Bradley Byrne

GOP Congressman Floats Passing Border Wall Funding Through Budget Reconciliation
Process would allow for simple-majority vote in the Senate, but both chambers would need to pass a budget first

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., says his legislation aims to prevent Democrats from continuing to “block our efforts to build a wall along our southern border.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne announced Monday that he has introduced legislation to use the budget reconciliation process to provide for up to $25 billion for President Donald Trump to construct his border wall before the end of his first term.

The bill, co-sponsored by 15 House Republicans, would allow the GOP to pass wall funding with a simple-majority vote in the Senate by using the reconciliation process — if the measure can withstand a “Byrd bath,” the scrubbing of the bill for violations of the Senate’s reconciliation rules. 

Republicans Likely in for a Messy December Funding, Leadership Fight
Securing border wall funding key for GOP, members to watch leadership candidates’ tactics

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., shown talking to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., during a press conference September 13, thinks Republicans are in a good position to secure wins in a December funding fight. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders patted themselves on the back last week for appropriating a large portion of discretionary spending before the start of the fiscal year today, but they’ve also set themselves up for messy spending fight come December over border wall funding that could complicate GOP leadership elections and potentially lead to a partial government shutdown.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan promised President Donald Trump that if he let Congress punt the Homeland Security Appropriations bill — where border wall funding would be debated — until after the November midterm elections, then House Republicans would fight for the wall then.

Republicans Go For Broke on Tax Cut Message With 2.0 Effort
Making individual tax cuts permanent is centerpiece of developing 3-bill package

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, briefed House Republicans Tuesday on his panel’s developing “Tax Reform 2.0” plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call fie photo)

House Republicans have made clear that the tax overhaul bill their party passed last year is their primary selling point to voters on why they should keep them in the majority come November. 

Now they’re doubling down on the tax cut message as they prepare a three-bill package they’re calling “Tax Reform 2.0.”

Past Trump Criticism Might Not Doom Martha Roby in Alabama
Congresswoman faces ex-Democrat Bobby Bright in GOP primary runoff

Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby is facing a primary runoff against her predecessor Bobby Bright next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eighteen months ago, it might’ve been a good bet that Alabama Rep. Martha Roby would lose her Republican primary. But ahead of next week’s GOP runoff for the 2nd District, she’s now favored to win.  

That’s due in part to an endorsement from President Donald Trump, help from allies, and a primary opponent who used to be a Democrat. 

How the Hill Reacted to the Trump-Kim Summit
Reaction ranges from a ‘huge deal’ to a ‘bi-lateral con job’

President Donald Trump answers a final question while departing a news conference following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore. Trump described his meeting with Kim as “better than anyone could have expected.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made history Tuesday in Singapore as the first American president to meet face-to-face with a leader of North Korea since the Kim dynasty sprouted on the peninsula roughly seven decades ago.

At the heart of negotiations was the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula in exchange for “security guarantees” for the North’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.

House GOP Immigration and Leadership Battles Entwined
Results of June attempt to pass immigration legislation will affect current GOP leaders, future candidates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks alongside Speaker Paul Ryan at the House Republican Leadership Press Conference on Tuesday morning. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are on the precipice of a major win or an embarrassing loss on immigration. Either outcome will have lasting impacts for the current leadership team and future contenders for those jobs.

But the prospect of an immediate backlash against Paul D. Ryan’s speakership over anything that could be perceived as an immigration failure appears minimal at best. The House is preparing to take up sweeping immigration legislation the third week of June for the first time since Republicans took control of the chamber eight years ago.

Paul Ryan Pushes Back on Pressure for Early Exit
Republican leaders defend capabilities amid caucus disagreements

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., right, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left have had to answer tough questions about the future of the House leadership situation and reports of McCarthy's role in pushing Ryan aside. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended himself Tuesday amid reports of threats to his leadership position and reiterated his view that it’s not in Republicans best interest to have a divisive leadership race before the November midterm elections.

“Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members; those are the people who drafted me in this job the first place,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he is confident he will remain speaker through the election. “But I think we all agree the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections.”

Opinion: A New Religious Schism — What’s the Chaplain’s Job?
Lawmakers need to leave politics out of the job

The Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, blesses the walnut tree during a tree planting ceremony in memory of Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on April 18. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Rev. Patrick J. Conroy was preparing to take over as House Chaplain in 2011 after being appointed by Speaker John Boehner, the Jesuit priest told The New York Times that he readied himself, in part, by reading “American Lion,” Jon Meacham’s biography of President Andrew Jackson. Conroy told the Times that reading about the vicious rivalry between Jackson and Henry Clay in Congress showed him that “it’s not an unprecedented thing in American politics for there to be recriminations and a lack of civility.”

That much has always been true. But what is unprecedented, seven years after Conroy accepted the job, is that the House chaplain himself is now at the center of the recriminations and lack of civility in Congress that he once sought to counsel members beyond. For the first time in history, the House chaplain has been asked to resign and nobody seems to know why.

Lawmakers Worried About Religious Freedom After Chaplain Ouster
Democrats raise questions about anti-Catholic sentiments from Republicans

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said there’s only division coming out of Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 8:45 a.m. | A spokesman for Rep. Mark Walkertold USA Today that the congressman was stepping down from the group searching for a new House chaplain.

Emotions are running high in the House as members grapple with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to fire House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy. And religious tensions started to spill into public view last week before lawmakers departed Washington for a one-week recess.

Lawmakers Push for Sexual Harassment Bill in Spending Package
Bipartisan coalition, Speaker want legislation included in omnibus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans and Democrats are making a last-minute bid to add legislation that would address the sexual harassment of staffers by members of Congress on the omnibus appropriations bill.

With dozens of policy issues still in flux as part of the full-year fiscal 2018 spending package, some lawmakers are upset by indications a bill that would implement robust sexual harassment policies in Congress is currently not part of the omnibus. The House passed the anti-sexual harassment measure, as well as sweeping rules changes aimed at protecting staffers, by voice vote on Feb. 6.