Patrick J Toomey

K Street Turns Its Lonely Eyes to Grassley
Republican holds the key to cascading possibilities, from Judiciary to Finance to Banking

Will Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, make the leap to head the Finance Committee next year? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fresh off a divisive Supreme Court battle, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has a complicated decision to make next month that has the business world watching with keen interest: whether to make the jump over to the Finance Committee chairmanship in the 116th Congress.

“Ask me Nov. 7,” was all the Iowa Republican would say earlier this week on the topic. But the allure of returning to the helm of perhaps the most powerful committee in Congress, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and health care policy, can’t be lost on Grassley, who was Finance chairman for part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.

White House Celebrates Trade Pact, Prepares to Sell Congress
Toomey, Heitkamp among members expressing concerns as Trump takes victory lap

Sens. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., at a Senate Budget hearing earlier this year. Toomey expressed some concerns Monday about a new trade pact brokered by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and his team convinced Canada to join a revised North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico. Now, the hard part begins: Convincing congressional Democrats, who could control one or both chambers next year, to approve it.

Trump and White House officials contend the deal, if approved by Congress, would benefit American dairy farmers and automakers. They have also highlighted new e-commerce and intellectual property protections, as well as a new six-year review mandate. And they say each should appeal to Democrats.

Senate GOP Effort to Rebuke Trump on Trade Has Died a Quiet Death
Effort to assert tariff authority not included in FAA reauthorization bill

Sen. Bob Corker has little hope for his trade legislation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bob Corker appears resigned to the fact that the Senate won’t be acting to rebut President Donald Trump on trade policy before voters go to the polls in November.

The Tennessee Republican had previously talked up the possibility of attaching legislation drafted with Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey to a must-pass reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Getting Stung Is All in a Day’s Work for This Senator
When he’s home, Pennsylvania Republican tends daily to his ‘aggressive’ beehive

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey's beehive produced seven gallons of honey last year. (Courtesy Patrick Toomey)

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey holds out both his hands.

“You notice any difference?” the Pennsylvania Republican asks.

How Congress Made CHIP a Budgetary Boondoggle
Lawmakers have routinely used the Children’s Health Insurance Program to fund other priorities

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., is a lonely voice in opposition to the way CHIP funds are being used. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting harder and harder not to think of the nation’s signature health insurance program for children who aren’t quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid as a “slush fund” to tap for other congressional priorities.

Lawmakers are on the verge of wringing another $7.7 billion in budgetary savings out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to finance the discretionary portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal 2019 budget, among other expenses in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations conference report. That would bring the CHIP offsets tally to $58.3 billion since the GOP House takeover after the 2010 midterms, according to a review of Labor-HHS-Education spending laws over the past nine years.

Canada: No Deal Yet With U.S. on NAFTA Update
Dairy central to disagreements

Canada’s Chrystia Freeland speaks with reporters Aug. 31, 2018. (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

Canada’s top trade negotiator said Friday that talks to update NAFTA have yet to produce an agreement with the United States. The comments come just hours before the administration plans to notify Congress that it intends to sign a trade agreement in principle with Mexico.

“We are not there yet,” said Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland Friday morning.  “We are only going to sign a deal that is good for Canada. My job is to find the deal that works for Canada.″ 

Congress Awaits Details as Canada Looms Over NAFTA Deadline
Democrats and Republicans want northern neighbor included

Kushner enters USTR headquarters Aug. 29, 2018. (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

With just a day before the Trump administration is expected to notify Congress that it plans to sign an agreement in principle with Mexico to update the NAFTA trade pact, lawmakers continue to seek more details and push for a final outcome that includes the third NAFTA partner — Canada.

“We have no exact details. Other than what’s been written in newspapers, we have no idea what’s in it,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said of the agreement in principle announced Monday by Mexico and the United States to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Corker said Senate Republicans were told Tuesday that they could soon receive what he called talking points on the agreement.

Senate Wraps Up for August, Breaking Logjam on Judges on Way Out of Town
Many senators will be back in D.C. for services honoring John McCain on Friday

A plane takes off from Reagan National Airport at sunrise. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators were able to smell the jet fumes Tuesday, breaking a logjam on judicial nominees as they ended the workweek after most of them spent less than 24 hours in the Capitol.

The Senate finished up work for the week, and the month, on Tuesday afternoon after confirming seven of President Donald Trump’s picks to be federal district judges.

Sen. Pat Toomey’s Campaign Latest Political Email Hacking Target
Targeted email accounts have been dormant for over a year

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., was the latest senator to be targeted by a foreign phishing scam. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey is the latest U.S. politician to announce his campaign was the target of an attempt to hack into its emails.

Google notified Toomey’s office that “hackers from a nation state may have attempted to infiltrate specific email accounts associated with his campaign apparatus” through a phishing scam, Steve Kelly, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican, said in a statement.

McConnell Casts Doubt on Legislation to Restrict Trump’s Trade Authority
Kentucky Republican talked taxes and trade Friday in Louisville

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was talking taxes and trade in his hometown on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped at a water tank manufacturing company Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, to tout the benefits of the Republican tax overhaul, but the conversation not surprisingly turned to trade.

The Kentucky Republican said it was unlikely Congress could enact restrictions on President Donald Trump’s trade authority, despite some GOP senators’ efforts to reign in the president’s actions.