Mark Sanford

Chaffetz Departure Opens Coveted Oversight Chairmanship
Freedom Caucus members in panel’s leadership poised to make a play for seat

The departure of Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, left, could give Reps. Trey Gowdy, middle, and Jim Jordan, right, an opportunity to capture the coveted seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Chairman Jason Chaffetz suggested Wednesday he may not finish his congressional term, top Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee mostly avoided weighing in on whether they would seek the seat under a GOP White House.

The Utah Republican unabashedly used the position of being the House’s top inquisitor to become nationally prominent in a coveted seat. But he did so under a Democratic administration that the House GOP despised.

Schumer Joins Calls for President to Release Tax Returns
Minority Leader: Failure to disclose makes passing tax reform ‘much harder’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Trump could wreck a major campaign pledge, a package of tax code changes and rate cuts, if he keeps his own returns secret. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top Senate Democrat on Tuesday joined calls for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, warning that a failure to do so could sink what was a major campaign promise.

Should the president opt to continue keeping his full personal financial picture secret, it would make any package of tax code changes and rate cuts “much harder to pass,” said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Mike Pence: Congressional Buddy or Fixer?
Vice president enjoys goodwill, but his Hill role is evolving

Vice President Mike Pence, seen here with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, was hailed as President Donald Trump’s congressional point man, but he fell short on cutting a deal on health care last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s often-celebrated chief liaison to Capitol Hill, failed in his first attempt at brokering a deal with Congress. And some House Republicans appear split on whether the White House should hand him a bigger role as they give a health care overhaul another try. 

Pence, who spent more than a decade in the House and was part of the GOP leadership team, was supposed to be Trump’s legislative get-things-done guy. Yet, so far, the vice president’s measurable legislative feats end with his votes, as president of the Senate, to break three volatile ties in that chamber.

Amash, Freedom Caucus Say Health Care ‘Deal’ Reports are False
Comes after some HFC members met with Pence and Priebus

House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, shot down reports of a deal with the White House to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Justin Amash and the House Freedom Caucus say talks of a deal with the White House on tweaks to legislation that would repeal the 2010 health care law are premature.

Several HFC members suggested after a Monday meeting with Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, that they would see a legislative outline of some of the administration’s proposed changes to their health care package on Tuesday.

Freedom Caucus Isn’t Backing Down After Trump Threat
Conservatives say they’re up for any challenge from the right

House Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks said if President Donald Trump wanted to find someone to challenge him from the right in 2018, he was welcome to try. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If President Donald Trump’s intention was to intimidate House Freedom Caucus members with his assertion on Twitter that “we must fight them” in 2018, it didn’t work.

“If somebody can get to the right of me in the primary, God bless him,” Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks said.

Rep. LoBiondo: Stop Calling My Office Over Health Care Bill
N.J. Republican says his mind is made up, constituents can’t get through for services

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., is asking people to stop calling his office hourly about health care legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo is asking people to stop calling his office hourly to convince him to vote for the Republican plan to replace the 2010 health care law.

Lawmakers have reported huge increases of calls to their offices — many from outside their districts — both in D.C. and in their districts over the health carebill. And number of Republican members have seen protests in front of their district offices.

House Health Care Bill Teetering on the Brink of Failing
Nearly enough firm Republican ‘no’ votes to sink it

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he opposes the GOP-backed health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN/CQ ROLL CALL

The GOP health care bill appears poised for failure with at least 19 Republicans committed to voting “no,” absent additional substantial changes, and several more likely to join them in opposition. 

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

3 GOP Dissenters as Budget Committee Passes Health Care Plan
Reps. Sanford, Brat, Palmer vote against sending to full House

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., was one of three House Freedom Caucus members to vote against the health care plan in the Budget Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Budget Committee on Thursday approved 19-17 a motion to send the Republican legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care to the full House for consideration.

Republican Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Dave Brat of Virginia, and Gary Palmer of Alabama — all members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — voted against the motion, despite a plea from panel chairwoman Diane Black of Tennessee.

Senate Budget Rule Could Hamper GOP Push on Defense, Taxes
Republicans are already divided over how much to cut spending

Republicans on the House Budget Committee, led by Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, are already beginning to struggle with how much money to allocate to national defense and other funding categories as they work on the next budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A little-known Senate budget rule could pose a huge challenge to the GOP’s top priorities of increasing defense spending and cutting taxes this year. 

Providing more funds to the military and rewriting the tax code both depend on the House and Senate agreeing to a fiscal 2018 budget resolution. The fiscal blueprint would set an enforceable topline for appropriators and provide reconciliation instructions allowing a tax overhaul to advance in the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority.