Texas

New $44 Billion Disaster Aid Request Paltry, Lawmakers Say
Extensive offsets could also prove controversial

Rep. John Culberson of Texas said the White House’s most recent aid request “would sabotage what has been an incredible response by President Trump to Hurricane Harvey up to this point.” (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In its third emergency aid request since August, the White House on Friday asked Congress to approve $44 billion for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, a figure seen as insufficient on both sides of the aisle. 

At the same time, the White House asked lawmakers to consider a lengthy list of offsets, noting in a letter that the administration “believes it is prudent to offset new spending.”

Gillibrand PAC Endorses Lipinski Primary Challenger in Illinois
Marie Newman is challenging the anti-abortion Democrat

Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Daniel Lipinski in the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District. (Courtesy Marie Newman/Twitter)

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s political action committee has endorsed a primary challenger to an incumbent Democratic congressman. 

Off the Sidelines PAC backed marketing consultant Marie Newman, who’s running against Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District.

Communications Aide Trolls Brat Critics on Facebook
In-your-face style draws criticism from some constituents

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., employs a communications consultant who trolls and talks down to his constituents on Facebook from her personal account. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sara James has performed communications consulting for Rep. Dave Brat’s campaign team since the summer of 2014. She now makes $4,000 per month after steady raises over the last three years, according to  FEC documents.

But James has been much more than a campaign manager and social media director: She has also served as Brat’s chief troll-slayer on Facebook, firing back at the Virginia Republican’s haters with the kind of snark and sneer you might expect from anonymous “eggs” on Twitter.

Corrine Brown Asks for Mercy at Sentencing Hearing
Judge calls case a ‘complicated stew’

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown walks to the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, during her trial on federal fraud and tax charges in May. She’ll learn her fate when a judge announces her sentence next month. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP file photo)

Hoping to avoid prison, former Florida Rep. Corrine Brownasked for mercy during her sentencing hearing Thursday.

Brown also asked that U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan consider her years of public service, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Hot Start With Trump 'Pep Rally' Burns Out as Tax Bill Cruises
Before passing tax bill, GOP members gush about president

President Donald Trump, accompanied by his chief of staff John Kelly, arrives at the Capitol to speak to House Republicans before a floor vote on a GOP-crafted tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two fireplaces outside the House chamber told the story Thursday a few minutes before members streamed in to vote on a sweeping tax bill. Orange embers were still just visible in both beneath scorched logs and ash. For Republicans, what had started with a white-hot visit by President Donald Trump ended with the anti-climactic passage of their tax plan.

But there was nothing anti-climactic a short time earlier in the basement of the Capitol, where House GOP members gather weekly as a group. They scurried in — mostly on time, with a few notable exceptions — for the presidential visit, and many emerged just before noon strikingly giddy about the scene during the president’s roughly 20 minutes of remarks.

GOP Leaders Predict More ‘Yes’ Votes on Final Tax Bill
‘As long as you cross the finish line’

From left, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrive to speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders said they were not surprised by the comfortable nine-vote margin by which they passed their tax overhaul bill and predicted an even bigger spread on a final package reconciled with the Senate.

“I was not surprised by any of the ‘no’ votes or the ‘yes’ votes,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told Roll Call. “So it was a lot of work over the last week, but I was really proud of the conference and what they did for the country.”

Senators Unlike Judicial Nominee’s Tweets
Judiciary Committee not amused by Don Willett’s social media output

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A darling of #AppellateTwitter, Don Willett is a Texas Supreme Court justice whose wit earned 104,000 followers on the social media website before President Donald Trump nominated him to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee took a bit of shine off the Lone Star State’s officially designated “Tweeter Laureate” on Wednesday, when senators tore into him for some tweets and even told Willett it would be a good idea to just stop tweeting altogether.

Slaughter Outed as Not a Texan
The New York Democrat has for years had Texan Barton thinking she was one of them

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., was born in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., has, for years, kept Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton thinking she was from Texas.

In the late hours of Tuesday night, during a Rules Committee hearing the tax bill, the truth came out.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Kellyanne sighting, Congressional Baseball Game date set, and be on the lookout for John Cleese’s diary

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, takes a picture during a Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

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.