Iowa

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

Official: White House not worried Senate’s lack of input might sink USMCA
Trade pact biggest ‘casualty of Speaker Pelosi’s impeachment obsession,’ McConnell says

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., conducts a news conference Tuesday on a deal reached with the White House on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has no concerns that Republican senators might jump ship on President Donald Trump’s sweeping USMCA trade pact after they were told Thursday a deal with House Democrats will leave them unable to press for further changes.

“We haven’t heard any Senate Republicans come out and say they’re opposing the deal on substance,” a White House official said Thursday, granted anonymity to be candid. “I have no concerns.”

Amid impeachment saga, a kitchen sink of legislative dealing
Sen. Alexander: ‘There’s more to life than judges and impeachment’

Sen. Lamar Alexander says, “There’s more to life than judges and impeachment.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The holiday rush on Capitol Hill is in full swing, and the bipartisan legislative lethargy is showing signs of easing even as the House debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Senate and House negotiators are still trying to reach an agreement on a bundle of spending bills, but there has been a relative abundance of other bipartisan deal-making and even actual legislation passing in the Senate.

Pelosi and Pence eye voters with USMCA agreement
Democrats and Trump appear to see the agreement as a rallying issue as they head into 2020 elections

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal agreement on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed victory for House Democrats Tuesday, saying they had reshaped a trade agreement designed to replace the long vilified 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement that organized labor has blamed for manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico.

In a sign of the potential political importance of the agreement to a core constituency, Pelosi and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., repeatedly thanked Richard Trumka, president of the influential AFL-CIO, for prodding Democrats to get the best deal possible for enforcement of new ambitious labor laws in Mexico that include workers’ right to form unions to negotiate for better pay and work conditions.

Stakes high as long-awaited drug pricing vote nears in House
Parties, president could seek broad compromise before 2020 election as signal to voters

Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Lloyd Doggett is pushing for amendments to the Democratic drug pricing bill that would extend Medicare prices to uninsured individuals and give Medicare the ability to negotiate for all drugs, not just the most expensive products. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When House Democrats vote Thursday on their signature drug pricing negotiation measure, they will be seeking to show that they are addressing an issue that prompted voters to give them the majority and demonstrate that impeachment isn’t stopping them from legislating. 

The political power of the drug price issue isn’t lost on either party. House Republicans unveiled their own drug pricing bill Monday, soon after Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa announced changes to his own version on Friday. The Democratic National Committee and five state parties are launching new web videos and hosting several events aimed at drawing a contrast on health care with Republicans, according to plans shared first with CQ Roll Call.

Craft distillers, retailers wait anxiously for tax extenders
Stakeholders predict layoffs, hiring freezes if deal is not struck by end of year

Rep. Denver Riggleman says it would be “disastrous” for his wife’s Virginia distillery if a 2017 provision that cut excise taxes is not extended past its Dec. 31 expiration date. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman says a looming tax increase on small craft distillers will lead to layoffs at the distillery his family operates in Afton, Virginia, where they make a handful of spirits with colorful names like Strange Monkey Gin and Blackback Bourbon.

And Jeff Quint, a Swisher, Iowa, distillery owner who makes bourbon from corn grown on his family farm, says the demise of the small distillers’ break will force him to rethink new hires he’d been planning.

DOJ watchdog finds problems, not politics in Trump campaign probe
Report does not back president’s most sweeping criticisms of FBI investigation

Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI had enough evidence to launch a criminal probe into members of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election, and political bias did not motivate that decision, a Justice Department watchdog concluded.

But DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz also identified “significant concerns” with how the FBI handled aspects of the investigation, particularly how it handled applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to a secret court that oversees such requests.

Democrats have an anger management problem
Their base is boiling over, but independents want dignity and competence

Nancy Pelosi has shown she’s a master of her own reactions, Murphy writes, but how will she manage the boiling rage of half of her caucus? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Nobody does anger better than Nancy Pelosi — and she doesn’t do it often. But when the speaker of the House delivered a velvet-gloved smackdown to Sinclair’s James Rosen last week for asking if she hates the president, her heel turn — “Don’t mess with me” — nearly broke the internet.

Hashtags of #DontMessWithNancy and #DontMessWithMamma consumed social media, while the C-SPAN clip of Pelosi telling Rosen she does not, in fact, hate the president had 2.5 million views before the sun came up the next morning. 

Senators renew drug price push ahead of House Democrats' vote
Congress “needs to show courage and finally act,” Grassley says

The renewed push on drug pricing legislation by Senate HELP leaders Charles E. Grassley, right, and Ron Wyden comes ahead of a planned House vote on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee on Friday unveiled an updated version of their bipartisan drug pricing bill, though it’s unclear if the changes will appease skeptical Republican senators.

The renewed push for Republican support by Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, comes ahead of a planned House vote next week on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 6
Trump asks the Supreme Court to temporarily halt enforcement of another congressional subpoena for Trump’s financial records

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly news conference in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As expected, President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Friday to temporarily halt the enforcement of congressional subpoenas for financial records of the president and his business from Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp.

The president filed an emergency request with the justices to halt an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for “prompt” compliance with the subpoenas — at least until the court can consider Trump’s appeal.