Politics

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.

House Ethics Panel Launches Investigation Into Ruben Kihuen
Two women have accused Kihuen of sexual harassment

Two women have accused Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., of harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into Rep. Ruben Kihuen. Two women have accused the Nevada Democrat of sexual harassment. 

Kihuen had said he would welcome an Ethics investigation.

Photos of the Week: Jones Wins in Alabama, Tax Conference Gavels In
The week of Dec. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrive for a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday. They spoke out against the Republican tax plan ahead of the Senate-House conference committee meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Top Democratic Candidate Drops Out of Kansas Race After She Faced Sexual Harassment Allegations
Ramsey had been endorsed by EMILY’s List and was a top potential challenger

Andrea Ramsey is dropping her House bid. (Courtesy of the Andrea Ramsey for Congress Facebook page)

Democrat Andrea Ramsey dropped out of the race to take on Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder, after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against her — and, she claimed, national Democrats abandoned her campaign. 

Ramsey announced she was pulling out of the race Friday, in a lengthy statement denying that she engaged in any harassment or retaliation against a former colleague. The Kansas City Star first reported Ramsey's decision, which came after the outlet approached her about a 2005 lawsuit involving a male subordinate.

Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Pardon for Michael Flynn
‘There is absolutely no collusion,’ president contends

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event in 2016. On Friday, the president did not rule out a pardon for his former national security adviser. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out pardoning former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and again contended “there was no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

“There is absolutely no collusion,” the president said as he left the White House for an address at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy. “That has been proven.”

Trump Bullish on Latest Version of GOP Tax Plan
On whether Moore should concede Alabama Senate race, Trump says, ‘Yeah, I would certainly say he should’

President Donald Trump, seen here during a visit with Senate Republicans in November, called the GOP tax plan “monumental” and predicted it would pass next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Friday he thinks the latest version of the GOP tax plan will  “do very well” when the House and Senate vote on it “as early as next week” after reviewing it. 

And on another congressional matter, Trump replied, “Yeah, I would certainly say he should,” when asked if Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore should concede his race to Democrat Doug Jones.

Menendez Says 'Bring It On' to Potential Corruption Re-trial
New Jersey Democratic senator has issued mid-January deadline to DOJ to continue prosecution

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., wants the Department of Justice to decide by January whether or not it will re-try his corruption case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Embattled Sen. Robert Menendez is telling the Department of Justice either to try to prosecute him again on corruption charges or drop the case.

The New Jersey Democrat, whose bribery trial was declared a mistrial in November, told reporters Thursday he wants investigators to decide by mid-January whether they will try him in court again.

Waters Asks Justice to Investigate Forged Letter Opponent Tweeted
Fake letter alleged that Waters wants ‘more terrorists’ in district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has asked the Department of Justice to investigate a forged letter tweeted out by one of her GOP opponents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is asking the Justice Department to investigate the source of the letter posted to Twitter by her top GOP competitor that falsely alleges she wants to resettle “up to 41k” refugees in her California district.

Omar Navarro, the Republican candidate being backed by many far-right donors, tweeted out the document, a forgery, on Monday with an attached caption.

More Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Former Sherman Aide
Matt Dababneh, who worked for California congressman from 2005 to 2013, has announced he’ll resign from Assembly

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., speaks to constituents during a town hall meeting hosted by California State Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, left, in Van Nuys in February. Dababneh worked for the congressman from 2005 until 2013, when he was elected to the Assembly. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Three more women have accused Matt Dababneh, the former chief of staff to California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, of sexual misconduct.

Dababneh, now a California Assemblyman, announced he would resign from the Assembly on Jan. 1 after being accused of sexual assault while working for Sherman.

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.

Senate Panel to Consider Rules Change
Resolution would cut debate time on the floor for nominees

Sen. Roy Blunt thinks Democrats are abusing the rules in demanding full debate time on nominees. On Tuesday, the Rules panel will consider a resolution to cut the debate time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are readying another rule change to the chamber, this one aimed at reducing the number of hours the chamber debates executive and judicial nominees. 

The Rules and Administration Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., that would reduce the time the chamber debates nominees drastically from the current 30 hours after debate is cut off. 

Report: Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued
Ashmawy accused of verbal abuse and physical assault in civil action

Omar Ashmawy, staff director at the Office of Congressional Ethics. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The staff director and chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics is being sued for verbally abusing and physically assaulting women. 

Omar Ashmawy’s case goes back to his involvement in a late-night brawl in 2015 in Milford, Pennsylvania, according to Foreign Policy.

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

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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.

Marco Rubio, Mike Lee Support for Tax Bill in Jeopardy

The House-Senate Conference Committee on tax overhaul is looking for the right combination of agreements to ensure passage. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are withholding their support for the GOP tax bill in an attempt to bolster the child tax credit, a change that may be difficult amidst opposition from House Republicans.

The duo is hoping to make the credit fully refundable. The two senators, backed by top White House adviser Ivanka Trump, had previously succeeded in increasing the credit to $2,000 per child in the Senate-passed bill.