CBS News Logo GOP leadership will be represented at Selma commemoration

As part of CBS News' coverage marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, CBSN will be airing an encore presentation of the hour-long special "The Road to Civil Rights," anchored by Bill Whitaker and featuring new and archival footage from the CBS News library, Saturday at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, will be attending events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, according to CBS News' Alicia Amling. CBS News had reported earlier Friday that House GOP leadership would not be represented at Selma. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio will not attend, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana had a long-planned prior commitment. McCarthy will attend the prayer service, the march and the remarks by President Obama on Saturday. Continue Reading

CBS News Logo House GOP pulls spending bill after Confederate flag controversy

Last Updated Jul 9, 2015 1:11 PM EDT The House Republican leadership had to pull a seemingly innocuous spending bill from the House floor on Thursday after it became mired in controversy over whether the National Park Service could allow the Confederate flag to be displayed in federal cemeteries.The controversy began Wednesday night after Rep. Ken Calvert, R-California, offered an amendment to the Interior Department spending bill, which would have ensured the Confederate flag could be displayed on the gravesites of Confederate soldiers buried in federal cemeteries. Just a day earlier, the House of Representatives agreed to ban the practice by adopting a Democratic amendment to do so, seemingly without objection."This was an attempt to codify the Obama Administration's own directive to our national cemeteries and it is unfortunate that it has devolved into a political battle. It is our hope that we can have a thoughtful discussion on this matter that is free of politics," a GOP leadership aide said after the bill was pulled.During his weekly press conference on Thursday morning, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "I want members on both sides of the aisle to sit down and have a conversation about how to deal with what has frankly become a very thorny issue."Asked whether he believed the Confederate flag should be displayed in federal cemeteries, Boehner said, "No."In a statement, Calvert said the amendment was brought to him by the House GOP leadership at the request of "some southern Members of the Republican caucus" in order to codify existing National Park Service policy set by the Obama administration that bans the sale and display of the Confederate flag on National Park Service properties -- except when it is in a historical or educational context.South Carolina House OKs removing Confederate flagU.S. House approves ban of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries"To be clear, I wholeheartedly support the Park Service's prohibitions regarding the Continue Reading

CBS News Logo House GOP leaders won’t put revised health care bill up for vote this week

Last Updated Apr 28, 2017 5:10 AM EDT There won't  be a House vote this week on the Republican health care plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave thwe word to reporters Thursday night.The House GOP leadership worked all day and into the night to line up votes, but came up short. They had been hoping to pass the bill by or on Saturday to give President Trump a victory for his first 100 days in office. The  House Republican leaders do appear closer to getting it passed than the first time they tried but didn't even put it up for a vote when it was clear the measure would fail.CBS News' count Thursday showed at least 15 solid no votes. Leadership can lose no more than 22 votes for legislation to pass. But there were a lot of undecided members.The House is expected to vote Friday on a one-week extension of government funding to give members more time to negotiate a longer-term funding bill and a health care measure.Separately,  House GOP leaders were moving to kill a provision in their revised health care bill that allows members of Congress and their staffs to continue their Obamacare coverage while allowing states to opt out, according to a Politico report. The report said a new bill, crafted by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona, was posted on the House Rules Committee's website late Wednesday and it strikes the provision. Vox had identified the loophole in the new version of the GOP health care bill that would have exempted lawmakers and their staffs from the the new health care plan. House leadership also posted language for the new agreement on the main health care bill between Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows.This comes after the Freedom Caucus endorsed a new proposed piece to the health care bill Wednesday that MacArthur had introduced that would allow states to receive federal waivers for certain Obamacare coverage Continue Reading

House GOP star among Republicans facing unexpected challenge

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Cathy McMorris Rodgers has never lost a race in her U.S. House district in Washington. The Republican has never even received less than 56 percent of the vote. So it did not go unnoticed when the national GOP set up shop in Spokane 10 months before Election Day to help bolster her bid for an eighth term. The GOP's move is a reminder that, with President Trump in the White House, once-safe Republicans may need all the help they can get. McMorris Rodgers, the only woman in House GOP leadership, has joined the group of Republican lawmakers unexpectedly scrambling for political survival this year. Trump's low approval ratings - and rising Democratic enthusiasm - have many Republicans braced for a beating in the midterm elections in November. The worry has spread from swing districts to areas once considered out of reach for Democrats: eastern Kansas, suburban Minneapolis, corners of Texas and even the eastern Washington district held by a Republican for nearly 25 years.McMorris Rodgers has drawn a tough challenger in former state Democratic Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, who served for 20 years in the Legislature representing Spokane. Brown has seized on McMorris Rodgers' alignment with Trump to cast her as out of touch with the district. She's raising more money than previous Democratic challengers, and the national party has promised additional resources.The non-partisan Elway Poll reported in January that in eastern Washington, a generic Republican candidate for Congress beats a generic Democrat by just four points, "hinting at vulnerability" for McMorris Rogers.Brown is "far and away the most high-quality opponent Democrats have ever recruited in the district," said Chris Vance, a former state GOP chairman, who notes that a Democratic surge could swamp McMorris Rodgers."This is all about Trump and it depends how big an anti-Trump wave is out there," Vance said.Washington's 5th Congressional District hugs the Idaho border and is dominated by Continue Reading

