John Thune

Thune, Peters Divide Over Big Trucks in Driverless Vehicle Bill
“Highly-automated trucks are not ripe for inclusion”

Trucks of Otto, an autonomous trucking company acquired by Uber. (Courtesy Dllu/Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0)

Members of a key Senate committee are divided over whether to include large trucks in legislation that would guide driverless-vehicle regulation in a disagreement that pits safety against jobs in the trucking industry.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said at a hearing Wednesday that autonomous vehicles will improve safety and lower emissions. He said trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds should be included in the legislation. 

Frustrated by Congress’ Plodding Pace, Trump Urges Speed on Tax Bill
President feels let down by GOP leaders who promised health overhaul by April break

President Donald Trump, surrounded by aides, gets a briefing on counterterrorism operations and Hurricane Irma response on Monday in the Oval Office. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

Updated at 8:40 a.m. | Donald Trump on Wednesday implored lawmakers to quickly send him a tax overhaul package a day after his top liaison to Congress said the president is frustrated by the often-plodding pace on Capitol Hill.

Trump and his top aides are busily discussing the contents of a bill that would slash individual and corporate tax rates, while also simplifying the federal tax code, with congressional Republicans and Democrats. Trump wants to sign a bill into law this calendar year.

Photos of the Week: DACA Protests, Harvey Relief and Leadership Smiles and Frowns
The week of Sept. 5 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal returns to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, and the Senate Judiciary staff on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from its August recess to a short but dramatic week. President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his decision to end a program that shielded from deportation undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Protests erupted around the nation, including in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Also this week, Congress considered a Hurricane Harvey relief package, which made headlines Wednesday afternoon after Trump struck a deal with Democratic leaders to attach certain provisions to that measure.

A Tale of Two Photos: Post-White House Meeting Edition
Smiles and frowns from Senate leaders after huddling with Trump

Smiles from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as they arrive for a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on September 6, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met the press Wednesday after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump, they presented different game faces, as you can see from the above photos.

Senate congressional leadership held their traditional post-policy lunch press conferences, which came shortly after the top leaders met with Trump. 

Republicans to Weigh Surplus of Tax Policy Options
Standalone bills provide a glimpse into senators’ priorities

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has introduced several standalone bills that could be wrapped into a broader overhaul of the U.S. tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislation introduced by Republican senators over the past several months could help guide the upcoming debate on an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

While the effort is still in the adolescent stage, the bills provide an early look into the priorities members will push for during the forthcoming tax negotiations.

Opinion: GOP Tax Dilemma — Somebody’s Got to Pay More
There’s a reason tax reform doesn’t happen often

South Dakota Sen. John Thune believes that traditional budget scorekeeping underestimates the dynamic effects of tax cuts on the economy, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Any deduction you look at in the tax code has a constituency behind it,” John Thune said last week as we chatted about taxes in his Senate office. “If you are going to do tax reform that is revenue-neutral … that means that you have to kill some deductions or scale them back.”

Too often Republican oratory depicts tax reform as across-the-board rate reductions where everyone wins and nobody loses. It is like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — “where all the children are above average” — but a lot richer.

CBO: 16 Million More Uninsured Under Potential 'Skinny' Repeal

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., and his GOP leadership colleagues are drafting a "skinny" repeal bill of the Affordable Care Act that would leave an additional 16 million people without insurance and spike premiums. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An additional 16 million people would be uninsured by 2026 under a so-called “skinny repeal” measure Senate Republicans may be crafting, according to a Congressional Budget Office report requested by Senate Democrats. The analysis is of provisions that Senate Republicans have said might be in such a measure, but Republicans have not released the actual text.

The estimate evaluates a potential bill that would repeal the 2010 health law’s (PL 111-148 , PL 111-152) individual and employer mandates and medical device tax, as well as its prevention and public health and community health center funds. The Democrats’ interpretation of the GOP bill includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood for one year. Democrats on the Finance and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees asked for an analysis of selected provisions in the replacement plan measure that Senate Republicans had previously introduced.

Word on the Hill: ADA Anniversary
Little Lobbyists and staffer shuffle

Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin speaks during a news conference as part of a series of events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2010. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images file photo)

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Office of Compliance is commemorating the occasion with online training for Capitol Hill staffers.

Training videos entitled “Preventing Disability Discrimination in the Congressional Workplace” are available on the agency’s website, featuring introductions from Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., for Senate staffers, and from Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., for House staffers.

GOP Hopes for Obamacare Repeal Rest on ‘Skinny’ Bill
Several other Republican proposals expected to fail

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can now bring up several GOP health care proposals for a vote after corralling the support necessary on Tuesday to bypass a key procedural hurdle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republican hopes to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system appear to hinge on the passage of a “skinny” bill that would only repeal a select few provisions in the 2010 health care law.

GOP senators and aides anticipate that several of the other Republican health care proposals expected to be considered by the chamber in the coming days will fail, clearing the way for a package that would likely just repeal the employer and individual mandates and an excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

Senate Republicans Getting Closer on Health Care

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says that “folks are coming around’ on backing the motion to proceed on the health care debate.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday continued to zero in on their goal of getting 50 votes to proceed to legislation to redo the U.S. health care system. 

Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 in GOP leadership, said “folks are coming around” on backing the motion to proceed on health care debate, but the South Dakotan declined to predict victory on today’s vote. If leadership prevails on the vote, the Senate will keep alive efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.