Politics

Kihuen’s Future in Question After Second Accuser Comes Forward
Pelosi indicates Nevada Democrat wants to go through Ethics Committee process

A second woman has accused Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., of sexual harassment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s future remains in question amid calls to resign and a second accuser alleging he sexually harassed her while he was in the Nevada state Senate.

The Nevada Independent reported Wednesday night that a lobbyist claimed Kihuen sent her hundreds of text messages, some of them suggestive, and touched her inappropriately. Two weeks ago, Buzzfeed reported allegations that Kihuen harassed a former campaign staffer.

Pence Delays Trip to Preside Over Senate Tax Vote
Move signals GOP expects a close count

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Capitol to preside over the Senate and cast a possible tie-breaking vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of Education in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence will remain in Washington next week to preside over the Senate’s vote on the Republican tax overhaul bill, his chief spokeswoman said, a signal GOP leaders expect to thread the needle.

“Yesterday the White House informed Senate Leadership that due to the historic nature of the vote in the Senate on tax cuts for millions of Americans, the VP would stay to preside over the vote,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said in a statement. “The Vice President will then travel to Egypt [and] Israel where he’ll reaffirm the United States’ commitment to its allies in the Middle East and to working cooperatively to defeat radicalism.

Flake’s Son Says He was ‘Terrified’ of Arpaio’s Prosecution
Senator’s son Austin testifies in malicious prosecution trial against sheriff

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio leaves U.S. District Court in Phoenix during his trial for disobeying a court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in July. (Ross D. Franklin/AP file photo)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin testified Wednesday he was “terrified of what was going to come” as former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pursued what he says were politically motivated charges against him.

Austin Flake said he lost faith in the criminal justice system due to Arpaio’s pursuit of an animal cruelty case against him and his ex-wife Logan Brown, AZ Central reported.

Keith Ellison Will Not Challenge Smith for Franken’s Seat in 2018
Says he supports appointed replacement Tina Smith

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will not challenge newly appointed interim Sen. Tina Smith in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Keith Ellison will not run in Minnesota’s special election for Senate to replace Sen. Al Franken in 2018, the six-term Democratic lawmaker signaled Wednesday.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been pegged to replace Franken through January 2019. Smith, a Democrat, said she plans to run in the November 2018 special election.

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 12:11 p.m. | Facing renewed allegations of misconduct, Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will not seek re-election in 2018, according to a source familiar with the situation. 

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

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.

After Alabama, How Optimistic Should Democrats Be for 2018?
The special election may have been unique, but strategists see important lessons

Supporters of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Within minutes of Doug Jones’ victory Tuesday night, they started coming in — a flood of fundraising emails from other Democrats around the country, many running in red territory.

“Next up, Texas,” read the subject line for a fundraising email from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s hoping to topple Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz next year.

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.

Former Congresswomen Share Stories of Harassment
Former Rep. Mary Bono said rumors of an affair with former Speaker Newt Gingrich ended up in the National Enquirer

Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., says sexual harassment on Capitol Hill is at a “watershed moment.” (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Former congresswoman Mary Bono knows sexual harassment is rampant on Capitol Hill because she experienced it firsthand.

“My first year, first or second year in the Congress, I was accused of having an affair with Newt Gingrich. It was on the front page of the National Enquirer,” she recalled.

Jones, Trump Discuss Finding Common Ground
Senator-elect ducked question on whether Trump should resign

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Judge Roy Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen.-elect Doug Jones said he spoke with top Republicans Wednesday, including President Donald Trump, and discussed finding common ground.

The Democrat scored a stunning victory Tuesday night over GOP nominee Roy Moore in the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Terri Sewell Is Getting Some Help
With Doug Jones’ election, she is no longer only Democrat in Ala. delegation

Rep. Terri A. Sewell worked to get national Democrats involved in the Alabama Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — When Rep. Terri A. Sewell joined Doug Jones on the campaign trail in Alabama, she would often say she needed help in Washington, D.C., as the lone Democrat in the delegation.

Standing onstage here with Jones as he celebrated his historic win over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race Tuesday night, Sewell interjected at one point, yelling, “Help is on the way!”

House Administration Adopts Ad Change Aimed at Open Enrollment

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., right, seen here with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., signed off on the change to franking procedures. He chairs the Franking Commission.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee unanimously adopted on Wednesday a change in the member handbook that could help Democrats seeking to promote HealthCare.gov.

The new rule allows lawmakers to promote and link to federal government websites besides their own. Democrats had encountered the hurdle while attempting to promote the federal health insurance exchange through taxpayer-funded advertisements, known as franking.

Trump: GOP ‘Very Close’ on Tax Bill, Effects Would Start in February
President endorses 21 percent corporate rate

President Donald Trump said floor votes on the GOP compromise tax bill are “just days away.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:46 p.m. | President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Republican House and Senate tax negotiators have struck a deal on a final overhaul measure. He said Americans will feel the benefits by February if Congress sends him a bill by Christmas.

“As I speak, Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American families and American companies,” the president said, delivering his final pitch flanked by Christmas trees in the White House’s Grand Foyer.