Paul Cook

Thornberry retirement latest shakeup on House Armed Services Committee
Former chairman is sixth Republican to announce plans to retire from the committee

Thornberry, a Texas Republican who spent two terms as Armed Services chairman before becoming ranking member after Democrats won control of the House, has been an ardent backer of higher Pentagon spending levels and a reliable hawk on policy matters ranging from the size of the Navy fleet to the nuclear arsenal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Mac Thornberry on Monday became the sixth Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to announce plans to retire at the end of this Congress, creating openings for ambitious younger members but also leaving a significant dearth of experience on the powerful panel.

Thornberry, a Texas Republican who spent two terms as Armed Services chairman before becoming ranking member after Democrats won control of the House, has been an ardent backer of higher Pentagon spending levels and a reliable hawk on policy matters ranging from the size of the Navy fleet to the nuclear arsenal.

When members of Congress seek county office instead
Rep. Paul Cook cites broader powers of California supervisors, but GOP’s minority status also a factor

California Rep. Paul Cook announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress to run for county office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Paul Cook’s decision to run for county office next year rather than a fifth House term might have raised a few eyebrows, especially since more than five dozen of his colleagues have used county positions as stepping stones to Washington.

But what seems like a downward move is not unheard of, particularly in California, where county supervisors wield a fair amount of power. Influencing local policy can also be more appealing than a weekly cross-country commute, especially when working in the nation’s capital means governing in the minority.

California’s Paul Cook joins parade of House Republicans retiring
Cook will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., is retiring from Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four-term California Rep. Paul Cook is retiring from Congress to run for county office instead, continuing the stream of House Republicans heading toward the exit.

Cook’s chief of staff, John Sobel, told the Los Angeles Times that the congressman plans to run for the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors. Sobel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Violence Against Women Act clears House
Measure includes firearms restrictions and expansion of transgender rights

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lone Republican co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of 33 Republicans to support the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Thursday to renew the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, but the proposal stoked contention over provisions restricting gun rights and expanding rights for transgender individuals.

Lawmakers voted 263-158 to pass the measure, which highlighted divisions within the Republican caucus. While the bill does have one Republican co-sponsor, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, other House Republicans objected to new provisions included in the VAWA reauthorization measure. In all, 33 Republicans voted for the measure, and one, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, voted present.

Congressmen Might Join Protesters Outside Turkish Embassy
And they might need some bail money

Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, left, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., right, shown here talking to then-Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., proposed recessing from the House Foreign Affairs markup to protest at the Turkish Embassy.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressmen encouraged protesters who were attacked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail in Washington last week to keep on protesting, and said they might join them.

“Do it again, keep protesting and stay out there because no foreign tyrant has the right or the ability to drive them away,” Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said at a House Foreign Affairs markup on Thursday. “You might find Mr. Meeks out there with them and myself as well.”

Word on the Hill: Week Wraps Up
Animals, actors, and singers

California Rep. Ed Royce shows off George the kangaroo at a World Wildlife Day event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Capitol Hill this week. (Chip Weiskotten/WCS)

Happy Friday of a very busy week in Washington! And, a belated Happy Women’s History Month!

Here are a few things that happened this week worth checking out.