Executive Branch

Trump Doesn't Rule Out Pardon for Michael Flynn
'There is absolutely no collusion,' president contends

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, where Trump stated he believes President Obama was born in the United States, September 16, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event in 2016. On Friday, the president did not rule out a pardon for his former national security adviser. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump Bullish on Latest Version of GOP Tax Plan
On whether Moore should concede Alabama Senate race, Trump says, ‘Yeah, I would certainly say he should’

President Donald Trump, seen here during a visit with Senate Republicans in November, called the GOP tax plan “monumental” and predicted it would pass next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Friday he thinks the latest version of the GOP tax plan will  “do very well” when the House and Senate vote on it “as early as next week” after reviewing it. 

And on another congressional matter, Trump replied, “Yeah, I would certainly say he should,” when asked if Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore should concede his race to Democrat Doug Jones.

Senators Go Their Own Way on Stopgap Funding
‘We can’t pass the House bill,’ GOP chairmen say

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says his colleagues are preparing to fully revamp the temporary spending bill. “The House bill is not going to pass over here,” he said this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are preparing to completely rework the temporary spending bill needed to keep much of government open past Dec. 22.

The legislation will be stripped of the House-passed Defense appropriations bill and a partisan measure reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which many expected. But its length will also likely change, and it may or may not carry new topline spending levels for appropriators to construct a final fiscal 2018 omnibus package. 

Opinion: The Big What-If Question Hovering Over 2018
What about Alabama? The president’s campaign is still under investigation

President Donald Trump holds a rally at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., in March. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Election Night 2018:

TV Anchor (in an excited, making-history voice): “We now project that the Democrats have won the House of Representatives with a minimum of 219 seats and Nancy Pelosi will regain the speaker’s gavel after eight years in the minority.”

Senate Panel to Consider Rules Change
Resolution would cut debate time on the floor for nominees

Sen. Roy Blunt thinks Democrats are abusing the rules in demanding full debate time on nominees. On Tuesday, the Rules panel will consider a resolution to cut the debate time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are readying another rule change to the chamber, this one aimed at reducing the number of hours the chamber debates executive and judicial nominees. 

The Rules and Administration Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., that would reduce the time the chamber debates nominees drastically from the current 30 hours after debate is cut off. 

GOP in Home Stretch on Tax Bill, Eyeing Senate Attendance

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, and ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., prepare for the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the Races: Jonesing for Another Special Election Yet?
Doug Jones pulled off an upset in Alabama, giving Democrats hope for 2018 wave

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races by subscribing to this weekly newsletter here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … A Democrat won in deep-red Alabama, Minnesota’s getting a new female senator and another Texas Republican isn’t coming back in 2019.

Holding on: We’ll get back to Alabama in a second, but first ... embattled Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is retiring, GOP sources confirmed Thursday. But he says he’s not going anywhere yet. The four-term Republican will serve out the remainder of his term, which means an ethics probe into allegations of his misconduct will continue. Some of his fellow Texas members were already ready to show him the door. Just last night, Roger Williams endorsed one of Farenthold’s primary challengers. The filing deadline for Texas congressional races was Monday.

Marco Rubio, Mike Lee Support for Tax Bill in Jeopardy

The House-Senate Conference Committee on tax overhaul is looking for the right combination of agreements to ensure passage. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are withholding their support for the GOP tax bill in an attempt to bolster the child tax credit, a change that may be difficult amidst opposition from House Republicans.

The duo is hoping to make the credit fully refundable. The two senators, backed by top White House adviser Ivanka Trump, had previously succeeded in increasing the credit to $2,000 per child in the Senate-passed bill.

Paul Ryan Departure Circus Swings Into High Gear
Reports point to resignation, retirement

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is dismissing reports he is on his way out, but the rumors of his departure linger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One report speculated he would quit after the tax overhaul was signed into law. Another said he was done after the 2018 elections, opting for retirement after 10 terms. For his own part, Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he’s not leaving in the near term. And Donald Trump says he wants the Wisconsin Republican to stick around.

The will-he-or-won’t he game started early on Thursday in the wake of a HuffPost report that stated members were beginning to speculate Ryan would hang it up after the tax bill was done, a long time priority for the former Ways and Means Committee chairman. 

Pence Delays Trip to Preside Over Senate Tax Vote
Move signals GOP expects a close count

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Capitol to preside over the Senate and cast a possible tie-breaking vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of Education in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence will remain in Washington next week to preside over the Senate’s vote on the Republican tax overhaul bill, his chief spokeswoman said, a signal GOP leaders expect to thread the needle.

“Yesterday the White House informed Senate Leadership that due to the historic nature of the vote in the Senate on tax cuts for millions of Americans, the VP would stay to preside over the vote,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said in a statement. “The Vice President will then travel to Egypt [and] Israel where he’ll reaffirm the United States’ commitment to its allies in the Middle East and to working cooperatively to defeat radicalism.