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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.  

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.

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.  

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.  

House Staffer Takes Stand in Capitol Arrest Hearing

Eidinger was charged with unlawful entry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A House staffer took the witness stand in District of Columbia court Thursday, in a case that has raised questions about Capitol Police policy toward protesters.  

Outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform staff director Sean McLaughlin testified that he acted in his professional capacity when telling protesters they would be asked to leave if they were disruptive, in a case stemming from an April arrest of D.C. activist Adam Eidinger during a committee markup.  

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.  

Congresswoman Left for Dead at Jonestown Recalls the Massacre, 37 Years Later

(Bettmann/Corbis /AP Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier knows exactly how it feels to be left for dead.

On Nov. 18, 1978, she was shot five times on a remote airstrip in Guyana, South America. Her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others lay dead nearby, killed by gunfire as they tried to escape Jonestown, the commune built by cult leader Jim Jones.

Key Chairmen Could Be Booted From Steering Committee

Ryan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every committee chairperson could soon have a voice in who gets appointed to his or her panel, according to a proposal to revamp the Steering Committee that's being mulled by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and a seven-member task force.  

But there's a catch: The six chairmen who already have permanent seats on the Steering Committee would have to step aside. The goal is to create a more inclusive culture in the House Republican Conference that Ryan, R-Wis., has promised to promote.  

Appropriator Praises Speaker 'Sonny Boy' Ryan

Lowey, D-N.Y. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans showed Thursday they were willing to give Paul D. Ryan a chance when they overwhelmingly elected him the 54th Speaker of the House.  

Democrats are also showing signs of enthusiasm for the Wisconsin Republican's promotion. Appropriations Ranking Member Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told CQ Roll Call shortly after Ryan's swearing-in ceremony she had "enormous respect" for the incoming speaker, with whom she said she grew close following a congressional delegation trip to Saudi Arabia nearly a decade ago.