Entries in House of Representatives (76)


Rep. John Dingell Set to Break Record for Longest Congressional Tenure

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. John Dingell, who is serving his 30th term in the House of Representatives, is poised to break the record next week as the longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. Congress.

Next Friday, June 7, Dingell will eclipse the late Sen. Robert Byrd, having served 57 years, 177 days.

That's 20,996 days, to be exact.

Throughout his career, Dingell has served with 22 percent of all members who have ever served in the lower chamber -- 2,419 of 10,989 lawmakers -- casting more than 25,000 votes through 11 presidential administrations while attending 50 State of the Union addresses.

Dingell, 86, first took office on Dec. 13, 1955 at the age of 29 after winning a special election to replace his late father, John Dingell Sr., as the representative for Michigan's 15th Congressional District.

Dwight Eisenhower was serving his first term as president and had not yet signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. John F. Kennedy was still a U.S. senator and had not yet published his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles in Courage." Barack Obama would not be born in Hawaii for almost six more years.

Dingell, who can be seen leisurely walking throughout the Capitol with the help of a wooden cane, often drives a motorized scooter with a vanity license plate that reads, "The Dean" to commute between the Capitol and his congressional office across the street.

Dingell has owned the title of Dean of the House of Representatives since 1995, given for the longest continuous service of a current member.

The Michigan Democrat, born July 8, 1926, is not the oldest member of Congress. That honor goes to Rep. Ralph Hall, who is about three years older than Dingell.

Rep. John Conyers, a fellow Michigan Democrat who has served alongside Dingell since his own election to the House in 1965, previously worked for Dingell as a legislative aide, crediting him as his mentor.

"It has been a privilege to serve alongside Congressman Dingell in representing Michigan, and I congratulate him on this momentous milestone," said Conyers, the second-longest current serving member of Congress. "Congressman Dingell's dedication to public service is unmatched, and he has had a distinguished career leading the fight to advance health care reforms and increase environmental protections. Both my father and Congressman Dingell's father were friends many years ago, and it has been an honor to call Congressman Dingell my friend over our time in Congress together."

Since the House is not in session next Friday, lawmakers will regroup June 13 for a bicameral, bipartisan celebration of Dingell in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Michele Bachmann Won't Seek Fifth Term in House

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and Tea Party supporter, will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2014, the congresswoman announced in a video posted to YouTube.

In the video, Bachmann, a four-term member of the House of Representatives, said that the decision not to run for re-election had nothing to do with the recent investigation of her campaign finances during the 2013 Presidential campaign.

"Looking forward after the completion of my term -- my future is full, limitless and my passions for American remains," Bachmann said, before adding that she would consider a number of future opportunities that might allow her to help "save and protect our great nation for future generations."

Specifically, Bachmann explained that she believes "eight years is long enough for an individual to serve as representative for a specific congressional district."

What is clear is that Bachmann's decision not to run is not related to an inability to raise campaign funds. Her campaign fund had nearly $2 million as of this March, according to Federal Election Commission filings. By comparison, her would-be challenger, Democrat Jim Graves, has just $36,000 cash on hand at this point.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Sees the World Through Google Glass

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- This week’s Republican House meeting was a little more exciting than weeks past, and it wasn’t just because of what was on the agenda.

At the request of the GOP, Google representatives held Google Glass demonstrations at the beginning and the end of the meeting, allowing Congressional members to try on the sought-after technology. A Google spokesperson told ABC News that the company offered the same demonstration sessions to Democrats, but have yet to schedule any official group presentations.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was among those who tried on a pair of the new glasses. In an email, a representative for Bachmann told ABC News that the congresswoman enjoyed trying on Google Glass because she “likes being ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative technology” and believes “it is a testament to just how much the industry has evolved.”

Bachmann’s first query when trying on the glasses? The Drudge Report.

Earlier this year, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich won a Twitter contest to be one of the first to try out the technology as a Google Glass explorer. His winning Tweet mentioned plans of zoo and museum visits.

