Alaska

Senate Diluted Tough Oversight of Israeli Antimissile Program

Sen. Deb Fischer, seen here, and Joe Donnelly sponsored a provision that removed a key oversight element in the Senate defense authorization bill of the Arrow 3 antimissile program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators quietly deleted from a defense bill last month a strict provision tying continued U.S. funding of a costly Israeli antimissile system to completion of two flight tests.

The retreat from tough oversight came at the request of the Israeli government, sources said.

Natural Resources Chairman Has Questions About Zinke’s Travel

Secretary of the Interior nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke returns to his seat after greeting chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski before the start of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 The Republican chairman on the House Natural Resources Committee has joined Democratic lawmakers who have taken an interest in the travel expenses incurred by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

In a letter sent late Tuesday, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, whose committee has oversight of Interior, asked the agency chief to provide details about its travel policies and travel records for Interior secretaries over the last eight years. The letter, which was also signed by the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., also suggested that Bishop believes Democrats may be trying to draw attention to the issue for political purposes.

Senate Considers Broadening Budget Resolution
Move would allow GOP to legislate on more topics without filibuster fear

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves after speaking to reporters in the Capitol following the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is considering beefing up the fiscal 2018 budget resolution to address a broader swath of issues beyond a tax overhaul, including the rollback of regulations on the financial industry, lawmakers said.

The additions might not be included in the Senate’s version before a floor vote, lawmakers said, but could be added during an expected conference with the House. The Senate Budget Committee begins its markup of the budget resolution Wednesday.  

Senate Republican Class of 2014 Looking to Shake Things Up
The group has become more vocal in their desire to change business as usual

Republican members of the Senate class of 2014 were instrumental in delaying the start of the August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Perdue keeps a calendar in his office to remind him how many working days the Senate has left this year.

But with just 43 legislative days remaining and a packed agenda ahead, it’s not a countdown he particularly enjoys. To make matters worse, that number counts most Fridays as in-session days, though the chamber almost always wraps up its weekly work Thursday.

Word on the Hill: Football Season on the Hill
March for life, DREAMers rally and staffer shuffle

Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman of the Mean Machine, runs past the Guards’ Larry Bell for a first down during the eighth annual Congressional Football Game for Charity in 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers who play in the Congressional Football Game for Charity got together for a reception at the Hall of States on Monday night, a week ahead of their big game.

The game takes place on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. on the Hotchkiss Field at Gallaudet University (800 Florida Ave. NE).

Podcast: The Path Ahead for the Budget Resolutions
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 33

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Trump's FY2018 Budget in Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Both chambers are hoping to move on their respective budget resolutions that would pave the way for the much-ballyhooed tax overhaul, says CQ budget reporter Jennifer Shutt. But buried in the budget language is a provision aimed at opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling, adds CQ energy reporter Jeremy Dillon.

Show Notes:

CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure
Sponsors of the bill plan to continue work on the proposal to repeal the 2010 health law

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., says the Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of his health proposal with three other GOP senators. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors.

During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected. He believes that report could help dispel some of the opposition to the legislation.

White House Defends Tax Plan as Good for Middle Class

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, pictured here at the Capitol on Sept. 12,  says wealthy “guys like myself” don’t need a tax break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facing criticism that a Republican-crafted tax plan would hand wealthy Americans relief at the expense of the middle-class, a rich White House aide declared Thursday the blueprint does not favor “guys like myself.”

That was the message from Goldman Sachs boss-turned-chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, whose estimated net worth is north of $260 million, a day after President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rolled out a tax overhaul framework.

Trump Insists Senate Has Health Care Votes, But Not by Deadline
Tweets come one day after GOP leaders pull the plug on latest version of health care overhaul

Sen. Lindsey Graham, flanked by members of GOP leadership, speaks to reporters about his health care bill following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the Senate has enough votes to pass a bill aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law — but not in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

But the president’s vote count also came with confusion — and no details of just what version of a bill he believes could pass the Senate one day after GOP leadership pulled a measure sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would have overhauled the U.S. health care system.

Pence Didn't Push on Health Care Vote
Veep did not seek to force Senate hand on latest bill

Vice President Mike Pence joined Senate Republicans at their weekly lunch, but did not opt to force the issue of taking a vote on the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill.

Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. Shortly after the lunch, GOP leaders said they were shelving a vote.