Justin Amash

Opinion: Civil Liberties and Odd-Duck Congressional Coalitions
FISA debate a throwback to more bipartisan times

While the FISA bill amendment by Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California and Justin Amash of Michigan failed, it attracted bipartisan support from 58 Republicans and 125 Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

For two hours last Thursday, the House held a debate that harked back to the heyday of Sonny and Cher and Butch and the Sundance Kid. Instead of lockstep polarization on Capitol Hill, throwback Thursday marked a brief return to the era when legislative coalitions crossed party lines.

The topic before the House was the intersection of civil liberties and national security — about the only issue that can still upend standard red-and-blue divisions.

With House Passage of FISA Measure, Action Moves to Senate
GOP leaders in chamber move to restrict amendments to reauthorization

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is part of a bipartisan group that has problems with the FISA reauthorization measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday approved 256-164 a bill to reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years, putting the measure in the Senate’s hands.

The bill, backed by the Trump administration and all the U.S. intelligence agencies, would preserve the FBI and the intelligence agencies’ ability to search a surveillance database for information on Americans with minimal warrant requirements.

House Republicans Discuss FISA — Spending, Not So Much
Fiscal deal is primarily at the leadership level-BR

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said the GOP conference focused on the FISA legislation, not spending issues.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | House Republicans spent their Thursday morning planning conference discussing a surveillance measure that would be on the floor later the same day instead of a plan to fund the government beyond Jan. 19.

The week-end GOP conference meeting is typically reserved for legislative issues the House will tackle in weeks ahead. Conferences held the morning after fly-in day are when House Republicans normally discuss measures on the floor that week.

FISA Vote in the House Pivots on Privacy
Bipartisan group is demanding tougher protections

As provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expire, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash is leading a bipartisan group voicing privacy concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is set to vote Thursday on a bill to extend the electronic surveillance powers of the National Security Agency. 

How the House votes could determine whether the bill wins Senate passage for a long-term extension of provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or if lawmakers hit another roadblock and decide to punt again. Facing an impasse before Christmas, Congress passed a short-term extension until Jan. 19. The provisions were due to expire Dec. 31. 

Freedom Caucus Seeks to Delink Tax and Spending Negotiations
Members threatened to sink motion to go to conference on tax overhaul

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says there’s growing consensus for a longer stopgap funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Freedom Caucus on Monday threatened to sink a motion to go to conference on the tax overhaul — a procedural move they had been pushing for — in an attempt to negotiate a longer stopgap funding bill to delink upcoming tax and spending deadlines.

But in the end, all but one member of the 36-member hard-line conservative caucus voted for the motion to go to conference after Chairman Mark Meadows had a conversation off the floor with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, and other caucus members huddled on the floor with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash was the only caucus member to vote against the motion, which was agreed to, 222-192.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Predicts Tax Bill Will Pass
But Rep. Mark Meadows says members expect more changes in conference

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says caucus members still have more changes they’d like to see in the final GOP tax overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows on Monday predicted the Republican tax bill will pass the House this week, saying several members of his caucus appear willing to support the bill to keep the process moving.

“I think most of our members are a ‘Lean yes,’ some are undecided,” the North Carolina Republican said. “But all of that is with the caveat that there is still much work that needs to be done before there’s support for a final bill. So if this bill were to come up for a final vote on the floor, there wouldn’t be as many yeses as there are right now.”

Photos of the Week: Trumps on the Hill, Flake Not Running and a Gold Medal Ceremony
The week of Oct. 23 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump was at the Capitol on Tuesday, where a protester threw Russian flags at him, and his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump made a pitch for the child tax credit the next day. 

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced he will not seek re-election in 2018, adding to a growing list of lawmakers who are retiring.

House Adopts Budget Resolution Paving Way for Tax Package
Measure could increase deficit by $1.5 trillion

The House adopted a budget resolution that is the GOP’s vehicle for a tax overhaul measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution by a narrow margin, with supporters acknowledging it was little more than a vehicle for a still-developing tax measure.

“Most importantly this budget that we passed today brings us one step closer to tax reform,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said. 

Northern Kentucky Chamber Tweets Massie ‘Piece of S--t’ After Harvey Vote
#sassywithmassie laughs off the incident by turning it on the bill he voted against

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie was one of three members of the House who voted against the Hurricane Harvey recovery bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s president apologized Wednesday for the chamber’s account tweeting that Republican Rep. Thomas Massie was a “piece of s--t.”

The tweet, which was later deleted, came from the chamber’s account in response to news that Massie was one of three members of Congress who voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. 

Trump Slams Ryan, McConnell Over Debt Ceiling ‘Mess’
President tweets that the GOP leaders ignored his advice

President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the debt ceiling “mess.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 9:52 a.m. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying they created a debt ceiling “mess” by refusing his advice.

After the White House and McConnell’s office on Wednesday denied a recent New York Times report about tensions — including a profanity-filled phone call — between the two, the president started Thursday by attacking the Senate leader.