Lindsey McPherson

House Work Week Gets Shorter
GOP leaders cancel Friday votes again

House Republican leaders started 2017 with plans for the lower chamber to have some atypical five-day work weeks to accommodate an ambitious GOP legislative agenda, but they are starting to cut those weeks short as intraparty fueding prevents progress on their top priorities.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Wednesday that the House would no longer be expected to hold votes this Friday, cutting their work week short and allowing lawmakers to head home early for the week-long Independence Day recess.

Budget Disagreements Bedevil House GOP

The House Budget Committee is unlikely to unveil a fiscal 2018 budget resolution until after the Independence Day recess as Chairwoman Diane Black continues to struggle to marry competing interests on using the reconciliation process to cut mandatory spending.

Conservatives are pushing for several hundred billion dollars in mandatory savings cuts through reconciliation, with House Freedom Caucus members saying the Budget Committee’s latest offer of $200 billion in cuts over 10 years is not enough to win their support. Meanwhile, committee chairmen are pushing back on a continually increasing target, saying they need to preserve some of those savings for other legislative negotiations.

House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

GOP Frets About Fiscal Restraint Progress
Conservatives pushing cuts to mandatory spending

Fiscal restraint has long been part of the Republican Party’s brand, but GOP lawmakers have made little progress on reducing the amount of money the federal government spends. And frankly, they’re sick of it.

That’s the impetus for what has become a serious push by rank-and-file House Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to enact mandatory spending cuts.

For Scalise, Les Bons Fleur-de-Lis Flair
Hospital upgrades condition of Louisiana Republican

Was it the fleurs-de-lis?

On a day when his GOP colleagues donned Louisiana fleur-de-lis flair, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s condition improved to fair and he is beginning an extended rehabilitation process, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement Wednesday.

House GOP Undecided on Spending Path
Speaker says Republicans still having ‘family conversation’

With a little more than seven legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, House Republicans still do not have a consensus on the process for funding the government, fueling some discontent in the conference. 

“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re going to go about our appropriations process in this first year, but we’re going to move together on consensus,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters after the Republican conference met Wednesday morning.

Ryan, Pence Promise Tax Overhaul but Offer Few Details
Speaker, vice president ramp up rhetoric on taxes

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday reiterated a commitment to overhauling the tax code this year but offered no new details on how they plan to do so. 

In separate addresses to a National Association of Manufacturers summit, Ryan and Pence said 2017 is the year Congress will rework the tax system. 

Prospect of Repeat Budget Failure Puts Pressure on Republicans
Budget needed for GOP to get to tax overhaul, possibly mandatory spending cuts

House Republicans face the possibility of failing to pass a full budget resolution for the second year in a row, despite making progress on their goals for a fiscal 2018 budget resolution.

The stakes are much higher than last year as the budget, through the reconciliation process, has become a tool for Republicans to advance legislation without Democratic support, something they lack on nearly all of their top priorities.

Scalise Still in Critical Condition But Vitals are Stabilized
Doctor says internal bleeding under control

By Lindsey McPherson and Niels Lesniewski 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Dr. Jack Sava, the hospital’s director of trauma, said Friday. 

Republicans Target D.C. Gun Laws in Wake of Shooting
GOP lawmakers want reciprocity for concealed carry permit

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie and 23 other GOP lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill responding to the congressional baseball practice shooting that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits from other states to carry guns in the District of Columbia.

While the baseball practice shooting took place in Virginia, a state that already has a gun reciprocity law, the sponsors of the bill argue that it is the District’s law that prevented lawmakers and staff from being armed during practice since they were traveling to and from Washington.

Baseball Game Hits Personal Note for Chuck Fleischmann
Tennessee Republican notes connection to local high school

As one of the members present during the shooting at the Republicans’ congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann had a lot of reasons to be emotional. But it was not the shooting that brought tears to his eyes that afternoon.

