Christopher H Smith

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

12 House Republicans Sign Letter Opposing Arctic Drilling
The proposal, not included in the House-passed tax bill, remains in the Senate version on floor

Reindeer wander off at the end of the Senate Democrats’ news conference and rally opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the Capitol on Thursday. A number of activists dressed up as polar bears and reindeer for the event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A dozen House Republicans, half of whom voted for the House tax overhaul bill that passed Nov. 13, wrote a letter to GOP leaders urging them not to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, adding another complication to negotiating a tax bill that can pass both chambers.

The Senate tax overhaul bill is tied in a reconciliation measure with legislation that would open up drilling parts of the ANWR. Its inclusion is seen as key to having secured GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s support for the measure.

Meet the Republicans Who Voted ‘No’ on the Tax Bill
13 GOP members, most from high-tax states, voted against leadership

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who voted “no” on the House GOP tax bill, finds himself in a Toss-up re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders cheered passage of their sweeping tax overhaul Thursday, but 13 GOP lawmakers bucked their party and voted against the bill. 

All but one of them hailed from New York, New Jersey and California — each a high-tax state. These lawmakers largely opposed the legislation because it curtailed the state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT. The measure caps the deduction for property taxes at $10,000 while eliminating the tax break for state and local income or sales taxes. 

House Approves GOP Tax Overhaul
Thirteen Republicans votes against their leadership’s measure

New York GOP Reps. John J. Faso, Dan Donovan, Lee Zeldin and Peter T. King explain their opposition to the GOP tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Step one complete.

House Republicans on Thursday passed their tax overhaul bill, 227-205, which will now go to the Senate and be used as a vehicle to pass its own measure. Thirteen Republicans voted against the measure; no Democrats voted for the measure. 

Smelling Tax Blood, Dems Look to ’18
Tax bill will be key to midterm campaign strategy, Schumer and Pelosi say

Members of the media wait outside of the hearing room for comments from senators about the Senate Finance Committee’s markup of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In advance of expected congressional action to overhaul the tax code, both political parties are seizing on the effort as key to their 2018 midterm election prospects.

House and Senate Republicans believe passing the first tax code rewrite since 1986 will fulfill a key promise they made to voters in 2016 — and will spur economic growth and job creation that voters will credit them for in the 2018 midterms.

Ready or Not, House Republicans Set Vote on Tax Overhaul
But floor delay remains a possibility as GOP leaders wrangle votes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the health care debate taught him not to set an “artificial deadline” for passing legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The scenario is all too familiar: House Republican leaders schedule a floor vote on a major legislative priority and exude confidence the bill will pass despite a chorus of rank-and-file concern. 

GOP leaders insist the tax overhaul they plan to vote on this week is different from the health care bill they had to pull from the floor this spring. But the reality is they are still wrangling the 218 votes needed to pass their tax measure. A possible repeat scenario of the health care debacle looms.

House Republicans Raise Red Flags Over Senate Tax Bill
Differences on estate tax, state and local tax deduction could cause issues

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., has concerns about the Senate not repealing the estate tax and worries the House have to vote on the Senate version of the tax overhaul bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The tax overhaul bill the Senate released Thursday could create problems in negotiations with the House, given its divergence on key areas like the estate tax and the state and local tax deduction.

House conservatives are already firing warning shots that some aspects of the Senate bill are unacceptable, like a one-year delay in the corporate tax rate cut and preservation of the estate tax.

House Adopts Budget Resolution Paving Way for Tax Package
Measure could increase deficit by $1.5 trillion

The House adopted a budget resolution that is the GOP’s vehicle for a tax overhaul measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution by a narrow margin, with supporters acknowledging it was little more than a vehicle for a still-developing tax measure.

“Most importantly this budget that we passed today brings us one step closer to tax reform,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said. 

American Catholics Have an Ally in Trump, VP Says
Pence speaks at D.C. breakfast

Vice President Mike Pence told attendees at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday that Catholics “have an ally in President Donald Trump.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By GRIFFIN CONNOLLY and KYLE STEWART

Vice President Mike Pence denounced terrorism in the Middle East and championed President Donald Trump’s early anti-abortion initiatives in an address Tuesday at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Meet the Republicans Who Voted ‘No’ on the Health Care Bill
All of them outran Trump in their districts in 2016

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen voted against the health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and SIMONE PATHÉ

Twenty Republicans bucked their party and voted against the health care overhaul on Thursday.