Appropriations

Bob Michel, Last Leader of the ‘Old School’ House GOP, Dies at 93
Compromise and collegiality were hallmarks, but got him pushed aside by his caucus in the 1990s

Illinois Rep. Robert H. Michel, pictured at a news conference on Aug. 2, 1989, served as House Republican leader for nearly 14 years. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)

Robert H. Michel, who as the House minority leader from 1981 until his 1994 retirement became the longest-serving congressional Republican leader who never experienced majority power, died Friday. He was 93 and had lived on Capitol Hill much of the time since stepping down after 19 terms representing central Illinois.

Michel epitomized the congressional Old School in nearly every way, which worked to his advantage for almost all of his four decades in office. He prized collegiality, collaboration, civility and courtesy as essential political virtues. He evidenced a steady reverence for the institutional prerogatives, customs and limitations of what he fondly termed “the people’s House.”

Effort to End D.C. Assisted-Death Law Appears Over

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is administered an oath by Vice President Joe Biden during swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, January 03, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The congressional effort to overturn a District of Columbia law allowing doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with life-ending drugs appears likely to fail, two of the lawmakers involved in the effort said Tuesday.

On Monday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a resolution to overturn the law, potentially setting it up for a House floor vote later this week. However, under the laws governing congressional involvement in D.C. lawmaking, Congress only has 30 days from the time the District submits its bills to pass disapproval resolution with a simple majority of votes. In this case, the Senate deadline is this Friday.

Hensarling’s Offensive on Dodd-Frank Seen as Negotiating Move
Texas Republican’s new bill strips much more of CFPB’s authority

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling was considered by President Donald Trump for the Treasury secretary position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling appears to be doubling down on his Dodd-Frank repeal legislation, adding more features objectionable to Democrats in the wake of a White House announcement of a four-month review of the nation’s financial laws and regulations. 

In a staff memo circulated last week, Hensarling filled five single-spaced pages with changes to a bill approved by his committee in September 2016 over the opposition of every Democrat and one Republican. Among other things, the Texas Republican’s new bill would strip much more of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority than last year’s version.

It’s Huge: Trump Administration Sets Record with Empty OMB Director Slot
S.C. Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney still waiting for confirmation

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during his Senate Budget Committee confirmation on January 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s slow pace in confirming Cabinet nominees appears to be holding up lawmakers’ work on major fiscal legislation while they wait for President Donald Trump’s budget shop to get up and running.

The White House needs to move on budget priorities and discretionary spending levels for fiscal 2018; a wrap-up of fiscal 2017 appropriations; and supplemental funding requests to boost military spending and begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

House to Take First Step to Overturn D.C. Assisted Suicide Law
Local groups plan to protest latest salvo against home rule

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz has taken an aggressive stance on reviewing D.C. laws and budgets. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House committee will take the first official step Monday evening to overturn a new Washington, D.C., assisted suicide law, raising concerns locally that a Republican-controlled Congress will be emboldened to interfere with city government under President Donald Trump.

Actually overturning the so-called Death With Dignity Act would require an improbable series of events. After the vote on the disapproval resolution at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the measure would have to pass floor votes in both the House and the Senate president before Feb. 17. That’s according to a timeline set out by the city’s Home Rule Act.

Mike Pence Is the Oath-Administrant in Chief
Trump delegates swearing-in of Cabinet members mostly to VP

Vice President Mike Pence, far right, delivers a ceremonious oath of office to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week in the Oval Office as Tillerson’s wife Renda St. Clair and President Donald Trump look on. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump stood just to his vice president’s right as Mike Pence delivered a ceremonial oath of office to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The same scene played out eight days later as Pence officially swore in Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday.

One of Pence’s most regular duties, three weeks into the Trump administration’s tenure, is introducing his boss before public remarks. Almost as often, though, Pence is the oath-administrant in chief.

Meet Alabama’s New Senator: Luther Strange
Alabama governor appoints state attorney general to fill Sessions’ seat

Alabama’s Luther Strange, seen here testifying on Capitol Hill in 2014 on gun control proposals, replaces Jeff Sessions in the Senate. (Molly Riley/AP file photo)

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed state Attorney General Luther Strange to fill the Senate seat of Jeff Sessions, whom the Senate confirmed as U.S. attorney general Wednesday night. 

“Alabama has surely been well represented by Sen. Sessions, and I am confident Sen. Strange will serve as a fine representative for our people,” the governor said in a Thursday morning statement.

EP. 3: Earmark Debate Returns for House Republicans
Budget Tracker Extra

 

President Donald Trump’s pledge to drain the swamp hasn’t stopped some House Republicans from discussing bringing back earmarks, even as tea party lawmakers have called the practice pork-barrel spending. CQ Roll Call’s Budget editor Jane Norman and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt explain how the issue has gained enough traction to prompt House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to promise public hearings.

Sean Duffy’s an Embarrassment to Wisconsin’s 7th District
And he should apologize to everyone

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy, seen above attending a House Financial Services Committee hearing last fall, made headlines after an interview on CNN on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Sean Duffy’s constituents and colleagues should be ashamed of him.

In an interview on CNN on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican applauded the “good things that came from” a white supremacist murdering nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Tim Ryan Supporters Move Up After Criticizing Leadership
Members see few, if any, repercussions from speaking out against Pelosi

Tim Ryan, center, and his backers from his failed bid for minority leader cite few ramifications from criticizing Democratic leadership. Appearing from left are Reps. Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, Stephen F. Lynch of Massachusetts, Ryan, and Ruben Gallego of Arizona. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)" data-mce-src="http://author.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/dem_elections017_113016.jpg" height="1598" width="2400"> Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, center, and his backers from his failed bid for minority leader cite few ramifications from criticizing Democratic leadership. Appearing from left are Reps. Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, Stephen F. Lynch of Massachusetts, Ryan, and Ruben Gallego of Arizona. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A little more than two months ago, 63 House Democrats voted for a change at the top of their leadership structure. Now, in an unexpected turn of events, some of the most vocal critics of the existing power system are in new leadership positions of their own. 

Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, who challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her post, is now the ranking member of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, a position that gives him oversight of Congress’ internal spending, including money spent on leadership offices and members’ salaries, as well as Capitol Police.