Cedric L Richmond

On congressional pay raise, maximum political pain and no gain
Hoyer optimistic, but McCarthy cool on member cost-of-living update

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says the congressional pay raise issue will be addressed, but it is unclear what the path forward is now. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic leaders are learning the hard way that when it comes to the politically dicey issue of raising lawmaker pay, there is maximum risk with a minimum chance of gain. 

Amid the fallout from Democrats in the chamber abruptly pulling a legislative spending bill from a broader package, leaders on Tuesday were left to state an easy to articulate but difficult to achieve goal: that the only path to bigger paychecks was through bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.

Fight over pay raise for Congress causes Democrats to pull spending bill
Rules chairman says measure could return as early as next week

House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., confirmed the plan is to remove the legislative branch title from the first bundle of fiscal 2020 appropriations measures. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have decided to pull the fiscal 2020 Legislative Branch spending bill out of a package moving on the floor this week, averting a politically toxic debate over salaries for members of Congress.

“We could have done this in a bipartisan fashion, but people were demagogues on this. I don’t want to leave my members who are in tough districts subjected to that,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Monday evening.

Where all 24 House Judiciary Democrats stand on impeachment
Majority says that may eventually need to launch an impeachment inquiry to get information

From left, Reps. Joe Neguse, Sylvia R. Garcia, Mary Gay Scanlon, Lou Correa and Val B. Demings attend a House Judiciary markup May 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than half of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say their panel may eventually need to open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump if his administration’s efforts to stonewall congressional investigations continue.

CQ Roll Call talked to all but one of the 24 Democrats on the panel over the past two weeks about their views on impeachment in light of Trump, his administration and his allies deciding not to cooperate with their investigation into potential obstruction of justice, corruption and abuses of power. The Democrat not reached directly, California’s Eric Swalwell, a presidential candidate, weighed in on Twitter.

New Orleans congressman calls Steve King a ‘white supremacist’ after Katrina comments
Cedric Richmond slams Iowa congressman after he contrasts Katrina victims with Iowans suffering from flooding

Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond did not mince words Thursday, quickly dubbing Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King a white supremacist for his comments about Hurricane Katrina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic congressman who represents much of New Orleans condemned Rep. Steve King as a white supremacist for belittling Hurricane Katrina victims Thursday.

“My heart goes out to all Iowans. Though it unsettles me that [King] would dare compare them to the countless victims of Katrina, many of whom lost their lives,” Rep. Cedric Richmond  said in a tweet. “When people show you who they are, believe them. Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it.” 

Members of Congress are rich with student debt
Reauthorization of Higher Education Act could affect repayment, affordability

68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members have student loan debt. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

As lawmakers look to reshape the federal loan process in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a cohort knows firsthand the pain of rising college costs — 68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members are mired in student debt.

Collectively, the 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans have higher education liabilities of $2.5 million, according to recent financial disclosures. The median student loan debt is $15,000, while average debt is $37,000.

There was just one thing missing from this voter reform hearing — a Republican
In a state like Georgia, the GOP will have to both acknowledge voter suppression and lead the effort to end it

When Stacey Abrams described a “systemic breakdown” in the electoral process, there were no Republicans around to hear her, Murphy writes. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — What are the chances that Republican lawmakers will work with Democrats to make changes to restrictive voting systems in the United States that have benefited Republicans in recent elections, either deliberately or accidentally?

That’s going to be the question going forward for the House Administration Elections Subcommittee, which is holding a series of field hearings around the country to examine the 2018 elections and the fundamental question of whether all U.S. citizens have equal and unfettered access to the right to vote, no matter their income or ethnicity.

The dead earmarks society
Congress gave up pork years ago. Now it could be making a comeback

Steny Hoyer says he’s working to restore congressionally directed spending, with “reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From the outside, they looked like a collection of political misfits akin to the characters from “The Breakfast Club.” This peculiar little crew of lobbyists, ethics watchdogs and government spending hawks included the likes of Public Citizen’s Craig Holman and former House member-turned-lobbyist Jim Walsh.

Instead of serving Saturday detention, like the high schoolers of the 1985 hit movie, they spent their meetings nearly a decade ago seeking compromise on one of Congress’ most politically fraught but powerful tools: earmarks. “It was a strange group, an eclectic group,” concedes Holman, whose liberal Public Citizen is best known for taking on K Street, not working with the lobbyists and lawyers in the sector. “We identified what the real problem with earmarks is — and earmarks do pose a serious problem with corruption.”

Clay wants Congressional Black Caucus to snub George H.W. Bush statue
Rep. William Lacy Clay and his father oppose the new sculpture on historically black Hampton University’s campus

From left, Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Cedric Richmond, D-La., Alma Adams, D-N.C., William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., and John Conyers, D-Mich., speak in front of the painting by Missouri high school student David Pulphus after it was rehung, January 10, 2017. The painting was removed from the Congressional Art Competition display in Cannon tunnel by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. and his father, a former congressman, are asking the Congressional Black Caucus to follow their lead and oppose a sculpture of George H.W. Bush on the campus of historically black Hampton University.

Last weekend, the Hampton, Virginia university unveiled its new Legacy Park, which commemorates the 41st president along with a host of black leaders including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and Barack Obama.

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Pelosi Agrees to Deal Limiting Her Speakership to 4 Years
Caucus may not formally adopt leadership term limits but Pelosi agrees to hold herself to a maximum of two more terms

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has agreed to limit her pending speakership to a maximum of two more terms to win the support of five members who otherwise opposed her bid.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:21 p.m.Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t in order to secure the votes she needs to be elected speaker — putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader. 

Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years.