Washington

Plea Deal Reveals Stockman Accused of Stealing $775,000
Former staffer testifies that former congressman scammed two charitable organizations

Court documents in a plea deal for a onetime staffer for former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, claims the former congressman scammed nearly $800,000 from two charitable organizations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Testimony in a plea deal from a onetime aide to former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman puts the total of money he is accused of taking from charitable contributions close to $800,000.

Stockman was arrested last week as he was getting on a plane in Houston and charged with campaign funds violations. He was later released on $25,000 bond and forced to surrender his passport.

Indiana Headed for Another Member-on-Member Senate Primary
Messer close to announcing a bid and Rokita expected to follow

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is assumed to be running for Senate, but he could be joined by another member of the Indiana delegation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hoosier politicos call it the “Wabash mafia.” And now two graduates of the tiny, all-male college in Indiana are likely to face off in the Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018.

GOP Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita graduated from Wabash College just one year apart. And while neither has officially entered the race, they’re both making moves that suggest this cycle’s primary could again feature member-on-member theatrics.

Opinion: Art as Soul Food – A Tough Yet Essential Case to Make
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts are ill-advised

Funding for humanities programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, is only a fraction of the federal budget and should not be cut, Curtis writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Most critics expressing outrage at President Donald Trump’s proposed budget have focused on cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program that funnels money to Meals on Wheels. And who can blame them? 

If you’re looking for allies for your cause, that’s the narrative you want — one that sets up clear-cut heroes and villains, especially with budget director Mick Mulvaney, sent from central casting and all but twirling a mustache as he says, “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” or “There’s no demonstrable evidence” that after-school programs that also feed children are actually “helping kids do better at school.”

Members Show School Spirit as Sweet 16 Games Begin
Manchin, Cortez Masto go head-to-head while other members are torn

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA March Madness starts today and members are showing their school spirit. And talking a little smack.

Sen. Joe Manchin III is the only member of Congress who is an alumnus of West Virginia University — he graduated with a business administration degree.

Meadows: Freedom Caucus Open to Changes
White House negotiating with Republicans opposing health bill

Rep. Mark Meadows said his conservative caucus was open to negotiating with the White House on changes to a health care bill opposed by enough Republican members to sink the measure. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman, Lindsey McPherson and Joe Williams/CQ Roll Call

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Wednesday he and members of the conservative group are open to negotiating changes to a health care bill that is struggling to gain enough votes by Republicans to pass the House.

Conservatives Ask to Start Over on GOP Health Plan
Leadership-crafted legislation remains short of majority

From left, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., looks on as Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks with staff during the House Rules Committee meeting to formulate a rule on the American Health Care Act of 2017 on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman and Lindsey McPherson, CQ Roll Call

Conservatives are flexing their muscles in Congress as they get closer to securing the “no” votes that would sink the GOP leadership-crafted bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

Full-Year CR Threatens Military Training, Hawks Say
Thornberry: “All but one deploying Army unit will cease training after July 15th”

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, participates in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's media availability with the Chairman's Task Force on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. armed forces will see training severely curtailed if the continuing resolution funding the federal government is extended for the rest of the fiscal year, a leading lawmaker warned Wednesday.

Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, chairman of House Armed Services, said at a press breakfast that he has asked the military services what the effect would be of a full-year CR. He said he had not heard from all of them but offered a few startling examples.

Cuomo: Health Care Amendment ‘Declared War on New York’
Collins-Faso amendment would prevent counties from shouldering Medicaid costs

A new amendment by Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said the amendment that he and Rep. John Faso offered is meant to take the burden off property tax payers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment by New York Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso to the health care bill the House is to vote on Thursday is a declaration of war against the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The proposal by upstate Republicans Collins and Faso would prevent New York counties from shouldering the cost of Medicaid, leaving the responsibility to the state alone, New York media outlets reported.

Opinion: Are Republicans Storming the Castle or Walking the Plank on Health Care?
Upcoming health care vote could have consequences for 2018

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was singled out by President Donald Trump at Tuesday’s House GOP conference meeting for not yet voicing his support for the Republican health care plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are getting leaned on, hard, to vote for the GOP health care bill. First came the invitations to the White House Bowling Alley. Then the lunch dates. Still hunting for votes over the weekend, President Donald Trump flew members to Mar-a-Lago. But by Tuesday, with a floor vote looming, President Trump was naming names at the GOP caucus meeting. “Mark Meadows?” the president said, looking for the leader of the Freedom Caucus, who has still not said he’ll vote for the bill. “Stand up, Mark. … Mark, I’m going to come after you.”

The White House later said that the president was “just having fun” at the caucus meeting. But when a White House goes into full whip mode, which this White House obviously has, it’s time for the members on the sharp side of the whip to ask themselves whether they’re being asked to storm the castle or walk the plank. In other words, will their vote on health care this week help deliver a successful, necessary legislative victory, or are they being asked to support a bill that may not pass, may not work, or may cost them and their party their seats in two years’ time.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.