Henry Cuellar

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Charities argued against doubling the standard deduction, but so far the change hasn’t slowed down giving. Above, President Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates the 2017 tax law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

Blue Dog Coalition Elects 3 New Co-Chairs to Lead Them in Next Congress
Stephanie Murphy, Tom O’Halleran and Lou Correa will head up fiscal hawk caucus

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., elected Monday as one of three new co-chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition, will be the first woman of color to lead the group of fiscally conservative Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Blue Dog Coalition on Tuesday elected three new co-chairs — all current freshmen — to lead the group of two dozen fiscally conservative Democrats in the next Congress. 

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy will serve as the administration co-chair, Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran as the policy co-chair and California Rep. Lou Correa as the communications co-chair.

‘Congress Too’ Founders Launch Fundraising Effort for Fired Pregnant Staffer
Kristie Small says she was fired from Cueller’s office over pregnancy

Former Hill staffers have launched a fundraising campaign to help former Hill staffer Kristie Small, who says she was wrongly fired for being pregnant. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The leaders of a group dedicated to fighting harassment and discrimination on Capitol Hill are raising funds for a woman who says she was wrongfully fired from her congressional job for being pregnant.

Kristie Small says that she was fired last week from a senior position in Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar’s office after revealing that she was pregnant.

Former Henry Cuellar Aide Files Discrimination Complaint for Being Fired Over Pregnancy
Texas Democrat’s office defends firing without addressing claims

A former senior staffer for Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, says she was fired for being pregnant — a violation of federal law. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A former acting chief of staff to Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has filed a complaint claiming that she was fired for being pregnant, a violation of federal law.

“After serving as staff in the House of Representatives for 13.5 years I had the opportunity to become the acting Chief of Staff for a different Congressman. After finding out and communicating I was pregnant, I was fired,” Katie Small wrote in a Facebook post Thursday evening.

Their Districts Are at Risk. But They Still Vote ‘No’ on Climate Action
High waters and toxic blooms haven’t scared these lawmakers

Storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter homes in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Oct. 10. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

He lives just half a mile away from the beach in Sarasota, Florida, but Len Seligman, a local musician, has barely enjoyed the sun and sand by the waterside recently, discouraged by the stench of dead fish and other marine animals washed ashore, poisoned by toxic algal blooms.

“In the last few months, there have only been a few days that it’s been tolerable,” the 63-year-old retired computer researcher said. “You just can’t breathe when the red tide is bad.”

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.

Dem Rep. Cuellar Asks Supporters to Donate to Vulnerable Republican
GOP Rep. John Carter is facing a tough challenger from Democrat M.J. Hegar in Texas’ 31st District

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, raised eyebrows for attending a fundraiser breakfast for vulnerable Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and asking his supporters to contribute to Carter’s re-election campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas invited his supporters to attend a fundraising breakfast for neighboring Texas Rep. John Carter on Tuesday.

The hook: Carter is a Republican in what experts expect to be one of the closest congressional races in the state.

What Has Congress Done Lately? Name Post Offices
About a fifth of enacted laws were little more than a federal name game

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., leads the Senate in naming post offices this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In recent years, about a fifth of the enacted laws did little more than designate names for federal property.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar leads members of the House with six bills to name federal buildings. He has proposed naming five post offices for veteran communities and a courthouse after George P. Kazen, a district court judge who retired after serving 40 years on the bench.

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.