Orrin G Hatch

Democrats seeking votes in Trump country tout miners’ benefits
As Republicans prepare a coal pension fix proposal, Democrats push for more

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, center, Sens. Joe Manchin III and Sherrod Brown, right, called for action on Democratic pension proposals this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they’re close to unveiling a plan to address a $66 billion funding shortfall affecting coal miners’ and other union pension plans, an issue Democrats see as advantageous politically and as a possible bargaining chip in trade talks with the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump championed manufacturing and coal industry jobs during his 2016 campaign, including in critical swing states he won like Pennsylvania and Ohio. In the 2020 campaign, Democrats have been touting “broken promises” to workers in those states and others, including more traditional GOP bastions like Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection next year. 

Suicide prevention hotline to get three-digit phone number
FCC chairman says he will move ahead following legislation, staff report

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to move ahead with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It should soon be easier to call a suicide prevention hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with establishing a three-digit number for the federally-backed hotline.

Mnuchin: Parties moving closer on debt limit, spending caps
Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call

Steven Mnuchin, left, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, arrives with Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., during Mnuchin's Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017. Mnuchin said Monday the White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal on spending caps and the debt ceiling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal that would raise austere spending caps as well as the statutory debt ceiling.

Mnuchin told reporters at a briefing on cryptocurrency regulation that he planned to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., later Monday. The two have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call.

Retirement bill remains stalled amid Republican holds in Senate
Finance Committee chairman says as many as six GOP senators have issues with the bill ‘for different reasons’

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said the retirement savings bill, which has been worked on over the past three Congresses, “should have passed eons ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican senators are holding up what could be the biggest retirement savings bill in more than a decade.

After sailing through the House on a 417-3 vote May 23 before the weeklong Memorial Day recess, supporters hoped the legislation would garner unanimous consent for quick passage in the Senate the following day. But senatorial holds accumulated and continue to stall the measure.

DOJ, House Intel return to norms, compromise on redacted Mueller report materials
DOJ will furnish 12 categories of counterintelligence materials ‘by the end of next week,’ Chairman Schiff says

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has agreed to a compromise with the Justice Department over the schedule of the Mueller report’s counterintelligence materials DOJ will hand over to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Intelligence Committee chairman has accepted a Justice Department offer to provide the panel with 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials underlying the Mueller report.

As a result of the eleventh hour agreement, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff canceled a Wednesday committee meeting where members were expected to vote on an “enforcement action” to compel Attorney General William Barr to comply with a sweeping subpoena. The committee was seeking the full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s on his investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and its underlying materials.

Democrats learning their subpoenas are only as powerful as Trump allows
Congress has never faced the all-encompassing opposition to administrative oversight that president is putting up

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas” that Democrats want to throw at his White House and his business empire, President Donald Trump said last week. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Donald Trump vows to fight every congressional subpoena issued by House committees investigating his presidency and personal affairs, Democratic lawmakers and strategists are coming to grips with a new reality in which the subpoena might be obsolete.

“At this point, it’s just a piece of paper,” a former senior congressional investigative aide said. “It’s useless.”

Arthur Finkelstein reprised with GOP’s ‘socialists’ cries
The ‘s’ word is a reworking of the ‘liberal’ label from decades ago

Republicans have used the “socialist” label on New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Democratic Party, reprising the tactics of the late campaign consultant Arthur Finkelstein, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — If you’re on any Republican list, you’ve undoubtedly received emails from one of the GOP campaign committees or a Capitol Hill communications staffer calling the Democrats “socialists.” To those of us who were around in the 1980s and 1990s, that’s nothing new. We remember the late GOP campaign consultant Arthur Finkelstein’s strategy: Call your opponent a liberal again and again until voters believe it.

Finkelstein’s style was “unmistakable,” wrote Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post in 1996, “an avalanche of attack ads painting Democrats as ‘liberal,’ ‘ultraliberal,’ ‘embarrassingly liberal’ and ‘unbelievably liberal.’”

Senate doxxing suspect pleads guilty, faces over 2 years in prison
The former staffer accused of doxxing Senators during the Kavanaugh hearings pleaded guilty to five federal charges

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY., walks to the U.S. Capitol from the Senate Subway on December 4, 2012. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former Capitol Hill staffer accused of doxxing Senators during the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings pleaded guilty Friday to five charges, including witness tampering and computer fraud.

Jackson A. Cosko, 27, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of making public restricted personal information; one count of computer fraud; one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice. Cosko posted the cell phone numbers and home addresses of senators onto the web from House and Senate computer networks.

Ways and Means considers major changes to retirement savings incentives
Much of the bill, approved by the committee Tuesday, recycles provisions from previous Congresses

Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talk before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on U.S.-China trade relations in Longworth Building on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The third time may be the charm for a 122-page collection of retirement benefit tweaks that died in the last two Congresses but has become a top priority for House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal.

Much of the bill that the Ways and Means Committee approved Tuesday recycles provisions from previous Congresses. One major change would make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement benefits, while offering tax credits to defray the start-up costs.

Seeking to shrink Bears Ears, uranium firm met with Interior before review
House panel plans oversight hearing on monuments next week

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a review that led to substantially reduced boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. A company tied to mineral interests there met with a senior Interior Department official nearly a month before President Donald Trump requested the review. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

A meeting between an Interior Department official and a company tied to mineral interests in the Bears Ears National Monument area — almost a month before President Donald Trump requested a review that substantially reduced its boundaries — may end up in the crosshairs of House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva.

Documents show that Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian energy firm, met with a top Interior official who would be involved with the review before Trump requested it.