Christopher H Smith

D.C. Home Rule Advocates to Continue Fight After Chaffetz Retirement Announcement
Others on Oversight Committee may be targeted next

Golf balls with Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s face imprinted on them were a party favor at the Americans for Self-Rule PAC launch party this week. (Courtesy Lynette Craig)

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2018 has made some folks in Washington, D.C., very happy.

Advocates for District of Columbia sovereignty see Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as one of their biggest tormentors. The Republican lawmaker especially riled local groups to action by attempting to exercise the committee’s authority to overturn D.C. laws under the Home Rule Act, long a sore spot for District residents.

Congress Meets New Muppet with Autism, Julia
Doyle and Smith join advocate Holly Robinson Peete

Actress and autism advocate Holly Robinson Peete, and “Sesame Street” character Abby Cadabby introduce the newest Muppet, Julia, right, during a presentation in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Sesame Street” showed off its new Muppet, Julia, on Tuesday at a briefing in the Capitol by actress and autism advocate Holly Robinson Peete.

Julia is a four-year-old year old with autism. She makes her debut on the show on April 10 on HBO, PBS and other carriers in an episode entitled, “Meet Julia.”

Whip List: Obamacare Rollback Vote Nears Breaking Point
A handful more GOP opponents would doom measure

House Freedom Caucus members, from left, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio make their way to a procedural vote in the Capitol on Friday before the vote on the Republican health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Enough Republicans appeared on the verge of voting against the House health care overhaul to require frantic lobbying and send House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to the White House as floor debate got underway Friday.

At least 20 House Republicans had already signaled opposition since the end of a Thursday evening huddle with top Trump administration officials in which Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney delivered an ultimatum, saying President Donald Trump was done negotiating on partially repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Word on the Hill: Week Wraps Up
Animals, actors, and singers

California Rep. Ed Royce shows off George the kangaroo at a World Wildlife Day event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Capitol Hill this week. (Chip Weiskotten/WCS)

Happy Friday of a very busy week in Washington! And, a belated Happy Women’s History Month!

Here are a few things that happened this week worth checking out.

Word on the Hill: March for Life Planning
School Choice Week rally

Last year’s March for Life went ahead as planned despite blizzard warnings issued for the D.C. area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual anti-abortion rally in Washington, the March for Life, is this Friday.

While everyone was preparing for President Donald Trump’s inauguration, march organizers released its list of speakers, which includes counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, the highest-ranking White House official to ever address the event in person. Also scheduled to speak are Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J.

House Fits In Abortion Bill, Even With Short Schedule
Philadephia retreat will help set agenda for GOP

New Jersey Rep. Christopher H. Smith, right, will get a vote on his legislation banning the use of federal funds for abortions. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a short week for Congress in Washington, with Republicans in both the House and Senate heading out Wednesday for a retreat in Philadelphia, where they will strategize with the new administration about the year’s legislative agenda. Before leaving, though, they’ll wade into abortion politics with legislation in the House — just in time for Friday’s annual March for Life.

Before that, though, the House kicks off its abbreviated week at the Capitol on Monday with its usual 6:30 p.m. vote on a number of suspension measures, which require a two-thirds majority for passage.