Capitol Hill News Stories

GOP Senators Push Trump To Fill Administration Posts 

Republican senators are growing impatient with the White House’s slow pace in filling out the administration and are pushing President Trump to speed the nomination process, concerned that the dearth of Cabinet deputies could hamper the executive branch’s ability to function.

The Senate has taken longer to confirm Trump’s nominees than it has those of past presidents, but Trump also has been slower than his predecessors to make nominations.

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Dissent Forces House GOP To Pull Bill Repealing Obamacare

After seven years of campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare — a call that yielded Republicans the House, Senate and ultimately the White House — and after dozens of votes in Congress to undo President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, Speaker Paul Ryan conceded Friday that it would remain in place “for the foreseeable future.”

His remarks came after the House GOP failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act Friday, lacking enough party support to pass their measure and canceling a vote just minutes before it was scheduled to take place.

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Cruz Works Behind Scenes To Change Obamacare Repeal Bill 

Sen. Ted Cruz’s unyielding opposition to the Affordable Care Act and his willingness to publicly take the fight to fellow Republicans helped cause a brief government shutdown four years ago. But now, with a Republican in the White House and repeal legislation working its way through Congress, the Texas Republican is keeping a low profile, putting his head down and working back rooms to influence the legislation.

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After One Year of War On ISIS, No AUMF In Sight

The war against ISIS began with airstrikes a year ago this week and lawmakers have spent significant time in the last 12 months debating the strategy and, in many cases, criticizing the way the Obama administration is conducting the fight. But one thing members of Congress have yet to do is have a vote – or even a substantive debate – over authorizing the military campaign.

Instead, President Obama has relied on past authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs) against al-Qaeda in 2001 and in Iraq in 2002 as the legal justification for the current campaign against the terrorist organization operating mostly in Iraq and Syria. Despite the White House’s insistence, lawmakers are split on whether they agree. Some believe the president is operating within a legitimate legal framework. Others don’t.

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Ernest Moniz: Obama’s MVP On Selling Iran Deal

Ernest Moniz, nuclear physicist and former MIT professor heading the Department of Energy, landed a role above his typical job description in February when he became a key negotiator of the historic nuclear agreement with Iran.

Now, the White House has dispatched Moniz a little closer to home: he’s been spending his days on Capitol Hill, using his scientific expertise to press lawmakers to support the agreement he played a crucial role in negotiating.

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Where’s Schumer on Iran?

One of the enduring, and some ways endearing, jokes in the nation’s capital is that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a television camera. Not this month. Since President Obama announced the nuclear deal with Iran, the usually gregarious New York Democrat has mostly avoided talking about the agreement other than to say he plans to study it carefully, and his critical support or opposition has been difficult to pin down.

When the agreement was initially announced last week, Schumer released a short statement with no hints as to which way he might be leaning, only saying he intended to “go through this agreement with a fine-tooth comb, speak with administration officials, and hear from experts on all sides.” He pointed to his support for legislation that gave Congress a say in the agreement, and added that the deal “is not a decision to be made lightly.”

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Roskam At Center of Political Fight Over Taxes

Republicans for weeks have said passing an overhaul of the tax code, thereby securing a major legislative victory, is imperative to their 2018 election efforts. Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam stands squarely at the center of that effort — and could be imperiled by it.

As chairman of the tax policy subcommittee in the House, he’s playing a critical role in crafting the GOP tax legislation and shepherding it through the chamber – it passed the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday along party lines and is expected to be voted on by the full House this week.

Roskam is also at the center of the political debate over taxes as Democrats vilify the plan and Republicans search for a legislative victory to run on next year. Illinois’ 6th Congressional District sprawls across suburbs to the west and northwest of Chicago and represents the precise type of district Democrats view as key to taking back the House: It’s highly educated, with more than 50 percent of residents holding college degrees, and has a median household income of nearly $100,000 — 40 percent higher than the national average.

[…read more…]

 

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