Charles E Grassley

Johnny Isakson farewell highlights challenges in Georgia Senate race
Political reality may make it difficult for his GOP successor to follow his bipartisan lead

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson walks to the Senate floor Tuesday to deliver his farewell address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican and Democratic senators took a break from their predictably partisan conference lunches Tuesday afternoon for a bipartisan barbecue honoring Sen. Johnny Isakson.

The outpouring of tributes made clear the Georgia Republican’s successor will have big shoes to fill, and the political reality is that financial executive Kelly Loeffler, whom Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp will announce Wednesday as Isakson’s replacement, might not have an easy time following his bipartisan lead.

Disputed butane tax credit could cost nearly $50 billion
Estimate from Joint Committee on Taxation could give stalled tax extenders talks new urgency

Thomas Barthold, chief of staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation, told two committees that refiner claims to tax credits for butane blends could cost nearly $50 billion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Treasury now stands to take a $49.9 billion hit if oil refiners prevail in their claims that gasoline mixed with butane qualifies as an alternative fuel eligible for a 50 cents per gallon federal tax credit.

The new estimate was revealed in a letter sent Wednesday from Thomas Barthold, chief of staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation, to attorneys for the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees.

Amid impeachment, groups press for limits on foreign influence
Liberal groups urge overhaul of foreign lobbying rules

Liberal groups are trying to bring their proposals into alignment with a plan by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As foreign influence takes center stage in House impeachment proceedings, lawmakers, candidates, and outside groups are tossing around proposals to curb, or shed new light on, efforts from abroad to sway U.S. policy and elections.

Liberal-leaning groups, including Public Citizen, are prodding House Democrats to sign on to forthcoming legislation that would overhaul foreign lobbying regulations. The Center for American Progress on Thursday will unveil a set of proposals calling for new limits on the political contributions of companies that have significant foreign ownership.

Republicans abandon tradition of whistleblower protection at impeachment hearing
Efforts to out the Ukraine whistleblower could have a chilling effect, put U.S. security at risk, experts say

From left, Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and minority counsel Steve Castor attend the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On Oct. 8, Alan Souza, the lead Republican lawyer on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote an email to Mark Zaid, the lawyer representing the person who first anonymously disclosed concerns that President Donald Trump was pressuring Ukraine for his own political gain.

In the email, Souza assured Zaid that the panel “always maintains the confidentiality of the whistleblower,” according to a reference to the email in a Nov. 6 letter to the committee from Zaid’s law firm that is reproduced on its website.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 12
GOP outlines Trump defense for public hearings, Mulvaney reverses course

Republicans plan to drive home the point that both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Donald Trump have said there was no pressure on the Ukrainian leader to launch an investigation into Trump’s political rivals to free up a stalled U.S. military aid package for Ukraine. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Tuesday to panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler expressing concern that Democrats have moved at such a “breakneck speed” to conduct the impeachment inquiry, members and the American people won’t have the information needed to properly consider removing President Donald Trump from office.

The GOP members requested Nadler make up for “procedural shortfalls” in the House Intelligence Committee-led inquiry by ensuring that Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff transmits all evidence obtained in the inquiry to Judiciary and that the panels have an open line of communication.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 7
Bolton says he’ll fight subpoena, Pence aide to testify on Trump call with Zelenskiy, Jordan says he’ll subpoena whistleblower

Jennifer Williams, Vice President Mike Pence’s special adviser on European and Russia affairs, arrives at the Capitol on Thursday for a deposition to the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the conclusion of Thursday’s closed-door testimony from Jennifer Williams, a longtime State Department official who is detailed to work with Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters that it's not yet clear whether she'll be the last witness deposed in the first phase of the inquiry.

The committee would still like to hear from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday, although Swalwell acknowledged Mulvaney is unlikely to show. The California Democrat and member of House Intelligence, one of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry, said the committee is still finalizing its schedule for the remainder of the week.

Republicans push for whistleblower's identity, but not naming names — yet
President and his son encourage media to out the whistleblower, while lawyers caution liability

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a campaign rally Monday with President Donald Trump in Kentucky called for the media to expose the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. (Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have created an uneasy tension on Capitol Hill around a push to out the whistleblower whose report launched the House impeachment inquiry, in the days since a right-wing outlet reported a name and work history without direct confirmation.

Trump, at the White House on Sunday, discussed the details of the report but didn’t mention the name and twice added: “I don’t know if that’s true or not.” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, mentioned a resume item at a Republican press conference Friday and on Fox News on Tuesday but didn’t say the name.

Top Republicans say costs a hurdle to bipartisan tax deal
GOP leaders say House Democrats want too much in return for movement on a bill to renew tax breaks known as extenders

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, walks to the Senate floor for a vote in June. Republican leaders say House Democrats want too much in return for movement on a bill to renew tax breaks known as extenders. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leaders say House Democrats are asking for too much in return for movement on a bill to renew 30-plus tax breaks known collectively as extenders.

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley said his office estimates one version of the House Democrats’ request at $710 billion for a package that would make both the tax extenders and a proposal by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., permanent.

White House backing off $8.6 billion demand for border wall funding
The most immediate decision to make is how long a second temporary funding bill should last

A section of the border wall stretches through the “Rio Grande Valley Sector” of the Texas border in August. The Trump administration is backing off its demand for spending on the fiscal 2020 border wall. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration is backing off its demand for $8.6 billion in fiscal 2020 border wall spending in negotiations with top congressional leaders and appropriators, according to a source familiar with the talks.

That’s not just a recognition of reality — Congress hasn’t appropriated more than $1.375 billion for the wall in each of the past two fiscal years. It also reflects a realization that the administration risks losing a substantial boost in military spending and other GOP priorities if current stopgap funds end up extended for the entire fiscal year.

Trump has no China trade pact, but he does have a signing location in mind
2020 battleground state of Iowa is president’s preferred spot

Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has raised concerns about a possible trade pact with China. President Donald Trump might sign it with Xi Jinping in his home state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump gave no indication Friday he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are closer to signing a “Phase One” trade pact, but he does have a place in mind where a signing event for it could happen — a battleground state that has borne the brunt of the U.S.-China trade war.

“It could even be in Iowa,” he told reporters on the White House South Lawn as he departed for a campaign rally in Mississippi. “I would do it in the U.S. He would too,” he added, speaking for Xi.