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Senate Holds Moment of Silence on 13th Anniversary of 9/11

On the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Senate remembered those who lost their lives before the start morning business on Thursday.

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Obama Announces Strategy to Destroy ISIS

President Barack Obama wants the approval of Congress as he announces a broad new air war against ISIS, including strikes in Syria, but says he already has the authority he needs. In a speech outlining a new strategy to destroy the group also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, Obama announced an extensive air campaign with no set end date, and plans to rely on others to engage in a ground war — Iraqi forces in Iraq, and Syrian moderates in Syria. “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Obama said.

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House Postpones Vote on Continuing Resolution

The House will postpone its scheduled Thursday vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., made the announcement during the afternoon vote series on Wednesday, saying the delay was needed to give members time to reach an agreement on whether to include Obama administration-requested language to aid Syrian rebels against terrorist insurgents operating under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. McCarthy said the delay was warranted "given the severity of the situation and the need for all members to properly evaluate" the issues.

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McConnell: Obama 'Yet to Find His Footing' on Confronting ISIS

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blamed Obama’s foreign policy for the growth of ISIS and said he wants to president “to lay out a credible plan” to the American people Thursday night. “In my view, we have a duty as a super power, without imperialistic aims, to help maintain international order and balance of power,” McConnell said. “And in my view that international order is maintained by American military might. ... But that is not a view this president seems to share.”

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Reid on ISIS: 'Destroy These Despicable Terrorists, But Let's Do It the Right Way'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is backing President Barack Obama's renewed push for authority to train and equip Syrian rebels as part of his plan to take on the Islamic State, as the president himself is lobbying lawmakers to act before heading home. Reid also said he believes Obama otherwise already has the authority he needs to take on ISIS, and questioned a push for a new authorization to use military force. “We should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them,” Reid said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.

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Reid Wants Border Supplemental, Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization in Stopgap Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would “certainly hope” the stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating into December would include funding requested by the administration for border security and the issue of unaccompanied migrant children, in addition to a re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank. "I think the Ex-Im Bank is extremely important," Reid said. "China for example gives more than four times as much as we do in the same type of a program.”

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Reid Warns of Government Shutdown Over Immigration

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they're inviting a government shutdown. "They have every right to do whatever they want legislatively. If they want to be the lead team of shutting down the government, that's what they're going to have to do," Reid said.

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50 Richest Members of Congress: Why We Did It

Roll Call reporters and editors explain why the newsroom undertakes the 50 Richest Members of Congress list each year. The project takes weeks and isn't easy — and it can even be agonizing — but they detail why 50 Richest is critically important to understanding Congress. Visit Roll Call's 50 Richest Interactive for more.

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The 10 'Poorest' Members of Congress

Roll Call counts down the 10 "poorest" members of Congress, part of the 50 Richest Members of Congress list. Since 1990, Roll Call has calculated the net worth of every delegate, representative and senator to rank lawmakers by their net worth. Visit Roll Call's 50 Richest Interactive for more.

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The 10 Richest Members of Congress

Roll Call counts down the 10 richest members of Congress, part of the 50 Richest Members of Congress list. Since 1990, Roll Call has calculated the net worth of every delegate, representative and senator to rank lawmakers by their net worth. Visit Roll Call's 50 Richest Interactive for more.

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50 Richest Members of Congress: How We Did It

CQ Roll Call's Jay Hunter describes the methodology for the 50 Richest Members of Congress list. Since 1990, Roll Call has calculated the net worth of every delegate, representative and senator to rank lawmakers by their net worth. Visit Roll Call's 50 Richest Interactive for more.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Drop the Mic

Heard on the Hill concludes its August recess flashback with a look at the relationship between lawmakers and their microphones — from the fumbling to the malfunctions, to members who just can't resist the urge to say more.

