voting-rights

GOP Leader Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act

McCarthy, R-Calif., thinks it's time for an "overall review" of the VRA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing ) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.  

On Tuesday, Cantor's leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. The California Republican echoed at a pen-and-pad briefing what fellow GOP lawmakers have said before: Any revision of the landmark 1965 law has to start in the Judiciary Committee — a disappointing answer for advocates who know Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is disinclined to tackle the matter.  

The 'Real Congresswoman From Selma' Has Her Say

Sewell likes to kid that her mother is the "real congresswoman" from the district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Rep. Terri A. Sewell has her constituents in Alabama. Then she has "the" constituent.  

"Everyone knows [who] the real congresswoman from the 7th District is," the Alabama Democrat said. Her staff backs her up, almost in unison: "Nancy Sewell." One of the more recent examples of this dynamic at work happened as the movie "Selma," about the March 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, was prepping for national release. Nancy Sewell thought it would be a shame if it didn't open in the city.  

New Congressional Black Caucus Staffers Announced

Congressional Black Caucus staffers, from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle and Abdul Henderson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the 114th Congress already heading into its seventh week of action, the Congressional Black Caucus announced its new staff, filling out its four-person shop with three new hires and one holdover from the 113th.  

Abdul Henderson will serve as the CBC’s new executive director, taking over for LaDavia Drane, who is now director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration. Henderson, 39, comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he served as an adviser on global and intergovernmental relations. Henderson told CQ Roll Call in an interview last week that he was looking to expand the CBC’s outreach to audiences that haven’t traditionally heard its message — or even know what the CBC is.  

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.  

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel says Democrats are behind the new "middle class" focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.  

"Middle class, middle class and middle class," the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Israel cited the results of a lengthy survey distributed to Democrats last week as evidence of a new intraparty consensus. The results were revealed to the caucus on the first full day of its three-day issues retreat here in the City of Brotherly Love.  

Clyburn Offers Personal Perspective on the Relevance, Power of 'Selma'

Clyburn will lead the Democratic Party's efforts to increase voter participation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

"Selma" may have been snubbed by the Oscars, but Rep. James E. Clyburn gave the civil-rights movie a very personal endorsement Wednesday during a Democratic Party news conference on voting rights.  

The South Carolina Democrat, introduced at the event by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the chairman of a new task force charged with increasing voter participation, shared an anecdote about how the movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s resonated with one of his younger relatives:

House Democrats Look for Answers, Accountability After Midterm Losses (Updated)

Pelosi and her leadership team face questions about their handling of the midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:34 p.m. | House Democrats came back to work Wednesday still reeling from last week’s bruising election results — and looking for answers about what went wrong.  

For many lawmakers, it wasn't enough to blame the loss of at least a dozen House seats on an unpopular president, gerrymandered districts and a host of other factors beyond the party’s control . Going forward, they say they want their leadership to do some soul-searching, and so far it hasn't happened.  

Lawmakers Weigh In on Holder Resignation (Updated) (Video)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill earlier this year. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 5:05 p.m. |  Even before Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s resignation was officially announced, House and Senate lawmakers were sending out statements reacting to the news.  

The sentiments broke down neatly along party lines, with Republicans openly cheering an end to Holder's six years atop the Justice Department  and Democrats just as enthusiastically expressing appreciation for the nation's first black attorney general.  

Paul Ryan Rules Out Another Government Shutdown

Ryan, kicking off his book tour in Philadelphia, ruled out another government shutdown. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Republicans won't shut down the government in September, Heritage Action is "constructive at the end of the day" and a person can write a book without necessarily running for president.  

Those were some of the points Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., hit home during an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call Wednesday afternoon from the ornate Union League Building in downtown Philadelphia.  

Cantor Voting Rights Act Legacy is Failure to Deliver, Democrats Say

Democrats wonder if Cantor was all talk on the Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Passing a new Voting Rights Act in the GOP-dominated House was never going to be easy, supporters acknowledge. But with a powerful Republican such as Eric Cantor as an ally, hope flickered for nearly a year.  

Then came June 10 and the shocking primary defeat that tanked Cantor's congressional career — taking with it, in all likelihood, any prospect for an update of the landmark 1965 civil rights legislation that had been weakened by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling.