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House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

President Donald Trump greets House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.

Census falling further behind in hiring outreach staff
Partnership specialists are critical to reach hard-to-count populations

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in July that the “the bricks and mortar [strategy] wasn’t working” to protect the agency’s shrinking number of area Census offices and closure of its Questionnaire Assistance Centers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Census officials continue to fall behind their goals for hiring local outreach staff, a critical component in promoting the 2020 census among the hardest-to-count populations in the country, agency officials told an advisory committee.

While several aspects of the preparations, including address verification, are on or ahead of schedule, the U.S. Census Bureau said it remains more than 200 people short of its goal of hiring 1,500 local partnership staff ahead of next year’s count. The hiring problems have come as the agency ramps up for the 2020 enumeration that will be used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state, how federal funds are allocated, and to structure economic surveys.

Ways and Means to weigh rollback of state, local tax deduction cap
SALT cap in 2017 overhaul law hit taxpayers in high-tax states especially hard

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said he expects the decision on whether to move legislation related to the SALT cap to be made in the next week. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee will soon hold “at least a full-throttle discussion” about their concerns with the $10,000 cap on state and local income tax deductions that was part of the 2017 tax code overhaul, though it is uncertain whether that will lead to legislation that would increase or even repeal the limit.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts told reporters Tuesday that the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee would be taking up the issue “pretty quick.”

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

President Donald Trump has told his staff to avoid a government shutdown, but several obstacles remain to getting spending deals, as well as other legislative priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.

Trump’s nicknames ranked, as he locks in on 2020 foes and foils
‘His rabid base loves it all,’ Monmouth professor says. Another expert calls them ‘hard to escape’

Supporters of President Donald Trump pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump, with a regretful-yet-mischievous smirk, did something rare during a recent campaign tour stop in New Hampshire: He admitted a possible mistake.

“Like, Elizabeth Warren — I did the Pocahontas thing,” Trump told a chuckling-in-unison crowd of supporters in Manchester on Aug. 15. “I hit her really hard and it looked like she was down and out. But that was too long ago. I should’ve waited.”

Tax cuts: Four flips in four days
CQ Budget, Episode 124

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, leaves the Senate Republican Policy luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump increases China tariffs as stocks tumble amid latest trade tensions
President posts odd tweet blaming markets’ jitters on largely unknown House Democrat

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California. President Donald Trump and China traded barbs again Friday in an escalating trade battle that has prompted global recession fears. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Capping an extraordinary day of major power muscle-flexing and more odd presidential behavior, Donald Trump on Friday answered a tariffs threat from Beijing by increasing coming import duties on $550 billion worth of Chinese-made items.

“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very....” he wrote in a tweet before adding in another: “..unfair Trading Relationship. China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!).”

Trump, self-described ‘Chosen One,’ heads to G-7 looking for ‘respect’
President heads to France summit after an odd, chaotic week — even by his standards

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House on Wednesday, a gaggle during which he called himself “The Chosen One” and gestured toward the heavens. He leaves Friday night for a G7 summit in France. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Look out, Biarritz, here comes “The Chosen One.

The chic resort town on France’s picturesque Basque coastline will host a G-7 summit this weekend amid worries about a global recession and fraying alliances in Europe and Asia. President Donald Trump — who used that moniker Wednesday to describe himself as a savior in a decades-old trade dispute with China despite so far failing to resolve a single issue — will be center stage after one of the most erratic and strange weeks of his wild presidency.

Democrats tried to ‘blackmail’ casino owner to let employees unionize, conservative group claims
Lawmakers say ethics accusations by Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust are baseless

Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wisc., speaks with reporters as he leaves a House Democrats' caucus meeting in February. Pocan is one of 14 Democrats who wrote a letter to a casino mogul that a conservative ethics watchdog group says was part of an effort to coerce him to allow employees to unionize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative watchdog group asked the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday to review whether 14 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican inappropriately used their office to try to coerce a Las Vegas casino mogul into allowing his employees to unionize.

In May, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan and 13 other Democrats wrote a letter to Frank Fertitta III, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based casino management company Red Rock Resorts Inc., urging him to “respect the rights of employees” at the company “to form a union and collectively bargain.”