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McCain: Senate Shouldn't Leave Without Authorizing Use of Force Against ISIS

Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that Congress shouldn't leave Washington for the mid-term election break until authorizing the use of force against ISIS. Speaking with reporters after a campaign event for GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie at a VFW hall, the Arizonan dismissed the idea that the Senate is only scheduled to be in session for two weeks in September, where advancing a continuing resolution to keep the government running will highlight the agenda.

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Candidate Interview: French Hill (R) AR-02

The businessman who is running for the open seat in Arkansas' 2nd District visited Roll Call on June 24.

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Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Act on Immigration

President Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment Thursday to act unilaterally to change the nation's immigration laws before the end of the summer, nearly two months since announcing his plan in a Rose Garden speech. "I've been very clear about the fact that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed," Obama said. "My preference continues to be that Congress act. I don't think anybody thinks that Congress is going to act in the short term, but hope springs eternal that after the midterm elections they may act."

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Obama: US 'Not Taking Military Action to Solve the Ukranian Problem'

President Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed any suggestion of military intervention to address Russia’s further incursion into Ukrainian territory, as Republican lawmakers renewed calls for stronger action. “We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia,” Obama said. “But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming.”

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Obama on ISIS: 'We Don't Have a Strategy'

President Barack Obama said Thursday it's premature to go to Congress to authorize a strategy to defeat ISIS — because he doesn't have one yet. "We don't have a strategy yet," Obama told reporters after being asked about striking ISIS in Syria, saying he didn't want to "put the cart before the horse." The line — sure to be repeated often by his critics — came as Republicans have been repeatedly demanding a strategy to defeat ISIS. Obama said he's asked the military for options to take on ISIS, but a decision to expand strikes into Syria isn't imminent and he suggested it would not happen before Congress returns from recess.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of John Boehner

Speaker John A. Boehner reminds us of his love for tans, long hair and monkeys as Heard on the Hill concludes its 2014 look back.

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Dreamers Ambush Paul Ryan at Colorado Book Signing

Immigration protesters ambushed Rep. Paul D. Ryan Thursday at a book signing in Thornton, Colo., asking about the lack of congressional action on immigration. Ryan was confronted by Greisa Martinez, a national organizer with United We Dream. “I do not understand why you want to deport me and my mother? Why didn’t your party pass immigration reform when you had the opportunity,” she loudly questioned, mentioning the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. “Rep. Ryan, My name is Greisa Martinez I am DACA-mented and I am hear to stay!”

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Earnest: Obama Will Act on Immigration Despite Threat of Government Shutdown

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday President Barack Obama will act unilaterally on immigration, despite new speculation that Republican lawmakers may shut down the government to block executive actions Obama plans to announce by the end of the summer. "It certainly was a shame when Republicans engaged in a strategy to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act," Earnest said. "We would hope that Republicans wouldn't do the same thing again ... over a common sense, bipartisan effort to try to mitigate at least some of the worst problems that are caused by our broken immigration system." To avoid a shutdown, lawmakers must pass legislation to fund the government before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.

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Jindal: Federal Education Regulations 'Cynical, Immoral and Hypocritical'

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., a vocal critic of the federal government's role in education, sued the Obama administration Wednesday over its implementation of the Common Core in Louisiana. "Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C. in control of everything," Jindal said in a statement. During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, Jindal slammed the administration, calling its education policies "cynical, immoral and hypocritical.”

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Candidate Interview: Pete Aguilar (D) CA-31

The mayor of Redlands, Calif., who is running for the open seat in California's 31st District, visited Roll Call on July 16.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Harry Reid

As Heard on the Hill's look back at 2014 rolls on, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid organizes his calendar, greases pigs and pays tribute to his favorite Americans, the Koch brothers.

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Candidate Interview: Mary Rose Wilcox (D) AZ-07

The former member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors who is running for the open seat in Arizona's 7th District, visited Roll Call on July 24.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Nancy Pelosi

Heard on the Hill continues its look back at the best Hits and Misses moments from 2014, this week focusing on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's love for children, baseball and fist pumps.

