Richard E Neal

Political tensions escalate as drug pricing bills move forward
Rift began when Pelosi called for Medicare to negotiate prices for a set of high-cost drugs

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa unveiled the text of his committee's drug pricing bill on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The discord between the parties over plans to bring down drug costs deepened this week as Democrats insisted on allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and launched an impeachment inquiry that threatens to consume Congress.

Still, members of key committees said Wednesday they wanted to continue bipartisan work to lower costs, a major concern of voters, and lawmakers in both chambers took steps toward advancing their proposals. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held the first hearing on legislation unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Democrats leaving a caucus meeting on drug legislation late Wednesday said markups are expected soon after a two-week recess in October. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon unveiled the text of their bill on Wednesday.

State and local tax cap rollback included in year-end tax talks
Democrats leading SALT discussions say they hope to have legislation ready for markup in October

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and House Democrats are looking to roll back the cap on annual state and local tax deductions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior House Ways and Means Democrat said Wednesday that a full, though temporary, elimination of the current $10,000 cap on annual state and local tax deductions is among the proposals being discussed for a possible markup in the coming weeks.

Committee Democrats also discussed in a Wednesday caucus meeting how a “SALT” rollback and a raft of other tax legislation the committee has advanced or will soon consider might fit into a deal later this year with Senate Republicans, and what offsets might be offered as part of any package, said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-New Jersey.

Ways and Means to weigh rollback of state, local tax deduction cap
SALT cap in 2017 overhaul law hit taxpayers in high-tax states especially hard

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said he expects the decision on whether to move legislation related to the SALT cap to be made in the next week. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee will soon hold “at least a full-throttle discussion” about their concerns with the $10,000 cap on state and local income tax deductions that was part of the 2017 tax code overhaul, though it is uncertain whether that will lead to legislation that would increase or even repeal the limit.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts told reporters Tuesday that the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee would be taking up the issue “pretty quick.”

Richard Neal Facebook page mixes campaign, congressional business

The Facebook page of Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., aired campaign ads for the congressman, a potential violation of House Ethics rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated August 28, 2:22 p.m. | House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal used his government-funded official Facebook page to air campaign advertisements, Facebook Ad Library shows, potentially running afoul of House Ethics rules that prohibit campaign business on House official resources.

In Neal’s official Facebook page disclaimer, up to $100 were spent on the ads in 2018 paid for by “Richard Neal for Congress Committee, Treasurer Michael F. Hall,” suggesting Neal’s campaign funds paid for the ad to air through the House office’s Facebook page.

Payroll tax cuts off the table? Not so fast, says Trump in another whiplash reversal
No immediate move likely on taxes, as president also distances himself from gun background checks

President Donald Trump concludes a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | In yet another whiplash policy reversal, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his staff Tuesday by saying payroll tax cuts are on the table as he looks to stave off an election-year recession.

A White House official on Monday afternoon, responding to a Washington Post report that the White House was eyeing a payroll tax cut amid recession fears, dismissed the idea this way: “More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

Ways and Means chairman cites ‘credible allegations’ of misconduct in presidential tax audit
Allegation cited in filing in battle between House Democrats and Treasury over access to returns

President Donald Trump is opposing an attempt by the House Ways and Means Committee to get access to his tax returns. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The House Ways and Means Committee said it had received “credible allegations” from a federal employee of potentially “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS’ mandatory audit of presidential tax returns.

References to the unexplained allegations were in a letter included in a Tuesday filing by the committee in its federal lawsuit against Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. The filing consisted of arguments in support of the committee’s motion for the court to grant it summary judgment in its lawsuit seeking six years of tax returns from President Trump and from eight of his businesses.

Trying to conceal tax returns, Trump sees political coordination in subpoenas
President accuses New York officials of working with House Democrats to damage him

President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the release of his state tax returns. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool file photo)

President Donald Trump says New York Attorney General Letitia James is “closely coordinating with House Democrats in a joint effort to obtain and expose” the president’s tax returns and financial information.

The allegation came in a filing Monday in federal district court in Washington as Trump amended the July 23 lawsuit he brought to block James and Michael R. Schmidt, commissioner of New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, from providing the president’s state tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Democrats say support for new NAFTA depends on Trump
Trump administration will have to offer House Democrats some changes

Democratic working group on trade is led by House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional action on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade pact to replace the NAFTA agreement will depend on whether the Trump administration offers House Democrats changes that will achieve “substantial and real” improvements to the agreement, a trade working group said in a report to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is time for the administration to present its proposals and to show its commitment to passing the new NAFTA and delivering on its own promises,” the group of Democrats wrote.

Eyeing Trump taxes, House panel releases Nixon documents
Kevin Brady, top Ways and Means Republican, calls move “a travesty”

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal says the Nixon documents show that his own request for the president’s tax returns is not unprecedented. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday released documents relating to a Dec. 13, 1973, request by the Joint Committee on Taxation for President Richard Nixon’s tax returns that show five years of returns were provided the same day by the IRS.

Committee Democrats said the significance of the documents is that Nixon’s tax returns and other private tax information were handed over to what was then called the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation because of authority under Section 6103 of the tax code. 

The next Joe Crowley? Not us, these high-profile Democrats say
List of progressive primary challengers keeps growing

Massachusetts Rep. Richard E. Neal is the latest longtime Democratic incumbent to get a progressive primary challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress who have been living for months with the threat of primary challenges are getting their first sense of actual danger, with a string of progressive candidates announcing campaigns in recent weeks against some of the most entrenched and high-profile members.

Targets include House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, who has represented Western Massachusetts since 1989. His challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, launched a much-anticipated campaign Monday.