Financial Services

Justice Department sides with Treasury in blocking Trump tax returns
Mnuchin rejected demand by House Ways and Means Democrats

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had refused to comply with a subpoena from House Ways and Means Democrats for President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department released an opinion Friday that backed up the Treasury Department’s decision not to give Congress copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, concluding that the “true aim” was to make the documents public and that “is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Office of Legal Counsel opinion comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply with a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal last month.

House panel advances anti-money laundering bill with only some GOP support
Backers hope it’ll be enough to move in the Senate

House Financial Services ranking member Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina was wooed to support an anti-money laundering bill but never signed off. Supporters hope that will not jeopardize its chances in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After holding an anti-money laundering bill for a month in the hopes of winning over the committee’s top ranking Republican, the House Financial Services Committee advanced it without him on Wednesday, in a move that could ultimately undermine the odds of passing it through the Senate.

The legislation would require corporations and limited liability companies to report who actually owns them to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, in the hopes of curbing the use of anonymous shell companies for hiding illicit assets from criminal investigators and tax officials.

Trump stiffs Iowa Democrat from ethanol tour in her own district, she claims
White House says Rep. Axne was never invited on tour with president in the first place

Reps. Cynthia Axne, D-Iowa, right, and Katie Porter, D-Calif., attend a House Financial Services Committee hearing in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cindy Axne and the White House spiraled down a classic he-said-she-said argument this week over Axne’s omission from the president’s guest list as he toured an ethanol facility in her district on Tuesday.

Axne, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 3rd District, has claimed that the White House rescinded its invitation for her to join President Donald Trump on his tour of the facility. The White House has said Axne was never invited to join Trump on the tour in the first place, but rather to attend his remarks after the tour as a guest.

Democrats’ next move unclear after approving subpoena lawsuits
Resolution is House’s broadest step so far in response to Trump’s ‘oppose-all-the-subpoenas’ strategy

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., second from left, says the resolution approved Tuesday, which gives committees the authority to take Trump administration officials to court quickly, had a broader purpose than just getting to court to get documents related to the Mueller probe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:13 p.m. | House Democrats voted Tuesday to bolster their oversight power by giving committees the authority to take Trump administration officials to court quickly, but it did little to settle broader questions in a caucus that is trying to balance competing political and legal strategies ahead of the 2020 elections.

The resolution becomes the House’s broadest step in response to President Donald Trump’s “oppose-all-the-subpoenas” strategy, because it allows the Democrats to skip the floor process to enforce committee subpoenas through the federal courts.

Contractors would receive shutdown pay in next spending package
Contractor back pay would provide the same benefit granted to direct federal employees

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., questions Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. She is seeking to add provisions in a spending bill to aid contractors during a shutdown. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats would make whole federal contractors who didn't get paid during the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January as part of a $383 billion fiscal 2020 spending bill set to hit the floor next week. 

The package combines five bills: Commerce-Justice-Science will be the vehicle, carrying the Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD measures as well.

Road ahead: House tackles first spending package and NDAA endurance contest
House also set to vote on a ‘not quite contempt’ resolution Tuesday

A man stands near the Mountains and Clouds sculpture in the Hart Building atrium on June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has blockbuster floor action teed up this week, including votes on the first spending package for fiscal 2020 and a measure that would authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials.

House lawmakers have been warned that late-night votes are on the schedule as they work through floor consideration of a five-bill package that amounts to about $990 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2020.

Congressional pay raise amendments roil House
Five House lawmakers have offered amendments that would bar funding for a cost of living increase for members of Congress

House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., will navigate the proposals to keep congressional pay stagnant. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A potential pay raise for Congress is stirring up debate on Capitol Hill, and with funding for the Legislative Branch on deck for floor action next week, at least four proposals to keep lawmaker pay frozen are on the table.

Five House lawmakers have offered amendments that would bar funding for a cost of living increase for members of Congress. The three Republicans and two Democrats are raising opposition to House appropriators excluding language barring cost-of-living raises in both the Financial Services and Legislative Branch fiscal 2020 spending bills.

Ben Carson says Rep. Katie Porter asked ‘Ha! Gotcha!’ questions. She said it was ‘not a joke’
Porter: ‘Start by sending me answers for the American people, not cookies’

Rep. Katie Porter garnered headlines when Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson answered her question about REOs: “Oreo?” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Katie Porter sparred with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Twitter on Wednesday after Carson dismissed his headline-grabbing misunderstanding during testimony as “silly.”

Carson was accused of incompetence in May while testifying to the House Financial Services Committee when he did not recognize a common abbreviation used to describe government-owned foreclosed properties. 

A nice chunk of change: Commemorative coins benefit all involved
Coin bills are a surprisingly competitive affair as lawmakers race to get their bills approved

Coin bills are one of the last remaining ways for an individual member of Congress to bring home the bacon. (Courtesy the U.S. Mint)

Two weeks a month, Stephanie Keegan travels from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley to Washington to lobby Congress on a host of veterans’ issues. Of late, she’s spent much of her time working on what would seem like an arcane matter — getting lawmakers to co-sponsor a bill that would create a commemorative coin honoring a museum for Purple Heart recipients.

But it is serious business and she uses a variety of tactics: making constant phone calls, showing up at offices unannounced, provoking moist eyes.

Hoyer and House appropriators back potential pay raise for Congress
Salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers have been frozen at $174,000 since 2010

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., says he supports a provision that could boost lawmaker salaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are making moves to lift the pay freeze that lawmakers have been living under since 2010. But the top Senate appropriator is not on board. 

House appropriators released their Financial Services fiscal 2020 spending bill earlier this week, striking a provision that blocked members or Congress from receiving an increase in pay that Republicans included in previous  Legislative Branch spending bills. The salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, but those with official leadership titles and responsibilities make more.