- Democrats Look Past Tuesday's New York Special Election
- Reid Urges McConnell to File Cloture on Iran Bill
- Darin LaHood Raises $500K in Race to Replace Aaron Schock
- How Much Trouble Is Richard Burr in?
- DSCC Endorses Murphy in Florida
JM Rieger oversees video production for Roll Call. He began his career as an editorial intern for Roll Call in 2013 and started full time as Roll Call's video editor in September 2013.
Prior to joining Roll Call, he interned at Fox Sports in Los Angeles, NBC’s “Meet the Press" and Performics, a Chicago-based performance-marketing company.
JM graduated with honors from Miami University with degrees in journalism and political science. At Miami he worked as an editor for The Miami Student, covering higher education, campus life and sports, and also worked as a broadcaster and producer for the campus television and radio stations.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urged Republicans not to derail an Iran nuclear agreement review bill by pushing contentious amendments during his opening remarks Monday, citing the bipartisan nature of the legislation and the ongoing work of Sens. Bob Corker and Benjamin L. Cardin.
“A number of Senate Republicans are prioritizing presidential politics over national security,” Reid said. "Others are simply trying to undermine President Obama. … The junior senator from Arkansas and other Republicans want to see any potential agreement with Iran crash and burn before we know what’s in the final agreement. … The opponents of the Corker-Cardin legislation aren’t concerned with finding a middle ground. That is why the majority leader should file cloture now to preserve this legislation.”
Reid’s remarks follow a speech last week by Sen. Tom Cotton insisting on a simple majority threshold for votes on amendments to the Iran bill, which Corker said changed the context of the Iran nuclear debate.
Members spent last week on Capitol Hill playing with BB guns, recommending sewage-based water fountains and searching for Dr. Pepper.
Members spent a busy week on Capitol Hill playing with BB guns, recommending sewage-based water fountains and searching for Dr. Pepper.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner pushed back against critics of House Republicans’ plan to strike down a District of Columbia law aimed at combatting employer discrimination base on reproductive health decisions, saying
“We have a number of members who are concerned about this issue and the issue is one of religious liberty,” Boehner said. “This is about conscience protections that the president says he supports but really hasn’t put regulations in place to protect the conscience clause that’s been frankly a part of our laws and statutes for decades and decades.”
When asked Thursday about what action Congress can take in the wake of violence in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed to a few proposals on racial profiling and police cameras, adding that Congress should revisit mandatory minimum sentences.
“[Rep. Robert C. Scott] has a safety valve act to allow judges to propose sentences below the mandatory minimums … I served for a long time on the Appropriations Committee … and the judges at the highest level of our judicial system would come in there and say, ‘Give us discretion. Mandatory minimums take the discretion away from the judge. These are just — just not right,’” Pelosi said. “And whether they’d be — wherever they were on the philosophical spectrum, they all agreed mandatory minimums were not the way to go. So I think we should revisit that.”
Ahead of a marquee fight Saturday night between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, Minority Leader Harry Reid talked up the fight on the Senate floor Thursday.
Reid, a former amateur middleweight boxer, said the fight would be a “stunning athletic event.”
“I’m really excited about this unforgettable fight,” Reid said. “There’s nothing like a championship fight … These fights catch the enthusiasm of sports fans all over the world. The eagerness that I have of watching this fight goes far beyond the sport of boxing or the spectacle of a marquee matchup: I’m thrilled for Nevada. This fight will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.”
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner signaled it is up to the White House to help pass an emerging Trade Promotion Authority bill, amid reports that the House is short of the votes needed to pass the legislation.
“One thing is clear: there will be strong Republican support for Trade Promotion Authority,” Boehner said. “Another point you should keep in mind is that every Democrat leader in the House and Senate are opposed to giving the president what he is asking for, and the president needs to step up his game in terms of garnering more support amongst Democrats, especially here in the House.”
Boehners remarks come as reported early whip counts indicate he will need Democratic support to pass the trade legislation.
With the House set to strike down a District of Columbia law aimed at combatting employer discrimination based on reproductive health decisions, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday lashed out at Republicans, calling the vote “Hobby Lobby on steroids,” referring to Hobby Lobby's refusal to provide contraception health coverage to employees based on religion.
