Peter Welch

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Called ‘Provocative,’ Counterproductive
‘He’s undercutting his own efforts at peacemaking,’ Rep. Welch says

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement in May with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. On Wednesday, Trump announced he is moving the American embassy to Jerusalem despite Muslim allies urging him against it. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump says his decision to buck the advice of America’s closest Muslim allies and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of a broader strategy shift needed to produce a Middle East peace pact. But some lawmakers and experts argue the president has unnecessarily undercut himself.

Trump on Wednesday formally announced he will abide by a 1995 U.S. law and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize that city as the country’s official capital. He noted that for the last 22 years, his predecessors have — despite some campaign-trail pledges to the contrary — exercised a waiver in that law to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Bipartisan Efforts Behind Coal Miner Pension Push
Manchin and Capito lead Senate effort, as miners return to Capitol Hill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, center, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, center left, and coal miners arrive for a Tuesday press conference on the introduction of legislation to protect miner pension benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The coal miners are back.

Last fall, you couldn’t walk through the Capitol’s hallways without running into mine workers wearing camouflage T-shirts.

Rank-and-File Lawmakers Not Feeling It on Grand Immigration Deal
Pairing DACA replacement with border security seen as a bad idea

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez says the so-called DREAM Act must be part of an immigration deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Friday 1:42 p.m. | President Donald Trump and congressional leaders see the most likely legislative path to replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as pairing it with border security. But rank-and-file members of both parties think that’s a bad idea.

“We’re going to get ourselves in a quagmire if we allow there to be a linkage because of such disputes and debates here among the hard-line immigration crew about what should be linked,” Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch said, adding that there were members for whom there could never be “enough security.”

Trump Open to Bigger Tax Bill for Richest Americans in Pursuit of Dems
President: ‘The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan’

President Donald Trump expressed a willingness to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans Wednesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Updated at 6:19 p.m. | Eager to garner Democratic support for a still-emerging tax overhaul package, President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed a willingness to send larger tax bills to the wealthiest Americans.

During a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump pledged that he wants lawmakers to craft a bill focused on slashing middle-class tax rates and doing things to create jobs — code for a dramatic corporate tax rate cut.

House Passes $658 Billion Defense Spending Bill

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and colleague Barbara Lee, D-Calif. proposed an amendment that prohibits money being spent on uniforms for the Afghan National Army. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed the so-called security minibus appropriations package on a 235-192 vote, allocating nearly $790 billion across four separate spending bills, including $658 billion for defense.

The measure designates $584 billion in regular defense appropriations and $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations accounts.

House Readies Debate on Defense Amendments

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, followed here by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, sponsored the language to provide money for a border wall with Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday approved a structured rule governing floor debate for amendments to the fiscal 2018 defense appropriations bill, the final piece of the four-bill minibus spending package on the House floor.

Legislators will work through 54 amendments in the defense measure (HR 3219) during debate Thursday, including language to restrict spending defense funds on certain projects in Afghanistan and Yemen and efforts to add funds for missile defense and other weapons programs.

Efficiency Measure Falls Off House Energy-Bill Express
10 minor bills passed, mostly by voice vote

A bill encouraging the development of energy efficient federal office buildings was left off the House calendar on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House passed Monday a passel of energy infrastructure and efficiency bills that were marked up last week, although the chamber left out the only one with a small hint of controversy, a measure to encourage the development of energy-efficient federal office buildings.

In total, 10 bills were on the House docket under suspension of the rules, with most passing by voice vote. Two of the bills required roll call votes and were passed 400-1 and 402-1, respectively.

Energy Bills Move Out of House Panel
Slate of 11 measures marks first movement for Energy and Commerce

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and his panel moved a slate of popular energy measures out of committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a slate of 11 bills centered on energy infrastructure and efficiency initiatives.

The bills were all advanced on voice votes and mark the first energy-related legislation to move out of the panel in the 115th Congress, although much of the legislation was packaged into last Congress’ broad energy policy bill.

Word on the Hill: JFK Centennial Exhibit Debuts
Staffer events and shuffles

Caroline Kennedy will attend a gala honoring her father Tuesday evening at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 100th birth anniversary of the late President John F. Kennedy coming up on May 29, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is releasing a new exhibit, American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times.

The exhibit runs from Wednesday through Sept. 17, and the museum is kicking it off with a gala today. Expected attendees include: Caroline Kennedy, the late president’s daughter and former U.S. ambassador to Japan, Mavis Staples, who sang with The Staple Singers at JFK’s 1961 inauguration, and singer Aaron Neville.  

Opinion: Stifling Competition Reduces Access to Affordable Prescriptions
FAST Generics Act easy way to lower costs for patients and taxpayers

Martin Shkreli, former CEO Turing Pharmaceuticals, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "methods and reasoning behind recent drug price increases," in February 2016. Turing had raised the price of a drug used by AIDS and cancer patients  from $13.50 to $750 a pill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“We don’t want excessive profiteering. But the key word in profiteering is profit.”

When Martin Shkreli told Business Insider this in 2015 he might not have been trying to make a broad statement about perverse incentives in the regulatory status quo. But the statement did belie real problems that arise from a system far more complex than the heroes and villains of many popular media narratives.