rules-and-procedure

Paul Ryan Defends CBO Role as Referee
Speaker makes comments one day after White House swipe

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending CBO Director Keith Hall and his office amid White House criticism of the nonpartisan agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. 

“Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman. 

CBO Score Makes GOP Health Care Slog Harder
Growing number of senators oppose bringing current bill to floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to vote on a health care measure by the end of the week has been complicated by a Congressional Budget Office score that estimated millions would lose their health insurance under the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pass a massive overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system that has virtually no support outside of Congress and the White House became even more difficult after the release of a damaging analysis of the legislation from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

And now, with several Republican members voicing opposition to the current proposal, even a vote on a procedural motion to start consideration of the legislation appears destined to fail.

What Voters Can Learn From Tax Returns
Tax returns and annual financial disclosures contain different information

Tax returns provide snapshots of an individual’s annual net taxable income. (Courtesy Ken Teegardin/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Candidates and members of Congress are required by law to file personal financial disclosures that are designed to shed a light on their potential conflicts of interest.

These documents show a lawmakers' assets and liabilities, reported in broad ranges. Tax returns, in contrast, provide snapshots of their annual net income, are subject to audit and require taxpayers to report specific amounts.

The Senate at a Deliberative Crossroads
Health care debacle challenges unique traditions, process

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune highlighted bipartisan work ongoing at the Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The release of the Senate Republicans’ draft health care measure, coming on the heels of the demise of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, provoked a spasm of hard feelings in the chamber and questions about whether senators could restore its now-quaint reputation as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. 

“This is not the role model in my world, but I also understand that when the Democrats say, ‘We’re not going to vote for anything,’ that limits the options,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican. “But, I would love to see a Senate that functions, in which all hundred senators have the opportunity to present ideas, amendments and take votes.”

House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

Russia and Iran Sanctions Effort Hits Constitutional Snag
House will not take up Senate bill as written

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says there is a procedural issue with the Senate’s sanctions bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BY NIELS LESNIEWSKI and LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

What may be a small procedural obstacle has some senior Democrats crying foul over the House’s plans for new sanctions against Iran and Russia.

Prospect of Repeat Budget Failure Puts Pressure on Republicans
Budget needed for GOP to get to tax overhaul, possibly mandatory spending cuts

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, seen here at a committee hearing last month with ranking Democrat John Yarmuth, is confident Republicans will pass a budget this year, despite GOP divisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans face the possibility of failing to pass a full budget resolution for the second year in a row, despite making progress on their goals for a fiscal 2018 budget resolution.

The stakes are much higher than last year as the budget, through the reconciliation process, has become a tool for Republicans to advance legislation without Democratic support, something they lack on nearly all of their top priorities.

Grassley to Justice Department: No Answers, No Nominee
Judiciary chairman wants responses to at least 15 letters first

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is holding up the nomination of the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is tired of his requests to the Justice Department going unanswered — and he’s fighting back yet again.

The Iowa Republican announced Thursday that the committee won’t advance the nomination of Stephen Boyd to be assistant attorney general for legislative affairs until he gets responses to at least 15 letters, some due more than six months ago.

Here Are the 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats Questioning Comey
John McCain and other ex-officio members could make special appearance

Former FBI Director James B. Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

James B. Comey is undeniably the star of the show Thursday, when he comes to the main hearing room in the Hart Senate Office Building for his first public testimony since President Donald Trump fired him as FBI director a month ago. But the eight Republican and seven Democratic senators on the Select Intelligence Committee have highly important roles.

That’s because their questioning will go a long way to shaping whether the national television audience views the congressional investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s election as thorough and serious — or just more partisan posturing.

Senate Democrats Say GOP Health Care Bill Has Technical Flaw
‘Fatal’ violation could be lurking

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden speaks during the Senate Democrats' rally against Medicaid cuts in front of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats argue that the House-passed health care bill contains a flaw that would prevent Republicans from using a powerful legislative tool to move the measure over the minority party’s opposition. If the Senate parliamentarian agrees, that could prove a formidable obstacle to GOP plans to clear a major bill revising the 2010 health care law.

Democrats want the Senate parliamentarian to rule that the House bill ran afoul of the complex rules of so-called budget reconciliation, due to a provision that touches on the Indian Health Service. The House bill repeals a section of the 2010 law that created cost-sharing subsidies. Democrats say the provision that would be repealed falls into the jurisdiction of the Indian Affairs Committee, which was not specifically designated as a participant in the House’s detailed reconciliation plan in the fiscal 2017 budget resolution.