Business

John Rutherford Continues Recuperation
In the House, new Intelligence Committee members announced

Florida Republican Rep. John Rutherford has been dealing with a health scare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Washington continues to prepare for the inauguration, one member looks to fully recover from a health scare, while others are settling into new roles on a key committee.

Florida Rep. John Rutherford is expected to be released from the hospital in “the next several days” after the freshman congressman suffered an “acute digestive flare up,” according to his chief of staff, Kelly Simpson.

The House Version of ‘Law and Order’
A sentencing, some commutations and other House news

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks with New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter during a press conference by House Democrats in November 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for failing to file income tax returns.

Issac Lanier Avant was also ordered to pay $149,962 to the IRS for failing to file tax returns from 2009 to 2013 after he had assumed the role of Democratic director for the House Homeland Security Committee, earning more than $165,000, the Justice Department said in a statement.

House Republican Women See a Boost in Authority
3 committees, other powerful posts newly under control of 21-person caucus

Texas Rep. Kay Granger is the new chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which drives the allocation of more than half a trillion dollars annually to the military. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the past four years, Republicans endured pointed barbs about how the only woman with a House committee gavel was presiding over the fittingly sexist-sounding “housekeeping committee,” the Hill’s nickname for the panel overseeing the Capitol’s internal operations.

That’s not a fair jape anymore. Exactly a century after the arrival of the first female elected to Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, her GOP successors will be wielding more titular power in the Republican-run House than ever. Women will soon be presiding over three standing committees, a record for the party, while a fourth has taken over what’s arguably the chamber’s single most consequential subcommittee, because it takes the lead in apportioning more than half of all discretionary federal spending.

Word on the Hill: Inauguration Week
Other events going on this week

More confirmation hearings are scheduled for this week. Last week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, nominee to be the ambassador to the United Nations got a hug from Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on the Senate subway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, which means parties, crowds and traffic in the nation’s capital.

Check out our list of balls and galas going on this week. If you have more to add, email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com.

House GOP Working Groups Sort Through Key Tax Issues
Ideas expected soon that could be included in tax legislation

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., is pushing for tax measures to help small producers of oil and gas (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is trying to avoid potential hurdles on the House GOP’s tax overhaul with the help of about five informal working groups of Republican tax writers, who are weighing whether to retain or reshape a number of items important to businesses and investors.

Brady, R-Texas, said he wants the working groups to deliver ideas soon that could be included in tax legislation. They are sorting through issues related to retirement savings, financial products, energy, education and pass-through businesses, such as S corporations and partnerships, whose owners pay individual tax rates on profits.

Keeping America Competitive for Global Investment
Tax and regulatory reform could give U.S. competitive edge

President-elect Donald Trump's expressed frustration with overly burdensome regulations was a hallmark of his campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The recent announcement that Japan-based SoftBank plans to invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 jobs is good news for America’s economic competitiveness, and Washington, D.C. policymakers should take note of it. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States is a powerful gauge of how America is faring internationally. When a global company such as Nestle, Toyota, or Siemens invests here, it is a vote of confidence in America’s economic strength that translates to employment for millions of American workers.

But multinational companies have unprecedented options for investment. Unfortunately, during the past 15 years, America’s share of the world’s FDI has shrunk from 37 percent in 2000 to only 22 percent this past year. The United States has forfeited a huge portion of its share in global investment, and our leaders in Washington need to take decisive action to reverse this trend.

Inauguration Master of Ceremonies Is Sweating the Details
Security is Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s obsession

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, held a news conference in the Capitol on Jan. 5 to unveil the official ticket for the inauguration and to deliver an update. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The senator who presides over the presidential inauguration as the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies wins some appreciation from colleagues on Capitol Hill. But the job’s risks are greater than any public accolades it brings.

If Sen. Roy Blunt does his job  well, the new president, Donald Trump, will shine. Only if something goes wrong on Jan. 20 will the Missouri Republican get any attention off the Hill.

A Heart for Africa
Staff group wants to be part of the conversation on Africa policies

The association's president Diana Konaté is the scheduler for Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One Capitol Hill staff group attracts members who work in Washington but come from far away. No, not California. Try Africa.

The Congressional African Staff Association is “made up of people who have a heart for Africa,” according to Diana Konaté, the group’s president.

Tillerson Grilled on Russia at Confirmation Hearing
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pose questions about sanctions

Secretary of State-designee Rex Tillerson arrives for his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State-designee Rex Tillerson faced questions on Russia throughout a lengthy confirmation hearing Wednesday, but the most aggressive exchange came from a Republican senator who could sink his nomination in committee: Marco Rubio.

At the Senate Foreign Relations hearing, the fast-talking Floridian and former presidential candidate grilled the former Exxon Mobil CEO on sanctions against Russia and whether Russian president Vladimir Putin was a war criminal who murders his political opponents.

VA Health Chief Shulkin Picked by Trump for VA Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday his pick for Veterans Affairs secretary, David J. Shulkin. (Courtesy Veterans Health/Flickr)

President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he will tap David J. Shulkin, who is now head of the Veterans Health Administration, to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The president-elect said “at least” 100 interviews were conducted for the top job to lead the troubled agency that has struggled to deliver care to veterans at a time of increased demand and budgetary pressure.