banking-and-finance

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Battle Lines Form Over Popular Mortgage Interest Deduction
Homebuilders, lenders concerned by parts of Trump’s tax plan

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas, seen holding a “Make America Great Again” hat after a GOP conference meeting in November, says there is no need to cap popular deductions to offset the cost of tax rate cuts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Homebuilders and lenders are preparing to defend the mortgage interest deduction as the incoming Trump administration and Congress weigh potential adjustments to one of the most popular tax sweeteners.

Treasury Secretary-designee Steven Mnuchin last week raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill and drew scrutiny from business advocates by pointing to potential curbs on the mortgage interest deduction in a CNBC interview.

Hensarling Seen to Vie With Mnuchin for Trump Treasury Pick
An architect of legislation with GOP ties or an emissary to Wall Street?

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling has an important ally in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, chairman of the Trump transition team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump could face a classic choice between a Wall Street insider and a GOP strategist — investor Steve Mnuchin and House Financial Services Chairman, Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling — as he moves to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

Trump advisers such as investor Carl Icahn and Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, describe Mnuchin, Trump’s campaign finance director, as the front-runner for the Treasury post. But GOP allies of Hensarling — including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Phil Gramm, all fellow Texans — say they believe Hensarling has emerged as a strong challenger after meeting with Trump on Thursday.