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GOP Struggles to Salvage Health Care Reform
Meadows trying to get 30 to 40 members to switch from ‘no’ to ‘yes’

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is interviewed in Rayburn Building after he and other members of the HFC met at the White House with President Trump, March 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans struggled to work out a deal to salvage the troubled health care reform legislation ahead of a House Republican Conference meeting Thursday evening.

Negotiations over how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law were moving along two parallel tracks: conservatives in the Freedom Caucus were dealing with President Donald Trump and his staff, and moderates in the Tuesday Group were talking to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team.

Plea Deal Reveals Stockman Accused of Stealing $775,000
Former staffer testifies that former congressman scammed two charitable organizations

Court documents in a plea deal for a onetime staffer for former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, claims the former congressman scammed nearly $800,000 from two charitable organizations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Testimony in a plea deal from a onetime aide to former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman puts the total of money he is accused of taking from charitable contributions close to $800,000.

Stockman was arrested last week as he was getting on a plane in Houston and charged with campaign funds violations. He was later released on $25,000 bond and forced to surrender his passport.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

Stockman Blames ‘Deep State’ for His Arrest
Says he was targeted for criticizing the IRS

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, right, was arrested Thursday as he was getting on a plane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman blamed a “deep state” conspiracy for his arrest related to campaign finance charges.

Stockman, who was released on a $25,000 bond Friday after being arrested the night before, said he was being targeted for criticizing the IRS, the Houston Chronicle reported. 

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

Ethics Watchdogs Make a Career of It
Norm Eisen and Richard Painter are among Trump’s most vocal critics

Norm Eisen served as former President Barack Obama’s ethics czar. (Courtesy Brookings.edu)

Norm Eisen, Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, was such a stickler for enforcing the rules that even some colleagues privately expressed relief when he traipsed off to Prague for an ambassadorship.

Now, people can’t get enough of him.

Liberals Put Political Money in Spotlight of Gorsuch Fight
Senate Democrats urged to probe nominee’s views on campaign finance law

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, seen here meeting with Judge Neil Gorsuch last month, is facing pressure from liberals and conservatives ahead of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law during his confirmation hearings next week.

“He does not come into this with the benefit of the doubt in his favor,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Judiciary Committee member. The panel is scheduled to begin the Colorado judge’s hearings at 11 a.m. Monday.

Ethics Watchdog Pushes Back on White House View of Rules
OGE faults administration for not taking action against Kellyanne Conway

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s comments on Fox News last month encouraging viewers to buy Ivanka Trump-branded products drew strong criticism from the Office for Government Ethics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A top government ethics official told lawmakers Thursday that he was troubled by the Trump White House’s interpretation of ethics laws.

Walter M. Shaub Jr., who runs the Office of Government Ethics, said he remained concerned about comments last month by Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Donald Trump, encouraging Fox News viewers to purchase Ivanka Trump-branded products after some retailers announced they were discontinuing the presidential daughter’s line.

Poll: Majority Says Sessions Should Resign for Lying Under Oath
And majority think illegal immigrants should stay

Majority of voters feel that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, lied in his hearing before the Sente Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A slight majority in a new poll say that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied at his confirmation hearings and should resign.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 52 percent of the voters think Sessions lied under oath, and 51 percent feel he should resign, while 40 percent and 42 percent of respondents, respectively, felt the opposite.