GOP, Dems focus on messages as summer recess, elections near

GOP, Dems focus on messages as summer recess, elections near

WASHINGTON — House Democrats have a plan for helping students afford the growing costs of college, in part by creating a partnership with states to provide two years of tuition-free community college. They also want to take $5 billion House Republicans have proposed for President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall with Mexico and divert it to other immigration programs. One House-passed bill, backed mostly by Republicans, would repeal a tax imposed on some medical devices to help pay for the "Obamacare" health care law, a statute the GOP despises. With another, still a bare-bones outline, Republicans would make last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut permanent and expand reductions for families, homeschooling and businesses. Lawmakers promoted each of these efforts this week, though none seems likely to become law soon. Yet while the measures may languish, they perform an age-old campaign-season function for both parties: honing their messages for elections, just over 100 days away, in which the prize is congressional control. The House starts summer recess at week’s end, and lawmakers need arguments to take home for town halls and for campaign advertising. Democrats need to gain 23 seats in November’s midterms to capture House control, which is widely seen as doable, so both sides are producing measures that may go nowhere but can shore up political weak spots or embarrass the other party. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., amplified the GOP message to reporters on Tuesday, giving Republicans credit for the strengthening economy and using Democrats as a foil. […]

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GOP, Dems focus on messages as summer recess, elections near

GOP, Dems focus on messages as summer recess, elections near

FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, the Capitol is illuminated in Washington. Lawmakers are honing their messaging for the midterm elections as their summer recess looms. (J. Scott Applewhite, File/Associated Press) WASHINGTON — One House bill, backed mostly by Republicans, would repeal a tax imposed on some medical devices to help pay for President Barack Obama’s health care law, a statute they despise. With another, still a bare-bones outline, the GOP would make last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut permanent and expand reductions for families, homeschooling and businesses. House Democrats have a plan for helping students afford the growing costs of college, in part by creating a partnership with states to provide two years of tuition-free community college. It would also expand the size of Pell Grants, which largely go to undergraduates from lower-earning families. Lawmakers promoted each of these proposals Tuesday, though none seems likely to become law soon. But they typify a time-sensitive priority for both parties: honing their messages for elections, just over 100 days away, in which congressional control is the prize. The House starts summer recess at week’s end, and lawmakers need arguments to take home for town halls and campaign advertising and to rev up voters and contributors. Democrats need to gain 23 seats in November’s midterms to capture House control, which is widely seen as doable, so both parties are producing bills to shore up political weak spots or play offense. For House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is […]

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