Richard E Neal

House Democrats months away from demanding Trump tax returns
‘No wiggle room’ to deny request for Trump’s tax returns, expert says

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee said it would be months before they definitively try to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, after a lengthy hearing Thursday to hear from tax and constitutional law experts.

“This is not the end. This is just the beginning,” Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis of Georgia said, making it clear there would be more hearings and examination of the sensitive matter.

Democrats and Republicans clash over health care goals in Ways and Means
In between partisan comments, lawmakers mentioned health policies the panel could consider this year

Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talk during the House Ways and Means Committee organizational meeting for the 116th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Ways and Means Committee members hinted at health policy areas that could earn their attention this year during a Tuesday hearing on pre-existing conditions protections, but past disagreements will be difficult to move beyond if the meeting was any indication.

Essentially every committee Republican expressed support for guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and called on Congress to lower health care costs.

Gwen Moore announces she has cancer during hearing on pre-existing conditions
The announcement comes on day when House Democrats returned to discussions about pre-existing health conditions

Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, and Gwen Moore, D-Wis., leave a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On a day when House Democrats returned to discussions about pre-existing health conditions, Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., announced Tuesday she was diagnosed with small cell lymphocytic lymphoma in the spring of 2018. She said the disease is now in remission. 

Photos of the Week: Federal workers protest, visit food drives and miss their second paycheck
The week of Jan. 21 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Chef José Andrés, right, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., take a tour on Tuesday of Andrés' World Central Kitchen, which is serving free meals and goods to federal workers who have been affected by the partial government shutdown in downtown Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From celebrity chefs preparing meals alongside the speaker, to protests, to canceled member retreats and a second missed paycheck for federal workers deemed essential — signs of the partial government shutdown are almost everywhere on Capitol Hill.

Here's the entire week in photos:

Coal industry fought black lung tax as disease rates rose
Coal companies and industry groups lobbied against extending a tax program that provides a lifeline for sufferers and their families

An overview of a coal prep plant outside the city of Welch in rural West Virginia on May 19, 2017, in Welch, West Virginia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While cases of black lung disease among miners were on the rise last year, coal companies and industry groups lobbied lawmakers against extending a tax program that provides a lifeline for sufferers and their families.

Mandatory disclosures show the coal lobby spent some of its influence money on discussions with lawmakers regarding the Black Lung Excise Tax and the trust fund that helps pay for the health and living benefits of sick coal workers whose employers have gone bankrupt, and their beneficiaries.

Progressive groups push Democrats to full-court press for Trump’s taxes
New House Ways and Means chairman has indicated he will ‘lay out a case’ to obtain POTUS’ tax records

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., has indicated that he won’t make a quick play for Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Progressive groups renewed their calls Thursday for the leading Democrat on the House committee with jurisdiction over taxes to “immediately” obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns, which the president refused to release during the 2016 campaign after initially promising to do so.

“As the newly appointed Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, it is your constitutional duty and responsibility to conduct effective oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration,” three leading progressive groups on the issue wrote in a letter, first seen and reviewed by Roll Call, to Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts.

Van Hollen Complains of ‘Dark of Night’ House GOP Tax Bill
Dems plan to hold hearings on problems with tax code overhaul

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a tax bill released Monday by House Republicans will get a cool reception. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen said a 200-page-plus tax bill released late Monday by House Republicans would receive a cool reception from Democrats.

“It was sort of put together in the same way their huge tax bill was put together, in the dark of night,” Van Hollen said, referring to the tax code overhaul  signed into law last December. Van Hollen’s comments came at a “Election Impact: Tax Policy in 2019,” a Roll Call Live event held at FiscalNote headquarters on tax policies expected to take center stage in the 116th Congress. 

On Health Care, Dems Go From Running to Baby Steps
Incremental measures will dominate action on the health law in a largely gridlocked Congress

House Democrats plan to bring administration officials to Capitol Hill to explain what critics call “sabotage” of the law’s insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The midterm elections all but ended the Republican push to repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare, but as a defining issue for Democrats in their takeover of the House, health care will likely remain near the top of lawmakers’ policy and political agenda.

Newly emboldened Democrats are expected to not only push legislation through the House, but use their majority control of key committees to press Trump administration officials on the implementation of the health law, Medicaid work requirements, and insurance that does not have to comply with Obamacare rules.

A Democratic Majority Could Milk Trump’s Trade Pact
‘The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high,’ says top Democrat on Ways and Means

Rep. Richard Neal, a Ways and Means Committee member since 1993 and now the panel’s top Democrat, voted against NAFTA and says he will scrutinize the proposed replacement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration included provisions in the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to win Democratic support, but if the midterm elections hand Democrats the majority in either the House or Senate, the path forward for the revised agreement may be more complicated.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the agreement in principle on Nov. 30 and send implementing legislation to Congress sometime later. Trump also notified Congress on Tuesday that his administration plans to launch trade negotiations with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom in 2019.

K Street Turns Its Lonely Eyes to Grassley
Republican holds the key to cascading possibilities, from Judiciary to Finance to Banking

Will Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, make the leap to head the Finance Committee next year? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fresh off a divisive Supreme Court battle, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has a complicated decision to make next month that has the business world watching with keen interest: whether to make the jump over to the Finance Committee chairmanship in the 116th Congress.

“Ask me Nov. 7,” was all the Iowa Republican would say earlier this week on the topic. But the allure of returning to the helm of perhaps the most powerful committee in Congress, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and health care policy, can’t be lost on Grassley, who was Finance chairman for part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.