Lindsey McPherson

Will GOP Divergence From Trump Over White Supremacist Comments Last?
Fissure unlikely to lead to a larger GOP break from president

Each time President Donald Trump makes an inflammatory comment, on the campaign trail or in the White House, it feels like what could be a breaking point for Republicans. But it never is.

With Trump doubling down on his comments effectively defending some white supremacists on Tuesday, could this be it?

Elaine Chao: ‘I Stand By My Man. Both of Them.’
Transportation secretary stays neutral in boss-husband feud

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao weighed in Tuesday on President Donald Trump’s feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using unexpected choice words:

“I stand by my man. Both of them,” she said.

Tax Overhaul Path Unclear Amid Budget Chair's Expected Departure
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 28

Action on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is key to a tax overhaul remains uncertain as House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black is expected to resign to run for governor of Tennessee, say CQ Roll Call's House leadership reporter Lindsey McPherson and budget reporter Jennifer Shutt.

Leading contenders to replace Black include GOP Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio. Meanwhile, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Tom McClintock of California could also make the list if they decide to seek the post.

Tax Overhaul ‘Ain’t Going to Happen’ If Not by Thanksgiving, Meadows Says
Freedom Caucus chairman says it would be difficult to support corporate rate above 20 percent

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows endorsed Wednesday the White House’s aggressive timetable for overhauling the tax code, saying the effort will die if a bill doesn’t pass before Thanksgiving.

“If we do not have a bill that we’re actually debating in September [that] hopefully gets a vote in October, it will not get to the president’s desk by Thanksgiving. … If it doesn’t get there by Thanksgiving guys, it ain’t going to happen,” the North Carolina Republican said to a crowd of conservative activists at an Americans for Prosperity rally at the Newseum. 

Diane Black Will Need to Resign Budget Chairmanship or Seek Waiver
Tennessee Republican is running for governor

Rep. Diane Black may have to step down as Budget Committee chairwoman now that the Tennessee Republican is running for governor of her home state, but who will want to take the gavel of a panel whose primary work product has run into major roadblocks for two years in a row?

Black, the first woman to chair the Budget Committee, has only held the gavel for eight months. She replaced Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who was chairman for just two years before President Donald Trump tapped him to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

House Republicans’ August Messaging Plan: Deflect and Pivot
Recess resource kits highlight bills House GOP passed, tax overhaul plans

House Republicans left Washington largely stumped about how to go home for a monthlong recess and defend to their constituents Congress’ failure to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. 

The concerns were so great that many members during a GOP conference meeting Friday — just hours after a Senate vote on a scaled-back repeal bill failed — pleaded with leadership to keep the House in session in August.

White House Talks Tax Outreach, but Senators Guarded
Legislative director outlines ambitious timetable

The White House sees Democrats up for re-election in states President Donald Trump won as possible partners in their effort to overhaul the tax code, but Senate Republicans appear less optimistic about the chances of a bipartisan bill.

White House legislative director Marc Short said Monday the White House is not wed to using the often partisan reconciliation process to advance a tax overhaul, though senators were hesitant to rule out that procedural tool.

White House Floats Aggressive Tax Timetable in Fall

The White House is not wed to having congressional Republicans use the budget reconciliation process to advance a tax overhaul and is eyeing red state Democrats up for re-election as possible partners in the effort, legislative affairs director Marc Short said Monday.

“We’ve learned how difficult it is to thread the needle with 52 [Republican] senators,” Short said at an event hosted by the conservative Americans for Prosperity at the Newseum.

House Republicans Not Ready to Abandon Obamacare Repeal
Hope springs eternal in chamber that Senate GOP can still get something done

By LINDSEY MCPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN

House Republicans on Friday said they’re not planning to abandon their effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, but their current plan for how to achieve that goal is to simply hope the Senate gets its act together.

GOP Tax Unity Statement Creates Messaging, Negotiating Room
Big Six negotiators leave plenty of space on the table for differing ideas

GOP congressional and administration leaders’ joint tax overhaul statement took one big item off the negotiating table Thursday but left almost everything else on it. And that’s likely by design. 

