steve-scalise

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.  

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.  

House Takes Steps to Revive Ex-Im Bank

Hensarling, left, and Boehner. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Monday night to reopen the Export-Import Bank, making history by successfully employing a quirky procedural gambit for the first time in decades.  

Sixty-two Republicans bucked their leadership to join with every House Democrat on a "motion to discharge" petition to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, for which the charter expired at the end of June. The 246-177 vote sets up subsequent votes on Tuesday aimed at reviving the federal agency that finances the sale of goods overseas, and which many conservatives deride as "corporate cronyism."  

As GOP Mulls Its Future, All Eyes Fixed on Paul Ryan

Ryan faces one of the most pivotal weeks of his career. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul D. Ryan has a decision to make, and until the Wisconsin Republican makes up his mind, many of the other pressing questions that face House Republicans are on hold.  

Ryan and his House GOP colleagues return to the Capitol Tuesday. But with first votes held off until 6:30 p.m., as is customary on the fly-in day, Ryan probably has until Wednesday morning, during the weekly House Republican Conference meeting, to make an announcement on whether he's willing to run for speaker — and even then, Ryan's decision could be in flux. Sources close to Ryan suggest that while the Ways and Means chairman doesn't want the job, he may be open to the speakership  if the entire GOP conference is behind him. That seems like an unlikely scenario, a standard of unanimity that Ryan realizes is just about impossible in these days of faction. But those sources also told CQ Roll Call that, should Ryan decide to take the gavel, he'd probably understand there will be some conservatives who will oppose him.  

While Waiting for Ryan, Would-Be Speakers Weigh Bids

Almost everyone is awaiting Ryan's decision. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

If Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan decides against a run for speaker, the race to lead the House could turn into a free-for-all: A half-dozen Republicans are quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a slew of Texans, a couple of the wealthiest men in Congress and at least one woman.  

Two Texas Republicans have confirmed they're getting into the game: Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul, who is No. 2 on Roll Call's 2014 list of the wealthiest members of Congress . Flores, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, sent a letter to colleagues this weekend announcing his intention to seek the speakership, while McCaul, the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, is "very strongly considering running," according to a source familiar with his plans.  

Boehner Throws Leadership Races a Curveball

Boehner, right, said the decision on down-ballot leadership races will be up to his successor. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In the latest plot twist to House Republicans' leadership drama, Speaker John A. Boehner announced Monday that potential majority leader and majority whip contests would only take place if Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is confirmed as speaker on the floor at the end of October.  

Boehner set Oct. 29 as the date for a floor vote for speaker, after which the person holding that title could set the date — if necessary — for a majority leader race, which could then set off a majority whip race. And while the domino-effect timetable might not change the outcome, the extra weeks of uncertainty about GOP leadership has some happy and others worried. If, as expected, McCarthy wins Thursday in what is now functionally a nomination to be speaker, he will have to survive three weeks as the designee while conservatives and rivals try to mobilize against him.  

Boehner Postpones Elections for Majority Leader, Whip

Boehner, R-Ohio (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner said he wanted to "clean the barn" before his resignation at the end of October, but he's leaving his successor with at least one key bit of housekeeping business: Setting the date and parameters for down-ballot leadership elections, should they occur.  

On Monday, the Ohio Republican confirmed the House Republican Conference's nominee for speaker would be picked on Thursday, as originally planned. Three weeks later, on Oct. 29, the House will vote to confirm that nominee on the floor, he said. But Boehner also announced in a written statement he would postpone the majority leader and whip elections initially scheduled for Thursday.  

Republicans Scurry to Advance Agendas Before Recess

Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, will oversee a markup of reconciliation legislation on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans will go home for recess at the end of this week with plenty to tell their constituents — namely that they picked a new slate of leadership (if all goes according to plan) and avoided a government shutdown (with hours to spare).  

Over the next four days, they'll also lay the groundwork on some other legislative items that could play well back in their districts. On Friday, the House Budget Committee will take up the package of reconciliation bills that three other individual House panels marked up last week to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, in keeping with the promise Republican leaders made to members when they went ahead and put a "clean" government funding bill on the floor.  

Scalise Says He's Already Got Votes to Win Majority Leader (Updated)

No. 3 House Republican Scalise says he's got the votes to be majority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 7:48 p.m. |  Majority Whip Steve Scalise is telling members he has the race to be majority leader locked up — as long as there is a race to be majority leader.  

Scalise held a roughly 15-minute conference call with committed supporters Sunday night to tell them he is well beyond having a majority of the conference behind him.  

In Majority Leader Race, Scalise Lapping Price in This Key Measure

By one key measure, Scalise, right, is trouncing the competition in the race to succeed McCarthy, left. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

While there's no definitive favorite in the majority leader race — especially with lingering questions about Select Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy's interest — Majority Whip Steve Scalise has one distinct advantage over Budget Chairman Tom Price: Scalise has spread around a lot more cash.  

According to Federal Election Commission documents reviewed by CQ Roll Call, Scalise has given roughly $700,000 to fellow Republican members and candidates over the course of the first three quarters of 2015. (The third quarter data, which is not yet public, was supplied by Scalise's office.) In contrast, Price has transferred at least $139,000 to members and candidates through the third quarter.