Joe Donnelly

Congress’ Gun Massacre Caucus
Dealing with mass shootings is becoming all too familiar for many members

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, center left, with Rep. Mark Sanford to his right and then-Gov. Nikki Haley, second from right, attend a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

On Dec. 14, 2012, Elizabeth Esty was attending a social media workshop for new members of Congress at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She had been elected to represent Connecticut’s 5th District a month earlier.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Here’s an example right now — I’m getting texts and alerts that there’s been a shooting and we don’t know what happened,’” she said.

Congress Generous, Again, With US Funds for Israel’s Defense
Package for Israeli antimissile systems at near record levels, even as transparency questions swirl

The Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency completed a successful flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor missile. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Congress is poised to provide Israel with another $705 million for that country’s missile defenses — nearly five times the Trump administration’s request and the second largest annual installment of such aid to date.

The House plans to vote this week to approve a fiscal 2018 national defense policy conference report that would, among its many provisions, authorize the aid to Israel for several antimissile systems. The Senate is expected to follow suit soon and send the bill to the president. And whenever Congress completes work on a defense appropriations bill, lawmakers are highly likely to provide all of that money — and maybe more.

Senate GOP to Delay Corporate Tax Cut, Repeal ‘SALT’ Deduction
Finance Committee releases plan highlights

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:25 p.m. | Senate Republicans proposed Thursday to delay a corporate tax cut for one year and fully repeal the deduction for state and local taxes, taking a different approach than the House on overhauling the tax code.

The plan highlights released by the Senate Finance Committee show shared goals with the House bill advanced by the Ways and Committee on Thursday. Both would provide tax cuts at all income levels, slash the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and expand benefits for families with children. For multinational companies, the proposals would shift to a new territorial tax regime.

All the GOP’s Eggs Are Now in the Tax Basket
The pressure’s on as House Republicans try to move their tax bill

Sen. John Kennedy holds up his wallet during a Tuesday news conference in the Capitol as he says that families and small businesses would benefit from the GOP’s tax plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s hard enough to digest the policy details of the GOP tax overhaul plan — but add in a dose of distraction from the sprawling probe of Russian interference into last year’s elections and it’s easy to lose any budding “taxmentum.”

Selling a comprehensive tax code rewrite — even if it’s packaged as a tax cut for individuals and businesses — is so challenging that Congress hasn’t done it since 1986.

Democrats Say Election is Warning to GOP on Taxes
Citing Tuesday election results, minority party urges redirection

From left, House Ways and Means ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass., Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hold a press conference on tax reform outside of the House Ways and Means hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats were quick on Wednesday to use the results of Tuesday’s elections to pressure Republicans to drop their attempt to pass an overhaul of the U.S. tax code with support only from within the GOP.

The GOP lost two gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, and gained seats at the state and local level across the country. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says those results signal a rebuke of the current Republican agenda, including taxes and health care.

Businessman Makes Indiana Senate Primary Three-Person Race
Mike Braun making first statewide TV ad buys in the race

Screenshot of Mike Braun for U.S. Senate ad.

In what’s been largely characterized as a contest between two Republican members of Congress, a businessman with the ability to self-fund has made the first statewide TV and radio buys in the Indiana Senate primary.

Former state Rep. Mike Braun’s $329,000 three-week radio and TV buy signals he’s making this a three-person race. He announced his campaign in August. 

One Year Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018
Taking heat from both sides, Nevada’s Dean Heller leads the list

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is among the ten most vulnerable senators in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats are defending 10 seats President Donald Trump won last cycle. But a year out from Election Day, the most vulnerable senator is the lone Republican facing re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton.The overall Senate landscape has improved for Democrats since the beginning of the year, with Republican retirements opening up two seats in 2018. But this ranking only features incumbents.

More GOP primaries could develop, but besides Nevada’s Dean Heller, the other nine most vulnerable senators are all Democrats.

Democrats Face Messaging Hurdles on GOP Tax Plan
Condensed timeline, dissension complicate strategy

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons walks to the microphones in the Capitol after the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats and their supporters had a unified message when it came to standing against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But when it comes to resisting President Donald Trump and the GOP on tax legislation, it might get more complicated.

Democratic leadership is sending signals it is not willing to negotiate on the GOP tax bill until the current partisan effort fails, but some members of the conference appear ready to buck that message, if need be.

Ahead, the First Pure Party-Line Modern Tax Cut?
Bipartisanship has heralded tax bills for decades, but the Trump era is all about unique dynamics

If President Donald Trump is able to pul off a significant tax cut, it may well happen without any support from Democrats. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The steady path toward today’s partisan polarization at the Capitol is etched in the history of tax bills over more than half a century.

If President Donald Trump is able to pull off his uphill drive to join most of his predecessors since World War II in securing a significant tax cut, it’s very possible he’ll do so exclusively with the votes of congressional Republicans.

Garrett’s Jabs at Export-Import Bank May Stop His Bid to Lead It
The former N.J. congressman once voted against reauthorizing the bank

Former New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett, center — shown here at a 2015 House Financial Services hearing — has been nominated to head the Export-Import Bank, an organization he once said “embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett faces an unusual combination of Democrats and business groups opposing his nomination to lead the Export-Import Bank as the Senate hearing on his confirmation approaches.

Garrett, who lost his bid for re-election in 2016, is part of the wing of the Republican Party that sees the Ex-Im Bank’s loan, insurance and guarantee programs as corporate welfare that mainly benefits large companies. He was a founding member of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus.