policy

In Reversal From 2016, Carlos Curbelo to Vote Against Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution
Scalise, author of resolution, admits goal is to put members on record

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said he will oppose an anti-carbon tax resolution the House is scheduled to vote on Friday, changing his position from 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders have scheduled a Thursday vote on an anti-carbon tax resolution in hopes of putting vulnerable Democrats on record in favor of the tax, but they’re going to put some of their own members in a tough spot too.

“I’m voting against that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said of the resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that “a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

In Mop-Up Mode, Trump Says He Accepts That Russia Meddled
President contends he has faith in U.S. intelligence agencies

President Donald Trump waves whilst playing a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during his first official visit to the United Kingdom on Sunday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 American election, but it is unclear if his mea culpa will be enough to assuage frustrated lawmakers.

He told reporters he has “full faith” in America’s intel apparatus a day after he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials that his country interfered in the 2016 election that Trump won in a major upset. The president also claimed he misspoke in Finland when he said he saw no reason to believe Moscow meddled in the election.

IRS Ruling on Political Donation Reporting Sets Off Campaign Finance Fight
McConnell cheers, but Democrats blast decision, arguing it reduces transparency

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the new IRS policy in a Tuesday morning speech. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Monday’s announcement by the Treasury Department that it will no longer collect information about donors to some political nonprofits was met with applause from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, perhaps the leading advocate for unrestricted campaign donations. At the same time, it ignited a campaign finance fight with the midterm elections less than four months away.

“It’s bad enough to wield government power to chill political speech and invite harassment of citizens — based on what an angry mob might assume their opinions are, based on their private financial records,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Monday. “It’s even more egregious to pursue that nakedly political goal while calling it ‘good government.’ In this country, good government means protecting citizens’ First Amendment rights to participate in the competition of ideas — not trying to shut down that competition.”

Senators Eye New Russia Sanctions as Trump Defends Putin Summit
Corker on GOP unity with Trump: 'It feels like the dam is breaking'

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says a few senators are crafting a resolution to call out President Donald Trump’s Helsinki performance, but he acknowledged such measures “don’t do anything.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As some senators discuss slapping new sanctions on Moscow, President Donald Trump is defending his widely panned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeting he had a “great” meeting with NATO allies but an “even better” one with the Russian president.

While Trump and his team recover from a turbulent weeklong European swing in which the president attacked longtime American allies and dismissed the consensus findings of the U.S. intelligence community, one Republican senator said he senses GOP lawmakers’ insistence on standing by Trump no matter what could be weakening.

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pension Plan Rescue Legislation Getting Tough to Price
Congressional Budget Office walking back previous estimates of cost

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is co-sponsoring legislation to shore up pension plans, but it faces an uncertain price tag. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An effort to shore up troubled pension plans for many middle-class workers comes with a squishy price tag.

A bill (S 2147) by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department that could make loans to multiemployer pension plans for union workers. Those plans have been estimated to be underfunded by about $65 billion, endangering the retirements of about 1.5 million residents nationwide.

Rules Readies Financial Services, Interior-Environment Bill
McHenry files only GOP leadership amendment

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., removes his bow tie as he walks down the House steps after the final vote of the week on Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee recommended a rule Monday that would allow 87 amendments to be heard when the House turns to floor debate of the combined fiscal 2019 Interior-Environment and Financial Services spending bill this week.

Among the amendments will be a Republican provision to bar the U.S. Postal Service from expanding its offering of banking services. But an amendment to provide $380 million in grant funding to states to beef up election security, pushed repeatedly by Democrats citing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, didn’t make the cut.

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House To Vote Wednesday on Resolution to Support ICE
Plan to vote on bill to terminate ICE dropped after Democrats said they’d oppose it

The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution by Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., expressing the chamber’s support for ICE officials and rejection of calls to abolish the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans have abandoned a plan to vote on a Democrat-sponsored bill to terminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency after the bill’s authors said they and their colleagues would vote against it.

But GOP leaders are still planning to hold a vote on a resolution by Louisiana GOP Rep. Clay Higgins expressing the House’s support for all ICE officers and personnel and denouncing calls to completely abolish the agency.

Analysis: Congress Mere Passenger in Trump Foreign Policy Express
Despite condemnation across the aisle, few efforts under way to alter path

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., responds to President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump just concluded a European foreign policy swing that resembled a runaway car, and Congress is merely a passenger with seemingly no intention, at least from those setting the agenda, of taking the wheel.

Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia. The European Union is “a foe.” And when asked Monday if he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin ran an effort to interfere in the last U.S. presidential election, Trump responded: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”