life-in-congress

Steve Scalise Defends Planned Parenthood Strategy

Scalise, left, says Republican priorities are reflected in the way his office approached the Planned Parenthood defuding effort. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans were skeptical when their No. 3 leader started talking back in September about using the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood, knowing full well it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., though, still counts it as one of the GOP's biggest victories of the 114th Congress. Ever since the GOP captured the majority in the Senate, Republican lawmakers had been holding out on using the Senate filibuster-proof process until there was a solid plan of attack to dismantle elements of the Affordable Care Act.  

The Planned Parenthood elements muddled that strategy a bit; many Republicans wanted to use the appropriations process to address Planned Parenthood, even though that raised the specter of a government shutdown.  

Ex-Speaker Hastert Recovering From Stroke

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is recovering from a stroke as he awaits sentencing for his guilty plea stemming from a hush-money scheme.  

Hastert's attorney, Thomas Green, confirmed the Illinois Republican's health status in a statement provided to Roll Call. “In light of inquiries from the press I am confirming that during the first week of November our client Dennis Hastert was admitted to the hospital," said Green, a senior counsel in the Washington, D.C., office of Sidley Austin. "Mr. Hastert has suffered a stroke and has been treated for Sepsis. While in the hospital two surgeries on his back were performed. We are hopeful that Mr. Hastert will be released from the hospital in the early part of the new year.  

It's A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins

Republicans said Ryan deserved high praise for creating a more inclusive, collaborative environment in the lead-up to the omnibus negotiations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.  

He'd been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to "regular order" and run the government as it should.  

Meet the 11 Republicans Vying for the Steering Committee

One of Ryan's first acts as speaker was to reconfigure the influential Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eleven House Republicans are pitching their colleagues for a seat at the GOP's influential Steering Committee, which determines who gets what plum, or not so plum, committee assignments.  

Elections are scheduled for Thursday to determine the six at-large members who will be installed on the committee, a situation set in motion when new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., kept a promise to conservatives and changed the makeup of the panel, diluting some of leadership's influence. The six lawmakers will only serve on the Steering Committee for the remainder of the 114th Congress, "placeholders" until leadership can reconsider the allocation of regional representatives on the board. The stated goal in reconfiguring the committee is to diversify the ranks for the 115th Congress, starting in 2017.  

Linda Sánchez Announces Democratic Leadership Bid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Elections for leadership positions are still a year away, but Rep. Linda T. Sánchez is laying the groundwork for her campaign.  

The California Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus circulated a letter to each of her colleagues Wednesday asking for their support in her bid to be the Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman for the 115th Congress. "Over the next several months I will work to earn your support to be the next Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus,"Sánchez wrote in her letter, obtained by Roll Call. "I look forward to continuing our discussions about your priorities and share with you my vision of how we can lead our caucus, and our country, forward."  

Democrats Tie Up House Floor to Force Vote on Guns Bill

Israel said Democrats wanted to "shame Republicans into giving us a vote on stopping terrorists for buying guns in America." (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want Republicans to give them a vote on legislation to ban individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.  

On Tuesday, they got to debate the issue — sort of. Members of the House Democratic Caucus launched a plan to force as many as 15 procedural motions to adjourn throughout the day, with others expected throughout the balance of the week, in a bid to force GOP leaders to bring up legislation that would give the attorney general authority to deny gun licenses to anyone deemed to be engaged in terrorist activities.  

King 'Appreciative' of Trump, but Won't Endorse Muslim Comments

King said he wouldn't say whether he agreed with Trump on his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most House Republicans are opting not to respond to Donald Trump's remarks that Muslim immigrants should be barred from entering into the United States. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is not among them , but he wouldn't say whether he agrees with his party's presidential frontrunner.  

King told reporters he is "appreciative" that the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner "has given some of us a little more room to operate." One of Congress' most vocal and unapologetic opponents of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, King said Trump "has triggered ... discussion" about what policies the government should enact to keep the United States safe.  

Black Caucus Chairman Seeks Partnership With Paul Ryan

Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is interviewed by Roll Call in his office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield wants the House to address poverty in America, and feels he may have an unlikely partner in new Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.  

“We got into the weeds with him,'' Butterfield said of a past meeting between Ryan and the CBC, which took place before Butterfield was made CBC chairman. "He convinced me he understood pervasive poverty in America.”  That meeting was in the spring of 2014, after Ryan made a controversial comment about poverty being caused by the “tailspin of culture” in “inner cities” where men don’t work or “value the culture of work.”  

Judiciary Chairman Puts Gun Onus on Executive Branch

Goodlatte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The member of Congress leading oversight over the Justice and Homeland Security departments, as well as terrorism and crime, said Thursday it was up to the Executive Branch, not Congress, to make sure guns didn't get into the wrong hands.  

"The biggest thing that we can do in regards to gun violence is enforce the laws that we currently have on the books," House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., said during a taping of C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" that is set to air Sunday. "We have hundreds of them at the federal level, thousands of them at the state and local level, and the record over the last six years is one of steadily declining enforcement." Democrats have consistently criticized Republicans for not moving legislation to tighten gun laws, particularly after this week's San Bernardino shootings. Several gun-control amendments were voted down in Senate consideration Thursday of the budget reconciliation measure.  

Cynthia Lummis: 'The Only Republican Woman'

Lummis frequently found herslef the only woman in many GOP circles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis was elected to Congress in 2008, she wanted to be a “reformer” and rein in spending and squelch bills that infringed on states’ rights.  

She’ll retire at the end of 2016, having fallen short of accomplishing her objective. “It has not been the Congress that I hoped it would be during my seven years,” she recently conceded in an interview with Roll Call.