Rod Blum

Photos of the Year, So Far: 186 Days Into a New Washington
The first half of 2017 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

JANUARY 26: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives on stage while Vice President Mike Pence looks on, at the GOP Congressional retreat in Philadelphia. House and Senate Republicans held their retreat there through Friday in Philadelphia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

BY BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

2017 is now more than halfway complete. That's right, this weekend was the six-month mark on a year that’s brought a great deal of change to the nation’s capital.

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

Republicans' Latest Health Care Challenge: Selling Their Bill
Only one major outside GOP group defending the plan on air

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur says outside groups are “intentionally confusing people” about the GOP health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Republican health care plan continuing to earn negative headlines and unfavorable poll numbers, House GOP lawmakers returning to Washington this week have a public relations challenge of epic political proportions.

They succeeded — barely — at passing their health care bill. Now they need to sell it.

Lawmakers Get An Earful On Comey at Tuesday Town Halls
 

Following the White House’s stunning move to fire FBI Director James B. Comey, several Republican House members faced questions about the administration during recess town halls Tuesday evening.

[ House GOP Leadership Mum on Comey Firing ]

House GOP Leadership Mum on Comey Firing
Republican members offer tepid response to Trump firing FBI director

Former FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump Tuesday over his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leadership has so far kept quiet about President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he is expected to address Comey’s firing during an evening appearance on Fox News and that no statements were expected before that.

Town Hall Outrage Turns From Health Care to Comey Firing
Lawmakers hear from constituents about Trump’s dismissal of FBI director

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., told a town hall crowd that dynamics in Congress might change that could possibly lead to impeachment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Town hall audiences on Tuesday shifted their outrage from the Republican health care bill to the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Many of the questions were centered around health care and the vote last week by Republicans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law and a number of Republicans had to defend the plan.

House GOP at Home Defending Health Vote, Not Always Truthfully
The Big Story, Episode 53

The Republican effort to replace Obamacare has put some electorally vulnerable House Republicans on the defensive, CQ Roll Call political reporter Bridget Bowman says. And, health editor Rebecca Adams explains some members haven’t been accurate back home in explaining what would change. Meanwhile, the Senate debate looks to be long and complex, senior editor David Hawkings predicts.

Republicans Face Wrath Over Health Care Vote
Though many skipped town hall meetings, they couldn’t escape the fury

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., talks with constituents during a "Coffee and Conversation" at the Riverbank Teen Center on Tuesday. Dozen of constituents attended the meeting to voice concerns over his vote on the Republican health care bill in the House last week. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers across the country have faced crowds of angry constituents after they returned home to try to justify their votes on the Republican health care bill last week. 

Democrat-aligned groups have promised to to try to make House members who voted for the Republican health care bill, called the American Health Care Act, regret their vote. And opponents of the bill are attempting to show their ire over provisions they say will cut coverage, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

Blum Defends GOP Health Care Bill but Not Process
Iowa Republican is among handful holding town halls this week

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum told constituents Monday night that the health care bill process was rushed and “there should have been hearings.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rod Blum faced his constituents Monday night to defend the Republican health care bill, but agreed with critics who chided the “rushed” process.

The Iowa Republican attempted to explain what he viewed as the merits of the bill, known as the American Health Care Act. Though he agreed with one constituent who raised concerns that House Republicans did not hold any hearings on the legislation before passing it last week.

Health Care Vote Takes Away GOP’s Offensive Campaign Message
Repeal has been winning message, but GOP now has plan of its own to defend

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, a Freedom Caucus member and Democratic target, voted for the health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For nearly seven years, Republicans have run — and won — on the campaign promise to get rid of the 2010 health care law.

But now that House Republicans are on record on their own replacement plan, that unifying offensive message has faded, especially since some of their most vulnerable incumbents are at odds with leadership and the White House on what’s being touted as the party’s first major legislative victory this Congress.