New Jersey

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.

Senators’ Yemen Vote Is Precursor to Debate on Saudi Relations
Corker eyes nonbinding resolution to condemn kingdom over Khashoggi murder

With the Senate expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution aimed at the Yemen war, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to ensure any amendments offered are germane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is expected Wednesday to debate and vote on a resolution that would order an end to military involvement in the war in Yemen, one of several measures that lawmakers are considering to punish Saudi Arabia.

But Wednesday’s discussion may be shortened due to scant floor time and several competing high-priority legislative items that, unlike the Yemen resolution, could still become law before the year is over.

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

Baseball Legend Larry Doby Tapped for Congressional Gold Medal
Civil rights icon broke color barrier in the American League

Larry Doby in his days with the Chicago White Sox. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby is getting the Congressional Gold Medal.

The move drew praise from lawmakers not only from his home state of New Jersey, but also from Ohio, where Doby debuted and starred for the Cleveland Indians. After the Senate passed legislation last week to authorize the award, the next step is a signature from President Donald Trump.

Insurance Marketplace Sign-Ups Lag After Year of Changes
Fewer people are enrolling than last year, according to CMS

Overall health insurance enrollment on the federal exchange is down roughly 11 percent compared to this point last year. Above, Isabel Diaz Tinoco and Jose Luis Tinoco weigh different plans at the Mall of the Americas in Miami last year. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Enrollment in the insurance plans offered under the 2010 health care law appears to be lagging heading into the final stretch of the sign-up period.

Overall enrollment is down roughly 11 percent compared to this point last year, suggesting the final federal exchange numbers may end up lower than last year.

Pelosi's Concessions Will Change the Way Laws Are Made
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 131

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., walks up the House steps with his daughter Ellie for a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For Riverby Books, a Time to Close
For owner Paul Cymrot, decision was personal, based on several factors

Paul Cymrot, the owner of Riverby Books, in one of the store’s coziest spots. He is closing the store’s Capitol Hill location at the end of the month. Cymrot and his father Steve opened it in 2001. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The closing of Riverby Books’ Capitol Hill location brings with it all the hallmarks of the great literature that animated its business: a sense of place, change, ambiguity and loss.

“I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. I have a lot of memories here. It’s a neighborly place,” owner Paul Cymrot said of what he will miss most about the store he opened at 417 East Capitol St. SE in 2001 with his father, Steve.

9 New Members Who Previously Served at the Pleasure of a President
Newcomers to 116th Congress bring bevy of executive branch experience

There’s a group of new members of the 116th Congress who have served former presidents, including Reps.-elect Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Colin Allred, D-Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of newcomers to Capitol Hill is bringing experience from the executive branch to the 116th Congress. 

They draw from a cast of former White House or Cabinet staffers and high-ranking officials from the administrations of the past two Democratic presidents. These new members, who once had to defend their administration’s policies, now find themselves on the other side of the table, promising oversight of the executive branch. 

Why the Senate Yemen Debate Might Not Include Response to Khashoggi Murder
Republicans may seek to limit amendment scope

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to limit the scope of amendments to the Yemen resolution. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is likely to proceed to a war powers resolution on U.S. involvement in Yemen next week, but the broader debate on policy toward Saudi Arabia may be short-circuited.

The Senate has not defined rules for floor debate on resolutions like the one that was recently discharged from the Foreign Relations Committee, and the chairman of that Senate panel intends to ask the chamber to set restrictive rules for amendments to war powers resolutions.

Bob Corker’s Quieter Foreign Policy Legacy
Retiring Foreign Relations chairman offers advice for new members

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has advice for incoming senators: become an expert, listen to colleagues and score quieter wins with an eye to the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker prepares to yield his gavel and leave the Senate, he has advice for newly elected senators: gain expertise and actually listen to your colleagues.

“Some of these people obviously are coming in with large platforms. I mean, they’ve been significant figures prior to coming here,” the Tennessee Republican, first elected in 2006, said in a recent interview. “Still though, they’re going to be freshman senators and they’re going to be sitting at the end of the dais in most cases in whatever the committee.”