Justin Amash

Pelosi elected speaker with 15 Democratic defections
California Democrat claims gavel again after eight years in minority

Nancy Pelosi is speaker again, eight years after she last held the gavel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats, in their first act of the 116th Congress on Thursday, officially elected Nancy Pelosi to serve as speaker, returning the gavel to the longtime Democratic leader eight years after she last held it.

The speaker election was not without controversy, however. The California Democrat had to cut a handful of deals over the past two months with would-be opponents to shore up the support needed to win the floor vote, even though no one was challenging her for the post.

Rep. Mark Sanford Cautions of ‘Hitler-like’ Figure in Parting Address
National debt is a threat to ‘our way of life,’ South Carolina Republican says

Rep. Mark Sanford posted a parting address that bemoaned the national debt on Facebook Wednesday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outgoing Republican Rep. Mark Sanford cautioned his constituents on the rise of a “Hitler-like character” in a parting address on Wednesday. 

Though a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, the South Carolinian clarified he was not likening the leader of the Republican Party to Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler. But he warned the “forces at play” in contemporary politics “could lead to a future Hitler-like character if we don’t watch out.”

Kevin McCarthy Elected House Minority Leader Over Jim Jordan
Promotion to top GOP spot improves his chances of one day being speaker

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the new House Republican leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy as their minority leader over Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a decision that improves the likelihood that one day the California Republican might be speaker. 

McCarthy has vowed to lead Republicans back into the majority over the next two years. If he succeeds, the chances of him being elected speaker would be significantly higher than had Republicans held the majority this year. 

Murmurs of Discontent in GOP Ranks As Mueller Nabs Manafort, Cohen
Some House Republicans speak more candidly about what it would take to impeach Trump

Some Republican House members are speaking more candidly about what it would take for them to impeach President Donald Trump. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Republican embrace of President Donald Trump is beginning to show cracks as some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers stepped up their criticism of the president back home in their districts in a week where his former personal lawyer and onetime campaign chairman pleaded to and were found guilty of eight federal crimes apiece.

No one is jumping to conclusions yet about whether Trump should face impeachment. But some Republican lawmakers have been candid in recent days about the prospect of impeaching the president, and what would need to happen for them to consider such a step.

House Backs Suicide Hotline Bill; Could Lead to 3-Digit Dial Code
Measure designed to streamline aid for mental health crisis prevention

Rep. Chris Stewart is sponsoring legislation to streamline the suicide prevention hotline. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is headed for an overhaul, with passage of a House bill Monday. The bipartisan proposal would move towards creating a new national three-digit dialing code — similar to 911 — to be used for a mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.

The House passed the bill by an overwhelming, 379-1, margin. Michigan Republican Justin Amash cast the lone nay vote against the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah. 

House Passes Pro-ICE Resolution With Most Democrats Not Taking a Stance
Messaging vote provokes accusations back and forth across the aisle

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., wants people to notice how Democrats voted on the ICE resolution . (By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday adopted a resolution expressing support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and rejecting calls to abolish the agency with primarily Republican support as most Democrats voted “present.” The final vote was 244-35, with 133 Democrats voting present. 

Republicans readily acknowledged the vote was about putting Democrats on record as calls from left-wing members of the party have been dismissed by more moderate and establishment Democrats as unproductive. 

House Again Rejects Move to Form Select Committee on Chaplain Controversy
Republicans reluctant to back Crowley's resolution on second try

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has been at the center of a simmering dispute over his resignation — and un-resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whatever bipartisan support Democrats had for probing the circumstances that led Speaker Paul D. Ryan to call for the House chaplain’s resignation appears to be gone now that Patrick J. Conroy has been reinstated to his post. 

The House on Tuesday approved a motion to table a privileged resolution offered by Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York to form a select committee to look into the chaplain controversy. The motion was adopted 223-182.

The House Staring Contest: Pelosi and Ryan
Speaker hemmed in by Democrats on one side, conservative Republicans on the other

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leaves the House chamber Wednesday after ending her eight-hour speech on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is in a staring contest with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over immigration that could result in a government shutdown.

But if the Wisconsin Republican blinks, he will likely push conservatives, many of them already at a boiling point with his leadership, over the edge.

Opinion: Civil Liberties and Odd-Duck Congressional Coalitions
FISA debate a throwback to more bipartisan times

While the FISA bill amendment by Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California and Justin Amash of Michigan failed, it attracted bipartisan support from 58 Republicans and 125 Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

For two hours last Thursday, the House held a debate that harked back to the heyday of Sonny and Cher and Butch and the Sundance Kid. Instead of lockstep polarization on Capitol Hill, throwback Thursday marked a brief return to the era when legislative coalitions crossed party lines.

The topic before the House was the intersection of civil liberties and national security — about the only issue that can still upend standard red-and-blue divisions.

With House Passage of FISA Measure, Action Moves to Senate
GOP leaders in chamber move to restrict amendments to reauthorization

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is part of a bipartisan group that has problems with the FISA reauthorization measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday approved 256-164 a bill to reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years, putting the measure in the Senate’s hands.

The bill, backed by the Trump administration and all the U.S. intelligence agencies, would preserve the FBI and the intelligence agencies’ ability to search a surveillance database for information on Americans with minimal warrant requirements.