House

Opinion: Historic Tax Reform is Working
Unemployment is down and wages are up

Workers at a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, install visors on a Ford Expedition SUV in 2017. More Americans are going to work because of the Texas Cut and Jobs Act, writes Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images file photo)

Unemployed, jobless, out-of-work — words that far too many of our friends and neighbors know all too well. Whether you’re a mother or father with a family to feed, or an individual working to pay off student-loans, the face of unemployment is ruthless and does not discriminate.

However, thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, those who are unemployed are becoming few and far between.

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

Paul Ryan Pushes Back on Pressure for Early Exit
Republican leaders defend capabilities amid caucus disagreements

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., right, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left have had to answer tough questions about the future of the House leadership situation and reports of McCarthy's role in pushing Ryan aside. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended himself Tuesday amid reports of threats to his leadership position and reiterated his view that it’s not in Republicans best interest to have a divisive leadership race before the November midterm elections.

“Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members; those are the people who drafted me in this job the first place,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he is confident he will remain speaker through the election. “But I think we all agree the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections.”

Partisan Split Over Election Security Widens as 2018 Midterms Inch Closer
House given classified briefing on what DHS, FBI, DNI are doing to secure elections at state, local levels

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, left, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee address the media after a briefing on election security with House members in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 22, 2018. FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also attended. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans struck drastically different tones about their confidence in federal agencies’ efforts to secure voting systems and stamp out foreign state-sponsored influence campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms after a classified meeting on the subject for House members Tuesday.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among the officials who briefed lawmakers and answered their questions about what their agencies are doing to combat potential Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and other nations’ attempts to undermine the midterms.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
McCain documents have a home, Senate identity theft, and Scalise’s remedy for school shootings

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., prepares for a House Rules Committee hearing in the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Cárdenas Faces Calls to Resign Ahead of Primary
Judge allows civil suit from minor who says congressman touched her in 2007 to proceed

Protesters called on Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., to resign amid allegations of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 2007. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas faced calls to resign ahead of California’s primary next month amid  after a judge allowed a civil suit accusing him of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 2007 to move forward.

Around 20 protesters descended on Cárdenas’ office in Van Nuys on Monday, saying they believe his accuser, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Newspaper Sues Over Farenthold’s New Job
Seeks to find if the Calhoun County Port Authority violated Texas open meetings law

The Victoria Advocate is suing the Calhoun County Port Authority regarding its hiring of former Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Texas newspaper filed a lawsuit saying a county agency broke the state’s open meetings law when it hired former Rep. Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist.

On Monday, the Victoria Advocate announced it was suing over whether the county ports authority discussed hiring the disgraced former congressman in a closed meeting on May 9.

House Republicans Break Record for Closed Rules in Single Congress
Ranking Democrat on Rules Committee: ‘It’s like the majority is allergic to an open process’

The House Rules Committee under Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, has broken a record for the number of closed rules reported during a single Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee broke a record Monday night for the number of closed rules — a mechanism for setting up floor debate on a bill without amendments — reported in a single Congress. 

The panel tied and then surpassed the previous record set during the Republican-controlled 113th Congress of 83 closed rules when it reported out two closed rules.