House of Representatives

Republicans In an Immigration Nightmare

Playbook: “Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise have spent this week trying to get Republicans to not sign a discharge petition that would open the House floor to a wide-ranging immigration debate. As of now, it’s been a failure.”

“After the trio spent the morning making the argument that this was not the path to go down, two Republicans — New York Rep. John Katko and Michigan Rep. Dave Trott — signed it anyway. That Republicans are openly defying their own leadership is relatively stunning. McCarthy has made the argument that an immigration vote could cost Republicans the majority. That clearly isn’t resonating.”

“Republicans are in a box. The discharge petition is a bad look for a lot of conservatives, who rightly think that the process will lead to a bill that will be carried mostly by Democrats. But it’s a central part of how the House works… Make no mistake this is a mess for the GOP.”

James Hohmann: “This open rebellion really is extraordinarily unusual. These renegade Republicans risk retribution from party chieftains by signing onto this petition over the strenuous public and private objections of leadership. But these lawmakers feel caught between a rock and a hard place: They also realize that they may lose reelection in November if they do nothing.”

Shouting Match Erupts Over House Chaplain

Politico: “No. 4 House Democrat Joe Crowley (D-NY), who is Catholic, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) got up in each other’s faces on the House floor and squabbled over the merits of a special investigation into the dismissal. The exchange was so heated that some lawmakers and aides watching worried they’d come to blows, though Crowley’s office said that was never going to happen.”

“MacArthur walked over to the Democratic side of the chamber and accused Crowley of politicizing the issue. According to one source who witnessed it, MacArthur said he prays with Conroy regularly and he’s a Republican — so this is not a partisan issue and Crowley shouldn’t make it one. MacArthur, who is Episcopalian, said he was offended by Crowley’s actions. Crowley grew angry and started yelling at MacArthur saying, ‘I’m offended!’ He pointed to the speaker’s chair, arguing that Ryan was the one who made it a political issue when he fired the chaplain.”

Nunes Threatens to Hold Sessions In Contempt

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) warned that he plans to urge lawmakers “this week” to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over classified materials related to the Russia investigation, CNN reports.

But the Justice Department informed Nunes three days ago — on the deadline for responding to a subpoena from Nunes’ committee — that providing the information on a “specific individual” could pose grave implications for national security.

It was not immediately clear why Nunes has targeted Sessions.

The Unlikely Rise of Kevin McCarthy

“People watching Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) political rise often marvel at how he got here. He’s the not-so-serious guy who used to bop around town selling sandwiches and cars before dipping into politics. He was considered likable and fun but hardly Bakersfield’s star pupil,” the AP reports.

“The rest of the country might be stunned, too, if Republicans win in November and McCarthy succeeds in his quest to become speaker of the House, next in line after the vice president to the presidency.”

Democratic Lawmaker Denies Sexual Abuse Allegations

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) “identified himself as the subject of a lawsuit in Los Angeles County claiming a local politician sexually abused a 16-year-old girl in 2007, and vehemently denied the allegations through his attorney,” the Washington Post reports.

“Cárdenas has been calling colleagues in recent days about the lawsuit and telling them he’s innocent.”

House Chaplain Rescinds Resignation

In a two-page letter, the Rev. Patrick Conroy informed Speaker Ryan “that he gave in to pressure from the speaker’s staff when he agreed in mid-April to resign, believing that Ryan had the power to fire him, but the chaplain now believes he was pressured into the resignation for lack of cause,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Conroy: “I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain.”

House GOP Leadership Race Remains Unsettled

Washington Post: “Ryan intends to remain as speaker until the end of his term, and his endorsement of the No. 2 House Republican, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), was meant to quell persistent questions about McCarthy’s readiness for the top job. Ryan is doubling down on that message in the next two months, co-hosting high-dollar fundraisers with McCarthy in a bid to preserve GOP control of the House.”

“But interviews with dozens of Republican lawmakers over the past few weeks reveal a race that is more unsettled than the top leaders are publicly acknowledging, one that could remain fluid and distract lawmakers from a tough midterm election battle.”

“The biggest mystery surrounds the roughly three dozen hard-line conservatives who helped tank McCarthy’s last run for speaker, in 2015. They are poised to again use their leverage to install a sympathetic leader, or at least one willing to meet their demands.”

Tracking the Votes Against Pelosi

“So far, 10 Democratic candidates have said they would oppose Pelosi’s return to the speakership, while at least another 10 have conspicuously declined to express support for her,” the Washington Post reports.

Playbook: “To play this out, if 10 new Democrats vote against Pelosi, for example, combine that with the three in the House who have already voted against her, and you need 231 Democrats in the majority to elect the Californian speaker if everything else goes OK.”

House Conservatives Mull Impeaching Rosenstein

“Conservative House allies of President Trump have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the ongoing special-counsel probe, setting up a possible GOP showdown over the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) acknowledged the draft in an interview, calling the one-page document “a last resort option.”

Meehan Suddenly Resigns

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) announced he will resign from Congress immediately as he battles sexual misconduct charges, The Hill reports.

Roll Call: “The Pennsylvania Republican said he intends to repay the $39,000 in taxpayer dollars used to settle the harassment case with the staffer within the next 30 days. He had already announced he would not run for re-election following the allegations.”

Brooks Says Assassination Threats Led to Retirements

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) “suggested in a radio interview that Republicans are retiring en masse because of assassination fears,” Roll Call reports.

He was speaking about the first Republican practice the Congressional Baseball Game after last year’s shooting that left Majority Whip Steve Scalise severely injured.

Said Brooks: “One of the things that’s concerning me is the assassination risk may become a factor.”

House Republicans Claim No Evidence of Collusion

“The House Intelligence Committee released on Friday a roughly 250-page report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, laying out Republicans’ conclusion after a yearlong investigation that they had found no evidence that the Trump campaign aided Moscow’s efforts,” the New York Times reports.

“Their conclusions are certain to be attacked by Democrats on the committee, who have accused the Republicans of prematurely closing the investigation and failing to conduct it with the rigor that the subject called for out of a desire to protect President Trump. The committee also released dissenting views from the Democrats.”