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The Continuing Education of Elton Gallegly

Gallegly walks down the Capitol steps after a series of votes in 2012, his last year in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A college dropout who learned the hard way that cutting ties with Congress is sometimes easier said than done, former Rep. Elton Gallegly is currently contemplating how to best prepare the next generation of public servants.  

“How many people really know what public service is?” the 13-term California Republican, who has since lent his name and lifetime of experience to the eponymous Elton and Janice Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement at California Lutheran University , posited Tuesday.  

Republicans to Start 2016 by Targeting Obamacare

Ryan and other GOP leaders are anticipating the president's gun annoucementl. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans will begin the 2016 legislative session with another vote attacking the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, and are also prepping their response to President Barack Obama's upcoming executive actions on gun control.  

The House will vote Wednesday on a reconciliation measure to repeal most of Obama's signature domestic achievement. It will be the chamber's second vote on the measure, which the Senate altered to roll back more of the health care law than the original House version. Using the budget reconciliation process allowed the Senate to consider the measure without the threat of a filibuster. WH Skeptical GOP Will Pass Mental Health Funding

Best Non-Boehner Leadership News of 2015

We won't have Boehner to kick around anymore. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House leadership news in 2015 was dominated by Speaker John A. Boehner's decision to resign and  Paul D. Ryan's path to be his successor. but the year brought several other moments of leadership intrigue: Beyond the Scalise Scandal:  House Republicans started off the year defending Majority Whip Steve Scalise  after word got around the Louisiana Republican spoke to a group of David Duke-affiliated white supremacists back in 2002.  Quelling calls for the No. 3 House Republican to resign was probably not how House leaders wanted to start the year , but Scalise survived, and even got a vote of confidence from Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a colleague from the state legislature.  

A Freedom Caucus is Born:  Far-right members of the House split from the traditional confines of the Republican Study Committee to form the House Freedom Caucus in late January , signaling that they wanted a more united voice when disagreeing with leadership. Founded by nine members, the Freedom Caucus quickly grew to about 40 and hounded Boehner in particular. HFC member Mark Meadows, R-N.C., filed the motion to vacate the chair and oust Boehner, an act that contributed to the Ohio Republican's resignation.  

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.  

Congress Sends Omnibus to Obama

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate passed a year-end omnibus package that combined a $1.1 trillion spending bill with a tax extenders measure, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature and wrapping up Congress' 2015 legislative session.  

The Senate voted 65-33 to pass the package, after a series of procedural votes Friday morning. Twenty six Republicans, including GOP presidential hopefuls Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, voted against the package, along with seven members across the aisle, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.  

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.  

Pelosi Supports Omnibus, but Other Democrats Not Sold

Pelosi will support the omnibus, but some of her Democratic colleagues are still on the fence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will vote for the $1.1 trillion spending bill, but it's unclear how many of her more liberal colleagues will follow her lead, a situation fluid enough that members and aides are concerned there might not be enough Democratic votes to offset Republican no votes.  

Members of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American caucuses are inclined to vote against the omnibus, citing a variety of flaws in the bill they can't ignore.

GOP Went Big With Tax Deal

Ryan's influence was felt on the tax deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Big is the word that can best be used to describe the tax extenders package the House will vote on Thursday: big in policy, big in cost, big compared to past efforts and a big win for Republicans.

Lawmakers have not passed a significant tax bill since the 2012 fiscal cliff deal that staved off massive tax hikes. Since then, Republicans have expressed interest in making moves on taxes, but little happened until retiring Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., released his plan. After it failed to gain traction, Camp brokered a deal last year with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make 10 expiring tax provisions permanent, but the White House threatened to veto the package before it was finalized. When the tax extenders bill was released late Tuesday, it called for the permanent renewal of 22 tax breaks and several other sweeteners. In doing so, it also provided a down payment on a more ambitious overhaul of the tax code, a priority for Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who started off the year in his dream job by replacing Camp as head of the House tax-writing panel. Ryan Touts GOP Riders in Spending Bill 

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.  

Majority Whip Gets New Chief of Staff in the New Year

Scalise will get a new top aide in the new year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the year-end scramble will involve a personnel transition in the very senior ranks.  

Lynnel Ruckert, who has served as the Louisiana Republican's chief of staff since he won a special election to the House in 2008, is leaving Capitol Hill after 14 years total as a GOP aide.