Roll Call Staff

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as soon as today, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm on Tuesday morning, even as timing on two big ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation was fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is under way.

House Republicans meeting as a conference over at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, on Wednesday.

Ethics Committee Expands Investigation Into Farenthold
Texas Republican accused of sexual harassment, retaliation

The House Ethics committee announced Thursday it unanimously voted to establish a subcommittee to build on its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

So far, the panel has reviewed more than 200,000 pages and interviewed multiple witnesses, according to a statement released by Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks of Indiana and ranking member Ted Deutch of Florida. 

Report: Franken to Resign Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
But Minnesota Democrat says “no final decision has been made”

Updated 5:28 p.m. | Minnesota Sen. Al Franken will resign Thursday, a Democratic official told Minnesota Public Radio.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor senator was scheduled to make an announcement Thursday, his office said. He is facing several allegations of sexual misconduct. A sixth accuser alleged Wednesday that Franken had behaved inappropriately toward her.

John Anderson, Republican Who Ran for President as Independent, Dead at 95
Longtime House member made 1980 a three-way race

Former Rep. John B. Anderson, a Republican from Illinois who shook up the 1980 presidential race by running as an independent, died Sunday in Washington, D.C. He was 95.

From Rockford, Illinois, he was first elected in 1960 to the 87th Congress. He served 10 terms overall, and was a one-time chairman of the Republican Conference.

Report: State’s Tillerson Could Be Replaced by CIA’s Pompeo
Sen. Tom Cotton would move to CIA under reported White House plan

Updated 11:44 a.m.| President Donald Trump’s White House has developed plans to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton would move into Pompeo’s position, the news outlet said citing senior administration officials.

Senate Officially Begins Debate on Tax Overhaul Bill

The Senate voted Wednesday to officially begin debating the GOP tax overhaul bill, moving one step closer to a drastic rewrite of the nation’s tax code.

The Senate adopted the motion to proceed to the House-passed tax overhaul bill, 52-48.

Judge Denies Motion; Allows Mulvaney to Lead CFPB
Deputy director Leandra English had sued to block him from taking the job

Let Us Now Praise President Donald Trump
Republicans describe their rally with president

“Unbelievably engaging.”Mark Meadows, N.C.

Sen. Al Franken Accused of Sexual Misconduct
‘He mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth’

UPDATED 11/16/17 2:04 p.m. | A Los Angeles radio news anchor accused Sen. Al Franken of groping and kissing her without consent in an open letter Thursday on the radio station’s website.

Leeann Tweeden, a 790 KABC morning host, wrote that she was on a 2006 USO tour with the Minnesota Democrat, and the former Saturday Night Live cast member had written material for a joint sketch that involved a kiss. Franken insisted on rehearsing, she said.

Congresswoman Who Survived Jonestown Attack Now Staring Down Sexual Harassment

Who is Rep. Jackie Speier? The California Democrat, who is making headlines for her bill to prevent sexual misconduct in Congress, is also a survivor of the 1978 Jonestown massacre when she traveled to the commune as a legal aide to Rep. Leo Ryan. Roll Call sat down with Speier in 2015 to discuss the incident, where she was shot five times as part of a delegation to the cult’s commune in South America.

Saturday, Nov. 18, will be the 39th anniversary of the assassination attempt.

Roll Call’s Eric Garcia Honored by Autism Advocacy Group
Receives award for nonfiction writing

Roll Call reporter Eric Garcia was honored Wednesday evening by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a nonprofit disability rights organization.

Garcia received the organization’s Harriet McBryde Johnson Award for nonfiction writing.

Ron Johnson Opposes Senate Tax Overhaul
“If they can pass it without me, let them,” Wisconsin Republican says

Anti-Harassment Training Mandated for House Members, Staffs
Paul Ryan makes announcement after two lawmakers recount incidents of sexual harassment

House members and their staffs will now be required to take mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, on the same day that Reps. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, and Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican, recounted at a House Administration Committee hearing incidents of sexual harassment involving lawmakers.

Report: Menendez Jury Deadlocked, Judge Orders Further Deliberation
Relieved juror predicted hung jury

A judge in the Sen. Robert Menendez trial ordered a deadlocked jury Monday to deliberate further, according to CNN.

The judge asked the seven women and five men to go home for the day and clear their heads before returning Tuesday, the report said.

Ryan, McConnell Joke About Tax Bill Future, Democratic Aide Says
Overheard: ‘We’re definitely going to conference’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been joking about the future of the GOP  tax bill, according to a senior Democratic aide who claimed to have heard the conversation.

“We’re definitely going to conference,” Ryan reportedly said to Senate McConnell. Both men laughed, according to the aide.

Pocan Undergoes Heart Surgery
Wisconsin Democrat looking to make fast recovery

Rep. Mark Pocan underwent triple bypass heart surgery Wednesday in Madison, Wis.

The surgery was aimed at preemptively addressing a cardiac issue, according to a statement from the Democrat’s office.

Rep. Ted Poe to Retire From Texas’ 2nd District

Rep. Ted Poe announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election in Texas’ 2nd District.

“I am grateful for the honor and privilege to represent the best people in America, Texas’s Second Congressional District,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.

GOP Leaders Push Back on Criticism of Tax Bill
Democrats knock substance and process of measure

Republican leaders and tax writers are coming under increasing criticism over both the substance and process of their tax overhaul measure, and they are beginning to push back. 

In a somewhat testy GOP leadership press conference Tuesday morning, Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended his team’s handling of not just the current legislation, but other measures that will, like the tax bill, come to the floor under a closed rule, thereby limiting members’ opportunities to change it.

House Releases 2018 Schedule, Second Session to Start Jan. 3
Full weeks off in first five months, month off come fall

The House released its schedule for the second session of the 115th Congress Wednesday afternoon.

Leadership expects representatives to reconvene Jan. 3, 2018 after the winter break.

Republican Jeb Hensarling Not Running for Re-Election
Texas congressman says he has stayed far longer than originally planned

Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling said Tuesday he will not run for re-election next year.

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the US Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned,” the eight-term congressman said in a statement.