Sept. 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

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House Republican: Obama to Blame for Short-Term Transportation Bill Fix

House Republicans reached back to recent history Tuesday to rebut Democratic critics who blame them for not working on a multi-year transportation authorization bill. Rep. Don Young of Alaska asked why President Barack Obama, at the height of his power in 2009, did not push for a multi-year transportation bill supported by then-Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota.

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House Amendment Could Make D.C. the Nation's Most Permissive Gun Jurisdiction

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., decried a House proposal Wednesday that would effectively wipe out all of the District of Columbia's gun safety laws. "This amendment is being offered by a member who claims, at every turn, to support the principle of local control or local affairs, yet he is using the big foot of the federal government to overturn local laws," Norton said. The amendment was proposed by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., one of Congress' most outspoken libertarians.

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Senate Confirms Federal Judge 17 Years After Nomination

Roughly 17 years after first being nominated, Ronnie L. White is finally on his way to becoming a federal judge in Missouri. The Senate confirmed White, 53-44, to a seat in the Eastern District of Missouri after limiting debate earlier in the day with 54 affirmative votes, short of the 60 that used to be required for cloture before Democrats used the "nuclear option" in 2013 to effectively change the rules. White's nomination during the Clinton administration eventually fell on a party-line vote in 1999, 45-54. Republicans had the majority in the Senate at that time. Ahead of Wednesday's action, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called the original vote "a grievous error."

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McConnell: Obama's Healthcare Actions 'Creative,' 'Maddening'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would not specifically address Speaker John A. Boehner's proposed lawsuit against President Barack Obama on Tuesday, but the Kentucky Republican said Obama had taken a "rather expansive view of his responsibility to faithfully execute the laws." "And he's been particularly creative … with regard to Obamacare ... and it is maddening. I think the best response for the American people might be this fall to change the Senate.”

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McConnell, Cornyn Tout Border Crisis Measure

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, defended a proposed fix to a 2008 trafficking law on Tuesday, which is backed by Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. "I think there's a lot of misunderstanding -- this is not a criminal trial in the context of the OJ Simpson case, this is rather straightforward and simple petition for benefits under the immigration law," Cornyn said, later adding he would not support a "blank check" for the administration. "This problem is growing and a backlash associated with it is growing too."

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Reid Balances Highway, VA and Emergency Funding Bills Before August Recess

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did not commit to firm timetables Tuesday, but said he "hoped" the Senate would not leave for the August recess before addressing President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency funding request. Reid also defended the Senate's work to address the Highway Trust Fund and the Department of Veterans Affairs, while throwing his support behind the Export-Import Bank reauthorization.

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Reid: Cornyn-Cuellar Bill 'Too Broad,' Border is 'Secure'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday he would oppose proposed legislation from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, that would revise a 2008 trafficking law at the center of the child migrant crisis on the Southern border. "From all the reports I've gotten on the legislation the answer from me is 'no,' I won't support it," Reid said, later adding the proposal was "too broad; it addresses more than just the border problem."

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Senate Chairman: 'Culture of ESPN' is 'Undermining our Commitment to Education'

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., criticized ESPN at a hearing on the NCAA and student-athletes on Wednesday, saying the network was "undermining our commitment to education." “This country is now so soaked in the culture of ESPN, plus I guess a couple of other stations, and watching football, baseball, world soccer all the rest of it. My own view is it’s undermining our values,” Rockefeller said. “I’ll tell you one thing for sure: I think it’s undermining our commitment to education.”

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 7

As members discuss Jesus and car brakes, Rep. Mike Simpson says members need to know when to "shut up."

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Pelosi Still Supports Senate-Passed ENDA Despite Diminishing LGBT Support

As advocacy groups withdraw support for a Senate-passed bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signaled Thursday that she was still prepared to support the legislation should it come to the House floor. "I think it would be a great advancement," the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference. "Everybody has to make an accommodation." A coalition of influential LGBT rights organizations jointly pulled endorsements earlier this week of the legislation, partly in protest of the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. The Senate bill's "conscience clause," they said, is now too bitter a pill to swallow.

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Pelosi: 'It's Totally Irresponsible' for Boehner to Sue Obama

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had stern words for Speaker John A. Boehner's, R-Ohio, developing lawsuit targeting the president Thursday, dismissing the proposed action as "subterfuge" and "totally irresponsible." "It's a distraction," Pelosi said of an intended lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of overstepping his constitutional authority with the use of executive actions.

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Boehner Says Border Crisis Won't Get 'Blank Check'

One day after President Barack Obama urged Congress to move quickly on a request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the Texas border crisis, Speaker John A. Boehner made it clear the spending supplemental will not be rubber-stamped. "We’re not giving the president a blank check," Boehner said during his weekly press conference Thursday.

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House Passes Social Media Homeland Security Bill

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to establish a social media working group within the Homeland Security Department to provide guidance and recommendations for first responders when terrorist attacks and other emergencies occur. Chairwoman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., and ranking member Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., led debate on the bill called the “Social Media Working Group Act.”

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Reid: House GOP 'Kicking Dirt' to Distract Nation With Obama Lawsuit

House Republican leaders are acting like one-time LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, "kicking dirt at the umpire" to distract the nation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday morning. The Nevada Democrat torched GOP leaders for pursuing "stunts" such as a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and for spending $3.3 million on the select Benghazi committee. Reid, who also accused House Republicans of blocking a deal to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs, recalled Lasorda's legendary fights with umpires, which he said were often stunts intended to distract from other problems on his team. And he said GOP leaders are doing the same thing.

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Mitch McConnell: It's Clear Thad Cochran Won Mississippi Runoff

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dismissed allegations from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of impropriety in the Mississippi Republican primary — but noted it’s an issue for state officials to decide. “I assume the people in Mississippi will look at what ever complaints are filed,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked to comment on Cruz’s call for an investigation in to voter fraud. “That is what typically happens in a post election situation if there are complaints filed they are dealt with at the state level.” “I think it’s pretty clear who won. Sen. [Thad Cochran, R-Miss.,] ran a very successful runoff campaign and got the most votes," McConnell added. "But anybody is entitled to contest the outcome and that may well may happen in Mississippi.”

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Senate Republicans Lament Lack of Amendments

With a packed July work period awaiting the Senate, Republicans on Tuesday called on Majority Leader Harry Reid to refrain from votes to score political points, while Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., called on the Nevada Democrat to reopen the amendment process on the floor. "The House of Representatives this week will pass the sixth appropriations bill," Blunt said at the Senate Republicans weekly news conference. "And they've done that the old fashioned way, also known as the constitutional way, where you bring the bills to the floor, use this long-forgotten process in the Senate called amendments, and let every member bring every amendment they want to bring."

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Hobby Lobby, Immigration Supplemental At Top of Reid's July Agenda

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans a packed July work period with the Senate expected to consider a raft of bills, including a Democratic response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the emergency immigration supplemental spending bill. "We have so much to do this month," Reid said after a meeting with his Democratic colleagues. "At the caucus that I just completed we weren’t able to get through all the issues. So we have to finish our work on Thursday just to talk about them."

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Reid: There is a 'Crisis' at Southern Border

At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not address any Democratic objections to the White House's $3.7 billion emergency spending request for child migrants and wildfires, instead deferring to Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski. "No one has seen any legislative language; Mikulski is going to have a hearing … Thursday. I think we'll know more then," Reid said. "We have to pass emergency supplemental [funding], to provide resources to deal with the crisis at the border, and we do have a crisis at the border."

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What You Missed: An Independence Day Parade in 69 Seconds

When Independence Day rolls around in an election year, it means the Roll Call photojournalists head out to small towns in contested districts across the country to catch candidates and beauty queens marching in their local parades. This year I found myself at the Ripley, W.Va., Fourth of July parade billed as "the USA's Largest Small Town Independence Day Celebration." This is a collection of every frame I shot of the parade, most which never get filed or shown publicly. The music is a recording I captured on my iPhone of local musicians hanging out under a tree. Leo Enoch was on guitar and Leonard Whiting was on banjo. Have a look for yourself as Roll Call presents 623 photos of the parade in 69 seconds.

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The Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 3 Minutes

From the opening stretches to Speaker John A. Boehner's slow jam, watch members in all their glory as the Democrats capture their sixth-straight coveted Roll Call trophy 15-6.

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Earnest: 'Constitutional Lawyer in the Oval Office Disagrees' With Hobby Lobby Decision

Congress should act to restore insurance coverage of contraception benefits after Hobby Lobby’s big win in the Supreme Court, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. Earnest said the decision jeopardizes the health of women by depriving them of federally mandated benefits for contraceptive services, and said the president doesn’t believe that bosses at for-profit companies should be able to impose their beliefs on the benefits provided to their employees.

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Wyden: 'Why Hasn't the Bulk Collection of Americans' Phone Records Been Ended?'

Sen. Ron Wyden is raising additional concerns about "backdoor" queries of communications by American citizens by federal intelligence and law enforcement authorities. During an open hearing on June 5, the Oregon Democrat pressed the Obama administration about the collection of records. "Why hasn't the bulk collection of Americans' phone records been ended?" Wyden said. "The fact that this dragnet surveillance is taking place right now is unacceptable to me."

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Obama Acting 'Without Congress' on Immigration; House GOP Unable to 'Pass a Darn Bill'

President Barack Obama will not wait any longer for House Republicans to pass an immigration bill, after Speaker John A. Boehner told him he will not allow a vote this year, the president said Monday. "Last week he informed me that Republicans will continue to block immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year," Obama said Monday in a Rose Garden statement where he announced he would go it alone on immigration, "without Congress," as far as he can. Obama said he believes Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill, but he hasn't been able to pass anything despite a year and a half of trying. "America cannot wait forever for them to act," Obama said.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.

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Obama: 'Just Not True' Government is the Enemy

Responding to a question from a federal worker about federal pay freezes, sequestration and furloughs, President Barack Obama pivoted to broadly defending the federal government during a town hall event in Minneapolis, Minn on Thursday. "Folks in the federal government, the overwhelming majority, they work really hard doing really important stuff," Obama said. "I don't know when it was that somehow working for government, whether the state or local or federal level, somehow became not a real job. This whole idea that somehow government's the enemy, or the problem, is just not true."

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Email Search Warrant Provision Added to Spending Bill

Among the 12 annual spending bills that fund the federal government, the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill is generally one of the more contentious. But during a markup of the House’s fiscal 2015 version, there wasn’t any fight when it came to an amendment targeting a law that allows federal agencies to obtain emails older than 180 days without a search warrant. The amendment, offered by Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder would bar money in the bill (which applies only to fiscal 2015 and covers certain agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service) from being used to require email service providers to disclose contents of customer emails without a warrant. The panel adopted it by voice vote during Wednesday’s markup.

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Democrats Celebrate Baseball Win on House Floor

Democratic Manager Mike Doyle brought the coveted Roll Call trophy to the House floor Thursday, celebrating the Democrats 15-6 win over the Republicans in Wednesday's Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. "This year we broke two records: we broke an attendance record last night and we also broke a record for the amount of money raised for the charities, over $400,000 for three charities," Doyle said. "I want to congratulate the Democratic baseball team — this is our sixth victory in a row, not that we're counting." Republican Manager Joe L. Barton of Texas was quick to counter. "While you've won six games in a row, we've won about 60 votes in a row here on the House floor," Barton said. "I will tell the gentleman that won't be permanent either," Doyle replied.

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McConnell Announces Passing of Former Majority Leader Howard Baker

The Senate is mourning the loss of one of the chamber's great leaders. Former Majority Leader Howard Baker Jr., R-Tenn., has died. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made the announcement on the floor of the Senate. "It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of the Senate's most towering figures: Senator Howard Baker. The Senate sends its sincere condolences to the family of Senator Baker," the Kentucky Republican said.

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Boehner: 'We'll See' if House Reauthorizes Ex-Im Bank Before Deadline

Speaker John A. Boehner again declined to commit to a re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank at his weekly news conference Thursday, telling reporters "we'll see" when asked if the House would "sort through" the issue prior to the Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the Bank's lending authority. "There's a big debate going on in our conference, and we're just going to have to sort our way through this. My job is to help facilitate the sorting through of this so that we can get to an outcome."

