Whip Count

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: What’s a Whip?

When getting legislation passed — from continuing resolutions on government spending to health care overhaul bills — congressional leaders keep track of who may vote each way by their helpful sidekicks known as the whips. Ever heard the phrase, “whipping votes?” Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings explains the official and de facto job of this indispensable role on Capitol Hill.

Ryan Outlines Appropriations Strategy

In pursuing a departure from "business as usual," Speaker Paul D. Ryan is crowdsourcing his members for ideas on how craft a spending deal for the remainder of fiscal 2016.

"So things are gonna be done a little differently around here," Ryan said Thursday, at his first solo news conference.

Senate Advances Trade Promotion Authority

The Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority Tuesday, keeping President Barack Obama's trade agenda on track.

The TPA vote was always going to be close, and the Senate voted 60-37 to cut off debate — the bare minimum to advance.

Pelosi Doesn't See Path for TAA Passage

Shortly before the House passed Trade Promotion Authority Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked if she believed both TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance would pass.

“I can’t predict that,” Pelosi said. “I don’t see — I don’t see a path right now for TAA.”

Boehner Expects Amended Trade Bill Next Week
Boehner: process "close to bizarre."

As the House voted on a standalone Trade Promotion Authority bill Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner said he was “confident” the Senate would work out concerns over Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation, adding he expected TAA on an amended trade preferences bill in the House next week.

Asked what he learned over the last few weeks on trade, Boehner described it as “close to bizarre.”

Earnest Dodges Questions on Obama-Pelosi Conversations

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday declined to say if President Barack Obama has spoken to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the five days since she shocked the administration and many in her own party by helping kill “fast-track" trade legislation.

He reiterated that Obama’s relationship with the California Democrat was strong enough to survive the dispute on this issue.

Obama Won't Sign TPA Without TAA

With Capitol Hill leaders working on a plan that would split Trade Promotion Authority from Trade Adjustment Assistance, Earnest made clear Obama will demand both.

"The only legislative strategy that the president will support is a strategy that results in both TPA and TAA coming to his desk," he said.

Reid Won't Speculate on Stalled Trade Measure

“Having served in the House, now in the Senate, they can do what they need to do, what they feel is appropriate in the House,” Reid said. "I’m not going to give them any advice."

 White House: Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game Example of Obama Outreach to Democrats

It goes without saying that no one has meant more to President Barack Obama’s agenda than Nancy Pelosi. So when she abandoned ship and knifed his trade agenda last week at the last minute, it stunned the White House and created a rare, sharp schism at the top of Democratic leadership.

Before the vote, Obama mounted a full-court press to court the California Democrat and her flock, attending the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 11 (even bringing cold White House beer) before making an exceedingly rare trip to the Capitol to personally whip votes the next morning.

McConnell: House 'Malfunctioned' on TAA Vote
Congress "not giving up" on trade. 

Following a failed vote to advance “fast-track” trade authority in the House Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said Congress is “not giving up” on trade, but would not commit to next steps or additional votes on an isolated Trade Promotion Authority measure.

“Obviously there was a malfunction over in the House on Friday that we all watched with great interest and we’re not giving up,” McConnell said. "We still think there may be a path forward to get an achievement here that we’d like to get as well as the president.”