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Flashdance: Lawmakers Drench Themselves in Ice Water

The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just for late-night funnymen and down-for-whatever daytime news anchors anymore. Lawmakers have caught the water hurling-bug and Roll Call has compiled the best of the best into two minutes of glory. Party on, congressional splash dancers!

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Candidate Interview: Nan Hayworth (R) NY-18

The former congressional representative who is challenging Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., visited Roll Call on Tuesday, July 22.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Mitch McConnell

With the August recess underway, Heard on the Hill is looking back at the best Hits and Misses moments you may have missed — or just need to watch again. This week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell focuses on nodding, smiling and clearing his throat.

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Obama Signs VA Overhaul

President Barack Obama signed the overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday at Fort Belvoir in Virginia — but not before dinging the Senate for failing to confirm more of his nominees for senior VA jobs. Several members of Congress received shoutouts from the president: Sens. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., and Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine. Obama called the long wait times "outrageous" and suggested the bill would help newly appointed VA Secretary Robert McDonald get rid of employees who have engaged in misconduct.

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MTV Plugs Interior Department's Instagram

MTV admirably took a break from showcasing Teen Moms and Teen Wolves to advertise the Instagram account belonging to the US Interior Department. The only problem? The department was completely in the dark about the commercial, until HOH tipped them off. “You saw our Instagram on a commercial? We are not running TV ads anywhere in the US to our knowledge. Do you have more info?” the Interior Department tweeted. The brief commercial — which flashes serene nature shots plucked from Interior’s Instagram account while featuring a soothing, female voice — appears to have been created by MTV, since it ends with the station’s logo in the corner. “Did you know the US Interior Department has an Instagram account?” the commercial begins. It continues: “So pretty, oh yea, right there, beautiful. Thanks America.”

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Senate Republican: US Immigration System 'Unlawful,' Lacks 'Integrity'

Prior to effectively adjourning for five weeks, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., used Tuesday's Senate session to hammer President Barack Obama for proposing changes to immigration laws at the end of the summer without consent from Congress. The administration is reportedly considering an executive order to provide legal status and work authorization cards to 5 million to 6 million of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, which Sessions called 'unlawful.' "I've urged the president to reconsider this plan and to adhere to his plain statements where he has expressely stated he did not have the power to do what he now, in a complete reversal, states that he will do," Sessions said during a nearly 30-minute floor speech. "It is important for the Congress to stand up and resist the complete errosion of its powers. If these actions are taken, we will have effectively opened the borders of America. We are nearly there already." Following a pro forma session Friday, the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 2 p.m. on Sept. 8.

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C-SPAN Caller: 'Liberalism' to Blame for DC Homeless Population, Alcoholism

The District of Columbia's "No Taxation Without Representation" license places can apparently be quite jolting to tourists, but perhaps not in the way advocates hope. An Oklahoma woman who identified herself as "Donna" called into C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program on Aug. 1, griping about a three-day family vacation to the District and the many things that "appalled" her family, including the license plates. Donna told Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., that she saw alcoholics and people sleeping on the streets and said her family "couldn't find a park bench to sit on" because of the large homeless population. Norton, a lawyer and civil rights activist in her 12th term representing the District, had a long list of positives about her hometown to rebuff the caller's claims.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 28

As cell phones, rhetorical questions and Chinese drywall graced the House and Senate floor, some members prepped for "summer vacation" while others just could not wait to get to Waffle House.

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Gutiérrez to House Republicans: 'Only Cowards Scapegoat Children'

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a vocal advocate of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, delivered a blistering floor speech Friday night before the House voted to effectively end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “Only cowards scapegoat children, and only those who are ashamed of themselves do it in the night on a Friday,” Gutiérrez said to House Republicans. “In January you were saying that all of the Dreamers should get green cards and citizenship … Now, Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz are literally writing the immigration script for the Republican Party.”

