House passes flood insurance renewal in wake of massive storms

House Republicans overcame bipartisan opposition Tuesday to pass a bill that would reauthorize and overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program, which has strained to pay out billions of dollars to policyholders after this year’s run of devastating hurricanes.

The House passed the bill in a 237-189 vote following months of debate and dealmaking over how much to scale back the primary tool that millions of homeowners rely on to protect themselves from the financial risks of flooding.

The bill would reauthorize the NFIP for five years and enact several operational changes championed by Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the fiscal conservative who led an effort to pare back the program as part of the reauthorization bill.

During the process, Hensarling clashed with influential business groups and coastal Republicans who argued that his committee’s proposals threatened homeowners and local economies.

After agreeing to a series of concessions going back to Continue reading “House passes flood insurance renewal in wake of massive storms”

Senators reach rare bipartisan deal to ease banking rules

A group of senators on Monday rolled out a rare, bipartisan agreement years in the making that would relax a number of banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis.

The deal was driven by Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and a handful of red-state Democrats who have long argued that the rules were stifling lending for their rural constituents. The same Democrats are facing tough reelection campaigns next year.

The compromise would ease regulations on small, community banks as well as several larger lenders that have been subject to stricter oversight because they have more than $50 billion in assets.

The release of the deal immediately drove a wedge between moderate Democrats and others in the party who have resisted making significant changes to the post-financial crisis regulatory regime. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said he opposed the proposal because it Continue reading “Senators reach rare bipartisan deal to ease banking rules”

DNC chief Perez ‘not talking about impeachment’ after ad campaign

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Sunday that billionaire activist Tom Steyer, a prolific Democratic donor who has been funding ads calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, "has a right to do whatever he feels he needs to do."

In an interview on ABC’s "This Week," Perez said he was "not talking about impeachment" — an issue that has divided Democrats. But Perez declined to rebuke Steyer’s multimillion-dollar television campaign.

"Tom Steyer has a right to do whatever he feels he needs to do," Perez said. "Tom Steyer invested a lot of money in Virginia and elsewhere. And I applaud his efforts in investing in organizing and in helping elect Democrats."

In the wake of the ad campaign, Trump said Steyer was “wacky” and “totally unhinged.” Fox News took the ad off the air.

Mnuchin: Trump not being played by Putin

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said it was "ridiculous" to suggest that President Donald Trump was being taken advantage of by Russian President Vladimir Putin, after Trump drew criticism for saying he believed Putin was sincere when he denied that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.

In an interview on CNN’s "State of the Union," Mnuchin said Trump "is not getting played by anybody."

"President Trump was focused on some very important issues, which are North Korea and Syria," Mnuchin said. "And those are areas that we need to work together with Russia and get them on board with our strategy.”

After meeting with Putin during his five-nation trip across Asia, Trump drew attention to the issue when he told reporters on Air Force One that he believed Putin meant it when he said, "I didn’t do that."

Top White House officials Continue reading “Mnuchin: Trump not being played by Putin”

Toomey: Moore should step aside

Sen. Pat Toomey on Sunday said Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama’s upcoming special election, should withdraw his candidacy in the wake of accusations that he engaged in sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in this thirties.

In an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," the Pennsylvania Republican said the accusations "have more credibility than the denial."

"It would be best if Roy would just step aside," he said, joining a growing number of Republicans distancing themselves from Moore.

As an alternative, Toomey said it would be worth exploring a write-in candidate for the seat. Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who lost to Moore in the GOP primary for the nomination, would be a "strong candidate for a write-in," Toomey added.

Toomey declined to say whether the Senate should seat Moore if he won the Dec. 12 special election over Democrat Doug Jones.

"We’ll have to Continue reading “Toomey: Moore should step aside”

Mnuchin refuses to say whether he believes Moore accusers

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that Roy Moore should step down as the GOP’s nominee in Alabama’s upcoming Senate special election if accusations of sexual misconduct "prove to be true."

In an interview on CNN’s "State of the Union," Mnuchin declined to say whether he believed a Washington Post story describing how Moore pursued relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. One woman accused Moore of molesting her when she was 14.

"I’m not an expert on this issue," Mnuchin said. "People should investigate this issue and get the facts. If these allegations are true, absolutely, this is incredibly inappropriate behavior."

Pressed by host Jake Tapper on whether he personally thought the accusations were accurate, Mnuchin said, "I just watch what I see on TV."

"It appears that there is a significant issue here that needs to be addressed," he said.

Alabama’s special Continue reading “Mnuchin refuses to say whether he believes Moore accusers”

Brady: House will not accept repeal of state, local tax deduction

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Sunday that his colleagues would not accept Senate Republicans’ plan to eliminate a federal deduction for state and local taxes as part of an effort to overhaul the tax code.

The Texas Republican said on "Fox News Sunday" that the House would not agree to the proposal even if the Senate passed it.

"I’m convinced that this is where we’re going to end up," Brady said.

The future of this itemized deduction is one of the biggest differences between House and Senate Republicans’ tax plans. Amid pushback from GOP members in high-tax, blue states, House Republicans opted to keep the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.

Brady said he had worked carefully with lawmakers form New York, California and New Jersey to deliver tax relief "and I’m committed to it."