Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

123 Posts

July 16, 2015

Campaigning in the Capitol Is Tricky Business (Video)

Sanders addressed reporters Tuesday in the Ohio Clock Corridor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sanders addressed reporters Tuesday in the Ohio Clock Corridor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Let’s say you’re running for president. Your opinion on a major policy issue is sought after by journalists and voters alike. As a senator, you can step in front of one of the Capitol’s many microphones at pretty much any point and command an audience. But now that you’re seeking the presidential nomination, things get a little trickier.

The perceptions, at least. And maybe also with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

Full story

July 13, 2015

Harry Reid Talks Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Reid talks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid talks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used to raise money for him and that he really likes Hillary Rodham Clinton, even if he hasn’t formally endorsed her presidential bid quite yet.

The Nevada Democrat’s comments about Trump, Clinton and predicting a 2016 Democratic takeover of the Senate came on a Las Vegas radio program where the retiring senator has appeared frequently over the years. Full story

July 2, 2015

Republicans Aiming to Register Voters at NASCAR

Many of the fans the RNC plans to approach this weekend would want to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images File Photo)

Many of the fans the RNC plans to approach this weekend would want to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images File Photo)

Reince Priebus won’t be behind the wheel of a stock car, but the the Republican National Committee is going to Daytona International Speedway.

Spectators at this weekend’s NASCAR races in Florida will be encouraged to register to vote. You might say the party’s staff and volunteers will be “at the races” — literally.

Full story

June 29, 2015

Cruz Says McConnell Misled on Funding Incumbents

Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz is a Republican from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is suggesting current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell misled him about the objectives of the National Republican Senatorial Committee last cycle.

The Texas Republican’s vice chairmanship of the party campaign committee was always a bit mysterious, and in his new book to be released Tuesday, Cruz contends that McConnell, the longtime Kentucky senator who faced perhaps the most vociferous tea party primary challenger of the year, said the NRSC would not be defending its own incumbents.

Full story

June 23, 2015

Kay Hagan Won’t Challenge Richard Burr in 2016

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hagan is telling donors she will not make another run for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan will not be mounting a challenge to her former GOP colleague, Sen. Richard M. Burr.

Hagan, who was defeated by Thom Tillis in 2014, has been making calls to inform donors she will not be running for the seat that comes up in 2016, two sources familiar with the calls told Roll Call.

Full story

June 10, 2015

2016 Prospects Encouraged to Do the ‘Full Grassley’ in Iowa

Walker greets guests before Ernst's motorcycle ride on June 6 near Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Walker greets guests before Ernst’s motorcycle ride on June 6 near Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sen. Joni Ernst’s motorcycle ride and barbecue got most of the attention last weekend as Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa, but the state’s senior senator spent plenty of time with the presidential prospects as well.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley isn’t expected to have any trouble winning a seventh term, but he’s taking nothing for granted. He told Roll Call last week he anticipates making appearances with other candidates and said there would be more fundraisers for his own political efforts.

Full story

June 1, 2015

Appealing to Hawks, Lindsey Graham Jumps Into 2016 Presidential Ring

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham announced he’s running for president and vowed to defeat “radical Islam.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:42 p.m. | Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul claimed a temporary victory in his quest to rein in the National Security Agency, the leader of what the Kentucky Republican blasted as the “eye-roll caucus” threw his own hat into the 2016 presidential ring.

Sen. Lindsey Graham formally launched his presidential bid with a predictably foreign policy-heavy speech in his hometown of Central, S.C., where he grew up in a tiny space at his parents’ bar room and pool hall.

Full story

May 18, 2015

Scott Walker to Meet and Greet Congress Tuesday (Updated)

Walker will meet with lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Walker will meet with lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated May 19, 9:55 a.m. | When you’re a Midwestern governor pondering a presidential campaign as a Washington outsider, there are plenty of people to meet on Capitol Hill.

