Trade

Bill Nelson Concedes Florida Senate Race After Hand Recount
Governor Rick Scott’s victory over Nelson boosts GOP’s Senate majority

Florida Gov. Rick Scott held the hand of his grandson, Auguste, at his election night party in Naples, Fla. The Associated Press declared Scott the winner after a recount. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has conceded Florida’s Senate race to his Republican opponent Gov. Rick Scott following a hand recount.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service. This victory would not be possible without the hard work of so many people,” Scott said in a statement. “Now the campaign truly is behind us, and that’s where we need to leave it.”

Grassley Will Step into Tax Storm, Finance Gavel in Hand
Iowa Republican was a key player on big-ticket measures during his previous tenure as Finance chairman

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee, putting the Iowa Republican at the center of the storm in the 116th Congress on what could be divisive debates over tax, trade and health care policy.

Grassley cited a sense of “optimism” fueled by the “pro-growth” policies of a Republican president and Congress. “Looking ahead. ... I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” he said in a statement released Friday. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

Chuck Grassley Opts for Finance Chairmanship
Move kicks off a round of musical chairs in the Senate, opening up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, right, will succeed Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as gavel-holder on the Senate Finance panel. That means Judiciary will be looking for a new leader too. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced he would take over the gavel of the tax-writing Finance Committee in the 116th Congress, a position he held in the early part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.

Grassley’s move also opens up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman, likely South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham

These Democrats Swore Off PACs. But Corporate Lobbyists Have a Plan
K Street tries some workarounds to reach the 32 incoming lawmakers who said ‘no’ to corporate cash

Abigail Spanberger is one of 32 incoming new members who refused to accept corporate PAC money. Lobbyists think they can reach these lawmakers in other ways. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The anti-PAC class cometh, but K Street has a backup plan.

Lobbyists for business interests say they’re implementing workarounds to get to know the 32 incoming freshman Democratic House members who have sworn off corporate political action committee dollars.

House Democrats Initiate Probe into Whitaker’s Business Entanglements
Acting attorney general was on advisory board of company that FTC says scammed inventors

Then-Department of Justice Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker participates in a roundtable event with the Joint Interagency Task Force in August. On Wednesday, House Democrats said they were looking into the now acting attorney general’s involvement in a Miami company that agreed to a $26 million settlement over what the Federal Trade Commission called an “invention-promotion scam.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

House Democrats took the first steps toward launching an investigation into acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his involvement in a Miami marketing company that allegedly scammed millions of dollars from people looking to sell their inventions.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Frank Pallone Jr., the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, and Energy and Commerce Committees, sent letters to Whitaker, his former business partner and five other federal and non-federal groups requesting documents and information about the alleged scheme.

Possible Trump-Macron Split Fuels European Power Vacuum
Bromance burned bright at first, but presidents spent weekend trading barbs

President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron in April at the White House, when the two had a closer relationship than was in evidence in recent days. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is pushing away one of his few close allies, French President Emmanuel Macron, as experts warn of an emerging European power vacuum and some GOP lawmakers defend the U.S. president’s latest brash move.

The two presidents have little in common but quickly became unlikely allies. Trump is a businessman and former reality television star. Macron was a philosophy major who became a finance and economic wonk. A bromance developed, and Trump feted Macron during an official visit that included a private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and an elegant state dinner at the White House.

Ocasio-Cortez Joins Protesters at Pelosi’s Office
Environment groups want commitment from Democratic to take urgent action on climate change

Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined about 100 protesters who took over Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi’s office over climate change. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Protesters, joined by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, took over Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office Tuesday and staged a sit-in calling for her to commit to urgent action on climate change.

The group of more than 100 people was organized by the environmental group Sunrise and Justice Democrats.

Trump-Macron Bromance Shows More Signs of Fading
U.S. president offers French counterpart mocking lecture on securing Europe

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron head for Marine One following a tree-planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in April. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Are President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron headed for a Trans-Atlantic breakup?

After Trump’s rocky and controversial visit to Paris, which included some less-than-warm body language toward his younger French counterpart, the unlikely bromance appears to have hit choppy waters. Many U.S. lawmakers — Republican and Democrat — have warned Trump to avoid alienating close allies and want him to end a nasty trade flap with the EU. 

Thank you, Dan Crenshaw
Injured Navy SEAL an example of humor, forgiveness and leadership

That Dan Crenshaw survived his injuries to eventually run for Congress must feel like a miracle, Patricia Murphy writes. (Courtesy Crenshaw for Congress)

OPINION — As a political columnist, the hardest part isn’t finding something to write about, it’s narrowing your focus to just one topic. For today’s column, I could have written about the election mess in Florida, President Trump’s non-attendance at a Veterans Day parade in France, the fact that Nancy Pelosi could soon be second-in-line to the presidency (it could happen), or my complaint that 2020 speculation is the new Christmas decorating (too much too soon).

But after I saw Dan Crenshaw on Saturday Night Live, everything else seemed small in comparison. If you don’t know his name, you will. If you don’t know the story, here it is.

Democrats Can’t Check the White House Alone. Neither Can Republicans
An overhaul of oversight is overdue, but partisanship isn’t what the Founders had in mind

Tom Coburn, R-Okla., left, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., ride the Senate subway in 2011, when both were still in Congress. The pair led hearings on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Congress is in desperate need of a course correction. Some may think it’s about to happen, because the Democrats have now taken control of the House. But we’re referring to a different kind of course correction. For the past ten years or so, Congress has largely ignored its constitutional responsibility to serve as a check on the excesses of the executive branch and to do so in a bipartisan manner. That’s what needs to change.

We both served for many years in the Senate, and here’s what we observed: When oversight hearings were held more for political purposes than for real fact-finding purposes, they didn’t work. Hearings like these may have been the exception rather than the rule, but they damaged Congress’ reputation. They didn’t uncover the facts, and they didn’t have the confidence of the American people.