House of Representatives

How to Chauffeur Rokita Around His District

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), who is running in one of next year’s most competitive Senate races, has an 8-page memo for staff on how to properly escort the congressman around his district, Politico reports.

“Tasks listed in the document, entitled ‘Instructions on Staffing and Driving — District Version,’ include handing Rokita a cup of black coffee upon picking him up at his home, acting as a physical barrier between him and trackers looking to capture embarrassing footage of the congressman, and ‘avoid[ing] sudden acceleration or braking’ while driving.”

“Drivers are expected to transport not only Rokita’s toothbrush and toothpaste but also stock and tote around the district a nearly 20-item supply box that Rokita’s staffers call ‘the football.’ The contents include gum, hand sanitizer, business cards, bottled water, napkins and Kleenex, Lozenges-brand cough drops, a stapler and stapler remover, Post-it notes and Shout wipes, among other items.”

Staffer Scandal Burns Wasserman Schultz

Politico: “The chatter about a House leadership post is gone. So is talk of statewide office. After Hillary Clinton’s defeat, there’s no prospect of an administration job for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She’s under fire for mismanaging an IT employee under a House IT investigation who was arrested on a seemingly unrelated mortgage fraud charge. Wasserman Schultz broke her public silence on Awan last week, portraying herself as the victim of ‘right wing media’ attacks rooted in anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Said fellow Florida Democrat Nikki Barnes: “We wish she would go away and stop being so public by doubling down on negative stories … None of this makes sense. It doesn’t sound like racial profiling … there must have been something for her …. This adds to Debbie being re-branded as the Democrats’ disastrous destruction.”

GOP Lawmakers Face the Heat at Home

“Congressional Republicans plan to use the next four weeks away from Washington making a public case for a sweeping rewrite of the tax code, an ambitious legislative undertaking they hope will heal divisions that opened when the party’s signature health-care bill collapsed,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But at home in their districts, they face pressures that could make it hard to focus on taxes. Many of their constituents and party activists blame Congress, more than President Donald Trump, for the health-care stalemate and are pressing them to find a resolution. And before they can do anything, lawmakers face a load of time-sensitive fiscal business: hashing out a budget, funding the government and raising the federal debt limit. The result is a party sent home for a month-long recess to face mixed messages from voters and an uncertain path forward in the fall.”

Michael Grimm Eyes Return to Congress

Sources told NY1 that former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) “is beginning to let a small number of political leaders on Staten Island know that he intends to run for Congress.”

“Any campaign would be a challenge for someone in Grimm’s position; he spent seven months in federal prison for tax fraud, and he was released in May of 2016.”

“Grimm also made headlines for threatening a NY1 reporter, Michael Scotto, with physical violence in 2014, saying he would throw Scotto off a balcony and break him in half while they spoke at the Capitol in Washington.”

House Judiciary Prioritizes Investigating Clinton

Bloomberg: “Between Russian meddling in last year’s election, Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and the president’s public drubbing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the House Judiciary Committee has a lot it could be looking into. But its Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, has a different priority: investigating Hillary Clinton.”

“Goodlatte has called for new scrutiny of decisions made by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department in its probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server, as well as alleged Clinton ties to foreign governments and the leaking of classified information.”

Ryan Claims Only the House Works

Speaker Paul Ryan, “who spent weeks urging his members to hold their fire and give Senate Republicans some space to get a health care deal, didn’t hide his frustration at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement on Friday. He effectively threw the Senate under the bus, telling his colleagues that the House of Representatives was the only arm of the government that was working,” CNN reports.

Yelled Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL): “Low bar, low bar!”

One House GOP member in the meeting summarized Ryan’s remarks as “essentially, we are the functioning chamber. We did our work. This one is on them.”

A No Action Congress

Boston Globe: “The Republican-controlled Congress is in a tailspin of unproductivity, and that’s even before the Senate GOP’s failure last week to pass a long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act. By almost every objective measure — especially compared with 2009, the last time one party had control of the White House and both congressional chambers — it is off to a dismal start.”

“Not only have lawmakers been unable to notch major accomplishments on health care or tax reform, but there are also fewer votes, fewer nominees confirmed, and fewer bills passed.”

House Democrats Surprise GOP by Sinking Two Bills

Politico: “House Democrats sank two key bills on the House floor Monday, embarrassing Republican leaders who were banking on the noncontroversial legislation sailing through — in a new sign of the opposition party’s frustration with the majority’s approach. Kicking off a busy week in the House, most Democrats and a handful of Republicans joined forces to deny GOP leaders big-enough majorities to pass an annual intelligence policy bill and legislation to restore funding for a key veterans health care program.

“Both bills came to the House floor Monday under suspension of the rules, an expedited process that allows for less than an hour of debate and no amendments but also requires a two-thirds majority for passage. The suspension process is typically used for noncontroversial bills that have broad bipartisan support. One suspension bill failing on the House floor is a rarity, but two back to back is extremely rare.”

Hastert Booking Photo Released

WGN has obtained the booking photo of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who served 13 of his 15 month prison sentence and checked in today for electronic monitoring.

“Hastert was convicted on banking charges related to a scheme to pay hush money to a man who said Hastert molested him as a boy decades ago. The case led several men to come forward to say they too were sexually abused by Hastert when he was their wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.”

Ryan’s Approval Takes a Thumping

A new Bloomberg poll finds more people now view Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in a negative light rather than a positive one, 48% to 34%.

Just six months ago, only 31% held a negative view of Ryan, while 47% looked at him favorably.

“It’s a dramatic turn for one of the Republican Party’s biggest stars and its 2012 vice presidential nominee. The approval rating decline for Ryan is the largest among GOP leaders measured by the Bloomberg survey — and exceeds the drop in approval for the party, Congress and Trump.”