April 14, 2015, 1:10 p.m.
In his opening remarks Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added to a growing Senate to-do list, praising bipartisan efforts on education policy, cybersecurity and trade promotion authority while saying bipartisan House-passed legislation replacing Medicare’s sustainable growth rate deserved a Senate vote, despite opposition from some conservatives. McConnell reaffirmed the Senate's need to address human-trafficking legislation before moving to a vote to confirm Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, and McConnell also said Sen. Bob Corker’s bill giving Congress a role in reviewing any Iran nuclear agreement is a high priority. “The legislation is supported by a large number of Democrats. It’s no wonder why,” McConnell said of the Corker-sponsored Iran bill. “The bill is aimed at giving Congress and the American people a say in reviewing and approving an international agreement with such wide-ranging consequences."
April 14, 2015, 11:54 a.m.
As the Senate prepares to take up a bill that would let Congress reject a nuclear agreement with Iran, Speaker John A. Boehner reaffirmed Tuesday that he’s waiting for that bill with open arms. “Congress absolutely should have the opportunity to review this deal,” Boehner said Tuesday. “We shouldn’t count on the administration, who appears to want a deal at any cost.” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has been leading the charge to give Congress the ability to review an Iranian nuclear agreement before it’s finalized. While the votes appear to be there for passage, Corker has been working to line up a veto-proof majority despite objections from President Barack Obama.
April 13, 2015, 4:58 p.m.
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., an outspoken critic of police shootings, took to the House floor again Monday to slam police for the death of an unarmed black man in South Carolina earlier this month, calling on Congress to stop ignoring what Johnson deemed a “crisis." “It feels like open season on black men in America and I’m outraged,” Johnson said. “In fact, all Americans are at risk when bad actors in law enforcement use their guns instead of their heads. Despite bipartisan nationwide calls for action … this Congress does nothing.” In December, the Congressional Black Caucus on the House floor protested a grand jury’s decision to not indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown by repeating the refrain “hands up, don’t shoot.”
April 13, 2015, 3:37 p.m.
As Republicans consider budget reconciliation procedures to undermine parts of the Affordable Care Act, Minority Leader Harry Reid issued a stark defense of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation on the Senate floor Monday, touting a Gallup Poll finding the number of uninsured Americans at its lowest levels since the survey began in 2008. “This is really, really very good news for America. Obamacare is working, more and more evidence is mounting every day,” Reid said. “So it’s time Republicans stop trying to destroy the law that is helping millions and millions of Americans.” Reid’s comments come as Congress prepares to conference over House and Senate-passed budget bills, where reconciliation measures could be incorporated.
April 9, 2015, 4:20 p.m.
Heard on the Hill’s tribute to retiring lawmakers rolls on this week with Sen. Dan Coats and his affinity for grandchildren, massages and showing up to committee hearings on time.
April 8, 2015, 3:30 p.m.
Think you partied hard this spring break? Rep. Cheri Bustos certainly attempted to rock her constituents' world. The Illinois Democrat pounded the skins Wednesday during a swing through a nursing home nestled in her district. Bustos appears to bongo with the best of ‘em, keeping time as best she can while her co-performers chime in via guitar, tambourine and rain stick.
April 8, 2015, 2:07 p.m.
California Rep. Lois Capps announced Wednesday she will not run for re-election. Capps, 77, has represented the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based 24th District since 1998. The Democrat ran in a special election that year to replace her husband, Walter Capps, who died of a heart attack less than a year into his first term in Congress. “Now I believe it is time for me to return home, back to the community and family that I love so much,” Capps said in a video. “And so I’m announcing that this 114th Congress will be my last.”
April 3, 2015, 12:18 a.m.
With Congress out of town, Heard on the Hill pays tribute this week to the longest serving woman in Congress, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who teaches us about “soft-hearted social workers,” calcium-rich beverages and Girl Scout cookies.
March 28, 2015, 11:37 a.m.
Before leaving town for two weeks, lawmakers learned arithmetic, “quacked” at one another and practiced three-point turns.
March 27, 2015, 3:57 p.m.
Speaker John A. Boehner has repeatedly said he doesn’t believe in retribution against the GOP Reps. who didn’t vote for him to be speaker. But Boehner increasingly seems to believe he doesn’t exactly have to reward those members either. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a member who has made no secret of his opposition to many of Boehner’s plans, has found himself kicked off two upcoming congressional trips during the House’s two week recess. According to Gohmert’s office, the Texas Republican was slated to travel with California Republican Dana Rohrabacher “to meet with their friend,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “But his participation was disapproved after all arrangements were made,” his communications director, Kimberly Willingham, told CQ Roll Call.
March 27, 2015, 1:51 p.m.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., announced the release of an immigration “toolkit” in a three-and-a-half minute video posted Thursday, which is designed to inform immigrants of DACA and DAPA policies implemented by the Obama administration.
March 27, 2015, 10:48 a.m.
Longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will not seek re-election, he said Friday. Reid, who sustained face and rib injuries earlier this year in an exercise accident, made the announcement in a video to supporters. "This accident has caused Landra and I to have a little downtime," he said. "I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election."
March 26, 2015, 8:16 p.m.
Florida Democrat Bill Nelson used the annual Senate vote-a-rama to dis Republican Gov. Rick Scott's alleged ban on the terms "climate change" and "global warming." Nelson has an amendment pending aimed at blocking federal agencies from censoring speech related to climate change. It would set up a procedural hurdle to Senate consideration of any future legislation that censors a federal agency's use of climate change science. Nelson called it "common sense" to protect those terms during a Thursday morning speech. "But we have all read news reports at the state level, at the local level, maybe even at the federal level that, indeed, some folks are trying to muzzle scientists from speaking about the science involving the oceans, the atmosphere, climate and the weather."
March 26, 2015, 7:13 p.m.
House lawmakers left for a two-week recess on a high note Thursday, with members of both parties banding together in nearly equal measure to pass a substantive piece of legislation. But unlike the longevity of the bill that permanently ends the "sustainable growth rate" used to calculate doctors' payments for Medicare, and extends for two years the Children's Health Insurance Program, it's highly doubtful the bipartisan comity will endure. At his weekly news conference, Speaker John A. Boehner was not asked if this was the start of a new, more productive working relationship between the leaders. Rather, reporters wanted to know when the next time might be that Boehner will "need" Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to help pass crucial legislative priorities, the assumption being that the speaker will rarely be able to corral his ideologically disparate caucus around bills that need to advance. "When I see one, I'll let you know," Boehner replied.
March 26, 2015, 6:27 p.m.
Speaker John A. Boehner dismissed Barack Obama Thursday as an "anti-war president" unwilling to lead an international coalition against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL; al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. "The world is starving for American leadership, but America has an anti-war president. We have no strategy, overarching strategy, to deal with a growing terrorist threat, and it's not just ISIS or al-Qaida and all of their affiliates," the Ohio Republican said at his weekly news briefing. "If America leads, our allies would be tickled to death and be happy to join our coalition."
March 26, 2015, 4:59 p.m.
Nancy Pelosi seemingly was content to celebrate her 75th birthday with a vote on a Medicare fix. Until she wasn’t. The California Democrat closed her weekly news conference Thursday echoing a request she has made for the past five years: She wants a pool table, she just doesn’t know where to put it. “I still want my pool table,” Pelosi told reporters, a gift she also asked for in 2010. “And it’s not just the pool table. It’s the question of where do you put the pool table, so that is the ongoing debate. I think the dining room is a perfect place.”
March 26, 2015, 3:55 p.m.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was optimistic at her Thursday morning news conference when asked about the fate of a bipartisan Medicare fix she negotiated with Speaker John A. Boehner. “I just have confidence that the quality of what we have done — what has been crafted in the House is really a good, bipartisan initiative, and hopefully that will, in the equities that have to be weighed over there, that they will come down in support of it,” Pelosi said. “I believe this will move, not because anybody’s told me it will, but just because of the quality of the package." The bill, which later passed the House 392-37, received a chilled response from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid earlier in the week: “I personally am going to wait until we see it, having passed the House, before we start speculating on what we need to do with it, if anything.”
March 26, 2015, 1:41 p.m.
