congressional-operations

‘Pass-Through’ Changes Dog Senate GOP Tax Overhaul
Republican Ron Johson says plan not generous enough to pass-throughs

From left, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley participate in the committee markup of the Senate GOP’s tax bill Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trouble signs emerged Wednesday for the Republican tax overhaul effort, even as the Senate Finance Committee crept closer — slowly, and sometimes painfully — toward approving its bill later this week.

The top tax writers on each side forecast long hours still ahead. “Tomorrow, we are going to be here a while,” Sen. Ron Wyden, the Finance panel’s ranking member, said Wednesday.

Speier Says Congress Paid $15 Million for Harassment Settlements
Speier and Gillibrand to introduce legislation to deal with ‘an antiquated process’

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said that she couldn’t name names, citing non-disclosure agreements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jackie Speier said Tuesday that the House of Representatives has paid out more than $15 million over the last decade to settle harassment cases, though that number also includes discrimination claims.

Speier made the assertion on “Meet the Press Daily” after testifying in Congress about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. 

Opinion: For the Republicans, Less Is (Roy) Moore
McConnell said it: Every day is a Maalox moment for the GOP

Republican senators started to abandon Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore after The Washington Post published allegations of sexual misconduct with underage women. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The implosion of the Senate candidacy of Roy Moore brings to mind the title of an early Spike Lee movie: “Do the Right Thing.”

After Moore romped home in the Alabama Senate primary runoff in late September, the national Republican Party could have shunned him for many valid reasons. There was Moore’s un-American belief that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress; his wackadoodle claim that Sharia law governed communities in Indiana and Illinois; and his defiance of the law that twice led to his removal from Alabama’s Supreme Court.

Senate Backs New Anti-Sexual Harassment Training Rules
Adoption comes hours after allegations about Alabama Senate frontrunner

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., worked to craft the Senate resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday mandating training for senators and staff to combat sexual harassment.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Rules and Administration Committee, sponsored the final version of the resolution.

Menendez Jury Will Have to Start Over
With juror leaving for vacation, alternate will step in next week

The jury debating the legal fate of Sen. Robert Menendez will need to start its deliberations anew. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jury deliberations in the federal corruption trial against Sen. Robert Menendez will have to start over.

That’s the word from the federal courthouse in Newark, N.J., where the Democratic senator has been on trial on a total of 18 counts related to alleged public corruption, including allegations he took a slew of gifts for official acts.

Supreme Court to Mull Congressional Power in Lawsuits
Michigan case could reshape Congress’ power to affect court outcomes

The Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday about a law that required federal courts to dismiss lawsuits related to a Michigan land tract. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that questions whether Congress crossed a line by telling federal courts what to do with challenges to a Michigan land tract and its use as a Native American casino.

It will be the second time in two years the justices will consider a case that could reshape Congress’ power to use legislation to affect the outcome of specific ongoing court cases.

House GOP Tax Bill Keeps 39.6% Rate for High Earners, Cuts Corporate Rate to 20%
Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady gathering feedback for changes to be made before Monday markup

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, seen here during the September rollout of the GOP’s tax overhaul framework. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans’ long-awaited tax overhaul bill will keep the top individual rate at 39.6 percent for high-income earners and will immediately and permanently cut the corporate rate to 20 percent. 

The legislation seeks to revamp the tax code in a major way for the first time since 1986, incorporating long-sought goals of congressional Republicans to keep more money in the pockets of individuals and families and boost incentives for businesses by closing loopholes.

Capitol Police Tighten Security on Media Access
Hill reporters grumble

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Vice President Mike Pence make their way to the Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol on June 27, 2017. U.S. Capitol Police barred reporters Tuesday from staking out the hallways leading to the lunch room. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional reporters faced unexpected access restrictions Tuesday on the second floor of the Senate as they waited for weekly party luncheons to end.

A number of reporters tweeted that the U.S. Capitol Police shooed them away from their usual stakeouts outside the rooms where GOP and Democratic leaders meet separately to set the agenda for the upcoming week. Vice President Mike Pence ate with GOP senators Tuesday.

D.C. Delegate Wants to End Hill’s Pass on Harassment Laws
New bill would force Congress to provide employees same protections

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., wants Hill staffers to get the same legal protections against harassment as other employees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hill staffers would get the same legal protections against sexual harassment as other workers in the nation’s capital under a bill introduced Tuesday by D.C.’s congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton

“It is impossible to justify exempting congressional offices from the comprehensive provisions Congress now requires of private employers and federal agencies,” Norton said in a press release. “Particularly in a work environment such as Congress, where powerful figures often play an out-sized role with a sense of their own importance, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination must be met head on.”

Ex-Staffer Launches Petition to Save Cups
‘Cups is very life-giving’

(Courtesy “Save Cups”/actionnetwork.org)

The Capitol Hill Twitterverse was not pleased to see the news that Cups & Company in the Russell Senate Office building could lose its contract and have to end services. One woman is taking action.

All the way from New York, where she now lives, Rebecca Christopher has started a petition. She left Capitol Hill in 2009 where she most recently was a press assistant to Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin.