Business

Lawmakers Push Alcohol Tax Cut Despite Rising Drinking Rates
The tax break would save alcohol producers $4.2 million

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio leaves the Republican Senate policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump Adds N. Korea to Terror List, Readies ‘Very Large’ Sanction
President: Kim government is ‘a murderous regime’

A North Korean ballistic missile during “Victory Day” parade in 2013. President Donald Trump will add North Korea back to the U.S. government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is putting North Korea back on the U.S. government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and plans to slap a “very large” sanction on Pyongyang.

Trump has mulling whether to put North Korea back on the list  for weeks. He and his senior aides decided to hold off until after his 12-day Asia swing, which ended last Wednesday. It was removed under a 2008 deal struck by the George W. Bush administration.

Flake Fires Back at Trump to Dispute Tax Vote Prediction
Another defection would put GOP bill in jeopardy as president seeks first big win

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and President Donald Trump are trading barbs again, this time over the Senate GOP tax plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and perhaps his top congressional Republican critic are sparring again, this time with Sen. Jeff Flake’s office disputing the commander in chief’s claim that the Arizona Republican plans to oppose the party’s tax overhaul plan.

Trump started the duo’s latest back-and-forth with a Sunday evening tweet predicting the retiring Flake — whom he mocked by referring to him as “Flake(y)” — will “be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is ‘toast.’”

For Murkowski, Tax Overhaul Isn’t Just Business. It’s Personal
Inclusion of ANWR drilling could put her in new Alaska league

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces a conundrum with a clash between two of her key policy goals — drilling in ANWR and protecting access to health care back home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twelve years ago, Sen. Lisa Murkowski sat at the breakfast table with her youngest son, who was in junior high school at the time. It was a big day. The chamber was set to vote on opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, a priority of Alaska lawmakers for the previous three decades.

“My son looks up at me and he says, ‘Mom, I thought grandpa passed ANWR years ago,”’ the Republican senator recalled recently in her Hart Building office, referencing her father, former Sen. Frank H. Murkowski. “You have to kind of say, ‘Well, yeah, they kinda passed it, but it didn’t really pass. And so it’s back before us again and we’re going at it.’”

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.”

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.

GOP Leaders Predict More ‘Yes’ Votes on Final Tax Bill
‘As long as you cross the finish line’

From left, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrive to speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders said they were not surprised by the comfortable nine-vote margin by which they passed their tax overhaul bill and predicted an even bigger spread on a final package reconciled with the Senate.

“I was not surprised by any of the ‘no’ votes or the ‘yes’ votes,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told Roll Call. “So it was a lot of work over the last week, but I was really proud of the conference and what they did for the country.”

House Approves GOP Tax Overhaul
Thirteen Republicans votes against their leadership’s measure

New York GOP Reps. John J. Faso, Dan Donovan, Lee Zeldin and Peter T. King explain their opposition to the GOP tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Step one complete.

House Republicans on Thursday passed their tax overhaul bill, 227-205, which will now go to the Senate and be used as a vehicle to pass its own measure. Thirteen Republicans voted against the measure; no Democrats voted for the measure. 

The GOP’s ‘Vote and Hope’ Caucus
Several House Republicans to vote ‘yes’ in hope of later changes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, holding up a theoretical postcard tax form, and his leadership team appear to have the votes to pass their tax legislation. But several members say they hope substantial changes to the bill come later. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Many House Republicans planning to vote “yes” on their tax bill Thursday are doing so with the understanding the measure is far from perfect and hoping their concerns will be addressed later during House and Senate conference negotiations.

Sound familiar? It was the same strategy several members employed in voting for a bill in May to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

‘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.