Mississippi

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.

GOP in Home Stretch on Tax Bill, Eyeing Senate Attendance

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, and ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., prepare for the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pence Delays Trip to Preside Over Senate Tax Vote
Move signals GOP expects a close count

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Capitol to preside over the Senate and cast a possible tie-breaking vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of Education in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence will remain in Washington next week to preside over the Senate’s vote on the Republican tax overhaul bill, his chief spokeswoman said, a signal GOP leaders expect to thread the needle.

“Yesterday the White House informed Senate Leadership that due to the historic nature of the vote in the Senate on tax cuts for millions of Americans, the VP would stay to preside over the vote,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said in a statement. “The Vice President will then travel to Egypt [and] Israel where he’ll reaffirm the United States’ commitment to its allies in the Middle East and to working cooperatively to defeat radicalism.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

Ratings Change: Franken Steps Down Amid Allegations, Seat Starts Likely Democratic
Minnesota Senator resigns after colleagues call for his exit

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni, leave the Capitol on Thursday, after Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Al Franken’s resignation puts another Democratic seat into the 2018 mix, but it’s still unclear whether his departure provides Republicans with a legitimate takeover opportunity.

To handicap a race, it’s helpful to know where the contest will take place and who is running. In this case, we know the place is Minnesota, where, despite Donald Trump’s surge in the Midwest, Hillary Clinton narrowly prevailed in 2016, 46-45 percent, and where Republicans haven’t won a Senate race since Norm Coleman’s 2-point victory in 2002.

Proposed Measure Would Prevent Harassment Settlements Using Office Funds
Conyers revelations came from documents suggesting he paid a settlement with Hill account

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation introduced Friday would prevent sexual harassment and misconduct settlements from being paid out of members’ office budgets.

The measure introduced by GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana comes after sexual misconduct allegations against Rep. John Conyers were first brought to light through documents related to a wrongful dismissal complaint he settled with a former employee who had claimed she was fired for rejecting Conyer’s sexual advances. The employee, Marion Brown, was paid $27,000 in wages from Conyer’s office budget after being fired.

Who Is Running the Mysterious PAC Supporting Roy Moore?
Treasurer Brooke Pendley is a hard person to find

Former judge Roy Moore is the Republican nominee in next week’s special election for the Alabama Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brooke Pendley is a self-described “fire-breathing young female conservative patriot” out “to save Judge Roy Moore” with a newly formed political action committee, but good luck trying to find her beyond the fundraising emails.

On Oct. 17, Pendley filed a statement of organization for Club for Conservatives PAC with the Federal Election Commission, listing herself as the treasurer. Over the course of less than three weeks, Pendley has sent out at least 10 fundraising emails.

Office of Compliance Releases Settlement Money Details

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., head the House Administration Committee, which released information about its settlement payouts on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Compliance’s Awards and Settlement Fund has paid out $359,450 since fiscal 2013 to address six claims made against House-member led offices, $84,000 of which was for a sexual harassment claim, according to data released Friday by the House Administration Committee.

The OOC did not name any parties in the settlements, but Politico reported the $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was for a claim against Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Following Senate, House Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
Bipartisan measure comes after allegations against Conyers, Franken

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a conference meeting Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday adopted by voice vote a resolution that would require all House employees — including all members — to be trained annually on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The bipartisan measure comes on the heels of allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest serving member in Congress, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. As those cases work through the congressional ethics process, there’s a renewed focus on how sexual harassment can be reported on Capitol Hill.

Sexual Harassment Reckoning Roils Capitol
As Conyers flies home, leaders face uncomfortable questions

Rep. John Conyers Jr. is facing calls for his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nationwide reckoning over sexual harassment claims continues to reverberate in the Capitol, as congressional leaders field uncomfortable questions about everyone from the Dean of the House to the president of the United States.

“Right now, we’re working on making sure this place works right,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at a Wednesday morning press conference when asked if members should be more vocal about sexual harassment claims made against President Donald Trump.