Library of Congress

Ep. 42: D.C. Establishment Anxiously Awaits Trump’s First Address to Congress
The Week Ahead

President Donald Trump will address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 and no one knows what to expect from this most unpredictable of presidents. It’s another episode in the Washington reality show that is Trump’s presidency and representatives and senators are extras, perhaps against their will, in the drama. CQ Roll Call’s White House reporter John T. Bennett went to Capitol Hill to take their temperature.

Democrats Cast Wide for Response to Trump Address
Kentucky governor, immigration activist frame minority party debate

Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to the president's address to Congress Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday and immigration activist Astrid Silva will deliver the Spanish language response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday.

Beshear, Kentucky’s governor from 2007 to 2015, presided over one of the 2010 health care law's successes as he implemented the law smoothly, a marked contrast to the debacle of the Healthcare.gov roll out. During his tenure, Beshear expanded affordable health care access by expanding Medicaid and shepherding the insurance exchanges on the state's own health website. His administration is credited with lowering the state’s uninsured rate from more than 20 percent to 7.5 percent.

Amash Equates Town Hall Anger to Social Media
‘People divided into factions are easier to manipulate,’ he tells audience

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., spoke with attendees of a town hall in Battle Creek for almost twice as long as scheduled on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., compares the atmosphere surrounding town hall meetings to that found on social media, he told a gathering in his district on Thursday.

“I look at some of the comments you see online, and the rhetoric you see on both sides has gotten way out of line,” he told the crowd, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. “I think we have to find ways to work together to be critical of our government and our government officials, making sure that you're holding them accountable, but you have to find ways to make sure you're respectful toward each other.”

Word on the Hill: Recess Wrap Up
Former vice presidential candidate’s birthday this weekend

Artist Kelsea Ballerini takes a selfie with Rep. Joseph Crowley in Los Angeles on Feb. 11. (Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy)

Recess is coming to an end. Members did everything from hosting town halls to traveling overseas and attending CPAC.

One bipartisan group of music lovers kicked off recess a little early with a congressional briefing hosted by The Recording Academy on Feb. 11, during Grammy weekend in Los Angeles.

Giffords to GOP: ’Have Some Courage,’ Don’t Dodge Town Halls
Louie Gohmert raises Giffords shooting as reason to duck meetings

Giffords is uring Republicans to “have some courage” and hold town halls after Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert referenced her shooting in his explanation for not holding one. Giffords has held more than 50 public events this past year, including this Nov. 5 appearance at a campaign office in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday urged congressional Republicans to “have some courage” and hold town halls, after Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert referenced her shooting in his explanation for not holding one. 

In a letter to his constituents who had requested a town hall meeting with him, Gohmert referred to “groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety.”

GOP Leaps on Congressional Review Act to Kill Obama Rules
Little-used law now wielded to tremendous effect, but could see legal challenges

Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson called his fellow Republican lawmakers’ use of the Congressional Review Act “the most underreported story in Washington today.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A law that’s been successfully used only once until now is the conduit for a whole lot of action on Capitol Hill.

Republicans in Congress are expected to send a stream of bills — most of which require a single sentence — to President Donald Trump’s desk, using a process known as the Congressional Review Act to repeal agency rules. The act was tucked into 1996 legislation tied to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s famous “Contract with America.”

Conservatives Want Obamacare Repeal, and They Want It Now
Ted Cruz rejects John Boehner's contention that repeal and replace won't happen

Jim DeMint president of the Heritage Foundation, told conservatives at CPAC to keep the charge going to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ Roll Call 

OXON HILL, Md. — Conservatives rallying here are calling for their congressional brethren to keep the faith and quickly gut the 2010 health care law, dismissing concerns about lost health coverage and motivated voters at town halls.

Town Hall Mostly Civil, Emmer Doesn’t Have to Leave
Chief of staff had said congressman would leave if crowd got unruly

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., had a civil discussion at his town hall after threatening to leave if it got too raucous. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After initially threatening to cancel a town hall if it got too rowdy, Minnesota Republican Rep. Tom Emmer saw a mostly civil back and forth with constituents.

Emmer apologized for holding the event at the Sartell City Hall, which held 150 people and left many of the hundreds of people who were in line outside, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Getting Metro Safety Back on Track
New commission will be empowered to adopt tough safety rules

Democratic lawmakers from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are calling for Congress to approve the Metro Safety Commission promptly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro system has its good days and its bad ones. On its best, it carries hundreds of thousands of commuters and visitors around our metro area. On its worst, maintenance and safety issues have caused enraging delays and even heartbreaking accidents. The people living in our region and those visiting our nation’s capital deserve to know that when they get on Metro they will arrive at their destinations safely.

That’s why we introduced legislation last week to establish a new Metro Safety Commission, putting Metro on a path to safer operations. And today, we are sending a letter to the Government Accountability Office, asking them to analyze the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s funding and governance structure and issue recommendations for changes. WMATA is distinct among transit agencies in that it is governed by four separate entities, creating unique challenges for collective action on fundamental questions such as how to fund the system. A GAO deep-dive on these questions could yield valuable and objective insight.