In his final floor speech before his March 31 resignation takes effect, Aaron Schock struck a somber tone, thanking his colleagues and constituents while finding time to break one more House rule: bringing coffee into the chamber. The Illinois Republican was on the floor following his final vote to deliver a farewell speech. And as he waited, Schock found all sorts of ways to commemorate his departure. He shook hands with a number of members. He had one last back-patting hug with fellow Illinois Republican Rodney Davis, one last exploding fist bump with Wisconsin Republican Sean P. Duffy. In another violation of House rules, Schock took a picture with his congressional buds Kristi Noem and Jason Smith — or, rather, Bill Huizenga took it for him. Before yielding back his time, Schock also issued an apology: “I leave here with sadness and humility. For those who I’ve let down, I will work tirelessly to make it up to you.”
March 25, 2015, 2:05 p.m.
Abandon all hope, ye who happen to park anywhere near geometrically challenged-motorist Eleanor Holmes Norton. An HOH tipster watched in horror Wednesday as the 77-year-old D.C. delegate awkwardly forced her way into a wide-open spot in the carefully controlled corridor of New Jersey Avenue Northeast sandwiched between the Longworth and Cannon House Office buildings. “If she parks like that she should not be a member of Congress anymore,” one mystified observer — who wisely recorded more than a minute of the automotive travesty — suggests after witnessing Norton reportedly rub the correctly positioned, red sports utility vehicle to her immediate left with her improperly angled, silver sedan.
March 24, 2015, 5:50 p.m.
U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy faced pointed questions Tuesday from members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about officer misconduct and a lack of accountability for rank-and-file agents. Clancy, who has deferred to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general investigation, often opted not to comment on specifics of the March 4 incident where two senior agents allegedly drove their car into White House barricades during investigation of a suspicious package, which infuriated Chairman Jason Chaffetz when Clancy could not answer why it took 11 minutes for Secret Service to alert the Metropolitan Police Department of the bomb investigation. “How do you not — this is what’s so infuriating! You’re the director of the Secret Service. It’s almost three weeks after the incident and you don’t know why it takes 11 minutes to pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, Metro Police Department, we’ve got a problem down here, we need you to help,’” Chaffetz said. “This is the United States of America! The threat is real. But I don’t feel it, I don’t see it, and it’s unacceptable.”
March 24, 2015, 4:02 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid did not commit to supporting an emerging Medicare “doc fix” bill at his weekly news conference Tuesday, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker John A. Boehner continue work on changes to the payment formula for Medicare doctors ahead of March 31, when payments would be cut by 21 percent. “They don’t have a rule yet, the SGR is still a work in progress and I personally am going to wait until we see it, having passed the House, before we start speculating on what we need to do with it, if anything,” Reid said.
March 24, 2015, 3:26 p.m.
At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “hoped” the Senate could advance an anti-human trafficking measure and move to the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general, adding that fast-track trade authorization and the U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations will also be on the agenda in the coming weeks. “I continue to hope we can get pass the dilemma that you’ve all witnessed on the trafficking bill and go forward with that and then turn to the Lynch nomination,” McConnell said. “I know there are people on both sides of the aisle trying to figure out how to get pass the impasse, and I hope they can do that and I wish them well.”
March 24, 2015, 2:12 p.m.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Speaker John A. Boehner said he was “baffled” by a Wall Street Journal report that Israel spied on U.S.-Iranian negotiations and leaked intelligence to members of Congress with the intent of derailing the talks. “I read that story this morning and frankly I was a bit shocked,” Boehner said. “I was shocked by the fact that there were reports in this press article that information was being passed on from the Israelis to members of Congress — I’m not aware of that at all."
March 24, 2015, 1 p.m.
Members occupied their time arguing over the "little guy," monogamous relationships and the correct pronunciation of "Xavier."
March 18, 2015, 4:13 p.m.
Perhaps it was fate. But Rep. Aaron Schock, who tendered his resignation following allegations of improperly using of taxpayer and campaign money, ironically gave his first floor speech in 2009 on the same subject. Less than two weeks after the start of the 111th Congress, Schock took to the House floor in support of an amendment to the TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009, creating a website to track TARP money. “This amendment is about accurate accounting, openness, fair government, transparency and hopefully one day balancing our budget,” Schock said.
March 18, 2015, 2:14 p.m.
Negotiations over Trade Promotion Authority for the White House came under fire Tuesday at a House Financial Services hearing, as Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., hammered Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew over the administration’s lack of law enforcement following reports of tax evasion by multinational companies and Chinese currency manipulation. “The law is clear: if China is manipulating its currency, you’re supposed to designate them. Other than the fact that that would make them really mad and they are cheating less, why haven’t you carried out existing law and designated China a currency manipulator?” Sherman said. “What about the consequence to our constitutional system when the executive branch takes the attitude, 'Congress doesn’t know what it’s doing so we’re not going to follow the law?’”
March 18, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid thanked Sen. Rand Paul Wednesday for his medical advice about his ongoing recovery from the New Year’s Day accident that caused serious eye damage. The public expression of gratitude from Reid came on the Senate floor, while the Kentucky Republican and prospective presidential candidate was presiding over the chamber. The Nevada Democrat recalled for those watching the well-documented exercise accident that led to the significant facial and eye injuries that have forced Reid to don sunglasses often in the aftermath. “During this period of time, the presiding officer, who by the way is a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist, has been so kind and thoughtful and considerate in visiting with me, giving me encouragement and some expert advice as to what he’s seen in the past,” Reid said.
March 17, 2015, 7:29 p.m.
With the Senate deadlocked over an anti-human trafficking bill and a confirmation vote for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, Democrats again hammered Republicans at their weekly news conference Tuesday for their inability to govern. “Hello our Republican friends: You’re in the majority — they still think they’re in the minority,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer said. “They’re putting their own poison pills in their own bill. It’s time to start governing.”
March 17, 2015, 6:19 p.m.
Senate Republicans continued to rail on Democrats for holding up human trafficking legislation at their weekly news conference Tuesday, after the Senate earlier in the day failed to invoke cloture to limit debate on the measure. “Here’s what I really think: Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues don’t like to vote on issues,” Sen. Roger Wicker said. "This was true in the last term of Congress, and Harry Reid led his caucus off the cliff in so doing. What do you do if you’re in the minority and you still don’t want to take votes? You can’t fill up the amendment tree because you’re no longer in the majority.”
March 17, 2015, 5 p.m.
Top House appropriators called Tuesday for the Secret Service to immediately slap down disciplinary action and open its own investigation into allegations that two senior-level agents drove into a White House barricade while drunk earlier this month. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy testified before the House spending panel’s Homeland Security Subcommittee less than a week after lawmakers got word of the incident, and said he plans to wait for the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general wraps up its investigation ibefore he takes action beyond his decision to transfer the officers out of supervisory roles. But lawmakers from both sides of the aisle urged the director to start taking steps toward firing the agents involved, suggesting the agency is trying to buy time and deflect scrutiny by waiting on the IG’s investigation. “Needless to say, we want to get to the bottom of it right away,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the full committee. “To say you’re not investigating because you want the inspector general of the department to investigate is hogwash.”
March 17, 2015, 2:47 p.m.
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., will resign from the House on March 31, following a series of reports questioning his use of taxpayer and campaign money. Schock's most recent floor speech came on Feb. 12, in support of the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act.
March 17, 2015, 2:03 p.m.
Concerns over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a personal email account at the State Department resurfaced Tuesday at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the international financial system, as lawmakers took aim at Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and whether he was aware of the account when he worked at State from 2009 to 2010. “Is it fair to say you don’t want to answer my question Mr. Secretary? Because you know the question I’m asking and you’re refusing to answer it,” Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., said the fourth time Lew dodged a question about Clinton’s personal account. “What I’m assuming is you knew you were corresponding with her on an account that was a non-official account.” Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., quickly shot back, noting the topic of the hearing was over international financial systems, not Clinton’s emails. “So maybe other folks don’t have anything to talk about in regards to the economy and what your job really is, so maybe they’re trying to talk about something else since they have nothing of substance that affects the economy of our country to discuss with you,” he said.
March 17, 2015, 12:52 p.m.
Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., hammered Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew at a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday — not on the international financial system, but over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a personal email account during her time at the State Department. Lew, who was the deputy secretary of State for management and resources from 2009 to 2010, said he “did not recall” whether Clinton used a personal email account.
March 16, 2015, 5:06 p.m.
Minority Leader Harry Reid lambasted Senate Republicans again Monday for delaying the confirmation vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, saying it was “hard to comprehend” the delay as the Senate continues consideration of an anti-human trafficking measure that includes abortion language Democrats have said is a deal-breaker. “She’s waited 128 days — that’s the longest any attorney general nominee has waited in some four decades,” Reid said. "Loretta Lynch’s nomination is on the executive calendar, meaning the Senate can consider her nomination and then immediately move back to the trafficking bill. Any attempt to hold a confirmation hostage because of this abortion provision is a sham.”
March 13, 2015, 5:40 p.m.
Sen. David Vitter quotes his "stupid amendment," Sen. John Cornyn tells his colleagues to "imagine his surprise" and Sen. Debbie Stabenow's staffer cannot stop nodding.
March 12, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday on an Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group became a hotbed for debate over an emerging nuclear weapons agreement between Iran and the United States, as Secretary of State John Kerry found himself defending negotiations between the two nations amid questions over whether the U.S. strategy against ISIS was being influenced by the Iran talks. “There is no grand bargain being discussed here in the context of this negotiation. This is about a nuclear weapon potential. That’s it,” Kerry said. "And the president has made it absolutely clear they will not get a nuclear weapon. Now the presumption by a lot of people up on the Hill here has been that we somehow aren’t aware of that goal even as we negotiate that goal … and it’s really almost insulting that the presumption here is that we’re going negotiate something that allows them to get a nuclear weapon.”
March 10, 2015, 9:20 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid did not want to deal in “hypotheticals” on Tuesday when asked repeatedly about Sen. Robert Menendez’s future, calling the New Jersey Democrat an “outstanding” senator and a “stalwart” former committee chairman. “I try very carefully to not deal in hypotheticals, let’s wait and see what happens before we start speculating on what should happen if something happens,” Reid said. “Let’s wait until we have some real facts before us.”
March 10, 2015, 8:55 p.m.
At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid brushed aside criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over her use of a personal email account at the State Department, saying the reports were a "hiccup" for Clinton. When pressed about whether he had concerns over the account, a possible violation of the Federal Records Act, Reid said he had "no concerns about what she did."
March 10, 2015, 8:29 p.m.
Senate Democrats slammed Republicans on Tuesday for abortion language included in an anit-human trafficking bill, which they claimed was added without their knowledge, while threatening to derail the ostensibly noncontroversial bill. “We’re on the bill. And these provisions, my caucus did not know about them. You can blame it on staff, blame it on whoever you want to blame it on, but we didn’t know it was in the bill,” Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday. “The bill will not come off this floor as long as that language is in the bill.”
March 10, 2015, 7:20 p.m.
Majority Whip John Cornyn on Tuesday pushed back against Senate Democrats who claimed they were unaware of language broadening the scope of the prohibition of federal funding on abortion, saying it was "untrue" Democrats were unaware of the language. "Some of the suggestions being made now that there were provisions in the legislation that people didn’t know about are simply untrue. That presupposes that none of their staff briefed their senators on what was in the legislation, that nobody read a 68-page bill and that senators would vote for a bill, much less co-sponsor it without reading it, and knowing what’s in it,” Cornyn said. “None of that strikes me as plausible.”
March 10, 2015, 6:54 p.m.
One day after Democrats slammed a GOP letter to Iranian leadership, which warned Iran about a potential nuclear program deal with the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday slammed the Obama administration for closing Congress out of the negotiation approval process. "I think it's pretty obvious that the president does not want Congress to have any say so over the bad deal that we are certain — he seems to be inclined to make,” McConnell said. “… To make a deal of this magnitude with one of the worst regimes in the world without any congressional input, leads you to believe he’s going to make the deal that we all fear he’s going to make … and we’ll just see after March the 24th whether there are enough Democratic senators, not to just ensure passage of the [Sen. Bob] Corker bill, but also to ensure that the veto that we anticipate coming … will be overridden."
March 10, 2015, 12:32 p.m.
Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., made her Senate bid official Tuesday, announcing her intention to run in a Web video. “I’m announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate,” she says in the autobiographical video. The five-term congresswoman narrates the 2-minute video, which shows Maryland’s National Harbor in the background. Edwards is the second House Democrat to announce her intention to run for the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Edwards’ colleague, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, announced last week, and quickly earned the endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
March 9, 2015, 6:58 p.m.
