Politics

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

DCCC Launches Digital Ads Over GOP Tax Vote
Seven Republicans who voted against the tax plan are also targeted

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock speaks with reporters as she leaves the Capitol after voting for the GOP’s tax plan Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seizing on the House’s passage of the Republican tax plan Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching digital ads in more than 40 GOP-held districts, including against Republicans who voted against the plan.

The ads, provided first to Roll Call, will run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The committee is also rolling out a website, TaxCutsandJobsAct.com, that allows voters to submit their own video testimonials about the tax plan. The site will be promoted in Google search ads.

Gillibrand PAC Endorses Lipinski Primary Challenger in Illinois
Marie Newman is challenging the anti-abortion Democrat

Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Daniel Lipinski in the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District. (Courtesy Marie Newman/Twitter)

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s political action committee has endorsed a primary challenger to an incumbent Democratic congressman. 

Off the Sidelines PAC backed marketing consultant Marie Newman, who’s running against Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District.

10 Things to Watch as the Tax Bill Moves Forward
House passage just the first step

President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP’s tax bill. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, far left, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, foreground, also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passage of a tax code rewrite Thursday was just the first in a multistep process. Many changes are expected before a bill reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

First, the Senate has to prove it can pass a tax overhaul after failing to do so on health care.

Communications Aide Trolls Brat Critics on Facebook
In-your-face style draws criticism from some constituents

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., employs a communications consultant who trolls and talks down to his constituents on Facebook from her personal account. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sara James has performed communications consulting for Rep. Dave Brat’s campaign team since the summer of 2014. She now makes $4,000 per month after steady raises over the last three years, according to  FEC documents.

But James has been much more than a campaign manager and social media director: She has also served as Brat’s chief troll-slayer on Facebook, firing back at the Virginia Republican’s haters with the kind of snark and sneer you might expect from anonymous “eggs” on Twitter.

Murkowski Suggests Tax Vote Depends on Stabilizing Individual Health Insurance Market
Alaska Republican says Alexander-Murray bill is needed before mandate repeal

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted against the GOP health care bill in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski suggested Thursday that her vote on the current version of the Senate GOP tax overhaul is contingent on the passing of a separate bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

The tax legislation now includes a section to repeal the individual mandate in the 2010 health care law — a provision that opens up more than $300 billion in revenue — but could also threaten the viability of the overall law.

Michigan’s Fred Upton Not Running for Senate
16-term Republican will seek re-election to 6th District

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton will seek re-election instead of running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton announced Friday he will run for re-election instead of trying to challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018.

“I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate. There was a path, but today we are choosing not to follow it,” the Republican lawmaker said in a statement. The former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee had been publicly weighing a Senate bid for much of this year. 

Former Hillary Clinton Aide Blasts Gillibrand Over Bill Clinton Comments
Former president should have resigned over Lewinsky episode, NY senator said

New York Sen. Kristin Gillibrand said Thursday she thought it would have been "appropriate" for President Bill Clinton to step down after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former Hillary Clinton State Department aide had harsh words for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who said Thursday that President Bill Clinton should have resigned after an inappropriate sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s deputy assistant secretary of state for strategic communications, called Gillibrand a “hypocrite” for the comments.

Lawrence’s Chief of Staff Resigns Over Harassment Allegations
Dwayne Duron Marshall was initially placed on leave after allegations emerged

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., said she would institute a “clearly defined communication process” for staffers to express concerns about the workplace environment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dwayne Duron Marshall, the chief of staff for Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence, has resigned amid claims of sexual harassment. 

Last week, three former female aides told Politico that Marshall committed unwanted touching, asked about their dating lives and spoke about female staffers’ appearances. 

Corrine Brown Asks for Mercy at Sentencing Hearing
Judge calls case a ‘complicated stew’

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown walks to the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, during her trial on federal fraud and tax charges in May. She’ll learn her fate when a judge announces her sentence next month. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP file photo)

Hoping to avoid prison, former Florida Rep. Corrine Brownasked for mercy during her sentencing hearing Thursday.

Brown also asked that U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan consider her years of public service, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Trump Hits Dems for Failing to Understand ‘Power of Lower Taxes’
President suggests Franken might have further sexually assaulted woman in 2006

President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., leave a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP's tax reform bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Buoyed by a pair of Thursday incremental victories in his tax overhaul push, President Donald Trump is arguing separate House and Senate bills would be stronger if Democrats would play ball.

The president used several Thursday evening and Friday morning tweets to celebrate House passage of a GOP-crafted tax measure and a late-night Senate Finance Committee vote to send its version to the chamber floor.

Proposal Restricting National Mall Access a ‘Game Changer’ for Hill Athletes
Senate and House softball league commissioners say they’re already squeezed for space

Congressional staffers practice their softball game on the National Mall in April 2009. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Park Service has pitched a curveball to congressional aides who use the National Mall for recreational sports.

The park service held meetings last week with leagues from across the city — including the House softball league — informing them that it planned to permanently close access on the Mall, from Third Street to 17th Street, to “organized sports.”

Photos of the Week: Taxes Dominate, Bible Museum Opens and Trump Visits
The week of Nov. 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor sits on the House steps to shoot a selfie video about his vote on the tax overhaul Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Taxes once again dominated action on the Hill, with the Senate Finance Committee marking up its plan while the House passed its version of a tax overhaul by a 227-205 vote Thursday. 

NRCC Targets Democrats on Tax Overhaul in New Digital Ads
Republicans see taxes as a potent campaign issue

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching new digital ads targeting Democrats who voted against the tax overhaul that passed the House on Thursday. No members of the minority party voted for the legislation.

The 15-second videos, provided first to Roll Call, will start running on Facebook on Friday and target 25 House Democrats. The NRCC ad buy was described as “five figures” and the ads will run online for a week.

Congress’ Compliance Watchdog: Settlement Payouts Highest in 10 Years
OOC handles harassment, discrimination and other workplace complaints

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BY ANDREW MENEZES AND SEAN MCMINN

U.S. taxpayers paid out more than $900,000 in the most recent fiscal year to settle claims on Capitol Hill, the highest amount in 10 years.