ABC News has been unable to confirm whether Gingrich has received his pair of Google Glass, but a Google representative confirmed that contest winners were notified of how they could claim their prizes over the span of the past few weeks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boehner Uncommitted to Gun Votes in House

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After the U.S. Senate voted down a slate of proposals to toughen the country’s gun laws Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner was non-committal Thursday on the prospect of considering similar measures in the House of Representatives. Still, the speaker maintained that the Republican-controlled committees of jurisdiction in the House will continue examining mental health and gun violence.

“Our committees continue to work at this,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “No decision has been made beyond that.”

When he was asked whether he would expedite consideration of a bill or follow regular order, in which a bill starts at the committee level, and, separately, whether he believes there should be a political price to pay for lawmakers who oppose stronger gun legislation, the speaker’s tone carried a lack of urgency.

“Our committees are going to continue to look at the violence in our society and look at these tragedies and determine whether there are common-sense steps that we can take to reduce the chances of this,” Boehner said. “The relevant committees are working on this issue. I’m going to continue to work with them, and when we have a decision to announce, we’ll announce it.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are “so disappointed” by the Senate’s failed efforts, but she said she will continue fighting for stronger gun measures.

“Something must be done, because that’s what the American people expect and what they deserve,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “What we want also is a vote. The American people can say to the leadership in the Congress, to the speaker of the House, give us a vote. Give us a vote in the House.”

Boehner has long maintained that he would wait until the Senate actually passes legislation – not simply takes votes on gun measures – before he considers any gun-related legislation on the House floor.

On Thursday, despite the actuality of the Senate’s failed votes, Pelosi urged Boehner to take up legislation without delay.

“If he was waiting for the Senate to act and now he feels he’s — doesn’t have any work to do, well, then that just says we’re not the legislative branch,” Pelosi said. “We’re the first branch of government, the legislative branch. It is our responsibility to legislate, and we have our responsibility in the House to do that.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, the chairman of the Democratic Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence, said that the failed vote in the Senate was “unexplainable,” but is “not going to slow us or deter our work in regard to gun violence prevention.”

“Every time I get in the car, the Garmin says, ‘Recalculating, recalculating,’” Thompson, D-Calif., joked. “We’ll recalculate and get our bearing, and we’re going to go forward on this. The American people want their Congress to take action to make their communities, their neighborhoods, their workplace and their schools safer, and we can do that while protecting the Second Amendment.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama to Start Fundraising for Dems Looking to Win House Seats

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama assured Republicans this week that he’s not running a perpetual campaign, that “I actually just want to govern, at least for a couple years.”  But now, it appears that the president’s self-described hiatus from the campaign trail will only last another three weeks.

ABC News has learned that Obama will hit the road on April 3 to help raise money for Democrats gunning to win House seats from Republicans in 2014.

Democratic sources say Obama will head to San Francisco next month to headline two fundraisers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).   House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will also attend, the sources said.

As ABC News reported last month, Obama has committed to hosting at least 14 fundraisers this year for House and Senate Democratic candidates -- a significant step up from the fundraising efforts of previous second-term presidents.

Ten of the events will reportedly be held outside of Washington, D.C., with five benefitting the DCCC and five the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boehner Won’t Rush Immigration Overhaul Through House

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday praised the ongoing efforts of two bipartisan groups of congressional lawmakers, but he emphasized that an effective overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws will take time.

“We’ve got our first hearing on the issue today in the Judiciary Committee,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said, as the House of Representatives begins its first hearing examining the country’s immigration laws.  “This is not about being in a hurry.  This is about trying to get it right on behalf of the American people and those who are suffering under an immigration system that doesn’t work very well for anybody.”

The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first hearing of the 113th Congress on immigration, examining existing opportunities for legal immigration and whether the Obama administration is effectively enforcing the country’s existing laws to target illegal immigration.