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Boehner Confirms He'll Sue Obama Over Executive Actions

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio confirmed Wednesday that he will initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the House against President Barack Obama over the administration's use of executive actions. Boehner, saying he believes the president is ignoring laws passed by Congress, cast the move toward a lawsuit, first reported by Roll Call, as a continuation of the age-old struggle over the balance of powers among the three branches of government. "This is about defending the institution in which we serve," Boehner told reporters. "What we've seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch. I believe the president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country, and behalf of the institution and our constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress."

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Luis Gutiérrez: House GOP Role in Immigration Overhaul is 'Over'

"Republicans have failed America, and failed themselves." Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., attacked Republicans on the floor Wednesday, renewing calls for the House of Representatives to take action to overhaul the nation's immigration laws nearly one year after the Senate passed bipartisan immigration legislation. Gutiérrez's call to action comes amid Speaker John A. Boehner's announcement Tuesday of a GOP task force to address the crisis at the southern border. "I gave you the warning three months ago, and now I have no other choice; you're done," Gutiérrez said, addressing House Republicans. "Your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year is over."

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Senate Democrat: Obama 'Must' Come to Congress Before Iraq Military Action

A longtime ally of President Barack Obama says he must come to Congress before taking military action in Iraq, except to secure the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said Obama "must seek congressional approval" before launching military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) unless there is a direct and imminent threat to the United States, such as a threat to the U.S. Embassy. There is no such imminent threat now, Kaine said.

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The 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game

Established in 1909, the Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game has been played continuously since 1962, with Democrat and Republican members of Congress competing for the coveted Roll Call trophy.

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Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Some ballplayers rack up win after win from the pitcher’s mound. Others bash hit after hit. Managers capture the coveted Roll Call trophy and put it on display in their offices. Any of these career paths can lead to recognition and honors. But what about the low-key player who, over the course of 14 years, out-pitches his more celebrated teammates, wins an MVP award for his defensive prowess, changes the way pitchers are handled — and is the only player to ever strike out a Hall of Famer? One man has accomplished all of the above, and for that we have selected former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., as the 2014 inductee into the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame.

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McConnell Unsure Whether He Will Support Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he had not decided if he would support reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank at his weekly news conference Tuesday. McConnell, who is campaigning for re-election, was quick to point out he did not vote for the last authorization, and stressed his support or lack thereof should not prevent the Senate from considering the issue. “I think we ought to take it up,” he said. “The last time it was up I didn’t support it, but I don’t think that’s an argument for not bringing it up.”

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Reid Plans Vote to Reauthorize Export-Import Bank

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he plans to hold a vote on the Export-Import Bank before its authorization expires at the end of the fiscal year. “I think it’s really important that we have legislation like this that has the wide support of business groups around the country; it’s something that creates jobs,” Reid said. But he declined to speculate when that would be and whether it would be considered separately or as part of a package, like a continuing resolution that may be needed to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year.

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Reid: Not Funding Highway Bill Would Be 'A Real Shame'

When the Senate returns from the July Fourth recess, lawmakers will have just about two weeks to fix a shortfall in funds for federally-backed highway projects, with both parties again in a dispute over taxes. Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., made a presentation during Tuesday's caucus lunch, and after Majority Leader Harry Reid said not funding surface transportation would be "a real shame" at his weekly news conference. Wyden said Tuesday the trust fund will go out of balance on July 18.

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Reid Says Unemployment Extension Up To Boehner

It's up to the House to act next on an unemployment extension, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday. “We need to get some movement in the House,” he said at his weekly press conference. “We’ve already passed an unemployment extension over here and the House, in their typical fashion, has done nothing.”

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White House Intern Faints at Press Briefing

A White House intern fainted at the end of a press briefing Tuesday, one day after Press Secretary Josh Earnest took over the position Jay Carney held for three years. According to the White House pool report, it was the intern's first day on the job.

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Gowdy Says IRS Has 'No Idea' Whether Lerner Engaged in Criminal Wrongdoing

Former prosecutor and South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy relentlessly questioned whether the IRS had mishandled or destroyed evidence in what potentially could be a criminal case during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday. "How would you know what elements of the crime existed?" he demanded of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "You don't even know what statutes are in play. You don't have any idea.”

