oversight

Watch Live: House Hearing on Flint Water Crisis

President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, Mich. on Jan. 16 freeing up federal aid to help with lead-contaminated drinking water. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich.  

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Flint are among the witnesses expected to testify.  

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.  

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.  

Congress Has a List of Deadlines, Is Checking It Twice

Ryan has a long month ahead. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress returns this week for a pivotal work period with multiple deadlines, a busy schedule for an institution that tends to wait until the very last minute to get things done.  

House lawmakers will spend the next four legislative days laying the groundwork on crucial pieces of legislation for the rest of the month, negotiating terms and conditions among themselves and with their counterparts across the aisle and Rotunda.  

White House Loses Votes to GOP on Syrian Refugee Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leadership braced Thursday for at least 60 defections on the Republican bill to strengthen the vetting of Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States.  

It wasn't quite that high, but 47 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with nearly every Republican for Congress' first legislative response to the terrorist attacks in Paris — despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The coalition of Democrats supporting the measure, which passed 289-137, wasn't atypical of previous votes for which leadership could not justify opposition. Articulating a reason to vote "no" on a bill sold as one to keep Americans safe was the challenge for White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who delivered a pitch to House Democratic whips Thursday morning that was criticized as incoherent and unconvincing.  

House Democrats Plan Alternative to Syrian Refugee Bill

Lofgren tried to get changes made to the GOP refugee bill due on the floor Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:15 p.m. | House Democrats will use procedural gambits to get a vote on their proposal aimed at easing concerns about Syrian refugees coming to the United States but without completely blocking their resettlement.  

The partisan maneuvering has the potential to weaken support for a Republican-backed bill set to come to the floor Thursday. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, but the bill is expected to pass with GOP votes and some from fiscally conservative Democrats.