“Republicans need to recognize that your own health care choices are not your boss’s business,” Pelosi said. “This is not your boss’s business. How dare they? Especially those who are so anti-government, to all-of-a-sudden have government making decisions about reproductive health.”
President Barack Obama kept his mouth open just a bit too long at a Thursday event promoting literacy and “expanding digital learning” at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library.
Speaking with children about overcoming writer’s block, Obama went through a long explanation of how to write effectively before being cut off by the moderator.
“And I think you’ve sort of covered everything about that question.”
“Ok you think I’ve … no, let’s move it along,” Obama replied jokingly.
Sen. Tom Cotton is insisting on simple majority votes on contentious amendments to legislation to provide congressional review of any final nuclear deal with Iran, apparently stymieing the possibility of moving forward, at least for now.
The Arkansas Republican sought to line up a pair of amendments that supportive Democratic senators have said could cause them to remove support for the bill. One of those, sponsored by Cotton, would require Iran to allow inspectors full access to suspicious sites. The other, led by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, would require Tehran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
"I think some of the tactics that are now being deployed are going to make it much more difficult for us to be able to proceed in an orderly way," Foreign Relations ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin said.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner threw cold water on an emerging Senate Iran bill, saying it was too early to speculate on the legislation while slamming Iran for statements it has made throughout the nuclear negotiating process.
“We’ll see if there is an agreement, we’ll see what comes of the Corker bill that comes out of the Senate and then we’ll take it from there, but it’s too early to speculate on whether we can or can’t,” Boehner said, responding to a question about whether Congress could stop a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
Speaker John A. Boehner — publicly, at least — has more questions than answers on the Export-Import Bank.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, the Ohio Republican would not commit to putting a Senate-passed bill up for a vote if the House Financial Services Committee does not advance a bill of their own, but did say there are thousands of jobs on the line that would "disappear pretty quickly" if the Ex-Im Bank were to expire.
“I’d support any plan that the chairman can get through his committee, whether it would reform the bank [or] wind it down,” Boehner said of Jeb Hensarling, the House Financial Services Committee chairman. “So I told the chairman he needs to come up with a plan. And, uh — because the risk is, if he does nothing, the Senate is likely to act. And then what?”
Minority Leader Harry Reid again slammed the GOP budget proposal on the Senate floor Wednesday, comparing it to the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal which has killed more than 4,000 people.
“The budget is just wrong. It’s also dishonest,” Reid said. “It claims to be balanced. There is no balance in this budget, that’s a word. The budget is no more balanced than the earthquakes they’ve had in Nepal.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday said the ending of the NFL’s tax exempt status shows how much money the league is making, saying the NFL has bigger issues to handle.
“That tax break that they got is $100 million. They’re treating that as if it’s nothing, because they have such problems with other issues, not the least of which is kowtowing to the owners, especially one that has a team here in Washington,” Reid said. “… We know that they have an ongoing crisis with the head injuries, so the National Football League has a lot more problems than the subsidy that they get from taxpayers.”
A complaint filed by two Capitol Visitor Center employees alleging unfair labor practices by their employer is catching the attention of Senate Democrats, who in a letter on Monday pushed for administrators to give preference to contractors who pay a “living wage,” provide benefits and allow for collective bargaining.
On Tuesday, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said he would support raising the wage to $15 an hour for Restaurant Associate workers but would not address whether privatization of congressional food services was a mistake.
“I’m not going to go into what happened — it happened before I was rules chair — but we do support a living wage for all of the restaurant workers,” Schumer said. "We’ve made that clear to the chairman of the Rules Committee and we hope we can work something out to get that done.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday called the violence that has erupted in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray “regretful,” saying he hopes the criminal investigations conclude quickly.
“Obviously our hearts go out to those who’ve been injured and the other activities that have occurred there that are so regretful,” McConnell said. “I hope the investigation into illegal behavior will be concluded soon and those who’ve been engaged in criminal behavior would be promptly pursued and charged."
Reacting to violence in Baltimore that has broken out over the death of Freddie Gray, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday said Gray would not be forgotten, calling on violence to end and for government to invest more in underprivileged areas throughout the country.
