Politics

Senate Moves to Adopt House-Backed Budget Changes
Amendment negates need to go to conference to iron out differences

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi’s amendment modified the House-passed budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday night agreed, 52-48, to an amendment by Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi that modified the House-passed budget resolution, jettisoning reconciliation instructions aimed at getting $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts. 

Instead, the Wyoming Republican’s amendment replaces the House directive for a deficit-neutral tax cut with one that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, similar to the Senate’s.

Trump’s Generals Had a Very Emotive Day
White House isn't denying account of president's words to military widow

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly speaks during a briefing Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The generals with whom President Donald Trump has surrounded himself have seen combat and are known for public personas one part stoic and two parts tough. But on Thursday, Trump’s generals had a very emotive day.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps four-star general who once commanded troops in Iraq, appeared in the White House briefing room and delivered a passionate rebuke of Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., who this week slammed Trump for his alleged remarks to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier.

Analysis: McMaster’s ‘Hurt’ Feelings Make His Job Even Harder
Trump's national security adviser must manage feud between his boss, SASC chair

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left, on the day in February when he was announced as the new national security adviser by President Donald Trump (center) in Palm Beach, Fla. (Jenna Johnson/Washington Post/Print Pool)

ANALYSIS | Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has touched a nerve with one of President Donald Trump’s top aides. And it puts the president’s national security adviser in a very tough spot, hurt feelings and all.

The Arizona Republican often complained to reporters on the national security beat just how tough he found it to get information about strategies and U.S. operations abroad from the Obama administration. He frequently groused that the Obama White House was micromanaging the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community.

Regular Order? Maybe Not For Alexander-Murray Bill
A markup could open door to partisan battle over the 2010 health law

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member, are seen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs," on October 19. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A committee markup of a bipartisan health bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could add another potentially fatal complication for the measure that is already under significant pressure.

Senators from both parties have for months decried the lack of regular order in the chamber as Republicans tried to jam through legislation to repeal the 2010 health law.

Meet Pat Tiberi, the Latest Soon-to-Be-Ex-Congressman
Ohio policy wonk liked his bocce

Pat Tiberi succeeded his former boss in the House, John Kasich. (Ian Wagreich/Roll Call)

Rep. Pat Tiberi, the Ohio Republican who announced it was quitting time on Thursday, is a serious policy wonk with deep political roots in the Buckeye State and a big fan of bocce, befitting his celebration of his Italian heritage.

An unapologetic Midwestern Rotary Club-type Republican in the mode of his political patrons, former Speaker John A. Boehner and Gov. John R. Kasich, Tiberi will leave Congress by Jan. 31 — before his ninth term in the House ends — and become head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

George W. Bush Delivers Scathing Rebuke of Trump Presidency
'The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,' 43rd president warns

Former President George W. Bush makes remarks during a ceremony honoring former Vice President Dick Cheney in the Capitol Visitor Center in 2015. On Thursday, he delivered a warning about Donald Trump’s presidency. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Former President George W. Bush on Thursday delivered a scathing warning about Donald Trump, saying his “America first” philosophy portends a dangerous inward turn that is eroding democracy at home and threatening stability around the world.

“The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,” the 43rd president said during a speech in New York. “And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”

Pat Tiberi Resigning to Lead Ohio Business Roundtable
Nine-term lawmaker will leave behind solid Republican seat

Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi has been offered a position to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday he will not seek re-election and will be leaving Congress before the 2018 midterms. 

“While I have not yet determined a final resignation date, I will be leaving Congress by January 31, 2018,” the Republican said in a statement. 

Do Republicans Have Votes on Budget? ‘Who Knows?’ Trump Says
Measure is key to opening path for GOP-crafted tax overhaul bill

On Monday, President Donald Trump said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) would deliver him a tax bill. On Thursday morning, the president was unsure his party could pass a budget resolution that is key to the follow-on tax measure. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Do Senate Republican leaders and the White House have the 50 GOP votes to pass a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is linked to possible tax cuts? “Who knows?” says President Donald Trump, the leader of the party.

The Senate is poised to begin a marathon series of votes Thursday that will culminate with a final vote on a GOP-crafted fiscal 2018 budget resolution. Republicans who helped derail recent major legislation, like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, this week have expressed confidence that ample votes will be there.

Mia Love Gets Democratic Challenger in Utah
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams already represents 85% of the district

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has a new Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announced Wednesday he will challenge GOP Rep. Mia Love, potentially shaking up the race in Utah’s 4th District. 

McAdams, a Democrat, told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had decided to run because lawmakers were “enamored with the national spotlight and partisan games that both parties seem to play,” instead of solving the country’s problems.

Senate Democrats Doubt Validity of Puerto Rico Death Toll
Reports of full morgues may signal incomplete official count, senators say

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined 12 of her Democratic colleagues in signing a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke raising questions about the official death count in Puerto Rico. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

As Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló travels to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats is asking the administration about the accuracy of the island territory’s death toll.

Thirteen senators, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have written a new letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke expressing concern that reports about morgues at Puerto Rican hospitals being full may signal that the official tally of 48 fatalities may be incomplete.

Democrats Drop Congeniality as They Fire Away at Sessions
‘Give me a break,’ attorney general implores at one point

From left, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal talk Wednesday as Sessions arrives for the Senate Judiciary oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took an unusual path to the witness table before Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing. He looped behind the dais to smile and shake the hands of his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues and pat them on the shoulder.

But the next four hours made it clear that congeniality has faded for the former Alabama Republican senator. Democrats lectured him on immigration policy, questioned his truthfulness in previous testimony about Russia and criticized his implementation of the Trump administration’s conservative policies.

Trump’s Fluid Views on Policy Drive Headaches in Senate
Health care flip-flop latest in a series of policy shifts by the president

President Donald Trump, seen here Monday at the White House Rose Garden with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has rankled senators with his shifting policy views. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray went to bed Tuesday evening thinking they had hit a home run. The duo at the helm of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee did the seemingly impossible and reached bipartisan consensus on a bill to help stabilize the insurance markets that had the support of President Donald Trump.

Then came the tweet.

Congressional Democrats Call for More Gun Violence Research
Report, House bill draw attention to lack of federal funding

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy sponsored a bill that could lead to more federal funding for gun violence research. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have launched renewed calls for federal research into gun violence prevention in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday presented a report from the Government Accountability Office highlighting the limitations lawmakers have imposed on researchers attempting to understand gun violence, which they called a “public health crisis.”

Bipartisan Tax Bill More Durable, GOP Says After White House Meeting
Toomey sees overlap, but Democrats show little enthusiasm

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, seated left, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, seated center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, standing center, were among the Finance Committee members who met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about a tax overhaul bill. Also pictured, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, standing right. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

After huddling Wednesday with President Donald Trump and a handful of Democrats, Senate Republican tax writers said an overhaul bill that secures bipartisan support would be more “durable” than a GOP-only path. 

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with plans to ensure a tax bill could pass with as few as 50 GOP votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. But after a White House meeting with Trump and five Senate Finance Committee Democrats, three GOP members on that panel said they agree with the president that a bipartisan bill is preferable.

Hatch Deals Blow to Bipartisan Health Care Bill
Prospects dim after opposition from Senate Finance chairman

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch is opposed to an emerging bipartisan measure to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has dealt an emerging bipartisan health care bill a body blow.

President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages on his stance on the legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, saying he opposed it Wednesday after saying he supported it Tuesday