Mark Walker

Why the Speaker Race Won’t Fade Away Until November
Potential candidates lack a path to 218 votes and need time to build coalitions

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the front-runner to succeed retiring Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., but there is a long way to go until the November elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans don’t know if they will be holding a speaker’s race or a contest for minority leader come November, but that isn’t stopping them from preparing for the former. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the leading candidate to replace retiring Speaker Paul D. Ryan, needs more time to build sufficient support to win a still-hypothetical speaker’s race. The same goes for other members eyeing the position.

Republicans Discount Paul Ryan Endorsement for Replacement
The speaker says he has a preference, but it might not matter

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has said he has a preference for who will succeed him in the GOP pecking order. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Speaker Paul D. Ryan has a preference on which member of his leadership team should succeed him, but if he decides to endorse, its effect is debatable. 

Several House Republicans interviewed Wednesday in the hours following Ryan’s announcement that he would retire at the end of his term in January said his endorsement would not mean much.

Ryan’s Retirement Timing Adds Complications to Leadership Battle
Midterm results will factor into GOP race dynamics

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, center, left, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are declining to publicly say if they’re interested in succeeding Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who announced his retirement Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to “run through the tape” and wait until the end of his term to exit Congress makes an already complicated race for his leadership position even more so.

With rumors about Ryan’s potential exit from Congress circulating for the past few months, potential successors like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana had begun quietly positioning themselves for a leadership battle.

Paul Ryan Intends to Serve Out Term as Speaker, Hints at Endorsing Potential Successor
'I have more thoughts on this ... and I'll share those thoughts later,' Ryan said on who should be next speaker

The House GOP leadership team, from left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive for the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol as Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced he would not run for re-election, but would stay on as speaker until the end of the term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul D. Ryan said he plans to remain speaker of the House through the end of the year when he plans to retire and indicated he will eventually endorse someone to succeed him.

“I have great confidence in this leadership team. That’s one thing that I’m really proud of,” Ryan said when asked who he thought should be the next speaker.

Ignoring GOP Pleas, Trump Sets Tariffs In Motion
Canada, Mexico initially exempt when import fees start March 23

President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb 23. His steel and aluminum tariffs will take effect March 23. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 4:22 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Thursday set in motion tariffs that will slap fees on many imports of steel and aluminum, moving ahead with a major part of his “America first” philosophy above the loud objections of Republican lawmakers.

“People are starting to realize how important it is,” Trump said just before signing in the Roosevelt Room. He said a “strong steel and aluminum industry” is “absolutely vital” for national security, predicting his action will trigger the reopening of American production facilities.

Omnibus Action Next Week Possible, but Obstacles Still Exist
‘For the moment we have a lot of work to do to iron these out,’ Pelosi said

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said much work remains to iron out issues on an omnibus spending bill that House GOP leaders hope to bring to the floor next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nearly six-month delayed fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill could be brought to the House floor next week, but appropriators are still encountering major obstacles in drafting a bipartisan bill — even with unrelated landmines cleared. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he would like to bring the omnibus to the floor next week, but during a week-end colloquy with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, he did not announce it as a definite part of the upcoming floor schedule. Rather, he noted action on the spending package was “possible.”

107 House Republicans Urge Trump To Narrow Tariff Proposal
Letter suggests steps that can be taken to 'minimize negative consequences'

Ways and Means Kevin Brady, R-Texas, led a letter of House Republicans urging the president to take steps to minimize negative consequences if he moves forward with his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly half of the House Republican Conference sent a letter to President Donald Trump Wednesday expressing “deep concern” about his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and outlined steps he should take to minimize negative consequences.

Led by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert, the letter reflects warnings that congressional Republicans have been communicating to Trump since he announced plans last week to impose a broadly applied 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

North Carolina Delegation on Swapping Out a White Supremacist for Billy Graham
Statue of Charles Aycock would come down to put Graham up following his death on Wednesday

Tourists pass by the statue of Charles Brantley Aycock in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When the Rev. Billy Graham died last week at the age of 99, it set in motion a plan to memorialize him in the U.S. Capitol — and to kick out a white supremacist.

Graham will briefly lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. But his likeness could endure in the building for much longer than that.

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed to those topline numbers if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions.

House Republicans’ Immigration Bill Not Ready for Floor Action
Whip team says they will continue to refine the legislation

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and his team did a whip count on a GOP immigration bill, and it showed the measure wasn’t quite ready for a floor vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans’ preferred immigration bill is not ready for a floor vote, a Wednesday whip check showed, but leadership is expected to continue working it.

The bill by House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul is the most conservative of the proposals House and Senate lawmakers and the White House have floated for addressing the coming expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.