infrastructure

Tax Bill Eyes End to Project Finance, Stadium Bonds Deductions
Republicans say purpose is to eliminate tax breaks for private entities

Democratic and Republican lawmakers participate in the 2012 Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republican tax bill unveiled Thursday would eliminate a tax break for a major financing tool for public-private partnerships, one of several bond provisions that would affect projects including professional sports stadiums.

Under the bill, income from private activity bonds, a tool that state and local governments offer to help private entities raise money for projects that are deemed to have public benefit, would no longer be tax exempt. The provision would increase revenue by $38.9 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Disaster Program Issues Loom Over Future Aid
As lawmakers dole out millions for Texas and Puerto Rico, oversight problems remain

A U.S. Army soldier tosses bottled water provided by FEMA to be passed on to residents in a neighborhood without grid electricity or running water on Oct. 17 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As lawmakers shuttle multiple supplemental spending packages through Congress to address the devastation from one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, federal audit reports show major ongoing problems with federal agencies’ ability to ensure money is spent correctly.

Tens of billions of dollars are expected to flow from two major sources: the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But multiple federal watchdog reports demonstrate that lawmakers are in some cases funding repairs with little ability to ensure the work complies with federal law.

Analysis: In Puerto Rico, Trump Congratulates Himself
GOP mum on messaging; Schumer says enough

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing for Puerto Rico. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump arrived Tuesday in Puerto Rico and offered the hurricane-ravaged U.S. citizens not a truckload of drinkable water or fuel, but Trump himself and his team.

Trump’s day was one of countermessaging about his administration’s widely panned Puerto Rico relief efforts. He used a briefing minutes after he landed there to congratulate his team and solicit praise from Puerto Rican officials — lightly coaching them on what they should say.

Harvey Aid, Seen Topping Katrina and Sandy, May Be in Batches
Early projections estimate $150 billion

The city of Houston is still experiencing severe flooding in some areas due to the accumulation of historic levels of rainfall, though the storm has moved to the north and east. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The rebuilding of parts of Texas and potentially Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey may be the most expensive disaster relief effort ever, with early projections of federal aid soaring to $150 billion and raising the prospect of several congressional actions to pay for it.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Wednesday he thinks federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey should top what was provided after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012. 

Legislative Agenda Takes Back Seat to Trump’s ‘Beautiful Apartment’
Former Jeb Bush aide: ‘One step forward, one step back’

President Donald Trump opted against selling his legislative agenda in an address to supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared, blamed, boasted, omitted and obfuscated Tuesday night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, but there was one thing he decided against doing: selling his stalled legislative agenda.

A night after delivering a measured and somewhat-detailed prime-time address that laid out his new counterterrorism-focused Afghanistan strategy, Trump’s criticism of the news media, his increasingly visible insecurities and his fixation on his political base took over just minutes into his remarks in the Valley of the Sun.

Analysis: At Trump Rally, It Was 2016 Again
President mixes fear with bold promises, big boasts before friendly crowd

President Donald Trump speaks during the annual Days of Remembrance Holocaust ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on April 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, echoing his populist 2016 campaign, mixed the politics of fear and bold promises as he returned to the campaign trail Tuesday evening in Ohio.

As he delivered parts of his remarks in Youngstown, it well could have been July 2016 with then-Republican nominee Trump at the podium. The world is more unsafe than ever. The United States has been run for too long by “stupid” politicians. People who wish to Americans harm are pouring over the southern border. Other countries are taking advantage of U.S. workers and consumers.

Paul Ryan Pivots to Tax Code Rewrite, Welfare Overhaul
Speaker still wants Senate to get health care done but makes no assurances

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan appears ready to move on to other Republican priorities such as tax and welfare overhauls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Amid a Senate Republican impasse over health care, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is trying to pivot to two other major priorities: rewriting the tax code and overhauling welfare programs.

“Welfare reform and tax reform are the two big things” Republicans need to get done this fall to complete their agenda for the year, as well infrastructure, Ryan told talk radio host Mike Gallagher on Wednesday.

Pence Uses His Medicaid Expansion Plan as Sales Pitch to Governors
Vice president owns up to expanding entitlement in Indiana

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday made a sales pitch to Republican and Democratic governors for an emerging GOP-crafted health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence grabbed the elephant in the room by the tusks Friday when he addressed Republican and Democratic governors, owning his decision as Indiana’s chief executive to expand Medicaid coverage under the 2010 health law.

Pence used his 2015 decision to accept federal funds to expand the program under Barack Obama’s health law as an example of how the Senate Republican leadership-crafted health bill would give governors greater control to shape their states’ health care regimes. The VP, as governor, used the Affordable Care Act-provided funds to expand Medicaid via a program unique to the Hoosier State.

A Friendly Face: Pence Deployed to Governors
Former Indiana governor knows the crowd well

Vice President Mike Pence, seen here on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, will address health care, education and infrastructure at the NGA conference in Rhode Island on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday will continue his quiet campaign as the Trump administration’s ultimate inside player when he tries to convince governors to view President Donald Trump as a partner on issues such as health care and infrastructure.

With Trump in France participating in that country’s Bastille Day festivities, Pence is being deployed to the National Governors Association conference in Rhode Island. It will be a familiar role for Pence, a former Indiana chief executive, who also is a former House GOP leader who meets weekly with his congressional colleagues.

Trump on Lack of Democratic Support: 'Who Cares?'
Foes 'lucky' his supporters don't protest, president tells friendly Iowa crowd

Guests arrive for a rally with President Donald Trump on Thursday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Back on the road in Iowa on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump at a campaign-style rally signaled he is unconcerned with garnering Democratic support on legislation and warned foes they are “lucky” his supporters are not the protesting kind.

The president returned to the combative and provocative style he used during the 2016 GOP primary and general election campaigns, blasting his critics and making statements like this one, to loud applause, of the Paris Climate Agreement: “Like hell its non-binding.”