Rodney Frelinghuysen

Trump, ‘Big Four’ Set to Meet Amid Shutdown Showdown
Huddle on year-end spending comes after last week's misfire

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders will meet with President Donald Trump one day before a shutdown showdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than two months into the fiscal year and with just days left before a temporary spending bill expires, congressional leaders and President Donald Trump are scheduled to sit down Thursday to discuss key spending issues.

The meeting comes a little more than a week after the two Democratic leaders, Charles E. Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House, opted to skip a meeting on the same topic, after Trump tweeted that he didn’t see a deal happening. And it will occur a little more than a day before the current continuing resolution funding the government expires at the end of Dec. 8. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan went ahead without them to the White House last week. 

Meet the Republicans Who Voted ‘No’ on the Tax Bill
13 GOP members, most from high-tax states, voted against leadership

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who voted “no” on the House GOP tax bill, finds himself in a Toss-up re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders cheered passage of their sweeping tax overhaul Thursday, but 13 GOP lawmakers bucked their party and voted against the bill. 

All but one of them hailed from New York, New Jersey and California — each a high-tax state. These lawmakers largely opposed the legislation because it curtailed the state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT. The measure caps the deduction for property taxes at $10,000 while eliminating the tax break for state and local income or sales taxes. 

Vulnerable Republicans in Political Catch-22 on Tax Overhaul
Democrats will attack them for the GOP tax plan even if they vote against it

New York Rep. Dan Donovan said the tax plan “kills the people who I represent.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s decision time on the ultimatum Republican leaders have been issuing to members all fall: Pass a tax overhaul or wave the House majority goodbye. 

But some of the party’s most vulnerable members, many from high-tax states in the Northeast, have come out against the House tax plan over its curtailing of deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest. Others are still undecided, afraid of how the measure will affect their districts. 

Republicans Considering Funding Stopgap, Ryan Says
Extra time puts December holidays at risk

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., conducts his weekly news conference in the House studio on November 9, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

GOP leaders are considering a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded beyond December 8, Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday.

The stopgap measure is likely needed to buy leaders and appropriators more time to finalize an omnibus spending measure, which they are behind in negotiating. Leaders have yet to strike a deal on topline spending levels for fiscal 2018, which appropriators need before they can draft the omnibus.

Smelling Tax Blood, Dems Look to ’18
Tax bill will be key to midterm campaign strategy, Schumer and Pelosi say

Members of the media wait outside of the hearing room for comments from senators about the Senate Finance Committee’s markup of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In advance of expected congressional action to overhaul the tax code, both political parties are seizing on the effort as key to their 2018 midterm election prospects.

House and Senate Republicans believe passing the first tax code rewrite since 1986 will fulfill a key promise they made to voters in 2016 — and will spur economic growth and job creation that voters will credit them for in the 2018 midterms.

Meet the Challengers Who Outraised House Incumbents
Some Democrats raised two to three times more than GOP lawmakers in third quarter

Democrat Anthony Brindisi raised more money during the third quarter than GOP freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Nearly one year out from the 2018 midterms, challengers outraised nearly 30 percent of the incumbents in competitive races during the third quarter.

Sixteen Republican incumbents in competitive races raised less than their Democratic challengers during the third quarter. One Democratic incumbent was outraised by a GOP challenger.

Harvey Aid, Seen Topping Katrina and Sandy, May Be in Batches
Early projections estimate $150 billion

The city of Houston is still experiencing severe flooding in some areas due to the accumulation of historic levels of rainfall, though the storm has moved to the north and east. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The rebuilding of parts of Texas and potentially Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey may be the most expensive disaster relief effort ever, with early projections of federal aid soaring to $150 billion and raising the prospect of several congressional actions to pay for it.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Wednesday he thinks federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey should top what was provided after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012. 

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Here’s How Republicans Reacted After Trump (Again) Flip-Flopped on Charlottesville
Many in president’s own party countered his stance

A man carries an American flag during a protest against racism and the violence over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 14, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

An unprecedented outpouring of congressional Republicans reacted Tuesday as President Donald Trump flipped his position (again) on last weekend’s violent outburst in Charlottesville, Virginia.

First Trump held “both sides” responsible just after protesters demonstrating in support of a General Robert E. Lee statue clashed with counterprotesters. Then a prepared speech Monday had the president condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s and the violence generally. Finally, Tuesday night Trump came back to two-sided rhetoric when he said some members of the far-right organized demonstration were “very fine” people.

Opinion: GOP Tax Dilemma — Somebody’s Got to Pay More
There’s a reason tax reform doesn’t happen often

South Dakota Sen. John Thune believes that traditional budget scorekeeping underestimates the dynamic effects of tax cuts on the economy, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Any deduction you look at in the tax code has a constituency behind it,” John Thune said last week as we chatted about taxes in his Senate office. “If you are going to do tax reform that is revenue-neutral … that means that you have to kill some deductions or scale them back.”

Too often Republican oratory depicts tax reform as across-the-board rate reductions where everyone wins and nobody loses. It is like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — “where all the children are above average” — but a lot richer.