Members Describe Shooting: Baseball Field Became ‘Killing Field’
Players describe terror, confusion as gunman opens fire on Republican team practice

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND ERIC GARCIA

Republican congressmen described frantic efforts to find cover as they felt like “sitting ducks” when a gunman opened fire on them during their practice Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, for the Congressional Baseball Game.

After Shooting, Members ‘Numb’ — And Defiant
Some argue game must go on

Members of Congress reacted to the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday morning with a mixture of sadness, shock and defiance. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a Capitol Police officer, a lobbyist and a staffer were shot. Another Capitol Police officer was injured, as was Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

Democratic Rep. Sherman Drafts Article of Impeachment Against Trump
Article argues Trump obstructed justice in trying to hinder or terminate Flynn investigation

Rep. Brad Sherman has drafted an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump that he plans to soon file and eventually raise for consideration on the House floor. 

The California Democrat’s article argues that Trump obstructed justice by using his authority as president to hinder or terminate a criminal investigation into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn. It cites Trump requesting then FBI director James Comey to curtail the bureau’s investigation into Flynn and then later terminating Comey and admitting that his main reason for doing so was related to the Russia investigation.

Freedom Caucus Sets Up Battle With Leadership Over Taxes
Conservatives seek to attach welfare cuts to tax overhaul in exchange for budget deal

House Republican leaders are negotiating a tax overhaul with their counterparts in the Senate and the White House, but another group of GOP lawmakers is signaling it too must be included in any deal.

House Freedom Caucus leaders are laying out their ideas for overhauling the tax code that, together with a related proposal for getting a budget deal, is likely to set them up for a fight with GOP leaders and tax writers.

House GOP Leaders Schedule More Health Care Votes
Paul Ryan and his team chip away at ‘Phase 3’ of health plan

As the House waits on the Senate to come up with its version of a bill to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, GOP leaders on Thursday announced the chamber would move some health care bills that are part of the third phase of its overhaul strategy.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that the House passed in May was meant to be one of three phases of the effort because of limitations Republicans face in moving the measure through the budget reconciliation process. That process has prevented Republicans from advancing policies they typically all agree on, like allowing insurers to sell across state lines, GOP leaders have argued.

GOP Group Ponders Debt Limit/Omnibus Combo
Republican Study Committee aims for votes before August recess

With Congress needing to both prevent a government shutdown and a debt default in a matter of a few short months, the Republican Study Committee on Wednesday discussed the idea of combining a debt limit increase and an omnibus appropriations bill into one fiscal package to be voted on before Aug. 1.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” RSC Chairman Mark Walker told Roll Call.

Trump Pitches Solar Panels for Border Wall After Paris Withdrawal
‘He did talk about it’

President Donald Trump may have found a place where he can embrace renewable energy: on his proposed border wall.

Less than a week after pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump told congressional leaders he is exploring the idea of attaching solar panels to a wall he wants to build along the southern border, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise confirmed to reporters.

Analysis: Why the Border Adjustment Tax Is Dead and an Overhaul Could Be Too
Proponents have failed to address critics’ concerns; lack of alternatives make overhaul difficult

House Republican leaders’ controversial border adjustment tax is dead, and as a result, their plans to dramatically overhaul the tax code could soon be too. 

The border adjustment tax, or BAT, is a proposal to tax imports instead of exports, reversing the way the United States currently taxes goods crossing its borders. House GOP leaders, namely Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, have pushed for the tax as a way to discourage U.S. companies from moving operations overseas and to raise roughly $1 trillion in revenue to partially offset an ambitious corporate tax rate cut.

Griffith Emerging As House Republican Bridge Builder
Colleagues say Virginia Republican is helping overcome divides within the GOP conference

In a political world where perfectionism can often earn you a bad reputation as an obstructionist, Rep. Morgan Griffith has managed to do the opposite.

Colleagues say the Virginia Republican, a member of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, has shown a willingness to compromise and work toward solutions on legislative and procedural problems. But they also describe the four-term lawmaker as a principled perfectionist whose attention to detail has been an asset, not a hindrance.