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Pelosi, Republicans Trade Shots Over Immigration Bill

House Republicans voted to prohibit President Barack Obama from granting what they consider to be an unconstitutional amnesty to illegal immigrants Friday by effectively ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The measure sparked one of the most vitriolic debates in recent memory. Democrats hurled accusations of xenophobia, cowardice and racism against Republicans. Republicans shot back, saying they were not acting out of insensitivity, but out of concern for the separation of powers that Obama, in executing DACA, has allegedly disregarded.

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Michele Bachmann: 'Handcuff' the 'Lawless President's Hands'

Tea party firebrand Michele Bachmann suggested late Friday on the House floor that Congress should put handcuffs on the "lawless president's hands" — a remark that brought a rebuke from the chair and appears to violate House rules. The Minnesota Republican made the figurative remark while speaking on the floor during debate on legislation ending the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program granting deportation relief and work permits to some children brought to the United States illegally by their parents. The legislation also would prohibit President Barack Obama from expanding the program to other illegal immigrants as the president reportedly is considering whether to expand the program to as many as 5 million people. Bachmann said House passage of the bill would "put a handcuff on one of the president's hands" and said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., should bring the Senate back and pass the bill.

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Hot Mic: Senator Can't Wait to 'Jet' Out of Town

As the Senate worked through a series of procedural motions and votes on Thursday night, one senator just wanted catch his flight home. Caught on a clerk's microphone as the roll call for a vote on the Highway Trust Fund patch was read, the senator tells the clerk it is time for "summer vacation." "We have a plane home ... [at] 9:30," the senator says to the clerk. "Bags are packed, ready to go ... leaving on a jet plane." Although the Senate is in session today, the next vote series is scheduled for Sept. 8, when senators return from a five-week recess.

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McCain: Lack of Amendments on Border Supplemental 'Unbelievable'

As the Senate debated how to proceed to an emergency supplemental spending package to address an influx of child migrants at the Southern border, wildfire suppression and funding for Israel's Iron Dome, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., decried the inability of senators to offer amendments on the bill. "I say shame on you for not allowing those of us who represent the states that are most affected by this to have an amendment; an amendment voted on. I mean that, that is unbelievable to me." Republicans after used a budget point of order by Senate Budget Chairman Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to kill the Senate bill 50-44, 10 votes shy of the 60 votes needed.

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Pelosi: House Floor a 'Mess'

As House GOP leaders scrambled to whip votes on a border supplemental bill Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the closing hours before the August recess a "mess" on the House floor. "The Republicans do not have time to raise the minimum wage, but they have time to sue the president of the United States. They do not have money to feed the children, help the American people, but they want a blank check to sue the president," Pelosi said at her Thursday news conference. "They've lost moral standing in what's happening on the border, and they have no standing in suing the president." Earlier, chaos reigned as the House GOP leaders’ carefully crafted gambit to win conservative votes fell apart before calling a 3 p.m. meeting to discuss emergency funding to address the child migrant crisis.

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Boehner: I Will Not 'Accept Responsibility' for Senate Inaction

Speaker John A. Boehner pinned the blame for the child migrant crisis at the Southern border on President Barack Obama Thursday, hours before House GOP leaders ditched their plans to vote on a border supplemental after failing to secure the votes to pass it. "Where's the president's proposal?" Boehner asked, responding to a question about whether Obama should act unilaterally to address the influx of child migrants. "The president says, give me $3.7 billion, but don't do anything to address the real problem on the border. ... I think that's totatly irresponsible." House Republicans called an emergency 3 p.m. meeting and said votes are still possible before jetting out of town for the August recess.

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Cantor Delivers Final Speech as Majority Leader

Eric Cantor delivered a somber farewell as majority leader Thursday, telling his House colleagues that he has "truly lived the American Dream." In a "one-minute" speech that lasted nearly 10 minutes — the standing ovation alone stretched to 60 seconds — Cantor delivered a doleful goodbye from his leadership post.

