Financial Services

Spending Bill, Tariffs Drive Lobbying as 2018 Elections Approach
Future uncertainty also plays major role

K Street sign at 15th and K Streets in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An omnibus appropriations package, steel tariffs, regulatory work on the new tax law and general uncertainty about the nation’s direction on policy and governing fueled K Street business during the first three months of this year.

The politics of the coming November midterm elections will consume the Capitol for much of the rest of 2018, as lawmakers debate a farm bill, possible new disclosures for social media companies and federal spending beyond Sept. 30.  

Who Can Fill Paul Ryan’s Shoes in the House GOP?
He may be retiring from Congress, but that doesn’t mean he’s going away

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who kept a fractured party together and raised gobs of campaign cash, could be a tough act to follow. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The brain drain from departing House Republicans with policy expertise had sparked worry among party insiders even before Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced his plans to retire.

Now, the extraordinary attrition, along with a potentially brutal upcoming midterm campaign, is enough to send the GOP into panic mode.

Photos of the Week: House Heads Out Early, Senate Welcomes a Baby
The week of April 16 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks up the House steps as he arrives at the Capitol for the final votes of the week Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members scrambled out of town on Wednesday this week  — a day earlier than originally scheduled. And on Thursday the Senate made history by welcoming an infant onto the chamber’s floor. Sen. Tammy Duckworth gave birth on April 9, and the rules were changed to accommodate the new mom.

Heritage Action Poised for Transition Amid CEO’s Exit
Michael Needham is leaving to become Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff

Heritage Action produces an annual scorecard on how lawmakers voted on issues important to conservatives. (Screenshot/Heritage Action for America)

Change is coming to Heritage Action for America, the political arm of one of the nation’s best known, and often controversial, think tanks.

Heritage Action for America has boosted its presence on Capitol Hill during CEO Michael Needham’s tenure, and his upcoming departure from the conservative outfit has fueled speculation about whether the uptick in advocacy will continue.

Federal Courts Make Changes in Response to #MeToo Movement
Judicial branch is creating more informal ways to file complaints

James Duff, left, and John Lungstrum testify before the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. (Courtesy Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)

A federal court official said Wednesday that a main barrier to reporting sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct in the judicial branch is the “formality of our complaint process,” as well as employees misunderstanding confidentiality provisions in ethics rules and being unaware of protections against retaliation.

James Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the courts will create more informal ways to file complaints. The judiciary will also take extra steps to educate employees and law clerks about protections against retaliation for reporting misconduct, Duff said. The courts have already revised their confidentiality provisions, he added.

Tech Companies Oppose Expanded Oversight of Sensitive Technology
Legislation focuses on on foreign deals

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., is pushing a bill that would broaden oversight over offshore sales or transfers of sensitive technology. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Representatives of the technology industry are warning lawmakers that a plan to give an interagency panel authority over offshore sales or transfers of sensitive technology would impede routine business deals.

The House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held its fourth and final hearing Thursday on a bill by Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., that would broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to include a range of business deals involving U.S. and foreign companies, including offshore joint ventures involving technology transfer.

State Activists Watching Washington Balanced-Budget Kabuki
Rapt audience for Thursday’s symbolic vote

State activists hope this week’s balanced-budget vote will bring national attention to their work. Above, staffers attend a House Financial Services Committee hearing in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s balanced-budget amendment vote Thursday may be a symbolic gesture aimed at shoring up Republicans’ conservative base in advance of the midterm elections. But it’s all too real for activists at the state level, who are watching closely and thrilled about the national spotlight on an issue that has been percolating quietly outside the Beltway.

Despite the joint resolution’s lack of support within the halls of Congress, there is still optimism that a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution will be sent to the states for ratification during the next few years.

Richard Shelby Officially in as Senate Appropriations Chairman
GOP colleagues ratify powerful committee's vote

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., is the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee, replacing Thad Cochran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans officially chose Sen. Richard C. Shelby as Appropriations chairman on Tuesday after his fellow Republicans ratified the Committee’s Monday evening vote during a closed-door lunch.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed the Alabama Republican’s selection, as well as the approval of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as the new Rules chairman, replacing Shelby.

Analysis: Can a President Preaching Change Lead a Party of Incumbents?
Trump ran as a disrupter, but that may not be enough to save House GOP this fall

President Donald Trump’s GOP currently represents the party of continuity, which does not bode well for its chances in November, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I have long argued that on the most fundamental level, all elections are choices between continuity and change.

The “in” party needs voters to believe that things are going well — or at least improving — while the “out” party needs to sell its message of change.

How House Members Voted on the Omnibus Versus the Budget Deal
More Democrats, including Pelosi, switch to ‘yes’ on omnibus from ‘no’ on budget deal

House Democratic leadership team was split on the omnibus. While Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supported the bill, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, right, voted against it.. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More Democrats and fewer Republicans voted for the fiscal 2018 omnibus Thursday than voted for the budget deal that set the spending levels for it.

The House passed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, 256-167, with 145 Republicans and 111 Democrats voting “yes.” The “no” votes came from 90 Republicans and 77 Democrats.