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Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at a White House briefing on Jan. 21. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.

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.

Trump Wants Health Care Bill by August Recess
Press secretary won't take position on Senate vote this week, however

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said President Donald Trump wants a health overhaul bill on his desk by the time lawmakers leave for their annual August recess. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump would like Congress to send him a final health care measure by the time lawmakers depart for their annual August recess — but he is not, for now, taking a position on whether the Senate has to vote on its version this week.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the president’s desired timeline at his Monday briefing, which was held with the television cameras turned off, as is becoming the norm. But Spicer did not take a position on Trump’s behalf when asked if the president wants the Senate to vote on its health bill this week no matter what.

Opponents Prepare for Week of Fighting Obamacare Repeal
Activists plan marches and rallies, smaller groups focus on individual lawmakers

Protesters yell “Shame!” to members of Congress on the East Front of the Capitol after the House passed the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill in May.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ weekend of rallies opposing the Republican health care bill, opponents are gearing up for a week of protests.

Republican leadership wants a vote on the bill before Congress leaves at the end of the week for its Fourth of July recess, but some GOP senators are doubtful that’s going to happen.

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.

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

Only 37 of 532 members of Congress responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

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.”

Opinion: What’s at Stake for McConnell, Conservatives and the GOP
Now or never for Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare

It’s now or never for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders who want to replace Obamacare, Allen writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican leaders have a once-in-a-lifetime shot to dismantle Medicaid, a costly entitlement program that provides health care for the poor and the disabled.

In what other scenario could Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell find themselves working with a president so totally focused on the optics of “winning” in the short term and so utterly unconcerned about the real-life and political ramifications of taking benefits away from his own voters?

Opinion: Bickering Democrats — Still Mired in the 20th Century
Time for a new agenda and an end to self-destructive proxy battles

Only Democrats get into a deep funk over the failure of Jon Ossoff — a 30-year-old first-time candidate — to win the Georgia 6th district special election, Walter Shapiro writes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Only the downtrodden and dispirited Democrats could work themselves into a bout of I’m-on-the-ledge-and-thinking-about-jumping depression over the failure of a 30-year-old first-time candidate to win a House seat in a Georgia district where he didn’t even live.

Equally ludicrous are the recriminations over Democratic tactics in Georgia-6. Last Tuesday’s special election in the upscale Atlanta suburbs might be a bellwether if it were typical for both sides to spend $50 million on a single House race. At that rate of spending, the 2018 House races would cost about $21 billion.