Bill Pascrell Jr

Crime or ‘high crime?’ Trump’s Ukraine call spurs legal debate
At heart of dispute is when does seeking foreign assistance in an election cross the line

Attorney General William Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department sparked fresh debate Wednesday about when seeking foreign assistance in an election becomes a federal crime, with officials deciding President Donald Trump did not cross a legal line in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now at the center of a Democratic push toward impeachment.

The department said its review of the call — in which Trump asked Ukraine to “do us a favor” and talk to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to Trump’s main political rival — did not find a “thing of value” that could be quantified as campaign finance law requires.

Ukraine Caucus Democrats call for release of full Zelenskiy transcript, reiterate support for Kiev

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, speaks during a press conference to discuss the implications of President Donald Trump's recent phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

State and local tax cap rollback included in year-end tax talks
Democrats leading SALT discussions say they hope to have legislation ready for markup in October

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and House Democrats are looking to roll back the cap on annual state and local tax deductions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior House Ways and Means Democrat said Wednesday that a full, though temporary, elimination of the current $10,000 cap on annual state and local tax deductions is among the proposals being discussed for a possible markup in the coming weeks.

Committee Democrats also discussed in a Wednesday caucus meeting how a “SALT” rollback and a raft of other tax legislation the committee has advanced or will soon consider might fit into a deal later this year with Senate Republicans, and what offsets might be offered as part of any package, said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-New Jersey.

Ways and Means to weigh rollback of state, local tax deduction cap
SALT cap in 2017 overhaul law hit taxpayers in high-tax states especially hard

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said he expects the decision on whether to move legislation related to the SALT cap to be made in the next week. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee will soon hold “at least a full-throttle discussion” about their concerns with the $10,000 cap on state and local income tax deductions that was part of the 2017 tax code overhaul, though it is uncertain whether that will lead to legislation that would increase or even repeal the limit.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts told reporters Tuesday that the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee would be taking up the issue “pretty quick.”

Trump drags ‘Sharpiegate’ into second day as latest self-inflicted wound festers
‘I’m really worried about him,’ Democratic presidential candidate Buttigieg says

President Donald Trump references a map held by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters after a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office on Wednesday. The map appeared to have been altered to suggest the storm was initially projected to hit Alabama, as Trump claimed, prompting federal officials to issue a correction. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday dragged another self-created scandal into another day as he defended a map he displayed a day earlier of Hurricane Dorian’s expected path that appeared to have been altered, prompting howls from Democrats and accusations that he was putting lives in danger.

White House aides were eager last week to portray a commander in chief as deeply involved in the federal government’s efforts to prepare for and respond to Dorian. The storm even did the Trump team a favor when it turned away from Florida, sparing the Sunshine State the kind of catastrophic direct hit that left at least 20 dead and catastrophic damage in the Bahamas.

House’s condemnation of Trump may just be the beginning
Now the debate is over push by some Democrats for impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and senior aide Wendell Primus leave the House floor on Tuesday as turmoil gripped the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Although Tuesday’s long day of heated debate ended with the House voting to condemn President Donald Trump for racist tweets, the chamber’s brawl over the president’s behavior may be just beginning. 

The House voted, 240-187, to approve a nonbinding resolution that says the chamber “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

House condemns Trump ‘racist’ remarks, but some Dems want to go further
Leadership pushes back against censure, impeachment suggestions

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, is set to push for impeaching President Donald Trump, saying the House condemnation of the president is not enough. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats were unanimous in condemning President Donald Trump for his “racist” remarks attacking four of their freshman members, but some caucus members want to do more to fight back.

The House voted Tuesday evening, 240-187, on a nonbinding resolution that affirms support for immigrants and condemns Trump’s comments from Sunday, when he said Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” (Only Omar, a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the United States.) 

Democrats want to eliminate corporate tax cut but their tax measure avoids it
Democrats have plans for spending money raising corporate rate would bring in, but they’ll go nowhere as long as Trump is in the Oval Office

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has not included eliminating the corporate tax cut in current moving legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s no lack of plans from Democrats paid for by undoing at least part of the huge 2017 corporate tax rate cut. But the only Democrat with a tax bill currently moving through Congress is pointedly not talking about revisiting the lower 21 percent rate.

The 14 percentage point rate cut in the 2017 law, which is permanent, was projected to save corporations $1.35 trillion over its first 10 years. 

Democratic Caucus oversight discussion does little to resolve impeachment divisions
Some members still want to press ahead, while others still aren’t convinced impeachment is best path

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., departs Wednesday after meeting with House Democrats to discuss possible impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:11 p.m. | A Wednesday morning discussion by House Democrats on oversight matters did little to resolve a stewing intraparty debate about whether to open an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, but it did set off the president.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi organized the meeting to continue to hold her caucus back from heading down an impeachment path with an unknown outcome that could backfire on her party. As she left the discussion to go to the White House to meet with Trump on infrastructure, she had harsh words for the president.

Mnuchin rejects Neal’s request for Trump tax returns
Department ‘not authorized’ to disclose information, Treasury secretary says

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he won’t comply with a demand to produce President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal Monday that the IRS will not hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns and associated information.

“In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and … the Department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information,” Mnuchin wrote in a letter to Neal.