Tom Cotton

Top DHS Official Says She ‘Did Not Hear’ Trump’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Comment
Kirstjen Nielsen was present at White House meeting

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin is shown on a television monitor questioning Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top official at the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday declined to say directly whether President Donald Trump used a profane slur to describe several foreign countries during a recent White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration that she attended.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee she “did not hear” whether Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in last Thursday’s meeting with House and Senate lawmakers.

He Said, He Said: Lawmakers in Trump Meeting Appalled — Or ‘Don’t Recall’
Trump’s reference to ‘shithole countries’ sets off a s---storm

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham were both in a meeting with President Donald Trump when he reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:41 p.m.| Members of Congress who were in the meeting when President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” have different memories of what happened.

The Washington Post reported that Trump asked Thursday why “all these people from shithole countries” were coming to the United States, alluding to Haiti and countries in Africa.

Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk
Illinois Democrat, who was in meeting, says media reports about Trump’s words have been accurate

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said Friday he saw no prospects for a bipartisan DACA deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters Friday that he heard President Donald Trump make the vulgar remarks about immigrants that have been widely reported in the press and dismissed by the White House. 

The Illinois Democrat said Trump’s comments during a Thursday meeting “were hate-filled, vile and racist.”

Thursday's Hangout With Steven Mnuchin and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Global elitism, FISA, a possible stock market dive pepper White House day

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak in October as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Kelly is leading White House efforts to strike an immigration deal. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Treasury secretary says the Davos gathering of global elites isn’t a hangout for global elites. A press secretary says tweets that seemed to contradict each other didn’t contradict each other. A president predicts a stock market dive if he doesn’t get his way. In other words: Thursday at the White House.

Among the business-as-usual moments were White House officials blaming Democrats for delays on immigration and government-funding measures, even while the White House chief of staff was trying to close the deal, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that taxpayers should see bigger paychecks next month — as long as new withholding tables the IRS is circulating work like they are designed to. 

White House Won't Discuss Tillerson's Future Beyond Year's End
Trump 'seems to take step after step to undercut diplomacy,' Sen. Kaine says

Then-Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson arrives for his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing earlier this year. The panel could soon be holding another such hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House that routinely labels as fake any news it does not like is studiously withholding such phraseology when it comes to media reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a short-timer. 

White House officials have developed plans to replace the long-embattled Tillerson, who fell out of favor with the president months ago, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton would move into Pompeo’s position, the news outlet reported, citing senior administration officials.

Report: State’s Tillerson Could Be Replaced by CIA’s Pompeo
Sen. Tom Cotton would move to CIA under reported White House plan

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11:44 a.m.| President Donald Trump’s White House has developed plans to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to The New York Times.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton would move into Pompeo’s position, the news outlet said citing senior administration officials.

Analysis: New Senate Tax Bill Solves Some Issues, Raises Others
‘This is largely a partisan exercise,’ McConnell tells CEOs

If there were any doubts that Republicans were bent on advancing the tax bill with only GOP support, those were squashed on Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen here with Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The latest version of the Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code solves some problems for Republican leadership, but potentially creates a host of others.

The updated chairman’s mark would direct more tax relief to lower- and middle-class Americans through several new provisions, including a proposed reduction in the tax rates for the current seven income brackets. But those cuts would now be temporary and expire in 2026. At the same time, the proposal would make the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent.

While Trump’s Away, Congress Legislates?
President’s absence eases tax bill work, some Republicans say

Some Republican members say progress on a tax bill is more likely with President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, away in Asia. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump spent the first four days of his Asia swing focused on countering North Korea and bolstering trade relationships — and some Republican members who are eager to pass a tax bill are just fine with that.

The way they see it, Trump being nearly 7,000 miles away for most of the next two weeks will allow them to make more progress on their tax legislation than if he were in Washington. That’s because Trump is often hunkered down in the White House watching cable news reports about their efforts, his phone at the ready to fire off a tweet that could substantially delay or completely derail their work.

Immigration Measure Won’t Ride Omnibus, Negotiations Continue
Graham: ‘We’ll see where it goes in the House’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Immigration reform will not be part of this year’s omnibus spending bill, Senate Republicans said Thursday after a meeting at the White House.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers involved in immigration negotiations are trying to find a way to pair citizenship for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, with enhanced border security measures.

Trump Position on Individual Mandate in Tax Bill Complicates Task
Cotton plans to nix but key House tax-writer rejected idea Tuesday

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wants to use the tax bill to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual mandate. Tax-writers are skeptical. But President Trump suddenly endorsed the idea on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump threw congressional Republican tax-writers a curveball Wednesday, suddenly voicing support for using a coming overhaul measure to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual insurance mandate.

Trump endorsed a provision being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., with whom he has met several times in recent weeks. Cotton has been working with the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees to include the repeal of the health care law’s individual mandate in a tax overhaul bill. He said if he is unable to convince the leaders of those panels to include it in their tax bills, he will try to attach it as an amendment.