Hatch Blasts White House Trade Policy, Seeks Action On Trade Imbalances
Finance chairman takes aim at China over steel and aluminum production, intellectual property

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, said that the U.S. is currently in “one of the most challenging trade environments” that he has seen in his four decades in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch on Tuesday issued a blistering critique of the Trump administration’s trade policy and called on the White House to take action to remedy imbalances with trade partners like China and the European Union. 

The Utah Republican, speaking at a Business Roundtable event with the Farmers for Free Trade, highlighted the threat posed to the U.S. economy by “external opponents and internal skeptics.” 

Insiders See Democratic House Gains of 30-45 seats
Polling, election results, fundraising tend to point in one direction

President Donald Trump continues to define the landscape for this year’s midterms, which insiders predict will be favorable to Democrats in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven and a half months before the midterm elections, the combination of attitudinal and behavioral evidence leads to a single conclusion: The Democrats are very likely to win control of the House in November.

Just as important, Republican and Democratic campaign strategists also agree that an electoral wave has already formed. The attitudinal evidence begins with national polling.

Perceived Ban on Federal Research for Gun Violence to Remain
Pending omnibus will not reverse the “Dickey Amendment”

Students protested in front of the Capitol last week as part of a national walkout and called on Congress to act on gun violence prevention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The pending fiscal year 2018 spending bill will not address a perceived ban on the federal government conducting research into gun violence, according to congressional aides.

Whether any other gun control measures are added to the spending bill, expected to be released Monday evening, remains an open question. Aides said no final decision has been made yet whether to include Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s legislation related to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football
As omnibus approaches, lawmakers should resist the temptation to throw the agency around

CBO Director Keith Hall, right, talks with Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi before an oversight hearing in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress finally heads for a vote this week on a long overdue omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018 — a year that is nearly halfway over. Fiscal policy debates on taxes and health care have added friction to an already partisan atmosphere.

Caught in the middle of this endless wrangling on Capitol Hill about budget priorities — where to cut, where to spend — is an organization that has come under fire for telling it like it is on the cost of those proposals, the Congressional Budget Office.

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Top Diversity Associations on Capitol Hill Run by Women
All four major diversity congressional staff associations are run by women for first time ever

From left, Victoria Rivas, president of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association; Francesca McCrary, president of the Congressional Black Associates; Moh Sharma, president of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association; and Yasmin Rigney, president of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time, women now head the four largest congressional staff diversity associations.

And they say that makes perfect sense after all the focus on sexual harassment and gender disparity over the past year.

Crowded Field Jockeying to Replace Rep. Trey Gowdy Adds Two More
The 17 Democrats and Republicans who have announced have two weeks to file campaign papers

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is not running for reelection in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ever since South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdyannounced in January he would not seek re-election in the fall, everyone in his district with a political bone in their body seems eager to replace him.

On Wednesday, former state Sen. Lee Bright, a Republican, and attorney Eric Graben, a Democrat, became the 11th Republican and sixth Democratic candidates, respectively, to declare campaigns to fill the void Gowdy is leaving in South Carolina’s 4th District, The Greenville News reported.

Opinion: We All Have the Same Challenges
Female staffers should be judged by the results they produce

Barrett Karr, center, is chief of staff to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Also pictured, Kelly Dixon, director of legislative operations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I am often asked what it is like to be a female chief of staff. My answer is that it is probably not that much different from being a male chief of staff — we all have the same challenges. 

But the question reminds me that I am fortunate to have worked for Kay Granger, John Kline and now Kevin McCarthy.

'Phase Two' of Tax Cuts? What Is Trump Talking About?
GOP source: Lighthearted or not, president's idea is going nowhere

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017 as House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (clapping) looks on. Democrats were quick to exit the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A second Republican-crafted tax overhaul bill? In a highly competitive midterm election year? President Donald Trump keeps suggesting Republican lawmakers should do just that.

Trump and Republicans late last year relished his lone legislative feat, a tax bill that slashed rates while also opening new Arctic oil drilling and nixing Barack Obama’s individual health insurance requirement. He threw a celebration party with all congressional Republicans on the White House’s South Portico and insisted on signing the bill into law several days early in a hastily arranged Oval Office session.

Tariff Fallout Could Shape Midterm Battlegrounds
Political observers in both parties are taking stock of potential effects

President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10 in Moon Township, Pa. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Trump administration’s controversial plan for new tariffs may seep into the debates of competitive House races — well beyond Pennsylvania steel country — that will determine in November which party controls the chamber.

Opponents of the tariffs on steel and aluminum also warn that if the administration carries through with the proposal and if other nations retaliate, the issue could spill into even more congressional districts, including in Republican-leaning farm country.