Congressional Republicans are in “a rush to war” with Iran, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. But after using the phrase “rush to war,” Earnest caught himself. “The rush to war, or at least the rush to the military option, that many Republicans are advocating is not at all in the best interest of the United States,” Earnest said as he blasted the latest move by Senate Republicans to interject themselves into the critical talks with Iran about its nuclear program by sending an open letter to the regime.
March 9, 2015, 5:31 p.m.
With Sen. Tom Cotton presiding over the Senate, the chamber’s Democratic leaders lambasted the open letter the Arkansas Republican spearheaded with 46 other Republicans to the leadership of Iran. Minority Leader Harry Reid criticized Cotton’s effort, noting the Republican had only served in the Senate for roughly two months before leading the letter and saying his Democrats did not take similar action during President Gorge W. Bush’s administration. “When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, we should put partisanship way to one side. Sadly though, the judgment of my Republican colleagues seems to be clouded by their abhorrence of President [Barack] Obama,” Reid said. “Let’s be very clear: Republicans are undermining our commander-in-chief while empowering the ayatollahs.”
March 6, 2015, 1:36 p.m.
Members spent the three-day workweek trading lines over the Constitution, discussing Twinkies and found time to play Jeopardy! on the House floor.
March 5, 2015, 4:27 p.m.
Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., the only woman to chair a House committee in the 114th Congress, will not seek a 9th term in her Detroit-area district, she announced Thursday. “This is the community that I love, that I call home, and at the conclusion of my current term in office, I will be coming home. I will not seek re-election,” Miller announced in a video posted to Facebook. First elected to Congress in 2002, Miller is one of just 22 women in the House GOP Caucus.
March 3, 2015, 9:33 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, asked Tuesday about lingering concerns over the Capitol Police Department's handling of a controversial State of the Union night car chase, said the force does a "masterful job." The Nevada Democrat, who put himself through law school working as a Capitol Police officer, called himself a "stalwart defender and protector" of the force, saying they have "a job that is very, very difficult. "I try not to be critical — if I am critical it’s constructive in nature, and I’m not going to be picking apart something that’s, 'Somebody doesn’t like the chief or the sergeant at arms.' I’m not going to get into that," Reid said.
March 3, 2015, 9 p.m.
Ahead of a House vote on a "clean" funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he "hoped" the recent stalemate over DHS funding would not set the tone for other legislative agenda items this year, while also placing blame for the impasse on conservative House Republicans.
"Senator [Richard J.] Durbin and I came to the House together. When we came there, there wasn't any of this vote a majority of a majority. You found out how you get 218 votes. That's where we should be in the House of Representatives," Reid said. "They have a small, vocal, right-wing, somewhat strange minority they have over there [and it] shouldn't be running the House of Representatives.”
March 3, 2015, 8:06 p.m.
Three days before Homeland Security department funding was due to expire, the House successfully voted Tuesday to fund the agency through the end of September.
The 257-167 vote puts an end to the lurching uncertainty for the department, but time will tell just how easy it will be for House Republican leaders to move past the drama of the past few weeks.
On Tuesday, every House Democrat made it possible for 75 House Republicans to secure passage of the policy rider-free DHS funding bill the Senate advanced nearly a week ago.
That vote occurred because Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, gave tacit permission for senior appropriator and Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson to force floor consideration of the Senate-passed bill using House Rule XXII.
March 3, 2015, 5:46 p.m.
Ahead of Supreme Court oral arguments tomorrow in a case that could remove subsidies on federally-run state health care exchanges, Sen. John Barrasso outlined a plan Tuesday three Senate Republicans released Sunday to provide transitional relief to individuals while granting broader authority to states over health insurance markets. “Since the beginning of the year, Republicans in the House and the Senate have been meeting together to come up with a proposal to protect the people who are harmed by the law, but not to protect the law itself,” Barrasso said. “We have a temporary bridge plan to transfer power away from the federal government to the states, to individuals, that provides freedom, flexibility and choice at the local level.” Barrasso also noted he and other lawmakers would attend oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case tomorrow at the Supreme Court.