conservatives

Paul Ryan Departure Circus Swings Into High Gear
Reports point to resignation, retirement

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is dismissing reports he is on his way out, but the rumors of his departure linger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One report speculated he would quit after the tax overhaul was signed into law. Another said he was done after the 2018 elections, opting for retirement after 10 terms. For his own part, Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he’s not leaving in the near term. And Donald Trump says he wants the Wisconsin Republican to stick around.

The will-he-or-won’t he game started early on Thursday in the wake of a HuffPost report that stated members were beginning to speculate Ryan would hang it up after the tax bill was done, a long time priority for the former Ways and Means Committee chairman. 

Tax Bill Set to Move at Warp Speed to Trump’s Desk
Some hurdles still remain, but Republicans feel confident they have the votes

House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, left, and ranking member Richard E. Neal prepare for the tax bill conference committee meeting Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t blink, because you might miss Congress passing a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

House and Senate Republicans say they are nearing completion on a sweeping bill that would dramatically reduce the corporate tax rate, lower the top individual tax rate, nearly double the standard deduction, bolster the child tax credit and remove some breaks enjoyed by many Americans.

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Analysis: Bannon Isn’t the Only One to Blame for Moore’s Loss
McConnell’s support for Strange, governor’s sex scandal, and moving election date all played a part

Steve Bannon arrives for Roy Moore’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign rally in Midland City, Ala., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore’s shocking loss to Sen.-elect Doug Jones led multiple Republicans to blame former White House political adviser Steve Bannon. 

Drudge Report publisher Matt Drudge tweeted on Wednesday that “Luther Strange would have won in a landslide,” referring to the former Alabama attorney general who was appointed to fill the seat that Jeff Sessions vacated to become President Donald Trump’s attorney general.

Opinion: Issues Matter in Elections Even More Than You’d Think
Both parties need to recognize that the electorate has a clear set of priorities

A street car passes a voting station along St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans during the Louisiana Republican primary in March 2012. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images file photo)

Deciphering what happened in the 2016 election has become a predictable exercise in misinformation for too many people seeking either exoneration or vindication — neither a good pretext for objective analysis. A lot of people got the election wrong before Nov. 8, and even more since.

For most people, the election wasn’t about the Russians or Clinton’s emails. It wasn’t that voters were uneducated or didn’t understand the issues. Quite the opposite. Issues, not party or demographics, drove the 2016 vote.

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane
Campaign season is soon to kick into high gear

As 2017 draws to a close, the unpredictable nature of the first year of the Trump administration could very well bleed into next year as the midterm elections heat up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists have — almost — survived a genuinely bonkers year.

The Trump era ushered in a maelstrom of unpredictable policy fights along with scandals that have ripped into K Street. Think it can’t get any stranger? Just wait until campaign season kicks into high gear in 2018.

The Alabama Senate Race: A Religious Experience
Both campaigns tap into religious networks to turn out voters

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones speaks, flanked, from left, by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Alabama Rep. Terri A. Sewell, outside the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GALLANT, Ala. — At Roy Moore’s home church here on Sunday, there wasn’t much talk of the upcoming Senate election — even though throngs of cameras waited outside to catch a glimpse of the elusive Republican candidate.

After the Sunday service began at Gallant First Baptist Church, Rev. Tom Brown offered a prayer.

Opinion: The Real Year of the Woman
Female lawmakers are playing outsize role in sexual harassment debate

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., resigned after he reportedly suggested that a female staffer carry his child for $5 million and then retaliated against her when she balked. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It takes a special kind of depravity for a congressman to suggest to a female staffer that she carry his child for $5 million and then retaliate against her when she declines the offer, as former Rep. Trent Franks reportedly did last year.

Nobody is winning a profile in courage award for asking female staff members to cuddle with him in his apartment and then firing them after they refuse, as former Rep. John Conyers Jr. was accused of doing before he resigned in disgrace. And you’d think that voters would somehow weed out a senator who apparently had a groping habit before he was ever in politics, but former Sen. Al Franken proved that conventional wisdom wrong.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.