Boehner declined to estimate how soon legislation could pass through the lower chamber.  In the House, a group of bipartisan lawmakers has labored secretly behind closed doors for years, while a separate group in the Senate last week unveiled its framework, which also addresses the conundrum of how to handle about 11 million illegal immigrants hiding in the shadows throughout the country.

“I want to applaud my colleagues on both sides of the Capitol and in both parties who have worked together to try to solve one of the bigger issues that we’re dealing with in our country,” Boehner said.  “What I want to do is to encourage both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue talking to one another so that we can resolve this issue in a bipartisan manner.”

The Ohio Republican called efforts to address a pathway to citizenship “a very difficult part” of any potential legislation, and encouraged “members on both sides of the Capitol and both parties to continue to try to come to some resolution of that issue.”

Asked whether House Republicans need a makeover after focusing mostly on spending issues during their time in the majority the past two years, Boehner conceded his party must make a more concerted effort to appeal to a larger segment of the population.

“While there’s a lot of focus on the deficit and the debt, there are a lot of other things that Republicans plan to do over the course of this year,” Boehner said.  “If we’re going to connect with the American people, it’s important that they see not only that we’re serious about solving our debt problem.  But we’re serious about addressing issues like energy, like education, to show really the breadth of the effort that we’re involved in.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


House Holds Its First Hearing on Immigration Reform

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday will take its first concrete steps this year toward addressing comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that has traditionally failed to gain traction in the lower chamber.

Momentum toward overhauling the nation's immigration laws is at its highest in years, with President Obama and a group of bipartisan senators unveiling their plans last week.  Both contain a path to citizenship for many of the the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Those type of proposals are expected to face an upward climb in the Republican-controlled House.  GOP lawmakers have staunchly opposed a path to citizenship for years, dismissing it as "amnesty."  But there are also signs that the mood has shifted on immigration.  Many Republican leaders have called on their members to shift their tone on the issue after the November election, in which the GOP failed to attract enough Latino and immigrant voters to win at the presidential level.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on immigration reform Tuesday morning.  Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the judiciary panel and a long-time opponent of a path to citizenship, has said he is open to considering a wide range of proposals to reshape the immigration system, including the president's and the Senate's, but he's wary of plans that contain a broad path to citizenship.

"When [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] says there has to be a path to citizenship, I wonder whether he's serious about doing immigration reform," Goodlatte told USA Today on Monday.  "You have to come at this with a willingness to look at all the options and find the common ground."

Goodlatte, however, said that he would consider proposals that find a middle ground between a broad pathway to citizenship and mass deportation.  He expressed openness toward the plan put forth by the Senate, which would allow eligible undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent legal status only after the border is deemed secure.

"What the Senate is working on, we'll be interested in looking at," he said, adding that he wants real assurances on border security before considering any kind of legalization for undocumented immigrants.

Tuesday's hearing is only one sign that the House may be prepared to act on immigration reform.  A secret bipartisan group of congressmen, which has worked in parallel to a group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, is reportedly close to reaching an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform, according to The Hill newspaper.

Republican leaders in the House have also remained open to addressing immigration reform, although they have been coy about how exactly they will handle the issue.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is expected to speak about his views on immigration and other issues in a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday afternoon.

"While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws, and that's what makes tackling the issue of immigration reform so difficult," he will say, according to excerpts provided by his office.  "We must balance respect for the rule of law and respect for those waiting to enter this country legally, with care for people and families, most of whom just want to make a better life, and contribute to America."

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, Obama will meet with more than two dozen leaders from business, labor and immigration-advocacy groups at the White House during two separate meetings in part to discuss immigration reform.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


House to Vote on Delayed Superstorm Sandy Relief

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives is poised to vote on Tuesday to provide about $50 billion of additional relief for the region impacted by Superstorm Sandy last fall.

