Politics

A Tax Conference Committee Meeting Mostly For Show
Parameters are clear for final Republican push on tax bill

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady makes his way to a meeting in the speaker’s office in the Capitol on Dec. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing against the members of the House and Senate attending Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the conference committee finalizing the tax code overhaul, but it’s mostly for show and unlikely to be must-see television.

That’s because, with the arguable exception of the farm bill, open meetings of conference committees are not where the deals get done, despite the talking points from top negotiators.

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane
Campaign season is soon to kick into high gear

As 2017 draws to a close, the unpredictable nature of the first year of the Trump administration could very well bleed into next year as the midterm elections heat up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists have — almost — survived a genuinely bonkers year.

The Trump era ushered in a maelstrom of unpredictable policy fights along with scandals that have ripped into K Street. Think it can’t get any stranger? Just wait until campaign season kicks into high gear in 2018.

Democrat Doug Jones Trumps Roy Moore in Alabama
Stunning victory reduces GOP Senate majority to one vote

Democrat Doug Jones celebrates with his wife, Louise, his victory over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election Tuesday at the Sheraton hotel in Birmingham. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— For the first time in more than two decades, Alabamians are sending a Democrat to the Senate.

Doug Jones pulled off a stunning upset, defeating Republican nominee Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special election, 50 percent to 48 percent.

Trump-Gillibrand Offer Possible 2020 Preview After Racy Tweet
Schumer: Trump’s ‘tweet was nasty — unbecoming of the president’

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand leave a Democratic Conference lunch in the Capitol in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House and Senate Republicans raced to finish their tax bill. Both parties postured about a government shutdown. All of that was drowned out Tuesday by President Donald Trump’s Twitter war with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The president went after the New York Democrat with a Tuesday morning tweet that alleged she “would do anything” for his campaign contributions before he ran for president. 

Minnesota Governor to Announce Senate Appointment Wednesday
Senator Al Franken still hasn’t said when he’s resigning

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, seen here leaving the Capitol on Dec. 7 with his wife, Franni, after announcing he’d resign last week, hasn’t set a date for his resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday will announce his selection to fill the seat of Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to set a date for his resignation. 

Dayton has been expected to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, his former chief of staff, to the seat. She’d have the option of running next fall to fill out the rest of Franken’s term, which is up in 2021. 

Alabama Senate Race Heads to Dramatic Finish
Still unclear which candidate will win

Alabama Republican Roy Moore rides away on his horse after voting at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GALLANT, Ala. — Capping the wild ride of the Alabama Senate race, Roy Moore made his traditional trek to the polls on horseback.

The Republican candidate was greeted by a horde of reporters and cameras as he rode to the fire station here on his white and brown horse with his wife Kayla, who was also riding her horse.

Jones Bested Moore in Alabama Fundraising Under National Spotlight
But both received majority of large-dollar donations from out of state

Democrat Doug Jones, center, accompanied by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Alabama Rep. Terri A. Sewell, waves to supporters as he arrives for a canvass kickoff rally at his campaign field office in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones received almost a quarter of his $3.2 million itemized donations from within the state between Oct. 1 and Nov. 22, according to records newly released by the Federal Election Commission.

That’s more than the Senate candidate’s opponent, Republican Roy Moore, who netted 20 percent of his $861,000 itemized contributions from within the state during the same period of time. 

Democrats Won’t Support Another Stopgap, Hoyer Says
… Even if it’s clean

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer cited several bills that Republicans have yet to get through Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats will not support another clean continuing resolution that would allow Republicans to continue shirking their governing responsibilities, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday.

The Maryland Democrat named several “must pass” bills Republicans have yet to get through Congress, including reauthorizations of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as the next disaster supplemental and legislation providing a path to legal status for immigrants brought illegally into the country as children.

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, as Washington braced for the results of the Alabama Senate election and timing on a vote on tax overhaul and spending is in flux. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, even as the timing on two big-ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation remained fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is underway.

House Republicans meeting as a conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, Wednesday.

Dogged By Sexual Misconduct Claims, Farenthold Slogs Ahead in Texas
Texas GOP delegation remains tight-lipped about support of congressman’s fifth-term bid

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has carried on his re-election campaign amid a sexual misconduct controversy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold signaled Monday he intends to slog ahead with his re-election campaign against the storm of sexual misconduct claims against him, the Texas Tribune reported.

The fourth-term Lone Star State Republican, 56, will face a crowded GOP primary to keep his 27th District seat, with five challengers declaring they’ll take him on.

Transgender Woman Said Lujan Grisham’s Office Discriminated Against Her
Says she was fired from her internship when it was learned she was transgender

A former intern said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., fired her for being transgender. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former intern said she was fired from New Mexico Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office for being transgender.

Riley Del Rey told the Santa Fe New Mexican she was fired from the Democrat’s office almost three years ago and is speaking now because she has seen a number of stories about sexual harassment but transgender voices are missing.

Trump Says Gillibrand ‘Would Do Anything’ for Campaign Donations
Gillibrand fires back: ‘You cannot silence me’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House last week. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated at 9:45 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand “would do anything” for his campaign contributions before he ran for president. 

In a morning tweet, the president dubbed the New York Democrat a “lightweight” and dubbed her “disloyal” to the Clintons, whom he tweeted “USED!” her.

Corrine Brown Petitions to Stay Out of Prison During Appeal
Former congresswoman sentenced earlier this month to five years on fraud conviction

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown walks out of the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, last week after being sentenced to five years in prison on fraud and conspiracy charges. (Bob Mack/Florida Times-Union via AP)

Former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown is seeking to stay out of prison while she appeals her convictions on fraud and conspiracy charges.

The disgraced Florida Democrat was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this month and was given until Jan. 8 to surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Alabama Senate Race: A Religious Experience
Both campaigns tap into religious networks to turn out voters

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones speaks, flanked, from left, by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Alabama Rep. Terri A. Sewell, outside the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GALLANT, Ala. — At Roy Moore’s home church here on Sunday, there wasn’t much talk of the upcoming Senate election — even though throngs of cameras waited outside to catch a glimpse of the elusive Republican candidate.

After the Sunday service began at Gallant First Baptist Church, Rev. Tom Brown offered a prayer.