congressional-affairs

Senate Rules Chairman Is Cool to Campaign Ad Bill
‘A lot of that is being investigated,’ Sen. Richard C. Shelby says

Alabama Sen. Richard C. Shelby is not yet ready to back the bipartisan legislation on online campaign ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Richard C. Shelby gave a cool reception Thursday to a bipartisan draft bill disclosed the same day that would require large online platforms to collect and disclose data about the buyers of political advertising.

“We will look at everything; right now, a lot of that is being investigated,” the Alabama Republican said about a proposal from Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and co-sponsored by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Asked whether he would be open to backing the bill in the future or other legislation to deal with the issue, Shelby said, “Not yet.”

Trump Breaks With GOP Over 401(k) Changes in Tax Bill
President to Twitter followers: ‘NO change to your 401(k)’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House last month. On Monday, he put down a marker on tax reform, and again broke with his fellow Republicans. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump further complicated Republicans’ quest to find agreement on a package of tax rate cuts and code changes, breaking with his party by tweeting Monday that he wants the 401(k) system left unchanged.

The popular retirement program allows employees to save a slice of their paychecks before taxes are withdrawn; taxes are eventually paid, but not for years until the money is withdrawn, typically after that employee has reached retirement age.

Female Democratic Senators Share Harassment Stories
Part of the #MeToo campaign incited by Harvey Weinstein scandal

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of four senators who spoke about her experiences being sexually harassed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Four female Democratic senators described their experiences being sexually harassed as part of the #MeToo campaign to highlight how common it is for women.

Democrats Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii all spoke to “Meet the Press” about their experiences.

Republicans Use Past Democratic Tax Proposals as Ammo
Supportive Democrats eyed for current tax effort

Republicans are pointing out that Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, among other Democrats, previously supported aspects of a still-developing GOP tax plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have a new strategy to attack Democrats on a still developing tax measure: using past legislation against them.

The campaign could be successful. Some Democrats say the GOP argument makes sense, and several say they are open to the possibility of supporting a final tax bill.

Are GOP Retirements Draining the Swamp?
Congressional retirements and resignations clearing some space

House Republicans, such as Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, have opted not to run for re-election in part due to frustrations with the way President Donald Trump is running the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump pledged over and over to “drain the swamp,” promising to gut what he said was a gridlocked Washington political establishment.

His supporters chanted the catchy slogan at rallies and kept doing so at Trump events even after the reality television figure moved into the White House.

In GOP Retirements, Some See an Omen
As the Ways and Means exodus continues, observers wonder what it means for tax overhaul

Rep. Dave Reichert, shown here in 2015, is one of seven Republicans on the powerful Ways and Means Committee who have announced they will leave Congress or retire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The departure of key Ways and Means Republicans could be a sign of diminished optimism for major legislative achievements, but some GOP observers say it may actually signal confidence about getting a landmark tax bill signed into law.

Six Republicans on the powerful committee with broad sway over taxes, health care and trade are running for higher office or planning to retire at the end of this term while the GOP is at the height of its power in Washington.

White House Shifts Stance on Kelly Criticism of Wilson
Press secretary: 'Many people' heard 2015 remarks not captured on video

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., admires the high school projects hanging in the Cannon House Office Building tunnel. She is locked in a feud with President Donald Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that she says has turned  “personal.“  (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House shifted its stance again Friday in its latest feud, this one with a Florida Democratic congresswoman stemming from her criticism of President Donald Trump’s words to a military widow.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Thursday sharply criticized Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, who says she overheard a Tuesday call from Trump to the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. Wilson and Johnson family members contend Trump said the late soldier “knew what he signed up for.”

Trump Predicts Paul Will Vote for Tax Cut Bill
Senator and president trade tweets, with Paul endorsing 'boldest' cuts possible

President Trump says Sen. Rand Paul will vote for the coming tax overhaul bill despite being the only Republican who voted against a GOP budget resolution on Thursday night . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 8:42 a.m. | While celebrating Senate passage of a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, President Donald Trump on Friday predicted the GOP holdout on that bill will vote for a follow-on tax measure.

The Senate on Thursday night adopted a budget measure altered as the final vote approached to allow House Republicans to adopt it and avoid a conference committee. The move is an attempt to get a final package of tax cuts and code changes to Trump’s desk faster.

Don’t Hike Deficits With Tax Package, Ads Warn GOP Senators
Collins, Corker among lawmakers targeted

A new group launched ads this week urging Republicans in 20 states, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, not to raise deficits as they seek to revise the tax code. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas billionaires John and Laura Arnold are bankrolling a new lobbying effort aimed at leading lawmakers away from the temptation of a tax overhaul that would increase deficits. 

Citizens for Responsible Tax Reform launched print advertisements targeting Republicans in 20 states Thursday, including Kentucky, the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. The group plans additional television and online ad buys as Congress and the White House debate an overhaul of the nation’s tax code, spokesman Blake Gober said.

Contentious N.C. Judicial Nominee Advances to Senate Floor
Eastern District of North Carolina seat has been open for 12 years

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. (Screenshot C-SPAN)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a controversial nominee to fill the longest vacancy in the federal court system as well as a top Justice Department official.

The committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The spot has been open for 12 years and has long been caught up in the politics of the state and U.S. Senate. Since judicial nominees can’t be filibustered, Democrats don’t have the votes to stop Farr’s lifetime appointment without help from Republicans.