House GOP Rejects Requirement That Patriot Act Surveillances Be Conducted in Compliance With the Constitution

Less than a month after making a show of reading the US Constitution into the Congressional Record, the leaders of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives engineered a vote to extend the surveillance authorities that both the Bush and Obama administrations have used to conduct “roving surveillance” of communications, to collect and examine business records and to target individuals who are not tied to terrorist groups for surveillance. While most Democrats opposed the extension of the surveillance authorities—rejecting aggressive lobbying by the Obama administration and its allies in the House GOP leadership—overwhelming Republican support won approval of the legislation on a 275-144 vote. Thus, the supposedly Constitution-obsessed House has endorsed a measure that is widely seen—not just by Democrats and progressives but by Republicans and conservatives—as a constant threat to privacy protections outlined in the document’s Fourth Amendment.  As Michelle Richardson, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, noted Monday night: “It has been nearly a decade since the Patriot Act was passed and our lawmakers still refuse to make any meaningful changes to this reactionary law. The right to privacy from government is a cornerstone of our country’s foundation and Americans must be free from the kind of unwarranted government surveillance that the Patriot Act allows. If Congress cannot take the time to insert the much needed privacy safeguards the Patriot Act needs, it should allow these provisions to expire.” The 275 votes for extending the surveillance authorities came from 210 Republicans and sixty-five Democrats.  The 144 votes against extending the authorities came from 127 Democrats (including minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Michigan’s John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee) and twenty-seven Republicans. The Continue Reading

House GOP leadership thrown into chaos after Boehner’s resignation announcement

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner's surprise announcement that he's resigning from Congress has thrown the House Republican conference into chaos, with conservatives smelling blood in the water. "The natives are restless, and they want to see something change," Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a member of GOP leadership, told reporters Friday afternoon. Boehner may be just the first casualty in the ongoing war between the GOP establishment and grassroots conservatives over control of leadership. Conservative hardliners are claiming credit for forcing him out — and say it's just the first step in pulling the House further right. "It's a scalp. It remains to be seen whether or not it's a victory," South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a regular thorn in Boehner's side, told the Daily News. Establishment Republicans are bracing for a fight as well. "I look upon this as a victory for the crazies," said Long Island Rep. Peter King, who lamented Boehner's announcement and predicted a bloody month to come. "There'll be a race for Speaker, or majority leader, or whip, and that's where these angry, unknowing people are going to try to elect their person. It's a dangerous situation," he said. "What John is offering as a gesture of peace is red meat to these guys." House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California seems to have the inside track on Boehner's old job, and is better liked than Boehner by hardliners in the conference. But conservatives are making noises about challenging him as well, with Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling as his biggest potential threat from the right. Florida Rep. Dan Webster is a potential right-wing candidate if Hensarling bows out. A Hensarling spokeswoman said he "is considering his options" and will likely make a decision "by early next week." A bloodier fight is brewing for McCarthy's current gig whether or not he becomes Speaker, with a number of Republicans already making calls and twisting arms as Continue Reading

House GOP passes bill declaring Obama’s immigration actions ‘null and void’

Emboldened House Republicans issued a stern rebuke to President Barack Obama over immigration Thursday, passing a bill declaring his executive actions to curb deportations “null and void and without legal effect.” Outraged Democrats, immigrant advocates and the White House said the GOP was voting to tear families apart and eject parents. “Rather than deport students and separate families and make it harder for law enforcement to do its job, I just want the Congress to work with us to pass a commonsense law to fix that broken immigration system,” Obama said ahead of the vote. Even supporters acknowledged that the bill by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., which says Obama was acting “without any constitutional or statutory basis,” was mostly meant to send a message. It stands no chance in the Senate, which remains under Democratic control until January, and faces the veto threat from Obama. The real fight may lie ahead as conservatives push to use must-pass spending legislation to block Obama. For now, Republicans insisted they must go on record denouncing what they described on the House floor as an outrageous power grab by Obama. “The president thinks he can just sit in the Oval Office and make up his own laws. That’s not the way our system of government works,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. “This legislation says you can’t do that, Mr. President. There is a rule of law.” The vote was 219 to 197, with three Democratic “yes” votes and seven Republican “no” votes. Three Republicans voted “present.” Obama’s executive actions last month will extend deportation relief and work permits to some 4 million immigrants here illegally, mostly those who have been in the country more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. He also reordered law enforcement priorities and expanded an existing Continue Reading