And that’s just what Gov. Scott Walker plans to do Tuesday. In addition to meeting with a group of top social conservatives, the Wisconsin Republican has a full schedule of closed-door events with senior congressional aides and lawmakers, including a few senators, according to sources familiar with Walker’s plans.

Full story

May 13, 2015

The Rubio Doctrine

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio’s foreign policy speech is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. Marco Rubio speaks Wednesday afternoon in New York, he has the opportunity to offer his foreign policy vision to an audience of foreign affairs experts who might have some biting questions.

But the Florida Republican, who is one of several senators making a bid for the White House in 2016, first plans to offer up a broad view of the United States’ role on the world stage, with three pillars as his rhetorical guide at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The 21st century requires a president who will answer that question with clarity and consistency – one who will set forth a doctrine for the exercise of American influence in the world – and who will adhere to that doctrine with the principled devotion that has marked the bipartisan tradition of presidential leadership from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan,” Rubio plans to say, according to excerpts obtained in advance by CQ Roll Call.

Full story

April 19, 2015

Manchin Is Staying in the Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Manchin, right, said he would stay put in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III will not be taking any country roads home to West Virginia any time soon.

The Democratic senator announced Sunday he’s decided against seeking a return to the Mountaineer State’s governor’s mansion in 2016.

That’s good news for Manchin’s fellow Democrats as an open Senate seat could prove difficult to hold in a special election. His term is not up until the 2018 cycle. Manchin came to the Senate from the governorship after winning the special election following the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd. He conceded Sunday the change of scenery has proven frustrating.

Full story

March 26, 2015

Vote-a-Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Richard Burr

Burr is among the senators up for re-election facing a gauntlet of politically charged votes in the vote-a-rama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators aren’t making law as they complete work on the budget resolution, but for those facing the voters in 2016, the affair is riddled with political landmines, often set deliberately by the other party.

Of the 34 senators up for re-election in 2016, 24 are Republicans, several in highly competitive swing states. Just two Democratic incumbents are running in competitive states. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to secure the majority.

Full story

March 22, 2015

Cruz’s Liberty Speech: Why It’s Happening Monday

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The night before Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to deliver a speech launching his 2016 presidential bid, the Texas Republican’s political operation sent a text message to supporters, telling them to pay attention.

Ted Cruz will make an exciting announcement soon,” the message read. “Stay tuned to @tedcruz on Twitter around midnight to be the first to know!”

Ahead of that bit of news, much of the attention about Cruz’s planned Monday morning appearance here at a convocation event on the campus of Liberty University focused on two basic choices by the candidate and his advisers: time and place.

Full story

March 20, 2015

Ted Cruz Plans ‘Important Speech’ in Virginia

Sen. Ted Cruz’s political operation appears to be strongly encouraging attendance by the media at an event in Lynchburg, Va., Monday for what’s being billed as “an important speech.”

Aides to the Texas Republican, who has been contemplating a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, were tight-lipped Friday about the details of the visit to the campus of Liberty University, but the timing of the speech would be right for getting somewhat ahead of the curve on announcing a White House run, at least among senators.

Full story

March 12, 2015

Ben Cardin Weighs in on Maryland Senate Race

Cardin's colleague, Mikulski, is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cardin, center, is a Democrat from Maryland. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., pledged to remain “neutral” in the Democratic primary to succeed his retiring colleague, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

“I’m using Sen. Mikulski’s words: I plan to be neutral but not passive,” Cardin said Thursday in a C-SPAN “Newsmakers” interview scheduled to run this weekend. “We’ll be very active to make sure that Maryland maintains a Democratic seat in the United States Senate. And we will have some interesting primaries in the House of Representatives as well.” Full story

March 2, 2015

Mikulski Will Not Seek Another Term (Updated)

Mikulski said she would rather raise "hell" than money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mikulski said she would rather raise “hell” than money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:12 p.m. | BALTIMORE — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced Monday she will not seek another term in the Senate.

Speaking at a press conference, the Maryland Democrat said she asked herself: “Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?” Full story

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