Ohio

GOP Tax Bill Signed, Nearly Sealed and Delivered

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, left, and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, conduct the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican tax writers signed off Friday on a compromise plan to overhaul the tax code, bringing House and Senate negotiations to a close and setting up final votes on the legislation early next week.

The tax conference agreement was set to be released Friday at 5:30 p.m. Some key details are already known, like a proposed corporate tax rate of 21 percent; a top individual rate of 37 percent; and a 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” business income.

Photos of the Week: Jones Wins in Alabama, Tax Conference Gavels In
The week of Dec. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrive for a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday. They spoke out against the Republican tax plan ahead of the Senate-House conference committee meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Revealed: An Exclusive Ways and Means Secret Tradition
Committee members whose names start with P have passed along guardianship of a cactus for 25 years

The Pease Cactus sits in the Rayburn Building office of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., on Thursday after it was given to him by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is an institution full of secret traditions, but perhaps the most secret is the 25-year-old bipartisan one of handing down a cactus to certain members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Owners of the Pease Cactus, named for Ohio Democrat Don Pease and called the “Ps Cactus” for short, are an exclusive group of seven past and present committee members. So exclusive that Chairman Kevin Brady didn’t even know about the tradition until now.

Opinion: The Big What-If Question Hovering Over 2018
What about Alabama? The president’s campaign is still under investigation

President Donald Trump holds a rally at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., in March. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Election Night 2018:

TV Anchor (in an excited, making-history voice): “We now project that the Democrats have won the House of Representatives with a minimum of 219 seats and Nancy Pelosi will regain the speaker’s gavel after eight years in the minority.”

Embattled Farenthold Won’t Seek Re-election in 2018
Congressman has been subject of renewed Ethics Committee probe

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the Capitol following the final votes of the week on Thursday. Farenthold announced he will not seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:50 p.m. | Facing renewed allegations of misconduct, Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will not seek re-election in 2018, he announced Thursday. 

The embattled Republican congressman plans to serve out the rest of his term and is not resigning.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Spielberg film and Wawa debut, Warren gets a comic book sequel

From left, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.,  chats with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, at the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting in the Capitol on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Opinion: Raise the Caps to Raise Up American Communities
Congress needs to invest to keep America safe and prosperous

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is seen on a closed circuit television in the subway leading to the Rayburn Building in 2011, soon before the House voted on the Budget Control Act. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

As President Trump and congressional leaders negotiate a framework for federal spending, it is important to stop pitting “defense” and “nondefense” investments against one another, when both are so critical to our common security and prosperity.

Only by treating these investments with parity can Congress do its part to promote the shared future American families and communities deserve.

Businesses Say Foreign Payment Treatment May Breach Treaties
Provisions in House and Senate tax bills draw pushback

Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci says issues with the provisions in question must be resolved in conference negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Business advocates are warning that provisions in the House and Senate tax bills aimed at discouraging offshore migration of multinational operations could trigger trade disputes and retaliation by trading partners because they conflict with tax treaties.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, representing big chipmakers such as Intel Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., told Republican leaders in a Dec. 5 letter that it has trade-related concerns about two House and Senate proposals that target multinationals’ payments to foreign affiliates, including payments for parts and other goods used in manufacturing, royalties, interest and management fees.

Arizona’s Trent Franks to Resign Jan. 31
GOP lawmaker said to have made female staffers uncomfortable with talk of surrogacy

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks was first elected in 2002. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:24 pm | Arizona Republican Trent Franks said Thursday he is resigning from Congress effective Jan. 31 amid an Ethics Committee investigation into discussions he had with two female staffers about surrogacy. 

In a lengthy statement Thursday evening, Franks said he and his wife struggled with fertility.

Ratings Update: Tennessee Senate Remains Solid R for Now
Democrats may still have uphill battle, even with Bredesen

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. (Courtesy the American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Democrats made a big splash this week with the entry of former Gov. Phil Bredesen into the Tennessee Senate race, but the party still has an uphill battle in a state President Donald Trump won convincingly, and it’s not even clear Bredesen gives Democrats the best chance of winning.

On the surface, having a former two-term governor running for an open seat (GOP Sen. Bob Corker is not running for re-election) looks like a great takeover opportunity for Democrats, but there are some signs that the race should still be considered a long shot.