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During a Tuesday speech on airstrikes launched against the terrorist organization ISIS, President Barack Obama touted bipartisan congressional support and said the United States will do "what's necessary to take this fight to this terrorist group." "I've spoken to leaders in Congress, and I'm pleased that there's bipartisan support for the actions that we're taking," Obama said before heading to New York for meetings at the United Nations. "America's always stronger when we stand united, and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do what's necessary to defend our country." Obama touted the Arab coalition that joined in the strikes — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar — while also pointing to the vote Congress took to support Syrian opposition forces that oppose ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.
With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle's house.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., slammed the Obama administration and Congress Thursday for waging a "dishonest" war in Syria based on the 2001 AUMF. "Listen carefully: Your representatives are sending $500 million to people who will tactically ally with al-Qaida," Paul said. "We voted to go to war in Afghanistan and I supported going into that war because we were attacked and we had to do something about it. But the thing is, that vote had nothing to do with this. Absolutely nothing to do with this. You are a dishonest person if you say otherwise." The Senate later passed a continuing resolution 78-22, funding the government through Dec. 11 and arming and training Syrian rebels to fight the terror group ISIS.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued an impassioned plea for U.S. weaponry Thursday to help his country’s defense against Russia and the Ukrainian separatists that Moscow has been supporting for the past year. Speaking before a rare joint meeting of Congress, the Ukrainian leader acknowledged the non-lethal military aid that the Obama administration has provided Ukraine so far. But he said Ukrainian soldiers needed weapons. “They need more military equipment, both lethal and non-lethal,” Poroshenko said to loud applause and one of many standing ovations from lawmakers assembled in the House chamber. “Blankets and night-vision goggles are important, but they can’t win the war with blankets.”
President Barack Obama praised Congress Thursday for passing a measure to fund the federal government through Dec. 11 and to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. "I'm pleased that Congress, a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate, have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria so they can help push back these terrorists," Obama said. "I want to thank leaders in Congress for the speed and seriousness with which they approached this urgent issue."
Former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday, but not in his capacity as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, or for any business connected to his Miami-based consulting firm. The Florida Republican who retired from the House in 2010, instead, came to testify at an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing "to examine federal efforts on suicide prevention." Diaz-Balart — whose brother, Rep. Mario-Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., still serves in office — appeared before the panel to speak, for the first time in public, about the May 2013 suicide of his son, Lincoln Gabriel, who was then 29-years-old.
Secretary of State John Kerry criticized the anti-war group Code Pink while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday, telling the group to think about how it would deal with ISIS. The group protested administration officials testifying on Capitol Hill this week, as the White House laid out its strategy to combat ISIS. “I understand dissent. I’ve lived it. I respect the right of Code Pink to protest … but you know what? I also know something about Code Pink. Code Pink was started by a woman, and women, who were opposed to war but who also thought that the government’s job was to take care of people … and if that’s what you believe in, and I believe it is, then you ought to care about fighting ISIL. Because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women,” Kerry said. “And frankly Code Pink and a lot of other people need to stop and think about how you stop them and deal with that.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., hammered Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday, telling the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the administration is “exercising the worst judgement possible” in handling the threat posed by ISIS. “Do you realize how unserious, the things that you have laid out and the things that were laid out yesterday, sound?” Corker said. “You’re asking us to approve something that we know, the way you’ve laid it out, makes no sense. … It seems like a political answer.”
A day after a New York man was indicted on charges of trying to provide support to the Islamic State, top federal officials expressed concern to Congress about the reach the terrorist group could have via the Internet to inspire Americans to carry out domestic attacks. “Someone can do it in their pajamas in their basement,” FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Homeland Security Committee during a hearing Wednesday morning. “These are the homegrown violent extremists that we worry about, who can get all the poison they need and the training they need to kill Americans, and in a way that is very hard for us to spot."
After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate. House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.
A Senate Democrat is floating a proposal that could increase the government's leverage over the activities of professional sports leagues like the NFL. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Wednesday that he's planning legislation to impose a sunset on the antitrust exemptions enjoyed by the National Football League and the other pro sports. The former Connecticut attorney general called the response of the NFL to the domestic violence incident involving now-former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice something "right out of the 1950s, out of an episode of 'Madmen.'"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hammered her hometown football team Wednesday, saying the San Francisco 49ers should not allow Defensive End Ray McDonald to play following allegations he assaulted his pregnant fiancée in August. “It’s hard for me to understand how people are punching-out their wives at home … but it does happen an it’s and issue we’ve been working on for a very long time,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “Our coach says, ‘innocent until proven guilty, due process,’ all of that, but the fact is he shouldn’t have played.”