The base bill, known as the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Act, includes about $17 billion to fund immediate and critical needs for Sandy victims and their communities.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., has offered an amendment that would provide an additional $33 billion for disaster relief, bringing the total closer to the Obama administration’s emergency supplemental request, which called for $60.4 billion in total relief.

This amendment, which is opposed by many hard-line conservatives, includes funding for longer-term recovery efforts and infrastructure improvements intended to help prevent damage caused by future disasters.

Nearly 100 additional amendments were offered to cut or offset money included in the underlying bill and Frelinghuysen amendment, including one to strike $133 million for improved weather forecasting equipment and satellites.

“While my heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, it is unacceptable for Congress to use this disaster as a justification for passing a bill chock-full of pork barrel spending,” Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., wrote in a statement Monday afternoon.  “My amendments to the bill simply and reasonably eliminate funding for any pet projects that are unrelated to emergencies brought on by Hurricane Sandy.”

The House Rules committee determined that most of the 94 amendments were not made in order, but 13 amendments survived and will face a vote on Tuesday as well.

Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, said she is worried that amending the legislation could complicate its passage in the Senate, which voted to approve the president’s request on Dec. 28.  The Senate-passed bill expired after the House refused to consider the legislation before the 112th session of Congress ended earlier this month.

Lowey said she was “deeply concerned” that too many changes to the underlying legislation would “constitute filibuster by amendment, or any number of small reduction amendments making for death by a thousand cuts.”

“While there are some provisions I would modify if I could, my first concern is seeing this legislation promptly enacted,” Lowey stated.

Congress has already approved $9.7 billion for flood insurance on Jan. 4.  The House also passed a separate bill without opposition on Monday evening, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, to speed up and streamline federal disaster recovery programs.

After the House voted on the “fiscal cliff” deal on Jan. 1, House Speaker John Boehner decided not to vote on any relief during the 112th Congress.  Republicans and Democrats from the region revolted until Boehner held a private meeting with angry Republican members, during which he promised to make Sandy relief a priority in the 113th Congress.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Texas Congressman Ralph Hall Oldest to Ever Serve in House

Chris Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman Ralph Hall didn’t have to be in Washington, D.C., on Christmas Day to break a record.

The 89-year-old Texas Republican earned the distinction Tuesday of being the oldest lawmaker to ever serve in the House of Representatives.

Hall eclipsed the record previously held by North Carolina Representative Charles Manley Stedman, who was also 89 when he died in September 1930.

First elected to the House in 1980 when he was 57, Hall started as a Democrat, but like many Texas lawmakers switched over to the Republican Party in 2004.  He won a 17th term last month.

Long before he entered politics, Hall pumped gas as a young man and reportedly filled the tank of the noted 1930s bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde.

The congressman’s website says Hall is often quoted, saying, “I'd rather be respected at home than liked in Washington."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nancy Pelosi Will Remain as House Democratic Leader

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Nancy Pelosi will continue to serve as the House Democratic leader, she announced in a closed door meeting with fellow Democrats Wednesday.

According to a senior aide, when she broke the news to her caucus, she said, "I will happily place my name for nomination for leader."  But with all the newly-elected members standing behind her, there is no doubt that Pelosi has the support to remain as minority leader.

Caucus members broke into chants of "Two more years!" when Pelosi made the announcement.

The 72-year-old San Francisco congresswoman told colleagues she will continue to lead a united Democratic caucus and fight in deficit reduction negotiations to protect Social Security and Medicare, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes.

Pelosi was House Speaker when Democrats held control of the House from 2007 through 2011 and stayed in the top Democratic job for their two years in the minority.  Her goal of returning to the speaker's chair after the 2012 elections was unfulfilled, however, since Democrats did not reclaim the majority on Nov. 6.

Republicans released a tongue-in-cheek statement praising Pelosi's decision.

"There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic Caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status," said Paul Lindsay, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.  "This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the speaker's gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place."

With Pelosi still in the top job, the House Democrats' leadership structure is expected to remain mostly intact.  Democrats hold their leadership election on Nov. 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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