Democrats call for House GOP leadership resignations

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini called for House Speaker Beth Harwell, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick and House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada to resign from their leadership positions for creating a “toxic workplace” that “protected an accused sexual harasser.”“Tennessee’s legislature cannot be a place that sweeps sexual harassment under the rug and enables those who harass staff,” Mancini said Monday during a midday news conference at the state Capitol.Her call comes after a Tennessean investigation found House Republicans were told about a potential sexual harassment complaint involving Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, a week before a House caucus meeting held Jan. 12 to decide the fate of his leadership role. On Sunday, Durham resigned his post as House majority whip in light of a Tennessean investigation into inappropriate text messages sent to three women. Durham on Monday reiterated that he doesn't remember sending the text messages and denied ever sexually harassing anyone.“It is well past time for Speaker Harwell, Leader McCormick and Chairman Casada to resign from their leadership positions and be replaced with leaders who will stand up against the unethical and disgusting behavior,” Mancini said.The Tennessean’s investigation found the legislature’s sexual harassment policy is mired in secrecy, according to several experts. After the investigation published, Harwell called for a review of how the General Assembly handles sexual harassment cases.“I am disappointed that staffers and others who are regularly at the Capitol do not feel comfortable coming forward. I would have treated anyone who came forward professionally and with respect, and take all action available. Although we abide by a joint legislative policy that was established before I became Speaker, my conclusion is that we should begin a review of our sexual harassment Continue Reading

Debt crisis: House GOP leaders put off vote as Boehner tweaks bill to entice Tea Party holdouts

WASHINGTON - Congress lurched closer to a meltdown Thursday night as House Speaker John Boehner yanked his debt bill - unable to convince Tea Party hardliners to sign on. In an embarrassing setback for the Speaker and the GOP leadership, Boehner ordered a delay - and later recessed the House to twist arms - minutes before the vote. One by one, recalcitrant Republicans were marched into Boehner's woodshed for some tough-love counseling. Four hours after the vote was supposed to happen, House leaders gave up for the night. Hill sources reported Boehner was tweaking the bill to entice a handful of Tea Party holdouts - and hopes to pass it Friday. The spectacle of legislative gridlock reinforced the partisan divide that has brought the U.S. government to the edge of a cataclysmic default in which the Treasury won't be able to pay all its bills. Hardline lawmakers apparently refused to heed President Obama's earlier blunt message: Grow up. "Clock ticks towards August 2 [debt deadline], House is naming post offices, while leaders twist arms for a pointless vote. No wonder people hate Washington," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer tweeted. Boehner pressed ahead nonetheless. "There are no gimmicks, there are no smokescreens," he said. "For the sake of jobs, for the sake of our country . . . let's pass this bill and end this crisis." As Boehner dug in against the Tea Party faction within his own ranks, Democrats pushed back against the GOP. "No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) countered, echoing the White House stance. With the House bill dead on arrival in the Senate, the stage is set for a potential compromise, merging portions of the House bill with a deal being brokered by Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) "It is time for Tea Party Republicans to Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi says she will seek to remain the leader of the Democrats in the House; GOP thrilled

WASHINGTON - Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have enough votes to stay atop the House Democratic leadership, but her decision to keep power had some Republicans dancing for joy."The first image that comes to my mind is her carrying the oversized gavel in a 'let them eat cake' moment," said Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa). "If Pelosi assumes this leadership role, then President Barrack Obama should forget about being reelected in 2012."Pelosi weighed her options, counted heads and concluded yesterday she has the votes to defeat a challenge from her second-in-command, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), or conservative Blue Dog Democrat and ex-NFL quarterback Heath Shuler (D-N.C.)."Driven by the urgency of creating jobs" and protecting health care, Wall Street reform and Social Security and Medicare, "I am running' for Democratic leader," Pelosi said in her announcement on Twitter.Pelosi has lined up most New York lawmakers."She has been a strong speaker these last four years and deserves the opportunity to lead us through the coming challenges," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). Join the Conversation: Continue Reading