113th House Republicans

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  • The House Republican who could end up undoing a District of Columbia voter referendum to legalize marijuana has a blunt message for residents of the capital city: If you don’t like it, move out. “That’s the way the Constitution was written,” Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland said in an interview Wednesday. “If they don’t like that oversight, move outside of the federal district to one of the 50 states that is not covered by the jurisdiction of Congress as a whole.”
  • A specialized sort of barometric collapse hit Washington, D.C., last night: a sudden knowledge that the capital’s stocks of Merlot and unfiltered cigarettes had been depleted, and Speaker John Boehner was turning surly. And the target of his abuse, yet again, were the very specimens over whom he attempts to leverage power: the House Republicans conference. Boehner, speaking to the International Franchise Association (read: people who don’t want to pay their fast-food workers more), described the House majority over which he lords as a “paper majority,” and then went on to label a dissident faction within his conference as “knuckleheads.” “On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing,” he said.
  • Former vice-president Dick Cheney met behind closed doors with Republican members of Congress on Tuesday to urge them to adopt a more muscular military posture in the Middle East. The private meeting came as leading Republican hawks are clamouring for a ramped-up confrontation with the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, with some openly discussing the redeployment of ground troops in Iraq. Cheney did not address the specifics of any military involvement in the Middle East, according to several people present at the meeting, which took place in the Capitol Hill Club and was open to all House Republicans.
  • The former vice president tries to sell reluctant House Republicans on “comprehensive” action against ISIS by blaming the president, of course. Dick Cheney spoke to House Republicans on Tuesday about the need for military action in Iraq. With President Obama poised to give a major speech on Wednesday about military action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Cheney spoke to the assembled Republican congressmen about the situation in the Middle East at their weekly caucus meeting. And while the GOP has been fiercely divided over foreign policy in recent years, Cheney didn’t wade into that debate, instead opting to pillory Obama in front of an audience giving him “rapt attention.”
  • Majority Leader Eric Cantor gave his farewell address Thursday as the No. 2 most-powerful Republican on the House side of Capitol Hill. In remarks filled with gratitude and touches of humility, the Republican who was shockingly turned out of office by Virginia voters in a June 10 primary thanked his colleagues and staff. He also sent good wishes to Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, his close friend, who inherits a big to-do list when Congress returns from its August recess.
  • If you attack the president repeatedly for law-breaking, executive overreach and deceiving the public and Congress, do you have an obligation to impeach him? This is the logical question Republicans are now trying to duck. There is a reason why impeachment is a big deal in Washington this week. It’s not just because a call to defend President Obama motivates the Democrats’ base, although it surely does. John Boehner is having trouble countering fears that House Republicans will eventually try to oust the president because the speaker’s colleagues have spent years tossing around impeachment threats as a matter of routine.
  • Congressional Republicans have spent the majority of 2014 doing very little even marginally controversial. They put talk of government shutdown showdowns to rest and avoided another stand-off over raising the debt ceiling. The goal was simple: Keep the focus on the unpopular President Obama in hopes of turning the midterm election into a referendum on him.
  • Last week, House Republicans huddled in a Capitol conference room to figure out what kind of emergency immigration bill they might be able to pass. In his telling, Florida Rep. Ted Yoho wanted the party to jam the White House, to pack the bill with new border security measures and threaten to impeach Obama if he ignored them.

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