Lobbying

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Brooks Declines to Endorse Moore or Strange After Conceding Defeat
Congressman announces he will seek re-election after finishing third in Senate race

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., finished third after receiving 20 percent of the vote in the Republican primary Tuesday for Alabama's special election to the U.S. Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mo Brooks is moving on after a distant third-place finish in the Republican primary on Tuesday for the Alabama Senate special election.

And Brooks is doing that without endorsing either of the two men, Judge Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who beat him to enter a runoff on Sept. 26 to decide the GOP nominee.

‘Right to Try’ Bill Could Face Slower Action in House
Changes to measure possible during Energy and Commerce markup

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s "Right to Try" legislation faces an uncertain future in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Senate-passed bill intended to help dying patients access experimental drugs will likely face lengthier deliberations in the House. While the Senate fast-tracked the bill on Aug. 3, the House will likely subject it to a hearing and markup before bringing it up to a vote, according to congressional aides and a lobbyist.

The bill would reduce some of the paperwork involved in getting access to experimental treatments, and would offer protections to the drug companies who choose to make drugs available outside of a clinical trial. It’s the federal version of “Right to Try” measures that have been passed in 37 states with support from libertarian-leaning Republicans who say the Food and Drug Administration prevents dying patients from getting treatments.

McCaskill to Hold 25 Town Halls Amid Challenges From Right and Left
‘Whether they agree with me or not, every Missourian is my boss,’ Missouri senator says

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., faces a tough road to re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing a tough re-election campaign next year, Sen. Claire McCaskill said she she plans to hold 25 town hall meetings with constituents this month.

President Donald Trump won Missouri by nearly 20 points, and Republicans are eager to try and flip the seat. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tossup.

McCaskill Gets Primary Challenger
Former Obamacare marketplace worker running to Missouri Democrat’s left

Missouri Senate candidate Angelica Earl says Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is too conservative on issues such as health care. (AngelicaforMissouri.com)

A former health care marketplace worker is challenging Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for the Democratic nomination in 2018, calling the incumbent “too conservative.”

Angelica Earl, a political novice, said she rejects McCaskill’s push for a bipartisan solution to health care. The 31-year-old from St. Louis County said she supports “single-payer health care for all,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Zack Barth ‘Not Living in Fear’ After Congressional Baseball Shooting
Hill staffer talks about his shooter, his faith and life afterward

Zack Barth, an aide to Texas Rep. Roger Williams, was wounded in the leg during the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Arlington, Va., on June 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Zack Barth was never supposed to be dodging bullets in the outfield.

His job was to feed fly balls back to the infield for Republican lawmakers during an early-morning baseball practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game against the Democrats.

Lobbyists Push GOP to Repeal Obamacare Fees in Tax Overhaul
Trade group is launching digital ad buys in key states

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, seen here with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow wants to look at a possible repeal of the 2010 health care law's taxes as part of a larger tax package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law may have stalled, but lobbyists are pushing the GOP to continue to target the provisions the industry most despises: the law’s taxes.

House and Senate Republicans hope to push forward on a tax overhaul when Congress returns in September, an item they previously delayed in favor of health care. Repealing the 2010 health care law and its corresponding taxes would have helped simplify the GOP’s upcoming work, but those hopes were deflated when the Senate did not pass a repeal bill last month.

Flake Reflects on the Rise of Trump in New Book
Arizona Republican regrets his 2008 vote against bank bailout

The crux of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s new book “Conscience of a Conservative” is criticism of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Donald Trump’s America, you might never expect a Republican senator to freely admit to a history of harboring undocumented immigrants.

But that’s effectively what Sen. Jeff Flake has done, recalling his pre-political life in farming and ranching in northern Arizona in a new book “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle” released Tuesday by Random House.

GOP Unified Control Still Means Divided Congress
Flameout of health care reveals dissension, but some accomplishments obscured

Neil Gorsuch's confirmation stands out as a big achievement for the GOP Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the 2010 health care law put an exclamation point on what has become obvious in Washington: The GOP, for all its enthusiasm following its election win last year, is too riven with dissension to meet ambitious goals it set out for itself.

And President Donald Trump seems to have oversold his skills as a deal-maker.

Border Tax Critics Turn Attention to Supporting Overhaul
‘The way has been cleared for swift action on a middle-class tax cut’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed hope Thursday for “tax reform” this year. (Courtesy AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Lobbying groups, including those in the Koch brothers’ conservative political network, spent millions of dollars and mobilized voters nationwide in an effort to kill the border adjustment tax proposal. They won.

After the Trump administration and Republican congressional leaders Thursday offered their broad outline for a tax overhaul proposal that nixed the border adjustment tax, or BAT, industry groups did not hide their glee.