Maine

For Murkowski, Tax Overhaul Isn’t Just Business. It’s Personal
Inclusion of ANWR drilling could put her in new Alaska league

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces a conundrum with a clash between two of her key policy goals — drilling in ANWR and protecting access to health care back home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twelve years ago, Sen. Lisa Murkowski sat at the breakfast table with her youngest son, who was in junior high school at the time. It was a big day. The chamber was set to vote on opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, a priority of Alaska lawmakers for the previous three decades.

“My son looks up at me and he says, ‘Mom, I thought grandpa passed ANWR years ago,”’ the Republican senator recalled recently in her Hart Building office, referencing her father, former Sen. Frank H. Murkowski. “You have to kind of say, ‘Well, yeah, they kinda passed it, but it didn’t really pass. And so it’s back before us again and we’re going at it.’”

DCCC Launches Digital Ads Over GOP Tax Vote
Seven Republicans who voted against the tax plan are also targeted

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock speaks with reporters as she leaves the Capitol after voting for the GOP’s tax plan Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seizing on the House’s passage of the Republican tax plan Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching digital ads in more than 40 GOP-held districts, including against Republicans who voted against the plan.

The ads, provided first to Roll Call, will run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The committee is also rolling out a website, TaxCutsandJobsAct.com, that allows voters to submit their own video testimonials about the tax plan. The site will be promoted in Google search ads.

Murkowski Suggests Tax Vote Depends on Stabilizing Individual Health Insurance Market
Alaska Republican says Alexander-Murray bill is needed before mandate repeal

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted against the GOP health care bill in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski suggested Thursday that her vote on the current version of the Senate GOP tax overhaul is contingent on the passing of a separate bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

The tax legislation now includes a section to repeal the individual mandate in the 2010 health care law — a provision that opens up more than $300 billion in revenue — but could also threaten the viability of the overall law.

‘Pass-Through’ Changes Dog Senate GOP Tax Overhaul
Republican Ron Johson says plan not generous enough to pass-throughs

From left, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley participate in the committee markup of the Senate GOP’s tax bill Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trouble signs emerged Wednesday for the Republican tax overhaul effort, even as the Senate Finance Committee crept closer — slowly, and sometimes painfully — toward approving its bill later this week.

The top tax writers on each side forecast long hours still ahead. “Tomorrow, we are going to be here a while,” Sen. Ron Wyden, the Finance panel’s ranking member, said Wednesday.

Speier and Gillibrand Introduce Harassment Transparency Legislation
Bill would disclose involved offices and make members pay for settlements

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, right, and California Rep. Jackie Speier hold a news conference Wednesday to introduce legislation aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment for Capitol Hill staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers joined Rep. Jackie Speier to introduce new legislation that takes aim at sexual harassment in Congress.

“For all intents and purposes, a staffer in the Capitol is powerless and gagged,” Speier, a California Democrat, said Wednesday at the beginning of a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center. Harassers are often allowed to walk away to prey on others, she said.

Analysis: New Senate Tax Bill Solves Some Issues, Raises Others
‘This is largely a partisan exercise,’ McConnell tells CEOs

If there were any doubts that Republicans were bent on advancing the tax bill with only GOP support, those were squashed on Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen here with Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The latest version of the Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code solves some problems for Republican leadership, but potentially creates a host of others.

The updated chairman’s mark would direct more tax relief to lower- and middle-class Americans through several new provisions, including a proposed reduction in the tax rates for the current seven income brackets. But those cuts would now be temporary and expire in 2026. At the same time, the proposal would make the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent.

Senate GOP Throws Health Care Curveball Into Tax Debate
Bid to repeal individual mandate to pay for tax cuts roils Capitol

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch is presiding over a tension-filled committee markup of the GOP’s tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A complicated tax overhaul debate got more complicated Tuesday when Senate Republicans injected health care politics into the equation. 

With a growing number of Senate Republicans seeking bigger tax cuts for individuals and families, but short of ways to finance it, GOP leaders gave the go-ahead to repeal the 2010 health care law’s mandate to purchase insurance to pay for their wish list

Senate GOP Looks to Kill Individual Mandate to Pay for More Tax Cuts

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wants more individual tax cuts, but might object to killing the health insurance mandate to pay for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A growing chorus of Senate Republicans wants the bigger tax cuts for individuals and families in their tax overhaul, but the problem remains how to pay for it. And their leader says the biggest pot of money is in repealing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. 

“We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful and that’s obviously the view of the Senate Finance Committee Republicans as well,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday. 

Mandatory by January: Sexual Harassment Training for Senators and Staff
House lawmakers have introduced similar legislation

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., sponsored a resolution that requires senators and their staffs to complete sexual harassment training by early January. Here, staffers line up at a committee hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and their staffs have until early January to complete sexual harassment training, made mandatory by a resolution the Senate adopted unanimously Thursday.

The resolution comes after recent scrutiny of how Congress handles sexual harassment in its offices. Nearly 1,500 former staffers have signed a letter to congressional leadership released Thursday saying the processes are “inadequate and need reform.”

King Slams Senators Critical of Moore as Unhelpful to Trump
Moore allegedly had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, signaled support for Roy Moore in a tweet Thursday. The Alabama Senate candidate has been accused of sexual advances on a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King signaled support for Roy Moore in a tweet late Thursday, saying the senators who were distancing themselves from the Alabama GOP Senate candidate’s campaign were the ones “who won’t or can’t help move [President Donald Trump’s] agenda.”

The Washington Post published a story Thursday citing four women who said Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, between 1979 and 1981, when Moore worked as a district attorney. One woman said she was 14 years old when Moore removed her clothes and attempted to have her touch his genitals.