Orrin G Hatch

Senate GOP Seeks Tax Law Fixes, Including ‘Retail Glitch’
Provision meant to reward store renovators would end up hurting them instead

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and other GOP tax writers have spotted some holes they want to plug in the new tax law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch said Thursday that Republicans are aiming to fix at least three glitches in last year’s tax code overhaul, including an error that has so far kept certain restaurants and retailers from taking advantage of a key tax break to renovate their storefronts.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter, Hatch and other Senate GOP tax writers said they will introduce legislation to plug holes in the new tax law like the so-called retail glitch.

NAFTA Talks Hit One-Year Mark as Trump Keeps Canada Hanging
Mexican officials are in D.C. this week amid push for bilateral agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump pose for photos in 2017. A year into negotiations, the fate of NAFTA remains uncertain. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Top U.S. and Mexican negotiators are meeting this week in the latest effort to finish a bilateral trade agreement amid unanswered questions about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the first anniversary of the Trump administration’s launching of negotiations to revamp the 1994 trade pact.

Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, secretary of the economy, made a late afternoon arrival at the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday. Guajardo is leading a Mexican delegation comprised of negotiators from the current administration and a transition team from the new administration that takes office in December.

Lawrence Takes Trump’s Choice of Words Personally
‘I always think he’s hit rock bottom,’ Michigan congresswoman says of president calling Omarosa a ‘dog’

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., said President Donald Trump’s attack on former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman was “insulting.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence  joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have condemned President Donald Trump’s attack on his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. 

“And I can tell him, ‘Shame on you, the fact that you are comfortable, on a national platform, to address a woman in that way. Shame on you,’” Lawrence said Wednesday night on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front.”

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

Archives Can’t Deliver Reams of Kavanaugh Docs Fast Enough for GOP
Request could top 900,000 pages, lawyer for National Archives and Records Administration says

Senate Republicans stand in front of stacks of boxes at a news conference Thursday in the Dirksen Building to drive home how many pages of documents they’re seeking on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. From left, Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:13 p.m. | The National Archives and Records Administration said Thursday it will need until the end of October to process documents Senate Republicans requested on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which could derail plans for a speedy confirmation process where Democrats had already complained they weren’t seeing enough information.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, in a July 27 letter, had asked to get records by Aug. 15 from the George W. Bush Presidential Library about Kavanaugh’s work in the White House counsel’s office. 

Hatch Proves He Is, Um, Actually Not Dead
Senator’s team has a little fun highlighting his last few months after Google search shows his date of death

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, alive and well, arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is actually alive.

Which most of us who’ve seen him walking the halls of the Capitol over the last year already knew.

House Backs Suicide Hotline Bill; Could Lead to 3-Digit Dial Code
Measure designed to streamline aid for mental health crisis prevention

Rep. Chris Stewart is sponsoring legislation to streamline the suicide prevention hotline. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is headed for an overhaul, with passage of a House bill Monday. The bipartisan proposal would move towards creating a new national three-digit dialing code — similar to 911 — to be used for a mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.

The House passed the bill by an overwhelming, 379-1, margin. Michigan Republican Justin Amash cast the lone nay vote against the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah. 

Campus Conundrum: For Professors, Trump Requires ‘Constant Adaptation’
‘You teach differently,’ one prof says. ‘You just get creamed,’ notes another.

Protesters hold up illuminated letters spelling "treason" in front of the White House during a rally Wednesday following President Donald Trump’s much-maligned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For Donald Trump, last week was perhaps the worst of his presidency. For some Republican lawmakers, his antics struck a nerve. And for political science professors, it will only make things tougher in the classroom.

The U.S. president started his rockiest week yet by referring to Vladimir Putin as a “good competitor,” appearing to agree with the Russian leader over his spy agencies on 2016 election meddling. Trump ended it by advising Putin to “make a deal” or else, warning he could quickly become the Russian strongman’s “worst enemy.”

Pension Plan Rescue Legislation Getting Tough to Price
Congressional Budget Office walking back previous estimates of cost

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is co-sponsoring legislation to shore up pension plans, but it faces an uncertain price tag. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An effort to shore up troubled pension plans for many middle-class workers comes with a squishy price tag.

A bill (S 2147) by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department that could make loans to multiemployer pension plans for union workers. Those plans have been estimated to be underfunded by about $65 billion, endangering the retirements of about 1.5 million residents nationwide.

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

The “Warrior on a Horse” statue in downtown Skopje, Macedonia. American politics has increasingly taken on a Balkan flavor with party affiliation coming in the way of finding policy solutions. (Boris Grdanoski/AP file photo)

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.