2018

Payroll tax cuts off the table? Not so fast, says Trump in another whiplash reversal
No immediate move likely on taxes, as president also distances himself from gun background checks

President Donald Trump concludes a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | In yet another whiplash policy reversal, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his staff Tuesday by saying payroll tax cuts are on the table as he looks to stave off an election-year recession.

A White House official on Monday afternoon, responding to a Washington Post report that the White House was eyeing a payroll tax cut amid recession fears, dismissed the idea this way: “More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

First House Republican backs renewed assault weapons ban
Rep. Peter King has broken with party leadership on gun violence prevention measures before

New York GOP Rep. Peter King said he thinks his support of a ban on assault weapons could provide political cover to Republicans and Democrats in GOP-leaning districts that haven’t supported it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Peter King is the first Republican in Congress to back a renewed federal ban on assault rifles.

The development reflects calls for action on Capitol Hill after gunmen armed with assault weapons killed scores of people in California, Texas and Ohio in the span of a few days. 

‘The Mooch’ is under President Trump's skin amid recession warnings
President dubs former comms director a ‘nut job’ as Fox poll suggests uphill reelection fight

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says President Trump is "unstable" and too "erratic" for a second term. (Wikimedia Commons)

ANALYSIS — Anthony Scaramucci is under Donald Trump’s skin, hitting a nerve as the president frets about his re-election chances amid economic warning signs.

The former White House communications director was back on CNN Monday morning, delivering another broadside on his former boss just four days after a Trump’s stated favorite news organization, Fox News, released a poll showing him trailing the four leading Democratic presidential hopefuls — including former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 percentage points.

So much Iowa, so little time
Snapshots of a state that will be a big deal politically for a while

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with attendees at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — It is difficult for some people to accept that Iowa, a relatively small state in the middle of the country, has such an outsize role in determining the next president. But the Hawkeye State is more of a microcosm of U.S. politics and the country than it might first appear.

Iowa’s population of roughly 3 million people is tiny compared to mega-states like California, Texas and Florida, and it has a lack of racial diversity (it is about 87 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But its voting patterns and political infrastructure make it a valuable barometer. 

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

Katko challenger Dana Balter accepted campaign salary too early, FEC says
Democrat pledges to repay the $6,720 she improperly withdrew

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., walks up the House steps for votes in the Capitol in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A two-time Democratic challenger to New York Rep. John Katko has been dinged for a campaign finance error early on in her campaign.

Dana Balter improperly accepted a salary paid out by her campaign before campaign finance rules permit that sort of arrangement, federal regulators wrote in a letter. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial pushed to 2020
California Republican accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds will go to court just weeks before primary

The trial of California Rep. Duncan Hunter is now scheduled to begin Jan. 14, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he improperly spent hundreds of thousands in campaign funds on lavish vacations, golf outings and copious amounts of alcohol has been moved to Jan. 14.

The California Republican’s trial was originally scheduled to start Sept. 10.

Trump reprises his pitch as the only savior for a Rust Belt battleground
Environmental groups call Pennsylvania facility he visited part of a ‘cancer alley’

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on May 20. He was back in the state, his 11th visit in two years, on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump interrupted his summer vacation Tuesday to again court Rust Belt voters that helped deliver him the White House, espousing false statements and bold promises as he seeks a second term.

“The political class in Washington gutted … your factories,” Trump told workers at a new Shell-owned petrochemical plant in Beaver County, along the border with Ohio, another perennial swing state he also won in 2016. Trump also blamed other countries for American industrial decline, drawing cheers when he told the audience “they have been screwing us for years.”

Trump endorses a Curt Schilling bid for Congress in Arizona: ‘Terrific!’
Former MLB all-star and World Series MVP has said he is considering moving back to home state to run for a ‘blue’ seat

Curt Schilling, right, talks with fellow former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and his wife Carolina Martinez at Martinez’s Charity's Feast with 45 in 2017. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Former Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling can count on the endorsement of President Donald Trump if he decides to run for Congress in Arizona.

The former Major League Baseball player turned conservative talk show host is weighing a congressional run in the Copper State, he told the Arizona Republic this week.

North Carolina redo election is the last race of 2018 — and the first of 2020
Democrat Dan McCready faces a new Republican opponent in September special election

Dan McCready, Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 9th District, talks with a young supporter Friday during a fish fry at the Scotland County Democratic Party headquarters in Laurinburg, N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

LAURINBURG, N.C. — Dan McCready is used to this.

“Y’all know this isn’t an easy race for a Democrat,” the candidate for North Carolina’s 9th District said, swatting away an army of gnats swarming attendees at a fish fry Friday night.