Morgan Griffith

‘Impeachapalooza 2019’: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 18, 2019

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Some climate change panel members are literally invested in the issue
Panel members have investments in fossil fuel companies, and at least two have ties to clean-energy industries

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee business meeting in the Rayburn Building in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One member of the House committee created to address climate change stands out for what he owns: hundreds of oil and gas wells in North Dakota oil fields worth millions of dollars.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota, received at least $400,000 from those wells and as much as $1.1 million in the previous year, as well as $75,000 in salary from Armstrong Corp., his family’s oil and gas business. He also owns at least 289 wells, worth between $2.9 million and $11.5 million, though in a recent interview Armstrong said he owns more than 300 wells.

House voice vote to end government shutdown sows confusion, anger and eventually reconciliation

Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., right, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., right, was presiding over the chamber when the back and forth over the voice vote on ending the shutdown went down.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It seemed simple: The House on Thursday passed a continuing resolution that would reopen nine Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 on a voice vote, a result that devolved into partisan sparring on the floor as Republicans sought to vacate the vote and Democrats said, in effect, too bad. By the end, both sides hugged it out, vacated the initial vote, voted by voice again, and postponed a roll call vote until Wednesday. 

It all started with passage, via voice vote on the resolution. Then the gavel came down, ending the vote. 

Discharge Petition Signatures Held Back Amid Immigration Negotiation Progress
Denham says talks between GOP leaders and conservatives are positive

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., says that negotiations between GOP leaders and conservatives on immigration issues are headed in a positive direction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jeff Denham said Wednesday he plans to hold back the final signatures needed to activate a discharge petition that would force a vote on four immigration measures affecting so-called “Dreamers” — saying that negotiations between GOP leaders and conservatives are headed in a positive direction.

Earlier in the week California Republican expected to have 218 signatures on the petition by the end of the week.

Freedom Caucus Wants to Delay Farm Bill for Immigration Votes
Meadows says more than enough conservatives prepared to block passage of farm bill

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and members of his hard-line conservative group want floor action on immigration before the House finishes the farm bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:25 p.m. | House Freedom Caucus members continued to hold the farm bill hostage to their demand for a floor vote on immigration late into Thursday evening, less than 24 hours before a scheduled vote on final passage on the farm bill. 

Republican leaders appear to need the caucus members’ support to pass the farm bill, which is opposed by most Democrats and some GOP moderates. 

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.

House GOP Renews ‘Holman Rule’ Targeting Federal Pay
Provision allows cuts to individual employee salaries

Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, shown here in 2015, proposed a Holman rule amendment in July that aimed to slash a section of the Congressional Budget Office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders on Tuesday re-upped a rule that lets lawmakers slash the salaries of individual federal employees, in a move that some Democrats condemned as an attempt to dismantle the federal workforce.

Tucked into a floor rule that teed up consideration of two unrelated bills on financial services and health policy is a provision that extends the “Holman rule,” a standing order whose revival has sparked controversy in recent years. 

House Republicans Discuss FISA — Spending, Not So Much
Fiscal deal is primarily at the leadership level-BR

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said the GOP conference focused on the FISA legislation, not spending issues.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | House Republicans spent their Thursday morning planning conference discussing a surveillance measure that would be on the floor later the same day instead of a plan to fund the government beyond Jan. 19.

The week-end GOP conference meeting is typically reserved for legislative issues the House will tackle in weeks ahead. Conferences held the morning after fly-in day are when House Republicans normally discuss measures on the floor that week.

Limiting Sexual Harassment Payouts ‘Complicated,’ Lawmakers Say
Funding limitation could be one response to sexual misconduct scandals roiling Capitol Hill

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said using the appropriations process to restrict settlement payouts was complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated, 4:05 p.m. | Lawmakers have been quick to express their disgust with sexual harassment payments that come out of federal coffers to cover the cost of elected officials’ behavior. But members are more guarded when asked whether they would take action by attaching a funding limitation to a spending bill — a common instrument used by lawmakers in appropriations.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a top Republican appropriator, sounded cautious after last week’s revelation that the Office of Compliance has doled out tens of thousands of dollars since 2013.

Roe Gets the Band Back Together in D.C.
Tennessee Republican plays guitar for a fundraising event and reunion of his bluegrass band

Rep. Phil Roe’s band that he formed in medical school more than 40 years ago got back together Monday.

The Tennessee Republican and three of his friends — Jim Arthur, Steve Barnes and Tom Eades — formed the bluegrass band The Pony Express when Roe was in medical school at the University of Tennessee in the 1970s.