The official death of the border adjustment tax removes the most controversial idea from the tax overhaul conversation and provides GOP lawmakers and stakeholder groups with room to message on aspects of the tax rewrite effort that have garnered less attention. 

Now McCain is Schumer’s Hero
Senate Minority Leader said McCain told him about his vote in the afternoon

When it was announced Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, members of both parties hailed him as “an American hero.”

When he returned to Washington, presumably to cast the deciding vote on the Republican health care bill, President Donald Trump, who once famously disputed McCain’s heroism, called him “Brave – American hero!”

Ryan Agrees to Health Care Conference With Big Caveat
Speaker says Senate will have to act on conference report first to show it can pass it

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday ceded to GOP senators’ demands that the House commit to going to conference on a health care bill, but added a caveat that will provide his members cover from having to take another difficult vote. 

“We expect the Senate to act first on whatever the conference committee produces,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement Thursday. 

Tax Overhaul Moves Forward Without Border Adjustment Plan
Questions still remain on how to rewrite the tax code

By LINDSEY MCPHERSON and JOHN T. BENNETTUpdated 5:39 p.m. | The decision by the White House and Republican leaders to drop a controversial border adjustment tax proposal as they proceed with negotiations on how to rewrite the tax code provides more questions than answers about where their effort is headed.

The border adjustment tax, known as the BAT, would have reversed the current way the United States taxes goods crossing its borders by taxing imports but exempting exports.

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff
‘It was CBO’s reluctance to change their erroneous forecasts’

The House on Wednesday night rejected, 116-309, an amendment that would have eliminated one-third of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The amendment, offered by Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith to the four-bill appropriations minibus the House is currently debating, would have abolished CBO’s 89-employee budget analysis division and saved a total of $15 million in salaries. Roughly half of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the amendment.

Trump, GOP Leaders Near Deal on Tax Principles

By ALAN K. OTA and LINDSEY MCPHERSON

Top Republican leaders said Wednesday they are close to a deal with the Trump administration on a broad set of tax goals that will guide overhaul efforts.

House to Vote on CBO Staff Cuts
Appropriations amendment would eliminate budget analysis division

The House this week will vote on whether to eliminate the positions of 89 Congressional Budget Office employees in what will be its first vote under the so-called Holman rule that Republicans in the chamber reinstated on a trial basis earlier this year.

The Holman rule allows members to offer amendments to appropriations bills designed to reduce the scope and size of government.

Rep. Phil Roe Diagnosed With Cancer
“Prognosis is excellent”

Rep. Phil Roe has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo treatment at home in east Tennessee during the August recess, his office said in a statement Tuesday.

“The prognosis is excellent, and treatment is not expected to interfere with his scheduled legislative duties,” Roe’s office said.

House GOP Push to Reverse Course on Spending Strategy Fails

House GOP appropriators’ and other rank-and-file members’ last-minute push to vote on a full 12-bill spending package before the August recess has failed to garner enough support for leadership to reverse course.

The now twice-made decision to proceed with a four-bill minibus package of national security-related appropriations bills instead of a 12-bill omnibus is a blow to those in the Republican Conference who saw pursuing a 12-bill strategy a win.

No Budget, No Tax Reform: GOP Faces Reality of Remaining Agenda
House Republicans optimistic despite lacking votes for budget resolution

“Clearly, no budget, no tax reform.”

That comment made by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday, and then again for good measure on Monday, is the primary selling point on which House Republican leaders are hoping to whip up enough support to pass their fiscal 2018 budget resolution. Yet that pitch has done little to appease the naysayers.

House Democrats Tank Two Suspension Bills
Pelosi: Bill not problematic, suspension is

House Republicans hoping to quickly clear some must-pass items from their to-do list before August recess brought up two bills Monday under a fast-track procedure only to have Democrats shoot them down.

Both an intelligence reauthorization bill and legislation renewing funding for a veterans’ health program were brought to the House floor under suspension of the rules, a process that requires two-thirds support for passage and bypasses. Both failed.