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Issa to IRS Commissioner: 'I've Lost My Patience With You'

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee went after IRS Commissioner John Koskinen again Monday, while Democrats on the panel reserved much of their ire for Chairman Darrell Issa. Issa, involved in a high-profile clash earlier this year with ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., hammered Koskinen over the lost emails of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation, concluding his opening questions by telling the IRS commissioner, "I've lost my patience with you."

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The Self-Proclaimed 'Senate Comedian' Shows His 'Caucasian Skills'

Scanning the crowd in the back room of downtown D.C. sportsbar, Senate doorkeeper Scott Muschett, the self-proclaimed "Senate Comedian," decided the script for his five minutes at the mic was all wrong. Muschett claims his "Caucasian Skills" routine -- promoted to friends and acquaintances on Capitol Hill via flyers, his website and his @SenateComedian Twitter presence -- was dubbed by comedian Dave Chappelle. Quick-talking and deprecating, Muschett is sometimes likened to Rodney Dangerfield, but he's got an overtly political angle. "I do this basically as a Democrat with a spine to eviscerate political correctness," Muschett told CQ Roll Call prior to taking the stage. "That is the torch that I carry."

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'Ms. Ethics' Carol Dixon Remembered on House Floor

Carol E. Dixon, director of advice and education for the House Committee on Ethics, died Monday from unknown causes. She was 44. Dixon had worked at the committee for 11 years. Family and colleagues described her as an excellent baker, devoted aunt, passionate Michigan football fan and sharp legal mind.

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Rangel on Primary Opponent: 'What the Heck Has He Done Besides Saying He’s a Dominican?'

In his first televised debate with primary challenger Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., snapped at the state senator who if elected could become the first Dominican-American in Congress, saying, “Just what the heck has he done besides saying he’s a Dominican?” Rangel is seeking his 23rd term in the House of Representatives.

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Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner: 'Nobody Believes You'

Rep. Paul D. Ryan led a parade of House Republicans Friday ripping into IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and the tax agency's handling of emails related to the targeting of conservative groups. The Wisconsin Republican told the former Clinton and Bush administration official, who was brought in last year by the White House to clean up the IRS, "Nobody believes you." Questions about the IRS and its handling of conservative groups during the early days of the Obama administration have ramped up dramatically in the past week, amid revelations the agency has irretrievably lost months of emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the scandal.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 16

As summer approaches, members turned to flavored e-cigarettes, arithmetic and CIA analysts on acid to make it through the heat of the week.

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Members Beat Babes in Congressional Women's Softball Game

After a tough loss last year, the women of Congress reclaimed the pink trophy Wednesday in the 6th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, beating the female journalist team, the Bad News Babes, 10-5. The lawmakers and journalists faced off on a muggy evening at the Watkins Recreation Center to compete in the annual game, which benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity. Scores of Hill staffers, journalists and members of Congress came out to cheer for their favorite players while Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also made appearances.

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Members Celebrate Softball Win on House Floor

Members joined together on the House floor Thursday to celebrate their 10-5 victory over the press in the 6th Annual Congressional Women's Softball Game. Co-Captain Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said members beat the press "badly" and said she was hopeful the game set an example of how members can set aside politics to work together. "Unbelievably, the press seems to be absent — they want to cover us on everything else — but they seem to be absent in observing these proceedings."

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Members Celebrate Softball Win on House Floor

Members joined together on the House floor Thursday to celebrate their 10-5 victory over the press in the 6th Annual Congressional Women's Softball Game. Co-Captain Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said members beat the press "badly" and said she was hopeful the game set an example of how members can set aside politics to work together. "Unbelievably, the press seems to be absent — they want to cover us on everything else — but they seem to be absent in observing these proceedings."

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Kirk Pays Tribute to Staffer Lisa Radogno

Lisa Radogno, executive assistant and scheduler to Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., died Wednesday of a massive pulmonary embolism that may have resulted from complications following a car accident earlier this year. She was 31 years old. In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Kirk called her "one of the brightest lights of our DC office" and "somebody that I will miss with every fiber of my being."

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