Patrick Meehan

Ryan Removes Meehan From Ethics Committee
Pennsylvania Republican is facing sexual misconduct allegations

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan has removed Rep. Patrick Meehan from the Ethics Committee after allegations of sexual misconduct against the Pennsylvania Republican emerged. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has removed Rep. Patrick Meehan from the Ethics Committee as the panel will now open an investigation looking into sexual misconduct allegations raised against him.

“Speaker Ryan takes the allegations against Mr. Meehan very seriously,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said. “Though Mr. Meehan has denied the allegations, they must be fully and immediately investigated by the House Ethics Committee.”

Meehan Denies Wrongdoing Following Report of Harassment Settlement
Pennsylvania Republican is a Democratic target this year

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan reportedly settled a harassment case using taxpayer funds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:18 p.m. | Rep. Patrick Meehan denied allegations of misconduct Saturday, following a New York Times story that the Pennsylvania Republican used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case. The newspaper reported that the four-term lawmaker made unwanted romantic advances toward a female staffer in 2016.  

“Congressman Meehan denies the allegations,” his spokesman John Elizandro said in an email. “Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Candidate Accused of Inappropriate Conduct
Daylin Leach running in Pennsylvania’s 7th District

Daylin Leach, Democratic candidate for Congress from Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former staffers have accused Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach, a top candidate in the race to take on GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan, of inappropriate comments and touching, according to the Inquirer.

The Inquirer reported Sunday that Leach made inappropriate sexual comments, which he said were in jest, and touched some women inappropriately. He denied any wrongdoing.

A Gun Rights Vote Only the GOP Base Can Appreciate
Expansion of concealed carry permission will die in the Senate, but the NRA really wanted the vote

Majority Whip John Cornyn has some doubts that he can get a bill passed that would improve background checks for gun purchasers but doesn’t make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. A House bill passed Wednesday would do both. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One government shutdown may be narrowly averted, but another looms right around the corner. The stain of sexual misconduct at the Capitol continues to spread, and an alleged child predator is days away from possibly joining the Senate. Middle East destabilization seems assured as Congress gets its wish to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Public support dwindles daily for a loophole-encrusted, deficit-busting tax package that would be the year’s biggest legislative achievement. The push for presidential impeachment has gone far enough to necessitate procedural pushback in the House.

A week such as this one — already chockablock with headlines touching the Hill — seemed to the Republicans who run the place like an ideal time for making a bold hiding-in-plain-sight move.

Barton Wants to Keep Managing GOP Baseball Team
Texas congressman announced last week he would retire from Congress after string of sexual controversies

Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, in Texas uniform, watches as Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., shakes hands with Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, during player introductions during this year’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After everything that’s happened over the last two weeks, Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton hopes to remain the manager of the Republican team in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

“That is my intention,” Barton said. “Obviously, it’s my last year.”

12 House Republicans Sign Letter Opposing Arctic Drilling
The proposal, not included in the House-passed tax bill, remains in the Senate version on floor

Reindeer wander off at the end of the Senate Democrats’ news conference and rally opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the Capitol on Thursday. A number of activists dressed up as polar bears and reindeer for the event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A dozen House Republicans, half of whom voted for the House tax overhaul bill that passed Nov. 13, wrote a letter to GOP leaders urging them not to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, adding another complication to negotiating a tax bill that can pass both chambers.

The Senate tax overhaul bill is tied in a reconciliation measure with legislation that would open up drilling parts of the ANWR. Its inclusion is seen as key to having secured GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s support for the measure.

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.

Congress Begins Digesting Tax Bill Outlines
Republicans say they need more detail

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and the GOP leadership team briefed members about their tax legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans leaving a closed-door conference meeting said they needed to see more details of the tax code overhaul before assessing the plan.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said “not enough detail” was provided. “Most of what was talked about in there was still at the 15,000-to-20,000 foot level.”

Word on the Hill: King of the Hill
Senate Democrats celebrating birthdays

Team photograph of The RBIs of Texas after winning the King of the Hill softball championship game. (Courtesy Bill Christian)

The Senate is the King of the Hill. Well, at least in staffer softball.

The annual King of the Hill softball championship game was Thursday and the RBIs of Texas, the Senate team, beat the Texas Republic, the House team, 16-12.

Democratic Soul-Searching in One Pennsylvania House Race
Crowded primary candidates battle over who can win GOP district

State Sen. Daylin Leach, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional district, greets guests at after speaking in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. — Democrats across the country are doing some soul-searching as Congress returns to the nation’s capital. The crowded Democratic primaries taking shape raise questions about whether more liberal candidates can win in Republican districts.

For a sense of how that battle for the party is playing out on the ground, look no further than Pennsylvania’s 7th District.