Human Services

CBO Would Disclose Research Models, Data Under Lee Measure
Utah Republican latest to target Congress’ budget scorekeeper

Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants the CBO to ‘show how its models work.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hits keep coming for the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans in Congress continue to lash out against the nonpartisan scorekeeper following its unflattering analysis of recent GOP health care proposals.

Republican lawmakers and White House officials in recent months have accused the CBO of partisan bias; called for slashing its budget; singled out individual employees; and suggested the agency is now obsolete.

Cautious Congressional Response to Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’ With North Korea
McCain says he doesn’t always listen to Trump’s words

President Donald Trump speaks at a meeting with administration officials, including Kellyanne Conway and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, on the opioid addiction crisis at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Tuesday. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s warning of “fire and fury” in response to additional provocations by North Korea is not being received lightly by senior lawmakers.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said Tuesday at his golf club in Bedminster Township, N.J., according to the White House pool covering Trump. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Diane Black Will Need to Resign Budget Chairmanship or Seek Waiver
Tennessee Republican is running for governor

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black is running for governor and may have to give up her Budget Committee chairwomanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Diane Black may have to step down as Budget Committee chairwoman now that the Tennessee Republican is running for governor of her home state, but who will want to take the gavel of a panel whose primary work product has run into major roadblocks for two years in a row?

Black, the first woman to chair the Budget Committee, has only held the gavel for eight months. She replaced Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who was chairman for just two years before President Donald Trump tapped him to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

White House Opioid Panel Pushes Access to Treatment

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose state of West Virginia has been ravaged by opiods, says more needs to be done to address the crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An advisory commission is urging President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency with regard to opioid abuse and addiction, among other recommendations to address a crisis that is claiming upward of 30,000 lives every year.

An emergency declaration “would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding,” said a new draft report from the White House circulated on Monday.

Lobbying After Congress Declines in Popularity
Roll Call looks at what alums of the 114th Congress are up to

Clockwise from top left: former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, former Reps. Janice Hahn of California and Candice S. Miller of Michigan, former Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland and David Vitter of Louisiana, former Rep. Steve Israel of New York, former House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and former Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina. (Bill Clark and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

By KYLE STEWART and GRIFFIN CONNOLLY

Whether it was the ascension of Donald Trump, the endless vitriol of today’s politics or other factors, former members of the 114th Congress departed Washington in droves, a marked difference from previous Congresses when the most popular destinations for former members were D.C. lobbying firms.

Former CBO Directors Confront Assaults on Agency
Both Republicans and Democrats alike decry attacks

Douglas Elmendorf, as well as all his fellow former directors of the Congressional Budget Office, sent a letter to Congress protesting recent attacks on the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All eight former directors of the Congressional Budget Office — Democrats and Republicans alike — sent a letter to Congress on Friday protesting the ongoing attacks on the agency’s integrity and urging that Congress continue to rely on CBO estimates.

In the letter, the former directors registered what they said was their “strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process.”

Meet the Special Election Class of 2017 (So Far)
This year’s elections have brought a new crop of freshmen to Congress

California Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez hugs his mother, Socorro, as his wife, Mary Hodge, looks on, during his ceremonial House swearing-in Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By CHRIS HALE, BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

California Democrat Jimmy Gomez became the newest member of the House on Tuesday after being officially sworn in by Speaker Paul D. Ryan

Cruz Walks Health Care Tightrope, With Eye on 2018
Colleagues welcome Texas Republican’s new demeanor

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s efforts on the Senate GOP health care legislation have been constructive, colleagues say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One hour into Sen. Ted Cruz’s town hall meeting on veterans issues in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday night, a doctor stood up and told him, “You all are scaring the living daylight out of us with the health care nonsense you’re doing.”

Cruz, who has been a key player in the Senate’s health care negotiations, responded that he is fighting to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, and working to expand choice and competition to lower insurance premiums. 

Ticks, Floods, and a Dash of Health Care
Recess talks vary widely across Senate leadership

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been speaking on a variety of topics around his state over the recess, not just health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Finding the votes for the Republican effort to roll back the 2010 health care overhaul may be the most pressing matter at the Capitol, but it hasn’t been the only topic of conversation for senators back home over the July Fourth recess.

Take the example of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. During a speech to Republicans in Hardin County, Kentucky, on Friday, McConnell likened the health care negotiations to a “Rubik’s Cube.”

GOP Struggles With Message on Repealing Health Care Taxes
Plans to kill levies imposed by 2010 law slammed by Democrats

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is the GOP point man for the overhaul of the tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Democrats enacted two taxes on wealthy families to help finance the 2010 health care law, Republicans predicted the levies would be politically unpopular and would not survive.

Now, the GOP faces a partisan messaging battle over plans to end a Medicare payroll surtax and a separate tax on investment income that are both levied on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 (for an individual) and $250,000 (for a married couple).