Politics

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Terri Sewell Is Getting Some Help
With Doug Jones’ election, she is no longer only Democrat in Ala. delegation

Rep. Terri A. Sewell worked to get national Democrats involved in the Alabama Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — When Rep. Terri A. Sewell joined Doug Jones on the campaign trail in Alabama, she would often say she needed help in Washington, D.C., as the lone Democrat in the delegation.

Standing onstage here with Jones as he celebrated his historic win over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race Tuesday night, Sewell interjected at one point, yelling, “Help is on the way!”

House Administration Adopts Ad Change Aimed at Open Enrollment

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., right, seen here with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., signed off on the change to franking procedures. He chairs the Franking Commission.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee unanimously adopted on Wednesday a change in the member handbook that could help Democrats seeking to promote HealthCare.gov.

The new rule allows lawmakers to promote and link to federal government websites besides their own. Democrats had encountered the hurdle while attempting to promote the federal health insurance exchange through taxpayer-funded advertisements, known as franking.

Trump: GOP ‘Very Close’ on Tax Bill, Effects Would Start in February
President endorses 21 percent corporate rate

President Donald Trump delivers his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 3:46 p.m. | President Donald Trump announced Republican House and Senate tax negotiators have struck a deal on a final overhaul measure, adding Americans will feel the benefits by February if Congress sends him a bill by Christmas.

“As I speak, Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American families and American companies,” Trump said, delivering his final pitch on the measure flanked by Christmas trees in the White House’s Grand Foyer.

Judge Tightens Hastert Parole
Prohibited from accessing pornography, sex chat lines and speaking to minors

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is pictured in a 1975 Yorkville, Ill., High School yearbook. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had his parole terms tightened to prohibit him from accessing pornography and speaking with minors.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin added that Hastert was prevented “any pornographic, sexually oriented, or sexually stimulating materials, including visual, auditory, telephonic, or electronic media, computer programs, or services” according to USA Today.

Visual Report: Jones Won the Overall Funding Fight in Alabama
Democrat raised more than double his GOP opponent, Moore

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones and his wife celebrate his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic candidate Doug Jones raised a total of $11.5 million in the Senate special election through Nov. 22, while Republican Roy Moore totaled $5.2 million. Donors from outside the state funneled millions of dollars into the election, going mostly to Jones.

Democrats Push GOP to Delay Tax Talks After Alabama
But Republican tax conference committee is full speed ahead

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones's victory in the Senate race to replace Jeff Sessions could scramble the legislative calculus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats were quick to call on Republicans to delay their efforts to rewrite the tax code, saying Doug Jones' victory in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama is a sign from voters that needs to be heeded.

“The vote on the tax bill should be postponed. The voice of Alabamians should be heard on this and Doug Jones should have a chance to weigh in,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Wednesday.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith Picked to Replace Al Franken in Senate
Says she will run for election in 2018 in Likely Democratic race

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, seen here with former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, will fill the Senate seat vacated by DFL Sen. Al Franken. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday said he would appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the Senate seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to announce his resignation date. 

Smith said Wednesday she will run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which is up in 2020. The special election will be held concurrently with next year’s midterms, when Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Amy Klobuchar also faces voters.

Gowdy Will Not Initiate Oversight Investigation Into Trump Allegations
Chairman kicks Dems’ letter requesting investigation to Justice Department

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., indicated in a letter Tuesday he will not open an investigation in his committee into allegations against President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will not initiate an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump, he signaled in a letter Tuesday.

Responding to a Monday letter signed by more than 100 House Democrats asking him to launch an investigation, the South Carolina Republican said he would forward the letter to the Department of Justice.

Forged Schumer Sexual Harassment Complaint Plagiarized Conyers Documents
U.S. Capitol Police investigating source of forgery

The office of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday the senator is the victim of a forged court document alleging sexual harassment crimes he did not commit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:48 p.m. | The forged court complaint outlining sexual harassment claims against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer directly copied a portion of the authentic court records of similar accusations against Rep. John Conyers, the Daily Beast reported.

Both the completely fabricated Schumer complaint and the authentic Conyers complaint reference “House Rule 23,” which of course would not have applied to Schumer, who was a senator in 2012, the year on the fake complaint document.

Analysis: Bannon Isn’t the Only One to Blame for Moore’s Loss
McConnell’s support for Strange, governor’s sex scandal, and moving election date all played a part

Steve Bannon arrives for Roy Moore’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign rally in Midland City, Ala., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore’s shocking loss to Sen.-elect Doug Jones led multiple Republicans to blame former White House political adviser Steve Bannon. 

Drudge Report publisher Matt Drudge tweeted on Wednesday that “Luther Strange would have won in a landslide,” referring to the former Alabama attorney general who was appointed to fill the seat that Jeff Sessions vacated to become President Donald Trump’s attorney general.

Election Day in Alabama in Pictures
Dec. 12 as captured by Roll Call photographer Bill Clark

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Republican candidate Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday. Jones faced off against former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in a special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Alabama celebrated after former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones pulled off a stunning upset victory and became the first Democrat elected in the state in more than 20 years.

Moore was a heavy favorite in the solidly red state, but as allegations of improper contact with under-age girls swirled around him, Jones crept up in the polls, pulling ahead in some, as Election Day neared.

Trump: ‘I Was Right!’ on Alabama Senate Election
Despite endorsement for Roy Moore, Trump distances himself from apparent loser

Judge Roy Moore ties his horse to a fence as he arrives Tuesday to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday sought to distance himself from the apparent loser in the Alabama special Senate race, Roy Moore, tweeting that he “was right” that the former judge would be unable to win a general election.

Though Moore is refusing to concede the race, it appears Democrat Doug Jones will be the next junior senator from Alabama. And, according to the president, he suspected that would happen all along — even though he got personally involved in the race on Moore’s behalf in recent weeks.

A Tax Conference Committee Meeting Mostly For Show
Parameters are clear for final Republican push on tax bill

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady makes his way to a meeting in the speaker’s office in the Capitol on Dec. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing against the members of the House and Senate attending Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the conference committee finalizing the tax code overhaul, but it’s mostly for show and unlikely to be must-see television.

That’s because, with the arguable exception of the farm bill, open meetings of conference committees are not where the deals get done, despite the talking points from top negotiators.

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.