Richard E Neal

Road ahead: Will Congress get a disaster relief deal before Memorial Day?
House and Senate will keep full schedules as budget talks continue for this week and beyond

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will join their fellow congressional leaders to discuss the budget and the need to lift the country’s debt limit with the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The big question for the week is whether Congress will actually act on long-awaited disaster relief before lawmakers head out for Memorial Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said such a vote is on the floor agenda for this week, but as senators left Thursday afternoon for the weekend, there was still no final agreement on any bipartisan package.

Mnuchin refuses to comply with subpoenas for Trump tax returns
The treasury secretary’s refusal sets up a court battle, which could begin as early as next week

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., stops to speak to reporters as he walks down the House steps after the final votes of the week on Friday, May 17, 2019. Neal told reporters he believes the fight over Donald Trump’s tax returns is headed to court as early as next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Grassley, Wyden want to end uncertainty over temporary tax breaks
Five task forces charged with coming up with solutions for so-called tax extenders

Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are seen at a hearing in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced the creation of five task forces charged with delving into what to do about 42 myriad tax breaks that continually get turned on and off by Congress, ranging from an incentive to sell cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel for trucks to a deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

The joint announcement by the Iowa Republican and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, the committee’s ranking member, comes 16 and a half months after 26 tax “extenders” expired at the end of 2017. Grassley said the task force is charged with coming up with solutions by the end of June, including whether to consolidate or change certain provisions, make them permanent or allow them to lapse.

Trump’s tax return battle will be fought in court, Mnuchin says
‘We haven’t made a decision but I think you can guess on the way we’re leaning on our subpoena,’ Mnuchin told appropriators

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin prepares to testify during the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on April 9, 2019. On Wednesday Mnuchin was quizzed over releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday he expects the courts will resolve the conflict between the administration and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal over the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

“This will go to the third branch of government to be resolved,” Mnuchin said Wednesday during questioning before the Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig subpoenaed over Trump tax returns
House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal makes announcement Friday

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., issued subpoenas Friday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal issued subpoenas Friday for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to provide President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

The action takes to the next level a five-week-long dispute between the administration and Neal, D-Mass., who first asked on April 3 for six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, the returns for eight Trump companies and other tax information.

Trump: Barr will decide if Mueller testifies, Kerry should face charges
‘I’m the one who tempers him,’ president says of hawkish John Bolton

President Donald Trump arrives at the Capitol on March 14 as, from left, Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., look on. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether or not special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify before Congress about his Russia election meddling report will be left to Attorney General William P. Barr, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

The president appeared to contradict himself just days after a Sunday tweet that included this statement: “Bob Mueller should not testify.” Trump wrote that day that the former FBI director testifying before Democrat-run House committees would amount to the opposition party trying to invent evidence of negative information about him.

Pelosi says she is ‘not for’ jailing Trump administration officials
Asked whether House Democrats might also consider impeaching Barr, Pelosi did not rule it out

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she’s not for jailing administration officials who do not comply with congressional oversight requests, including one for an unredacted copy of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Wednesday that House Democrats are likely to fight administration officials refusing to comply with congressional oversight requests in court rather than resort to more extreme measures like using Congress’ inherent contempt power to detain them until they comply.

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” she said. “And I’m not for that.”

Mnuchin rejects Neal’s request for Trump tax returns
Department ‘not authorized’ to disclose information, Treasury secretary says

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he won’t comply with a demand to produce President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal Monday that the IRS will not hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns and associated information.

“In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and … the Department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information,” Mnuchin wrote in a letter to Neal.

Mnuchin misses Trump tax returns deadline; asks for more time
Noncompliance with Democrats’ request could put Treasury secretary in jeopardy, legal experts say

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says “exposure for the sake of exposure” is not a valid reason for House Democrats seeking the president’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:12 p.m. | Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday he will make a determination by May 6 on whether to comply with House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal’s request for six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Neal had set a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday for the administration to comply with his request. The Treasury Department announced shortly after the deadline that Mnuchin had sent a 10-page response to the Massachusetts Democrat’s request.

Social Security could go broke by 2035, but lawmakers have new ideas to fix it
If policymakers wait too long, solutions to fixing the program may involve politically unpalatable options

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., leaves the Capitol after the final votes of the week on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute — as long as waiting doesn’t make the problem worse.

Therein lies the conundrum facing lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates when it comes to Social Security, which last year paid out retirement and disability benefits to some 63 million Americans.