Texas

GOP Tax Bill Signed, Nearly Sealed and Delivered

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, left, and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, conduct the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican tax writers signed off Friday on a compromise plan to overhaul the tax code, bringing House and Senate negotiations to a close and setting up final votes on the legislation early next week.

The tax conference agreement was set to be released Friday at 5:30 p.m. Some key details are already known, like a proposed corporate tax rate of 21 percent; a top individual rate of 37 percent; and a 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” business income.

Senators Go Their Own Way on Stopgap Funding
‘We can’t pass the House bill,’ GOP chairmen say

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says his colleagues are preparing to fully revamp the temporary spending bill. “The House bill is not going to pass over here,” he said this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are preparing to completely rework the temporary spending bill needed to keep much of government open past Dec. 22.

The legislation will be stripped of the House-passed Defense appropriations bill and a partisan measure reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which many expected. But its length will also likely change, and it may or may not carry new topline spending levels for appropriators to construct a final fiscal 2018 omnibus package.

Revealed: An Exclusive Ways and Means Secret Tradition
Committee members whose names start with P have passed along guardianship of a cactus for 25 years

The Pease Cactus sits in the Rayburn Building office of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., on Thursday after it was given to him by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is an institution full of secret traditions, but perhaps the most secret is the 25-year-old bipartisan one of handing down a cactus to certain members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Owners of the Pease Cactus, named for Ohio Democrat Don Pease and called the “Ps Cactus” for short, are an exclusive group of seven past and present committee members. So exclusive that Chairman Kevin Brady didn’t even know about the tradition until now.

GOP in Home Stretch on Tax Bill, Eyeing Senate Attendance

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, and ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., prepare for the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the Races: Jonesing for Another Special Election Yet?
Doug Jones pulled off an upset in Alabama, giving Democrats hope for 2018 wave

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races by subscribing to this weekly newsletter here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … A Democrat won in deep-red Alabama, Minnesota’s getting a new female senator and another Texas Republican isn’t coming back in 2019.

Holding on: We’ll get back to Alabama in a second, but first ... embattled Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is retiring, GOP sources confirmed Thursday. But he says he’s not going anywhere yet. The four-term Republican will serve out the remainder of his term, which means an ethics probe into allegations of his misconduct will continue. Some of his fellow Texas members were already ready to show him the door. Just last night, Roger Williams endorsed one of Farenthold’s primary challengers. The filing deadline for Texas congressional races was Monday.

Embattled Farenthold Won’t Seek Re-election in 2018
Congressman has been subject of renewed Ethics Committee probe

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the Capitol following the final votes of the week on Thursday. Farenthold announced he will not seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:50 p.m. | Facing renewed allegations of misconduct, Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will not seek re-election in 2018, he announced Thursday. 

The embattled Republican congressman plans to serve out the rest of his term and is not resigning.

Texas Republican Williams Backs Farenthold Challenger Amid More Accusations
Former staffer details fits of rage, discussion of oral sex, and obscene language to insult staff

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, is seen Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice Department’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more accusations that Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold sexually harassed staffers emerged, a primary challenger says he has the endorsement of Farenthold’s fellow GOP Rep. Roger Williams

Former Texas Water Development Board Chairman Bech Bruun announced Williams’ support in a news release, the Texas Tribune reported.

Tax Bill Set to Move at Warp Speed to Trump’s Desk
Some hurdles still remain, but Republicans feel confident they have the votes

House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, left, and ranking member Richard E. Neal prepare for the tax bill conference committee meeting Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t blink, because you might miss Congress passing a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

House and Senate Republicans say they are nearing completion on a sweeping bill that would dramatically reduce the corporate tax rate, lower the top individual tax rate, nearly double the standard deduction, bolster the child tax credit and remove some breaks enjoyed by many Americans.

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Why Pups Push Partisanship Aside on the Hill
‘These little animals here, they don’t care about political parties’

Riggins from Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s office attended the holiday party dressed as an elf. (Screenshot from Roll Call's Facebook Live)

It seems like Sen. Thom Tillis started a trend.

Office dogs have always been part of the culture on Capitol Hill, but the North Carolina Republican raised the bar when he hosted a Halloween party for dogs.