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Flake Fires Back at Trump to Dispute Tax Vote Prediction
Another defection would put GOP bill in jeopardy as president seeks first big win

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and President Donald Trump are trading barbs again, this time over the Senate GOP tax plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and perhaps his top congressional Republican critic are sparring again, this time with Sen. Jeff Flake’s office disputing the commander in chief’s claim that the Arizona Republican plans to oppose the party’s tax overhaul plan.

Trump started the duo’s latest back-and-forth with a Sunday evening tweet predicting the retiring Flake — whom he mocked by referring to him as “Flake(y)” — will “be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is ‘toast.’”

10 Things to Watch as the Tax Bill Moves Forward
House passage just the first step

President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP’s tax bill. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, far left, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, foreground, also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passage of a tax code rewrite Thursday was just the first in a multistep process. Many changes are expected before a bill reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

First, the Senate has to prove it can pass a tax overhaul after failing to do so on health care.

Judge Declares Mistrial in Menendez Case
Jurors said they were deadlocked on all counts

Sen. Robert Menendez has occasionally been at the Capitol while on trial in New Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge is declaring a mistrial in the federal corruption case against Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, after a New Jersey jury was declared hopelessly deadlocked on all counts.

That’s according to a defense attorney, who informed reporters at the courthouse.

Tension High at Senate Finance Committee Tax Markup
Timing, lack of notice are big sticking points

With the Senate Finance Committee markup of tax legislation proceeding under something less than regular order, tensions are high between Republicans and Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Day Three of the Senate Finance Committee tax markup began under a cloud of partisan discord after top Republicans dropped a new version of their tax plan late Tuesday night, making broad changes that Democrats were not consulted on in advance.

The tax writing panel on Wednesday was debating the revised GOP tax plan that would now roll back a central part of the 2010 health care law and make the most significant individual tax benefits in the plan expire after eight years.

Four Senate Stories That Might Shape Moore’s Fate
Past election and ethics controversies offer precedent for GOP

Those who hope to block Moore from the Senate might look to the paths pursued by, clockwise from top left, Robert G. Torricelli, John Ensign, Roland W. Burris and Lisa Murkowski. (Douglas Graham, Scott J. Farrell and Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Torricelli, Murkowski, Burris & Ensign: That’s not the newest lobbying law firm on K Street, but rather a roster of senators whose extraordinary political careers point toward the four tough paths for Republicans intent on keeping Roy Moore out of the Senate.

The lateness of the electoral hour, combined with Alabama’s deeply red nature and solid support from the state’s GOP base, continue to afford the 70-year-old, twice-removed chief justice of the state Supreme Court big advantages if he persists in his campaign — notwithstanding allegations that while he was a prosecutor in his 30s he sexually assaulted two teenage girls and pursued romantic relationships with others.

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.

From Party Chair to Candidate, Lucas Running for Open West Virginia Seat
Conrad Lucas is used to giving candidates advice; now he’s one of them

West Virginia GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas, a former House aide to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, right, is running for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Evan Jenkins, left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Conrad Lucas has spent the last five years as a state party chair, advising candidates on how to run for office. 

Now that he’s a candidate for Congress, the shoe’s on the other foot. 

Ex-Ethics Chief Outlines Tips to Fix Conflicts of Interest

U.S. Capitol Dome (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub, a high-profile critic of the Trump administration’s lax approach to conflicts of interest, offered 13 recommendations Thursday he said would shore up federal ethics.   

He wants to make it harder for presidents to fire and replace directors of OGE. He recommends giving the federal agency the authority to initiate contact with Congress. And he is urging lawmakers to amend ethics laws to give the ethics office, which currently plays an advisory role, more power to collect documents and records and to make public on its website the ethics actions it takes.

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.