

Managers for the Republican and Democratic baseball teams appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" Thursday morning to talk about their odds of victory and the beauty of the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.  

"First of all it is a lot of fun and the members enjoy the game," Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., said. "But three charities receive a real benefit from this game, and that is what really excites us." Last year, according to Doyle, the game raised more than $400,000 for the Washington Literacy Council, the National Dream Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Washington, D.C.  

History Sails Into Alexandria

Almost 235 years after its maiden voyage, the Hermione sails again.  

An exact replica of the French frigate that brought the Marquis de Lafayette with news of France's intervention in the American Revolutionary War against the British docked Wednesday in Alexandria, Va., where it will stay for three days. In 1780, the original Hermione, a 216-foot long French ship sailed from Rochefort, France, across the Atlantic and made port in Boston. The cargo of the ship was Lafayette, who helped rally the French crown to aid America in its revolution.  

Take Five: Rep. Ralph Abraham

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., talks about his cats, flying for the Coast Guard and living in the country. Q. You were a veterinarian before you became a congressman. Do you have any pets and favorite animals? A. I do. I have two cats, Laverne and Shirley. I live in the middle of a cornfield out in the country and we get field mice. The cats keep the mice away. I used to have two Labradors. I love labs. They're my favorite. But they died of old age and we miss them. Being in Congress, we can't find the time to take care of a dog, which is a full-time job. So now we have cats.