Patrick T McHenry

Inside the House Republican Brain Drain
Record exodus by members who’ve wielded gavels will complicate next year

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce isn’t seeking re-election. He’s part of a record wave of departures by House chairmen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This has already become a wave election year, because a record wave of departures by House chairmen already guarantees a sea change in the Republican power structure next January.

Even if the GOP manages to hold on to its majority this fall, its policymaking muscle for the second half of President Donald Trump’s term will need some prolonged rehabilitation. And if the party gets swept back into the minority, its aptitude for stopping or co-opting the newly ascendant Democrats’ agenda will require some serious retraining.

House GOP Leaders Pushing for Stopgap Spending Bill
Securing last-minute votes may be needed

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., predicts passage of a stopgap spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House GOP leaders are moving forward with a vote Thursday on a stopgap spending bill and a short-term extension of government surveillance powers lasting through Jan. 19, although they were working late Wednesday to secure some last-minute votes to pass it.

Several members of the House Freedom Caucus were withholding their support when leadership whipped the plan Wednesday evening.

With Talks in Flux, Shutdown Showdown Gets Closer
Fate of ‘cromnibus’ hangs in the balance

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., center, is trying to figure out the winning combo to fund the government and pass other priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans’ plan to pass a full-year Defense appropriations bill with a continuing resolution for remaining agencies through Jan. 19 was supposed to be an easy lift, a measure designed to show the Senate their unified support for increased national security funding.

But as the House prepares to vote on the spending bill Wednesday, just two days before the Dec. 22 government funding deadline, GOP division over the $81 billion disaster supplemental that leadership hoped to attach to the so-called cromnibus has effectively weakened the House’s negotiating leverage.

Tax Bill Set to Move at Warp Speed to Trump’s Desk
Some hurdles still remain, but Republicans feel confident they have the votes

House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, left, and ranking member Richard E. Neal prepare for the tax bill conference committee meeting Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t blink, because you might miss Congress passing a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

House and Senate Republicans say they are nearing completion on a sweeping bill that would dramatically reduce the corporate tax rate, lower the top individual tax rate, nearly double the standard deduction, bolster the child tax credit and remove some breaks enjoyed by many Americans.

Take Five: Karen Handel
‘One of the greatest moments ever’ was when Donny Osmond called her about Mitt Romney

Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., says there’s a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde syndrome in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Rep. Karen Handel, 55, a Georgia Republican, talks about her friendship with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, her intense race for the House and her love of football. 

Q: What has surprised you so far about Congress?

In House, California Dreamin’ on Tax Deductions
Tax break for state income taxes are back in negotiations on measure

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem leave a House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican leaders and tax writers are working to at least partially revive the state and local income tax deduction in a bid to solidify support from California GOP lawmakers in any final tax bill.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, himself a Golden State Republican, said Wednesday the proposal he’s discussing to restore the income tax deduction would be as an alternative, not in addition, to the break for property taxes.

Income Tax Deduction on Table to Attract California GOP Votes
“It would make a lot of difference to me,” Rohrabacher says

California Reps. Darrell Issa, left, and Dana Rohrabacher voted against the GOP tax bill because of concerns over the curtailing of the state and local tax deduction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady confirmed Wednesday that at least a partial revival of the state and local income tax deduction is under consideration as part of the tax code overhaul, but did not provide details.

“We just continue to explore ways to make sure that we provide tax relief to families regardless of where they live,” the Texas Republican said. “That’s a commitment I’ve made to lawmakers in high-tax states and I’m going to continue to work to improve it.”

House Leaders May Revive Income Tax Deduction for California, McHenry Says
‘We still have some tweaks to do to accommodate California, mainly’

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House GOP leaders are working on a tweak to the state and local income tax deduction to appease California members, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry said Tuesday.

The bill the House passed before Thanksgiving would fully repeal the state and local income tax deduction and retain the property tax deduction with a $10,000 cap. Twelve members from the high-tax states of New York, New Jersey and California voted against the tax bill because of concerns over the so-called SALT deduction.

Small-Business Concerns Threaten GOP Tax Overhaul
Many Republicans worry small-business owners won’t see benefits

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and his committee might consider changes to the GOP tax bill’s small-business provisions to address members’ concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Concerns from rank-and-file Republicans about small-business provisions in the House GOP tax bill are emerging as the biggest threats to the legislation’s passage in the chamber.

The specific concerns vary from the types of small businesses that will benefit from a reduced 25 percent tax rate to the amount of so-called pass-through income that will still be taxed at individual rates.

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.