Bill Johnson

On Debt Reduction, GOP Says Wait Till Next Year
Oft-cited deficit concerns thrown by the wayside for fiscal 2018 budget

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is focused on using the budget process to rewrite the tax code, but hasn’t yet committed on what to use the next budget resolution for. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite years of calling for reducing the federal debt, House Republicans are voting Thursday on a budget that doesn’t balance and that calls for adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit to finance a tax overhaul. And most of them are fine with that.

Why? Primarily because the fiscal 2018 budget resolution is the vehicle needed to set up the fast-track process for rewriting the tax code and not letting Senate Democrats filibuster the bill. But Republicans say they plan to use that same budget reconciliation process again next year to start chipping away at the deficit.

Rob Woodall Doubles Down in Budget Chairmanship Race
Georgia Republican vying with two others for gavel

Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall hopes to succeed Tennessee Rep. Diane Black as chairman of the House Budget Committee. (Al Drago/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rob Woodall is all-in in the race to succeed House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, if and when she steps down.

“Absolutely,” the George Republican said when asked if he will compete for the top spot when Black leaves the chairmanship. Black is running for governor of Tennessee next year, though she has not yet said when she plans to leave her position at the Budget panel.

Bernie Sanders, the Man With Single-Payer Clout
Vermont independent continues to direct the future of national Democratic Party

Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders bashed special interest groups when introducing the so-called Medicare for All Act of 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The seismic shift in support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan to transform the U.S. health care system into a single-payer program indicates the reach the Vermont independent has within the Democratic Party.

At the same time that his onetime presidential foe Hillary Clinton is reminding people of the party’s devastating loss last fall, Sanders is trying to define its future. His bill to enroll every American in Medicare drew 16 co-sponsors, 16 more than when he first introduced similar legislation in 2013.

Word on the Hill: Franken’s ‘SNL’ Friends on Franken vs. Trump
Stabenow makes rounds, Cruz award, Johnson shows flexibility, Biden’s book and Scalia event

Dana Carvey, left, Kevin Nealon, second from left, and Sen. Al Franken, right, mock the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings (with Phil Hartman, center, and Chris Farley) on “Saturday Night Live” in 1991. (NBC Universal)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., could give President Donald Trump a run for his money. Or at least fellow “Saturday Night Live” alums Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey think so.

“Will Al Franken run for president?” Nealon asks Carvey on his Twitter video series “Hiking With Kevin.”

Tax Overhaul Path Unclear Amid Budget Chair's Expected Departure
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 28

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Action on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is key to a tax overhaul remains uncertain as House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black is expected to resign to run for governor of Tennessee, say CQ Roll Call's House leadership reporter Lindsey McPherson and budget reporter Jennifer Shutt.

Leading contenders to replace Black include GOP Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio. Meanwhile, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Tom McClintock of California could also make the list if they decide to seek the post.

Diane Black Will Need to Resign Budget Chairmanship or Seek Waiver
Tennessee Republican is running for governor

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black is running for governor and may have to give up her Budget Committee chairwomanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Diane Black may have to step down as Budget Committee chairwoman now that the Tennessee Republican is running for governor of her home state, but who will want to take the gavel of a panel whose primary work product has run into major roadblocks for two years in a row?

Black, the first woman to chair the Budget Committee, has only held the gavel for eight months. She replaced Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who was chairman for just two years before President Donald Trump tapped him to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

Democrats Down Republicans, Both Down the Rhetoric
Emotional evening at Congressional Baseball Game

Steve Scalise fans waves signs before the start of the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington on Thursday, June 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When winning Democratic manager Rep. Mike Doyle gave the Congressional Baseball Game trophy to his counterpart, Rep. Joe L. Barton, to put in Rep. Steve Scalise’s office while he is recovering, it summed up the feeling of the evening.

“It’s so awesome to show everyone that we actually get along and I want that to be the message that everyone takes away tonight,” Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said after the game.

Analysis: No Signs Baseball Shooting Will Change Hill’s Ways
Partisanship will prove stronger than promises of unity after House’s No. 3 GOP leader gravely wounded

Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Val B. Demings of Florida leave a congressional meeting about Wednesday’s shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t expect the congressional baseball practice shooting to change anything. Not the venomous partisanship that defines life at the Capitol. Not the public’s dismal opinion of the people they’ve sent to Washington. And certainly not the polarized impasse on gun control.

The torrent of words presaging something different began minutes after the shooting stopped Wednesday morning at the Republicans’ suburban practice field, with the third ranking leader of the House majority and four others grievously wounded. Across town, the Democrats halted their own early morning workout to huddle in prayer for their GOP colleagues. Groups advocating for tighter federal restrictions on firearms asserted hopefully that this time, the debate would shift in their favor.

After Shooting, Members ‘Numb’ — And Defiant
Some argue game must go on

Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, center, and his sons, board the Rayburn subway in the basement of the Capitol after a shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress reacted to the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday morning with a mixture of sadness, shock and defiance. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a Capitol Police officer, a lobbyist and a staffer were shot. Another Capitol Police officer was injured, as was Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

New Faces on Congressional Baseball Teams — Including a Woman
2016 election leads to some roster moves on both sides

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate after the Republicans' 8-7 victory in the 55th Congressional Baseball Game in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There will be a few new faces on the field at the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game on June 15.

The teams begin practice with a few freshman lawmakers on their rosters and some players lost in the shuffle of the 2016 election.