The Senate passed the Republicans’ tax bill last week, sending it to a conference committee where House and Senate leadership are hammering out the differences between two bills. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he would be open to expanding the state and local tax deduction, which is a sticking point for representatives of high-tax states like New York, California, Connecticut and New Jersey. Leadership also must deal with discrepancies in corporate tax policy as well as address concerns about increasing the federal deficit.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, 13th) submitted his resignation Tuesday to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI, 1st) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12th) after growing pressure from his colleagues to step down. Conyers had been the longest-serving member of Congress and served as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee before stepping down on November 26. He was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Though Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) has not yet announced a special election to fill the vacancy, Conyers has already endorsed his son John Conyers III to succeed him. Rep. Conyers’s grandnephew, Michigan Senator Ian Conyers, had previously said that he was considering a run as well. Michigan’s 13th congressional district, which is comprised of parts of Detroit and its suburbs, will most likely vote for a Democrat in the special election, Conyers or not.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX, 6th) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018 after reports that he had had multiple extramarital affairs prior to his divorce in 2015, which included suggestive Facebook messages as well as explicit photos and videos that circulated online. Barton was once the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and currently serves as its vice chairman. During his time in office, he has been a strong advocate for the oil and gas industry and an adversary to environmentalists. The sixth district of Texas covers areas to the south and west of the Dallas metro area and leans Republican.
Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI, 9th) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018 after 18 terms in the House. He was originally elected in 1982 and served alongside his brother Carl, who was Michigan’s senator from 1979 until his retirement in 2015. Levin was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee during the passage of the Affordable Care Act and continues to serve as a member on that panel. He brought a liberal voice to discussions on health care, taxes, and trade, and has recently vehemently opposed the Republicans’ tax plan. He said will join the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the end of his term. His son, Andy Levin, has already announced that he will run for his father’s seat, which will likely remain Democrat in 2018.