Richard E Neal

Justice Department sides with Treasury in blocking Trump tax returns
Mnuchin rejected demand by House Ways and Means Democrats

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had refused to comply with a subpoena from House Ways and Means Democrats for President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department released an opinion Friday that backed up the Treasury Department’s decision not to give Congress copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, concluding that the “true aim” was to make the documents public and that “is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Office of Legal Counsel opinion comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply with a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal last month.

‘Cadillac tax’ repeal could get floor action, thanks to Pelosi’s new rule
The tax is aimed at high-cost health care plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered in a new way to bring bills to the floor. Now members of her party want to use it to repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Moderate Democrats in the House won a major victory last year when incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported a new rule that can force her to bring to the floor bills with at least 290 co-sponsors.

Ironically, one of the first to benefit from the process could be a bill to repeal a feature of the 2010 health care law. The provision imposed a tax on high-cost health care plans in order to pay for the law’s new spending. Health care economists supported the tax as a way of suppressing rising health costs, but labor unions — which often negotiate generous insurance benefits for their members — don’t like it.

US-Mexico tariff talks resume Friday as implementation looms Monday
House Ways and Means chairman says if Trump imposes tariffs, he’ll introduce resolution to repeal them

Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’ll introduce a resolution of disapproval to repeal President Donald Trump’s tariffs against Mexico if they go into effect on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mexico and the U.S. will continue talks Friday about efforts to curb the flow of Central American migrants to the southern U.S. border, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a short statement late Thursday.

Mexico is trying to reach an agreement with the U.S. on migration in order to avoid a series of escalating tariffs President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on all Mexican imports. The first round of tariffs would begin Monday with a 5 percent duty on imports ranging from fruits to machinery.

Republicans eager to avoid getting stuck between Trump and tariffs on Mexico
There might be enough votes to terminate a national emergency

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said, “I don’t think tariffs anywhere are a good idea.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans are caught between the Koch brothers and President Donald Trump on a closer-by-the-day trade war, and are uneasily weighing their options to nullify Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican imports. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the LIBRE Initiative sent a letter pushing congressional leaders to stand up against what they characterized as tens of billions of effective tax increases, including from Trump’s potential 5 percent tariffs on imports from Mexico (and which could grow to more than 25 percent).

Republican rebellion over Mexico tariffs overshadows Trump’s European visit
As D-Day ceremonies begin, GOP members send a rare warning to the president

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady and other Republicans broke Tuesday with President Donald Trump on his planned tariffs on goods entering the country from Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s latest tariff war sparked a rare rebellion by Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, stealing the spotlight from his state visit to the United Kingdom and threatening to intrude on the ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.

“On the proposed Mexico tariffs, look, there is a window here,” House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady said Tuesday of escalating tensions over the tariff threat. “Negotiations, and what I’ve heard constructive negotiations, are occurring as we speak with Mexico representatives in Washington right now.”

Retirement bill remains stalled amid Republican holds in Senate
Finance Committee chairman says as many as six GOP senators have issues with the bill ‘for different reasons’

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said the retirement savings bill, which has been worked on over the past three Congresses, “should have passed eons ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican senators are holding up what could be the biggest retirement savings bill in more than a decade.

After sailing through the House on a 417-3 vote May 23 before the weeklong Memorial Day recess, supporters hoped the legislation would garner unanimous consent for quick passage in the Senate the following day. But senatorial holds accumulated and continue to stall the measure.

Administration puts House on notice for a pre-August NAFTA vote
But top Democrats say they won’t be rushed in negotiations over new trade deal

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal talk in February before a hearing on U.S.-China trade relations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Thursday gave Congress a 30-day notice of its intent to send lawmakers implementing legislation for a vote on the proposed trade pact that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The draft statement of administration action is required under Trade Promotion Authority and signals President Donald Trump plans to push for votes on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the August recess.

Sen. Wyden threatens to hold up Treasury nominees over Trump tax returns
Oregon Democrat describes response from department as “wholly unacceptable”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is threatening to hold up Treasury nominees after receiving what he called a “wholly unacceptable” response from the department to his questions on President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden threatened to hold up Treasury Department nominees after receiving an “unresponsive and wholly unacceptable” response to questions he posed about the department’s refusal to release President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

“If the Treasury Department refuses to answer our questions, I am prepared to again place a hold on department nominees as I did previously when routine requests for information went unanswered,” the Oregon Democrat said in a statement Thursday.

Mueller departs with warning: Don’t forget Russia’s election meddling
Congress has been divided over how to address weaknesses in U.S. election system

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III reminded Americans on Wednesday that “there were multiple, systematic efforts” by Russia to interfere in U.S. elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who stepped down from his position Wednesday, had a stark warning for Americans: pay attention to what Russia did to interfere in U.S. elections.

Most of the political wrangling and fallout over Mueller’s report has focused on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice — the report, and Mueller on Wednesday, specifically said he did not exonerate the president on that score — and whether Congress should begin impeachment proceedings. Mueller himself pointed to an aspect of his office’s findings that hasn’t been challenged by either political party.

Retirement savings bill seeks small business buy-in
Bipartisan momentum for change comes as retirement crisis looms

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal’s retirement savings bill would create incentives for businesses to provide access to workplace savings plans for some of the most underserved groups. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday will take up what could be the most significant changes in retirement savings policy in more than a decade.

But the bill’s backers acknowledge it’s just an initial step in addressing what critics call a huge hole in Americans’ nest eggs, at a time when traditional pension plans are increasingly rare and Social Security is facing financial headwinds.