North Dakota

Trump Tax Taunts Don’t Trouble Red-State Democrats
McCaskill outspoken in criticism of Senate GOP measure

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks Tuesday during the Senate Democrats news conference on taxes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats — many of them on the ballot in 2018 — came together with a unified message Tuesday morning, just before President Donald Trump arrived at the Capitol to meet with the Republican Conference.

Sen. Tim Kaine was perhaps the most direct. The Virginia Democrat said at the news conference that the GOP should make a run at a bipartisan product before bringing to the floor a tax reconciliation bill that would only require a simple majority to pass.

Senate Republicans Move on Trump’s Appeals Court Picks
Chamber confirms Gregory Katsas to D.C. Circuit in 50-48 vote

Gregory Katsas was confirmed Tuesday to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are pressing forward this week on putting President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks on the bench, with a floor vote Tuesday for the pivotal circuit court in Washington and an upcoming confirmation hearing for a judge that Minnesota Democrat Al Franken has tried to block.

The Senate voted, 50-48, to confirm Gregory Katsas to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which often has the last word on appeals of presidential actions and issues decisions that have a national impact on environmental, energy and regulatory policies.

Meet the Man Who Carried the Capitol Christmas Tree From Montana to D.C.
Larry Spiekermeier drove a 79-foot Engelmann Spruce from Kootenai National Forest

A baby visits Larry Spiekermeier in the truck. (Courtesy US Capitol Tree/Twitter)

Everyone in the Montana trucking industry knows Larry Spiekermeier. And now people on the road between the Treasure State and D.C. know him too — as the man who delivered the 53rd annual Capitol Christmas tree.

Spiekermeier drove the truck carrying the 2017 tree for two weeks, starting from Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana. Spiekermeier and the 79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce made twenty stops between Nov. 13 and Nov. 27 in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky before arriving at the Capitol on Monday.

Plan to Boost Coal and Nuclear Could Cost Consumers
Should consumers pay more so coal and nuclear plants can survive?

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Oct. 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For years, federal regulation of the electric grid has focused on keeping prices low and competition stiff. But that could change with a recent proposal from the Trump administration to put more emphasis on what it calls resiliency.

According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the electric grid is more resilient — able to bounce back from disasters of the natural and man-made variety — when it has plenty of so-called baseload power that can run 24/7, with or without sunshine or wind and regardless of supply snags.

McConnell: Moore Must Step Aside If Allegations True
Ala. candidate initiated sexual encounter with girl, reports say

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore is questioned by the media in the Capitol on Oct. 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:17 p.m. | Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, according to The Washington Post.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

Senate GOP to Delay Corporate Tax Cut, Repeal ‘SALT’ Deduction
Finance Committee releases plan highlights

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:25 p.m. | Senate Republicans proposed Thursday to delay a corporate tax cut for one year and fully repeal the deduction for state and local taxes, taking a different approach than the House on overhauling the tax code.

The plan highlights released by the Senate Finance Committee show shared goals with the House bill advanced by the Ways and Committee on Thursday. Both would provide tax cuts at all income levels, slash the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and expand benefits for families with children. For multinational companies, the proposals would shift to a new territorial tax regime.

A Tax Bill in Plain English? Senate Finance Committee Is Already There
Panel has an unusual history of forgoing legislative language for simple terminology

Former Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, right, and Max Baucus of Montana were among the Finance Committee members who once debated whether to conduct committee business in plain English or legalese. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anyone looking for legislative text of the Senate’s tax code overhaul this week will be sorely disappointed.

But it should be no surprise, because unlike the rest of Congress — including their counterparts on the House Ways and Means Committee — members of the Senate Finance panel conduct their business in plain English. The conversion to legislative text takes place on the way to the floor.

All the GOP’s Eggs Are Now in the Tax Basket
The pressure’s on as House Republicans try to move their tax bill

Sen. John Kennedy holds up his wallet during a Tuesday news conference in the Capitol as he says that families and small businesses would benefit from the GOP’s tax plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s hard enough to digest the policy details of the GOP tax overhaul plan — but add in a dose of distraction from the sprawling probe of Russian interference into last year’s elections and it’s easy to lose any budding “taxmentum.”

Selling a comprehensive tax code rewrite — even if it’s packaged as a tax cut for individuals and businesses — is so challenging that Congress hasn’t done it since 1986.

One Year Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018
Taking heat from both sides, Nevada’s Dean Heller leads the list

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is among the ten most vulnerable senators in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats are defending 10 seats President Donald Trump won last cycle. But a year out from Election Day, the most vulnerable senator is the lone Republican facing re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton.The overall Senate landscape has improved for Democrats since the beginning of the year, with Republican retirements opening up two seats in 2018. But this ranking only features incumbents.

More GOP primaries could develop, but besides Nevada’s Dean Heller, the other nine most vulnerable senators are all Democrats.

What to Watch as 2018 Primaries Inch Closer
It’s never too early: first contests take place in March

Spread out over the first nine months of the year, primaries will set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections in November. These contests will be the first test of each party’s ability to field strong candidates in key pickup opportunities and fend off intraparty challenges. 

The first elections will take place in March. Here’s what to watch for as the primaries pick up. And click here for Roll Call's comprehensive guide to every 2018 election from start to finish.