Budget

Elizabeth Warren’s big bad idea: Taxing our way to prosperity
As Democrats peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening

As Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening to tout the free-market principles that are making our economy work, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Last week, a New York Times headline caught my eye. “Could tax increases speed up the economy? Democrats say yes.” The story, written by Jim Tankersley, explained that Elizabeth Warren is “leading a liberal rebellion” against the “long-held economic view that large tax increases slow economic growth.”

Given the miserable track record of redistribution politics as economic theory and the strength of today’s free-market economy, I had to read on. Was this a case of economic illiteracy on the part of Warren and her fellow quasi-socialists who seem to be driving the Democratic debate? Or was this latest fascination with redistribution of wealth a focus group-tested battle cry for the base? Or maybe this was just the latest iteration of Democrats’ failed economic theories last seen in 2010 when Joe Biden promised a recession-weary America a “summer of recovery” that didn’t happen.

Overlooked plans to add Medicare benefits get more attention
Savings from drug pricing bill would cover additional dental, vision, hearing coverage under Democratic plan

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a dentist who was elected to Congress in 2018, supports adding dental coverage to Medicare but says ensuring a fair reimbursement rate will be crucial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A long-shot bid to expand health care benefits for seniors is beginning to gain attention as part of Democrats’ signature health care bill, which the House is expected to vote on Thursday. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee leaders are aiming to use savings from the drug bill to add dental, hearing and vision benefits to Medicare. Democrats say the legislation could result in $500 billion in savings over a decade, based on guidance they received from the Congressional Budget Office. 

Democrats ‘got completely rolled’ in NDAA talks, critics say
Litany of progressive provisions fails to make conference committee report

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan is calling for a national conversation on repeated increases to defense spending. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The final defense authorization measure for the current fiscal year represents a victory for Republicans.

That’s the word from a large number of angry Democrats in Congress, their supporters and, more discreetly, from many Republicans.

McConnell warns of need for cooperation to complete Christmas wish list
There already may not be enough time if senators object to defense policy, spending measures

There is a backlog of legislation to move before Christmas. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The clock is ticking toward Christmas, and in one of the longest-lasting holiday traditions, a Senate majority leader is warning that without bipartisan cooperation there won’t be enough time to get all the work done before the holidays.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened Tuesday’s session with the 2019 version of the regular holiday warning.

Rothenberg’s Best & Worst of 2019 Year-End Awards
This year is more than represented by the worst

Congratulations to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who tops Stuart Rothenberg’s list of Most obnoxious Republican members of Congress for 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s December, and that means it’s time for another of my “Best & Worst of the Year” columns. And since it has been a pretty awful year, there should be a lot of worsts.

As always, I’ll offer a set of nominees for each category. Then I’ll pick my winner. But you too can play along at home by selecting your choices. If you disagree with me, I really don’t care. Amuse yourselves, and send any complaints about my categories or my “winners” to Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia.

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

The Cannon House Office Building renovation will be a tough issue to grapple with for Blanton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.

Lawmakers appear eager to reach year-end spending deal
CQ Budget podcast, Ep. 136

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Storm clouds pass over the dome of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats to punish Trump for obstructing Congress. What about top employees?
House has not gone to court to enforce subpoenas in Ukraine probe, unclear if they’ll take other action

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is among the administration officials who have defied congressional subpoenas. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats plan to punish President Donald Trump for blocking witness testimony and document production with an obstruction of Congress article of impeachment, but it’s unclear if the witnesses themselves who did not show up to testify will ever face any repercussions.

As part of the investigation into allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals, lawmakers deposed 17 current and former executive branch employees willing to comply with subpoenas despite orders from the White House not to.

Senators renew drug price push ahead of House Democrats' vote
Congress “needs to show courage and finally act,” Grassley says

The renewed push on drug pricing legislation by Senate HELP leaders Charles E. Grassley, right, and Ron Wyden comes ahead of a planned House vote on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee on Friday unveiled an updated version of their bipartisan drug pricing bill, though it’s unclear if the changes will appease skeptical Republican senators.

The renewed push for Republican support by Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, comes ahead of a planned House vote next week on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill.

Foreign aid rider tangles up final spending talks
The White House is concerned the rider could cut out faith-based aid groups from USAID contracts

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., listens during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. Shaheen says her amendment, creating concerns for the White House in year-end spending talks, has nothing to do with funding abortions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Urged on by anti-abortion activists and religious groups, the White House is raising concerns in year-end spending talks about language secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in the Senate’s State-Foreign Operations bill they fear could cut out faith-based aid groups from U.S. Agency for International Development contracts.

Shaheen argues the provision in the bill would simply require USAID contractors to adhere to current law, which stipulates they can’t deny services to individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, political affiliation or other factors.