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McConnell: Obama 'Scuttling Reform and Prolonging' Border Crisis

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday it was “exasperating” working with the White House on a solution to the child migrant crisis at the Southern border, blasting President Barack Obama over a recent West Coast fundraising trip. “Scuttling reform and prolonging a crisis are not part of his job description,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. “Press pause on the non-stop photo ops and start demonstrating some real leadership instead.” McConnell’s comments came ahead of a planned motion Thursday afternoon to proceed to a border supplemental bill, even as the House and Senate continue to disagree on a top-line spending amount to address the crisis.

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Reid Warns of Weekend Work in September

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is warning of a whirlwind September schedule that will feature a slew of do-over votes on Democratic campaign priorities. "I want everyone to know what's going to happen when we come back. Following the August recess, we're going to convene on Sept. 8, and we're going to be here for one week, two weeks and two days. Sept. 23 is our target date to adjourn until after the election," the Nevada Democrat said when opening the Senate floor Thursday for the last expected session day before the August break.

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House Votes to Sue Obama

The House voted mostly along party lines Wednesday to authorize suing President Barack Obama, which Republicans called a principled move to rein in an increasingly lawless president and Democrats and the White House dismissed as a taxpayer-financed political stunt. The resolution adopted 225-201 would authorize a lawsuit against the president over his implementation of the Affordable Care Act, with five Republicans joining all the Democrats in opposition — Paul Broun of Georgia, Steve Stockman of Texas, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina. GOP leaders plan to sue over his decision to delay the employer mandate without authorization from Congress.

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Toomey Amendment Skipping Environmental Review in Post-Disaster Rebuilding Fails

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., which would speed up the rebuilding of transportation infrastructure following natural disasters. "This is just common sense," Toomey said on the Senate floor before the vote. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., however, said the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee already created an expedited process for post-disaster projects and said Toomey's amendment could lead to "tremendous abuse" by over-riding environmental laws.

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Reid: House Border Funding Bill an Opportunity to Conference on Immigration Overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that if House Republicans pass a proposed $659 million emergency funding bill to address the child migrant crisis at the Southern border, it could serve as a chance to go to a conference committee on the Senate's 2013 immigration overhaul legislation. "Well, if they pass that, maybe it's an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform," Reid said at his weekly news conference. "They're finally sending us something on immigration, maybe we can do that." Speaker John A. Boehner blasted Reid's comments, saying the majority leader "is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.”

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House Republican: Obama, Democrats Now Party of 'Because We Can'

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., slammed the Obama administration Tuesday for its enforcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, blaming it for the influx of child migrants at the Southern border. Blackburn said the policy was "unlawfully created" when issued by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012 and said the executive action was another example of President Barack Obama "circumventing" Congress. The Tennessee Republican is pushing legislation to defund DACA along with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "Sadly, the president and the Democrats have moved from the party of 'yes we can' to the party of 'because we can,’" Blackburn said.

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House Judiciary Committee Pays Tribute to Fmr. Rep. M. Caldwell Butler

Former Rep. M. Caldwell Butler, a Virginian congressman who came to office in the midst of President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment, died early Tuesday. He was 89. The Judiciary Committee recognized the loss of the Roanoke congressman Tuesday, with Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., announcing Butler’s passing. Goodlatte, the current representative for Virginia’s sixth district, remembered Butler as “a public servant in the truest sense of the word.”

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Bill Foster Recognizes 'Star Wars Day' on House Floor

Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., discusses the fifth annual "Star Wars Day" at the Joliet Public Library during a June 12 speech on the House floor.

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Leahy to Introduce Bill Scaling Back Government Surveillance

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy on Tuesday introduced a new surveillance overhaul bill that has the backing of civil liberties groups, but leaves an open question about what a House and Senate compromise on intelligence might look like. Leahy’s bill would ban bulk government collection and storage of telephone metadata under Section 215 of the law known as the Patriot Act. If passed, the Vermont Democrat said the bill “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.”

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