“A man is dead who should not be dead. His name was Freddie Gray,” Reid said. “This young man’s death is the latest in a series of disturbing and unnecessary deaths of young men of color at the hands of police and vigilantes. To be clear, violence is never acceptable in any regard — it is never an acceptable response … but we should not let the violence perpetrated by a few to become an excuse to ignore the underlying problem: that millions of Americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against them.”
After a 20-6 vote approving a “fast-track” trade deal in committee last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he would bring up the bill for floor consideration “very soon,” later adding that trade and Iran may be the biggest achievements of the 114th Congress.
“When we look back on this Congress — with the possible exception of the Iran nuclear issue — putting America back in the trade business, could be the biggest accomplishment of this Congress,” McConnell said. “This is not a Trade Promotion Authority just for Barack Obama — this is a six year deal — it means the next president, whoever that is, can be engaged with the rest of the world in trying to promote American exports, and I think that’s important for our country."
The Senate Judiciary Committee holds an oversight hearing for the Department of Homeland Security with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. Coverage begins at 10 a.m.
One day after riots broke out in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin took to the Senate floor, calling Monday’s violence “heartbreaking” while urging protestors to "exercise restraint."
"Baltimore is known for its people, its friendliness and its real pride in the strong neighborhoods. That was shaken very badly during the events of yesterday," Cardin said. "What happened to Freddie Gray is something that needs to be fully investigated … and I was pleased that we will have that independent investigation done by the Department of Justice … there were a small number that decided to take to the streets in violence. It was counterproductive to the message.”
Two days after Corinthian College announced plans to close its remaining schools, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin laid into the Department of Education for its “unacceptable” response to the closings, while hammering the broader for-profit college industry.
“I’m renewing my call to the Department of Education to reach out directly to the thousands of students who’ve been exploited by this Corinthian College. To provide discharge applications to these students and give them clear, upfront information about how transferring their credits to another school, may impact their ability to discharge their loans,” Durbin said. “You see, if you transfer these Corinthian credits — which are of limited value — to some other school, you can’t discharge your loan that you took out at Corinthian.”
The Illinois Democrat later slammed the for-profit college industry, listing ongoing investigations into schools while lambasting the Education Department for including these same schools on a list of colleges Corinthian students could transfer to.
“How in good faith can they tell these Corinthian students, who just had their college disappear and are sitting on a pile of debt, that these are viable transfer options for their students?” Durbin said. “Why is the U.S. Department of Education not blowing the whistle on this school and every other school that’s exploiting students all across America?”
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he had no regrets about immigration-related executive actions taken by the Obama administration in November, saying the undocumented immigrant population had to be “reckoned with.”
“I believe that the undocumented population in this country, at least half of which has been here more than 10 years, has to be reckoned with. We know they’re here, and they are not priorities for removal,” Johnson said. “I have what is in my judgment as a lawyer a very, very thoughtful opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel that we have the legal discretion to do what we did.”
Even before GOP lawmakers had filed a budget resolution conference report, Senate Democratic Conference Chairman Charles E. Schumer was firing a warning shot about the next step in the process of funding the federal government.
“Republicans should be warned right here, right now, Democrats are not going to help you pass appropriations bills that lock-in senseless, automatically triggered cuts that hurt the middle class,” the New York Democrat said. “Instead, we’ll be eager to work with our Republican colleagues to prevent those cuts from taking effect and restoring both defense spending and vital middle class funding in an even way, one dollar for defense, one dollar for the middle class.”
Schumer made the statement just after rattling off a list of provisions Democrats oppose in the Republican budget blueprint, after the ink was supposed to have been dry, but before it actually was.
Many Kentucky radio listeners will be hearing a familiar voice at the start of coverage of the Run for the Roses.
Over an instrumental version of "My Old Kentucky Home," Louisville-based 840 WHAS is featuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introducing the news radio station’s coverage of this year’s 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
“This is Sen. Mitch McConnell. Welcome to one of our commonwealth’s most treasured traditions, filled with colorful pageantry, remarkable speed and stunning surprises. It’s the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown,” McConnell says in the recorded promo. “The Kentucky Derby on NewsRadio 840, WHAS.”
As Nancy Pelosi and John A. Boehner smooched, members spent the remainder of the workweek protecting turtle passwords, choking up over Sam Houston and threatening to drop constituents’ asses.