Mark Sanford

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.

Trump Executive Actions a ‘Disruptive’ Lot
Full effects of president’s unilateral moves still years away, experts say

President Donald Trump after signing an executive order Oct. 12 targeting the 2010 health care law. Experts and lawmakers say his executive actions are among the most “disruptive” of any president. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The executive actions President Donald Trump has signed have the potential to be among the most “aggressive” and “disruptive” ever issued by a chief executive, according to lawmakers and experts.

Trump and his top aides often describe his use of executive orders, actions and memoranda as the president using his constitutional authorities to “put America first” and plot a policy course to benefit the country’s forgotten men and women. Both were major themes of his 2016 campaign.

Congress’ Gun Massacre Caucus
Dealing with mass shootings is becoming all too familiar for many members

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, center left, with Rep. Mark Sanford to his right and then-Gov. Nikki Haley, second from right, attend a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

On Dec. 14, 2012, Elizabeth Esty was attending a social media workshop for new members of Congress at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She had been elected to represent Connecticut’s 5th District a month earlier.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Here’s an example right now — I’m getting texts and alerts that there’s been a shooting and we don’t know what happened,’” she said.

While Trump’s Away, Congress Legislates?
President’s absence eases tax bill work, some Republicans say

Some Republican members say progress on a tax bill is more likely with President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, away in Asia. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump spent the first four days of his Asia swing focused on countering North Korea and bolstering trade relationships — and some Republican members who are eager to pass a tax bill are just fine with that.

The way they see it, Trump being nearly 7,000 miles away for most of the next two weeks will allow them to make more progress on their tax legislation than if he were in Washington. That’s because Trump is often hunkered down in the White House watching cable news reports about their efforts, his phone at the ready to fire off a tweet that could substantially delay or completely derail their work.

Small-Business Concerns Threaten GOP Tax Overhaul
Many Republicans worry small-business owners won’t see benefits

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and his committee might consider changes to the GOP tax bill’s small-business provisions to address members’ concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Concerns from rank-and-file Republicans about small-business provisions in the House GOP tax bill are emerging as the biggest threats to the legislation’s passage in the chamber.

The specific concerns vary from the types of small businesses that will benefit from a reduced 25 percent tax rate to the amount of so-called pass-through income that will still be taxed at individual rates.

Summer of Storms Tests Energy Resilience
Lawmakers, administration battle over what it means to rebuild

A downed electric pole sits in mud in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 9, more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

While the Trump administration proposes to make the nation’s electric grid more “resilient” by propping up nuclear and coal-fired power plants, a wide range of energy advocates say there are better — and greener — ways to achieve the same goal.

And they are urging leaders to heed the lessons provided by the massive storms that took down electricity lines in parts of Texas and Florida and left U.S. island territories in the Caribbean in the dark for weeks.

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. 

Diane Black, Prepping Gubernatorial Bid, Takes Victory Lap
Tennessee Republican finally shepherded budget resolution through House last week

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black has had an undeniable impact on this year’s budget process, thanks to her efforts to forge a compromise package. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

The first woman to chair the House Budget Committee finally shepherded the fiscal 2018 resolution through her chamber Oct. 5, a traditionally thankless task that she took on after President Donald Trump tapped the former chairman, Tom Price, to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Diane Black is now preparing to hand in her gavel after 10 months on the job, so she can focus on her campaign to become Tennessee’s next Republican governor, she announced in early August.

GOP Lawmakers Stand by Trump as Majority of Americans Oppose His Re-Election
Economist/YouGov survey shows strong disapproval, unfavorables

President Donald Trump points to his ears as he tries to hear shouted questions from reporters while departing the White House for Camp David on Sept. 8. (Win McNamee/Getty Images File Photo)

A new survey indicates a majority of Americans doubt President Donald Trump’s honesty, view him as a weak leader and don’t want him to run again. But Republican lawmakers say he isn’t a drag on their agenda and predict he will be a formidable candidate in 2020.

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the latest Economist/YouGov survey were so put off by the commander in chief they wanted him to opt against a re-election bid. The results were not kind to Trump, with 54 percent saying they either somewhat or strongly disapproved of how the president is doing his job, while 39 percent approved.

Mike Pence Showered With Praise Despite Stalled Agenda
Members in both chambers say they’re still big fans of Veep

Vice President Mike Pence and Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey talk in the Capitol before the Senate Policy luncheons on Sept. 19. Pence has not been able to help secure 50 Republican votes on a health care overhaul bill this year. But GOP lawmakers don’t blame him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has spent countless hours behind closed doors with congressional Republicans negotiating on health care and other issues, yet the GOP legislative agenda has largely stalled. But Republican lawmakers are not blaming President Donald Trump’s Capitol Hill “insider” — quite the contrary, in fact.

Pence, once part of the House GOP leadership team, was billed as Trump’s get-things-done guy. So far, the vice president’s appreciable legislative accomplishments are scant. He broke several ties in his capacity as president of the Senate and worked with fellow Republicans on unsuccessful efforts to pass a health care overhaul measure that would get rid of Barack Obama’s 2010 law.