Arkansas

Analysis: New Senate Tax Bill Solves Some Issues, Raises Others
‘This is largely a partisan exercise,’ McConnell tells CEOs

If there were any doubts that Republicans were bent on advancing the tax bill with only GOP support, those were squashed on Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen here with Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The latest version of the Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code solves some problems for Republican leadership, but potentially creates a host of others.

The updated chairman’s mark would direct more tax relief to lower- and middle-class Americans through several new provisions, including a proposed reduction in the tax rates for the current seven income brackets. But those cuts would now be temporary and expire in 2026. At the same time, the proposal would make the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent.

While Trump’s Away, Congress Legislates?
President’s absence eases tax bill work, some Republicans say

Some Republican members say progress on a tax bill is more likely with President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, away in Asia. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump spent the first four days of his Asia swing focused on countering North Korea and bolstering trade relationships — and some Republican members who are eager to pass a tax bill are just fine with that.

The way they see it, Trump being nearly 7,000 miles away for most of the next two weeks will allow them to make more progress on their tax legislation than if he were in Washington. That’s because Trump is often hunkered down in the White House watching cable news reports about their efforts, his phone at the ready to fire off a tweet that could substantially delay or completely derail their work.

Kevin Brady: A Low-Profile Tax Writer for the Highest-Stress Time
Texan may be the most obscure Ways and Means chairman in such a pivotal role

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, places books of the current tax code on the dais, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax reform plan titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in Longworth Building on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Millions of taxpayers, not to mention seemingly all of K Street’s lobbyists, are focused this week on the work of a man precious few outside the Beltway have ever heard of — but who’s among the most powerful people at the Capitol at the moment.

Perhaps expecting Kevin Brady to be a household name is asking too much of the typical American household, where two out of three people can’t name their own member of Congress.

Members Face Tough Odds in Races for Governor
Competitive primary, general elections await nine representatives running

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa would be a heavy favorite to win her state’s governor’s race if she gets past the Democratic primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s been plenty of media attention on the twelve members who have decided to call it quits and retire from the House, and another eight members are seeking a promotion to the Senate. But nine additional members are forgoing likely re-elections for uncertain and challenging races to become their state’s governor.

Many of them have to navigate crowded and competitive primaries (including knocking off an incumbent in one state), and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great.

Word on the Hill: Dine With the Presidents
Cummings sends off grads, and honoring veterans

“Dads of Democracy.” (Courtesy District Winery)

This weekend, why not eat with all the presidents watching you? District Winery’s new restaurant, Ana, has unique artwork in its dining area featuring 44 presidents.

Ana is located in Navy Yard on Water Street SE.

Trump Position on Individual Mandate in Tax Bill Complicates Task
Cotton plans to nix but key House tax-writer rejected idea Tuesday

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wants to use the tax bill to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual mandate. Tax-writers are skeptical. But President Trump suddenly endorsed the idea on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump threw congressional Republican tax-writers a curveball Wednesday, suddenly voicing support for using a coming overhaul measure to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual insurance mandate.

Trump endorsed a provision being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., with whom he has met several times in recent weeks. Cotton has been working with the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees to include the repeal of the health care law’s individual mandate in a tax overhaul bill. He said if he is unable to convince the leaders of those panels to include it in their tax bills, he will try to attach it as an amendment.

Word on the Hill: It’s November
Congress in costumes, and McCaskill’s husband’s heart ‘working better’

The last month of fall is here. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy November! Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is only 23 days away.

November brings a recess in both chambers — on the 10th for Veterans Day, and the week of the 20th for Thanksgiving.

Opinion: Why Does the Senate Honor a Segregationist?
It’s time to rename the Russell Building after Sen. Margaret Chase Smith

The Old Senate Office Building bears the name of adamant segregationist Sen. Richard Russell. It should be renamed for Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Shapiro writes. (Courtesy National Records and Archives Administration)

When Georgia Sen. Richard Russell died in 1971, President Richard Nixon and 54 Senate colleagues made the pilgrimage to Atlanta, where his body lay in state in the Georgia Capitol.

Honoring Russell’s 38 years in Congress, The Washington Post in its obituary called him “the closest thing remaining to the embodiment of the Senate of old, the keeper and the symbol of the tradition, mores and tone that gave the place its stature.”

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.

Contrary to Rhetoric, Military Mishaps Have Been Declining
The Pentagon’s deadly accident-filled summer bucked a larger trend

The destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a chemical tanker in August, one of several deadly military accidents this year. Such incidents are on the decline, according to a Roll Call analysis. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

Hawks in Congress have said military mishaps are up because the defense budget is down, but the data says otherwise.

The summer of 2017 saw a rash of fatal military accidents — ships colliding at sea, planes crashing and vehicles catching fire — that were deadlier than attacks from America’s enemies.