Lloyd Doggett

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny
Voter rights advocates worry the court could hand states a shield

Texas’ 35th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, is at the center of a gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.

Read the Bill or Get Out of Town Quickly? On Omnibus, Congress Chooses the Latter
‘This is a Great Dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in America,’ Sen. Kennedy says

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., compared the process of considering the omnibus appropriations package to a big dog urinating on taxpayers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress stares at a Friday deadline to fund the government, the reality that members will have scant time to actually read or process the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus before voting on it is starting to sink in.

The Wednesday night filing of the more than 2,200-page measure was the starting pistol that sent lawmakers into a mad dash against the government funding clock. They were given 52 hours.

Texas Redistricting Case Heads to Supreme Court
Lower court ruling found vote dilution and racial gerrymandering

Shirley Connuck of Falls Church, Virginia, right, holds up a sign representing a district in Texas as protesters demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, 2017, as the court was hearing a case on partisan gerrymandering. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Texas must redraw its congressional maps because of gerrymanders, in a case that could have major implications for this year’s elections in the Lone Star State.

The justices announced Friday they will review an August ruling from a panel of three federal judges that the current map needs to be changed because it has intentional vote dilution in the 27th District and racial gerrymandering in the 35th District. Those districts are currently held by Republican Blake Farenthold and Democrat Lloyd Doggett, respectively.

Lawmakers Make New Year’s Resolutions
Resolutions focus on legislating rather than personal goals

The House is back, and members are ready to work on their resolutions for the new year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is back and the House will return next week after regrouping over the winter recess and preparing to tackle another tough year ahead.

Between midterms and a long legislative agenda, lawmakers have a lot to figure outSo it’s no wonder that their New Year’s resolutions revolve around policy issues and the election, instead of typical goals such as getting healthy or spending time with family.

Partisan Bickering Defines Day One of House Tax Markup
California Democrat Mike Thompson calls a bill provision “cruel” and “heartless”

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady sits in front of tax code volumes during a Monday committee markup of the House Republicans’ tax plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:25 p.m. | Fireworks started early at the House Ways and Means Committee markup Monday of the Republican tax plan, as Democrats repeatedly criticized the GOP’s effort to overhaul the tax code as a boon to the rich that would hurt many middle-class families.

Tensions rose about six hours into Day One of the marathon markup when Chairman Kevin Brady offered an amendment to his previous substitute that would make several changes to the bill. Democrats let loose on the Texas Republican for unveiling the substitute and taking it up immediately, without allowing any extra time to examine the provisions.

Rep. Lamar Smith Announces Retirement
Smith was term-limited as chairman of House Science, Space and Technology

Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, R-Texas (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith announced his retirement Thursday.

“For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else. At the end of this Congress, I will have completed my six-year term as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. I have one new grandchild and a second arriving soon!! And I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.

Word on the Hill: Happy Halloween
Send your photos to HOH

Rene T., who declined to provide his full last name, wears a “Bill on Capitol Hill” costume as he jumps in the air while a friend takes photos on the U.S. Senate steps on Halloween last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Celebrate Halloween bipawtisan style.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., is hosting a Senate Halloween dog costume celebration, where dogs from various Senate offices will parade around in their hopefully politics-related outfits.

Word on the Hill: Practice Mindfulness on Your Long Weekend
Chief of staff band warms up for the Nationals, and meatless dining in D.C.

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the 2014 Columbus Day celebration at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate staffers have the opportunity to work on being mindful today.

Mindcare: Mindfulness at Work, hosted by the Employee Assistance Program, is the first of several guided instruction sessions to help establish a mindful practice. It’s for Senate employees only from 11 a.m. to noon in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC-215. Call 202-224-3902 to register.

Trump to Dems: Tax Plan Is About Reviving ‘Middle-Class Miracle’
President warns Joe Donnelly of tough campaign unless he supports tax bill

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Indianapolis on Wednesday about the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called on Democratic lawmakers Wednesday to get on board with the Republican tax blueprint and revive the “middle-class miracle.” But the more Democrats dove deep into the plan, the more his bipartisan goal sounded like a long shot.

The GOP’s nine-page outline, from which the House and Senate will now begin writing separate bills featuring tax cuts and code changes, is scant on details. The document proposes individual and corporate rate cuts, doubling the standard deduction for single and joint filers, eliminating most itemized deductions, expanding the child tax credit, repealing the so-called estate tax, and making it less painful for companies to return profits to the United States.