robert-goodlatte

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.  

Breaking Down the 21st Century Cures Act Vote

Upton, left, and DeGette high-five Max Schill, 6, after the House moved the 21st Century Cures Act. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed the 21st Century Cures Act Friday with a resounding 344-77 vote, despite worries that a last-minute amendment might derail support.  

The Cures Act, which reauthorizes the National Institutes of Health through 2018, is a bipartisan bill designed to promote breakthroughs in medical research with $2 billion in mandatory annual spending. An amendment introduced by Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., threatened to throw the entire bill off track by providing discretionary funding for the new NIH and Cures Innovation Fund instead of mandatory funds. Despite worries among both parties, however, the Brat amendment was defeated, 141-281.  

Pro-Immigration Provision Stripped From Defense Bill

Brooks' amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan coalition came close Thursday to protecting immigration-related language in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act — but not close enough.  

A 221-202 vote on an amendment, offered by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., stripped a provision in the underlying bill encouraging the Pentagon to study options for enlisting undocumented immigrants into the military in exchange for a pathway to legal status.  

Latest GOP Immigration Showdown Headed to Floor? (Updated)

Gallego's pro-immigration language in the defense spending bill could imperil the passage of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:14 p.m. |  The question of whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military — a thorny debate that has split Republicans in the House — is headed for a risky floor vote.  

A vote stripping out pro-immigration language on the issue, which is currently tucked into the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, is welcomed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have clamored for a return to "regular order."  

Immigration Fight Could Return to House This Month

Denham will try again to include in this year's defense bill a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the armed forces. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy opened his Friday memo to House members regarding May's legislative agenda by quoting Steve Jobs and praising Republicans for the victories they've overseen in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress.  

But GOP success stories may be overshadowed later this month when Republicans again face one of the most politically dangerous and unforgiving issues for the party: immigration. In considering the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, members could see a repeat of last year's meltdown over Rep. Jeff Denham's plans to offer as an amendment his so-called ENLIST Act, which would provide a legal-status pathway to certain undocumented immigrants in exchange for military service.  

Lawmakers Push Longshot Bid to Rewrite Voting Rights Act

Sensenbrenner seeks more Republican support for a revived Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner fell short in his 2014 efforts to convince GOP leadership to take up his Voting Rights Amendment Act, but the Wisconsin Republican is ready to take another stab at passing a rewrite of the historic law.  

But there's little indication this year will be any different.  

The Anti-Cantor: Dave Brat on Bringing Rationality to Washington

Brat raises his right hand as his wife Laura looks on during the ceremonial swearing-in Nov. 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s 7:49 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 — the first day of Congress’ Thanksgiving recess — and Dave Brat is 11 minutes early.  

The man who unseated former Majority Leader Eric Cantor is meeting me at a Starbucks in Navy Yard before driving down to the Richmond suburbs for his first constituent town hall as a congressman. It’s part of a pledge he made to visit all nine counties in his district every month, and Brat has every intention of keeping his word.  

GOP Gavel Fights: 11 House Committee Chairmanships In Play

Hensarling may have a challenger for the Financial Services' gavel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost every House member is on the stump this month, wrapping up re-election bids, with most cruising to new terms and a handful on both sides of the aisle scrambling to hang on to their jobs. But for a select few GOP lawmakers — those actively seeking committee chairmanships — the final days before Nov. 4 are as much about lining up support among colleagues as they are about connecting with voters.  

Every two years, after the Election Day dust settles, members return to Capitol Hill for a lame-duck session that includes the selection of colleagues to serve as senior lawmakers on the chamber's standing committees during the new Congress.