Bill Flores

House Republicans to discuss path back to majority at Baltimore retreat
GOP members to talk politics and policy Thursday through Saturday at their delayed annual retreat

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks, the House Republicans’ campaign recruitment chair, said she’s excited to discuss politics at the GOP retreat in Baltimore that starts Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off two crucial special election wins in North Carolina, House Republicans head to Baltimore on Thursday for their delayed annual retreat, prepared to spend some quality time discussing how they plan to win back the majority in 2020.

Some of that planning will most certainly involve policy discussions about contrasting their proposals on jobs and the economy, health care, technology, energy and the environment, and other issues with what they often refer to as the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas. But a good chunk of the gathering, which will run from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, will be about assessing the political landscape. 

Republican retirements raise questions about GOP optimism in 2020
Serving in the minority is a new experience for most House Republicans

Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, announced this week that he is not running for reelection. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The recent string of House Republican retirements — even those from ruby-red districts — have raised new questions about whether GOP lawmakers are pessimistic about winning back the House in 2020.

Some Republican political operatives were split on what the recent retirements say about lawmakers’ political calculations, and whether they’re heading for the exits at the prospect of spending a few more years in the minority.

Rating changes in four House races, but Flores’ seat isn’t one of them
Outlook shifts toward Democrats in Texas and Iowa races, and toward GOP in one California contest

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is not seeking a sixth term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not a question of if more House Members will retire; it’s a question of when and where.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Flores became the fifth Texas Republican to announce he will not seek reelection or another office in 2020. Of the 13 members retiring in 2020, 11 are Republicans and two are Democrats. And more exits are likely to come, considering that, on average, 23 members have retired each election cycle, going back to the 1970s.

Republican Rep. Bill Flores to retire, continuing exodus from Texas ranks
Flores is fifth House Republican from the Lone Star State to announce his retirement in recent weeks

Rep. Bill Flores is the fifth Texas Republican to announce his retirement in recent weeks. . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Flores has joined the ranks of Texas Republicans announcing they won’t run for reelection in 2020.

The five-term congressman said he initially pledged to serve no more than six terms when he launched his first campaign for Texas’ 17th District.

House committee renews ethics inquiries into Collins, Hunter and Schweikert
Probes of Hunter and Collins, who are under indictment, put on hold at Justice Department request

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert is one of three Republicans, along with  Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, who will remain under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call photo)

House Ethics Committee investigations into Republicans Chris Collins of New York, Duncan Hunter of California and David Schweikert of Arizona were reauthorized for the 116th Congress this week.

The Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize investigative subcommittees looking into the three lawmakers, but the panel agreed to a Justice Department request to put its probes into Collins and Hunter on hold as they battle criminal indictments.

7 Republicans voted against naming a post office after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter
One of Slaughter’s known GOP nemeses, New York Rep. Chris Collins, did not vote

Members of Congress, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at memorial service for the late New York Rep. Louise Slaughter in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven Republicans voted against a House resolution Tuesday to rename a post office building in Fairport, New York, after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter and her husband Bob, who is also deceased.

Slaughter, a New York Democrat who was the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, died last year at the age of 88 after being hospitalized for a fall in the middle of her 16th term in Congress.

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.”

House Republicans block passage of anti-shutdown resolution despite removal of language blaming Trump
Meanwhile, House Democrats pass bill to increase federal employees’ pay for 2019

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., dismissed a Democrat-authored resolution expressing disapproval of government shutdowns as a negotiating tactic as a "glorified press release." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Illustrating the deep partisan divisions that remain following the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last week, the House on Wednesday rejected a symbolic resolution expressing disapproval of shutdowns as a negotiating tactic.

The resolution fell short, 249-163, because most Republicans opposed it, despite Democrats amending it Tuesday to drop language the GOP found objectionable

Trump to Huddle With House Republicans as Shutdown Situation Fluid
Some Republicans hold out hope that Trump will veto seven-week stopgap

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, wants the president to veto the stopgap funding measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is weighing a seven-week stopgap spending amid conservative grumbling that it caves to Democrats’ anti-border wall demands.

“My guess is they wouldn’t have brought it to the floor unless they thought they could pass it,” Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said Thursday morning. The measure hadn’t yet been officially scheduled for a vote, however, likely out of concern that the president’s position was still unclear.

As Trump Waffles, House Republicans Confident They’ll Avert Shutdown
Still president, conservatives wary of GOP leaders’ government funding strategy

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, is confident there will not be a government shutdown despite President Donald Trump’s mixed signals on the matter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans prepare a legislative strategy with President Donald Trump seemingly on board, only for the president to catch them off guard with a last-minute tweet suggesting his opposition to the plan.

That scenario has played out a few times this year as lawmakers debated immigration and appropriations bills. And it could realistically happen again next week as Congress plans to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown that Trump has already signaled he might force.