Politics

Napolitano to Miss Votes as Her Husband Undergoes Chemotherapy
Congresswoman to miss votes.

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., will miss votes to be with her husband during chemotherapy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jeff Flake's Father Dies
Senator calls him "My hero, my idol, my father"

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., posted a photo in memorial of his late father Dean Flake. (Sen. Jeff Flake via Facebook)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced that his father Dean Flake died on Monday night at the age of 85.

After growing up on their father’s F Bar Ranch, Dean Flake, who had been a teacher, and three brothers bought out their father and ran the ranch as a partnership. Dean Flake and his wife Nerita raised the future senator and his 10 brothers and sisters on the ranch until Dean Flake sold out to his brothers in 1996, according to a profile of Nerita Flake in the White Mountain Independent.

DCCC Names Cheri Bustos Chairwoman of Heartland Engagement
Illinois Democrat will mentor candidates, deliver economic message in rural districts

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos has been named chairwoman of Heartland Engagement for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 2018. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, already active in candidate recruitment and policy messaging, has a new role helping her party try to win the House majority in 2018.

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, appointed Bustos chairwoman of heartland engagement for the Democrats’ campaign arm on Tuesday. In that role, the third-term congresswoman will be mentoring Democratic candidates and helping shape an economic message in rural areas — both of which she’s already been doing.

Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at a White House briefing on Jan. 21. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.

CBO Score Makes GOP Health Care Slog Harder
Growing number of senators oppose bringing current bill to floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to vote on a health care measure by the end of the week has been complicated by a Congressional Budget Office score that estimated millions would lose their health insurance under the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pass a massive overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system that has virtually no support outside of Congress and the White House became even more difficult after the release of a damaging analysis of the legislation from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

And now, with several Republican members voicing opposition to the current proposal, even a vote on a procedural motion to start consideration of the legislation appears destined to fail.

Ethics Committee Investigating Luján, Conyers and House Staffer
House panel reveals it took up matter from OCE in May

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee along with Ben Ray Luján and a House staffer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Monday it is investigating Reps. Ben Ray Luján, John Conyers and House staffer Michael Collins.

The panel did not disclose details of its inquiry. Since the probe was referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, details of the OCE’s reports are expected to be made public August 9.

22 Million More Uninsured Under Senate Health Care Bill, CBO Says
$321 billion would be saved over 10 years

The draft health care bill written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, would result in 22 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million over a decade to 49 million, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. This estimate likely will increase the challenges for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in trying to pass the bill before the July Fourth recess.

In comparison, the version the House passed May 4 would increase the uninsured population by 23 million over a decade, the CBO said last month. The Senate bill would save $321 billion over a decade, more than the House bill’s $119 billion reported by the CBO last month.

Trump Wants Health Care Bill by August Recess
Press secretary won't take position on Senate vote this week, however

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said President Donald Trump wants a health overhaul bill on his desk by the time lawmakers leave for their annual August recess. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump would like Congress to send him a final health care measure by the time lawmakers depart for their annual August recess — but he is not, for now, taking a position on whether the Senate has to vote on its version this week.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the president’s desired timeline at his Monday briefing, which was held with the television cameras turned off, as is becoming the norm. But Spicer did not take a position on Trump’s behalf when asked if the president wants the Senate to vote on its health bill this week no matter what.

Security Boost in House Legislative Branch Bill Approved
More funding for Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms, among others

Capitol Police would get a boost from the Legislative Branch spending bill being considered in the House. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

House appropriators have approved a fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch spending bill that would boost security both at the Capitol and in members’ districts.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee at a brief meeting on Friday approved by voice vote the $3.58 billion fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch measure. No amendments were offered.

Opponents Prepare for Week of Fighting Obamacare Repeal
Activists plan marches and rallies, smaller groups focus on individual lawmakers

Protesters yell “Shame!” to members of Congress on the East Front of the Capitol after the House passed the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill in May.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ weekend of rallies opposing the Republican health care bill, opponents are gearing up for a week of protests.

Republican leadership wants a vote on the bill before Congress leaves at the end of the week for its Fourth of July recess, but some GOP senators are doubtful that’s going to happen.

What Voters Can Learn From Tax Returns
Tax returns and annual financial disclosures contain different information

Tax returns provide snapshots of an individual’s annual net taxable income. (Courtesy Ken Teegardin/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Candidates and members of Congress are required by law to file personal financial disclosures that are designed to shed a light on their potential conflicts of interest.

These documents show a lawmakers' assets and liabilities, reported in broad ranges. Tax returns, in contrast, provide snapshots of their annual net income, are subject to audit and require taxpayers to report specific amounts.

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

Only 37 of 532 members of Congress responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

Court Allows Some of Travel Ban, Will Decide Legality Later
The court also announced decisions on immigration detention, gun rights, same-sex marriage, separation of church and state

Activists hold signs during a protest outside the White House in March against President Donald Trump’s second executive order banning travel from some Muslim-majority countries. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to implement much of its revised travel ban, but also agreed to review the legality of the controversial executive order in October.

The justices lifted injunctions from two federal appeals courts that had blocked the order, which seeks to stop foreign travelers from six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days and suspends all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days. The rulings had stymied one of President Donald Trump’s major policy initiatives in his first months in office — moves that he argued are key for national security.

GOP Senators Express Doubt About Health Care Vote

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., says there is simply not enough time for his constituents to weigh in on the health care measure under the current schedule. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Several Senate Republicans spent the weekend highlighting their objections to a sweeping draft health care bill and the rapid pace at which it’s moving in the chamber, even as GOP leaders would like to pass the measure before the July Fourth recess.

“I would like to delay this thing. There’s no way we should be voting on this next week,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “No way.”