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., slammed the State Department during the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s inaugural hearing Wednesday for failing to change its structure on approving temporary facilities abroad, which Roskam said could lead to another Benghazi-like situation. “[When asked], ‘Are there any plans for temporary facilities in the future?’ you were pretty clever in how you responded. You said, ‘We don’t have any plans for it and I’m not likely ... to approve it,'” Roskam said, addressing the State Department’s Gregory B. Starr. “You’re not offering anything as it relates to fundamental change.”
House Democratic leaders aren't whipping votes on the continuing resolution and an amendment to give President Barack Obama authority to arm Syrian rebels against the terrorist group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi used her regularly-scheduled Wednesday morning news conference to make an impassioned case for members to support their president. "I don't know how the vote will turn out," the California Democrat said. "It's not a vote we whip. We just don't whip war votes. But I do think that, as members weigh the factors, that they will, I think, give points to the president for all that he has done, diplomatically, politically, humanitarian-wise and ask for this distinct piece."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he would support a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 while also signaling his support for a separate measure to arm Syrian rebels to combat ISIS.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would not discuss what a Republican-led Senate agenda would look like if the GOP recaptures the majority this November, but said there's "almost no likelihood" Democrats would win the House. "I think the races are yet to be won," McConnell said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. "We're hoping to have a really good year. We're hoping the American people will agree with us that it might be time to try something different after six years in a row of the same old thing."
Majority Leader Harry Reid would not answer hypotheticals about losing control of the Senate this November, instead reasserting the strength of Democratic candidates during his weekly news conference on Tuesday. "All elections are the same in this sense: anything six weeks or two months out from an election is all based upon the candidates, not what's going on nationally," Reid said. "I just think any talk about Republicans taking control of the Senate is really premature and not based upon fact."
A decade ago, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., pushed on the Senate floor for a holiday to celebrate the Constitution, "the document that establishes the duties and rights of citizenship," according to the late senator. During a Sept. 20, 2004, speech on the Senate floor, Byrd detailed his proposal while speaking to the relationship between the president and Congress with respect to war powers. "The framers ensured that the people, through their elected representatives in Congress would control the military so that it could not become a tool of government repression against their own people or a way for presidents to lead the nation into foreign misadventures.”
A shot of the Tamworth hogs at Turner Farm in Maine, courtesy Roll Call's Warren Rojas.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, tells the audience at Turner Farm about the food they will eat.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, tells the audience at Turner Farm about the food they will eat.
The White House is not ducking the word “war.” Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged the United States is “at war with ISIL” during a Friday news conference, but was also insistent in noting it will not be like the previous Iraq War, reiterating no ground forces would be engaged in combat. "In the same way that the United State is as war with al-Qaida and its affiliates around the globe, the United States is at war with ISIL," Earnest said. "This is not a situation of ISIL against the United States. ISIL is waging a war against the broader international community.”
After a five-week recess, members returned to discuss the "crisis with ISIS" and Dick Cheney while reminding C-SPAN viewers to "tweet, tweet, tweet."
If Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is correct, President Barack Obama's delayed executive action on immigration may be coming sooner than expected. During the California Democrat's weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi asked for those affected by the immigration issue to be hopeful that "by Thanksgiving or Christmas" there'd be "more security in their lives."
Speaker John A. Boehner forcefully beat the drums of war Thursday, suggesting more action would be needed to defeat Islamic State group terrorists than just U.S. air strikes or the arming of Syrian rebels. “An F-16 is not a strategy,” Boehner said during his weekly news conference. “And airstrikes alone will not accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.” Boehner said President Barack Obama had made clear that he doesn’t want U.S. boots on the ground. “Well somebody’s boots have to be on the ground,” Boehner said.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The businessman who is running for the open seat in Arkansas' 2nd District visited Roll Call on June 24.
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."
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.”
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.”
The mayor of Redlands, Calif., who is running for the open seat in California's 31st District, visited Roll Call on July 16.
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.
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.