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August 29, 2015

Posts in "Appropriations"

August 3, 2015

Ethics Committee to Investigate Chaka Fattah (Updated)

Ethics Committee Chaka Fattah

Fattah faces an Ethics Committee probe following his indictment last week. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 8:55 p.m. | The House Ethics Committee did its due diligence Monday evening.

Per its rules, the panel has formally convened an “investigative subcommittee” to probe possible misconduct by Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who was slapped last week with a 29-count federal indictment for alleged conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud. Full story

July 28, 2015

House Preps 3-Month Highway Bill, Sans Ex-Im Bank

Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner speaks to reporters after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With House Republicans — for now — unwilling to take up the Senate’s six-year highway bill, and with the Senate unwilling to act on the House’s five-month bill, House GOP leadership has a legislative offer it’s hoping can get them to the August recess a day early.

Just minutes before midnight Monday, Republicans posted the text of a three-month bill that would extend the Highway Trust Fund until Oct. 29. It would not include a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, but would also take care of a Veterans Affairs hospitals shortfall. (The bill would allow the Veterans Choice program to transfer $3.3 billion to other VA health programs.) Full story

July 23, 2015

Boehner Admits CR Is Fate of Appropriations (Video)

UNITED STATES - JUNE 24: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during the House GOP leadership media availability following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner says a CR is likely. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With only 16 scheduled legislative days before government funding runs out, Speaker John A. Boehner finally acknowledged Thursday that the House and Senate were headed toward funding the government through a continuing resolution.

A CR, omnibus — or even cromnibus — is not out of the ordinary. Though funding the government through appropriations bills is so-called regular order, the last time Congress actually passed all 12 spending bills on time was 1997. Despite GOP leadership’s stated goal of restoring regular order and passing appropriations bills this year, it’s long been accepted that a spending deal would be necessary at the end of the fiscal year in September. (The Senate hasn’t passed a single appropriations bill this year.) Full story

July 22, 2015

House GOP Appropriators Prepare for Sequester Showdown

Harold Rogers

Rogers, R-Ky., gathered top House GOP appropriators Wednesday for a meeting to discuss how to avoid a year-long continuing resolution (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders don’t want to be the first to flinch at Democrats’ calls to repeal sequester-level spending caps, but senior GOP appropriators emerged from a closed-door meeting Wednesday in agreement: Congress has to do something.

Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., gathered his 12 subcommittee chairmen together to discuss next steps for the fiscal 2016 appropriations process that has ground to a halt on Capitol Hill with just 15 scheduled legislative days left to avert a government shutdown in September. Full story

House GOP Leaders Frosty on Senate Highway Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner is cool to the bill, and so are some Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate continues to work through a long-term highway bill, House Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly united on one thing: They’re not exactly enthusiastic about the legislation.

On Wednesday morning, Speaker John A. Boehner seemed less than eager to take up the Senate six-year highway bill. Full story

July 21, 2015

Texas Congresswoman to Trump: Have You No Decency?

Granger is leading a GOP task force to make recommendations on the child migrant border surge (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Granger, R-Texas, ripped into Donald Trump for disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Kay Granger has a reputation for telling it like she thinks it is, from colleagues who have “no business being in Congress” to fellow Texas Republicans who are “misbehaving” — but she usually does it quietly, preferring behind-the-scenes nudges to soundbite-ready shoves.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, she’s not pulling punches. Full story

GOP Leader Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., makes his way to the House floor through the media pack, who were waiting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy, R-Calif., thinks it’s time for an “overall review” of the VRA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.

On Tuesday, Cantor’s leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. Full story

July 20, 2015

In Advance of August Recess, Behind-the-Scenes Battles in the House

Massie, R-Ky., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on legislation that calls for disclosure of 28 blacked out pages of the 9/11 report to Congress on the terrorist attacks, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Massie is whipping against the Innovation Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Absent an agreement on the Confederate flag, the House may not tackle any appropriations bills before August, but that — much to the chagrin of many lawmakers — doesn’t mean the House is headed for an early recess.

Instead, the House will spend much of its time this week on a food-labeling measure, coal-regulation legislation and a number of non-controversial suspension bills — all while the prospect of the Senate sending a long-term highway bill, with an Export-Import Bank extension attached, looms as the next big internecine fight for Republicans in the chamber. Full story

July 14, 2015

All Appropriations on Hold Until Confederate Flap Fixed (Updated)

Boehner

Boehner says all spending bills are on hold. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1 p.m. | Don’t expect any more appropriations bills to make it through the House chamber any time soon. Not until Republicans and Democrats work out issues on the Confederate flag.

That was the message to members on Tuesday from Speaker John A. Boehner, according to Rep. John Fleming.

Full story

July 13, 2015

Confederate Flap Imperils GOP Goal to Finish Spending Bills by August

ogers, R-Ky., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rogers is not optimistic about getting the spending bills done by August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week’s messy fight over Confederate flag amendments to the Interior-Environment spending measure — which culminated in pulling the bill from the House floor — has thrown the legislative calendar into flux.

Republican leaders, unable to pass the seventh of the 12 annual spending bills, are now no longer planning to bring up the eighth fiscal 2016 Financial Services-General Government this week. Full story

July 10, 2015

Confederate Flag Fiasco: Who Signed Off on the Calvert Amendment? (Updated)

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Simpson, left, and Calvert at an Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 10:45 a.m. | They may be referring to it as the “Calvert amendment,” but House Democrats and Republicans agree: Whatever prompted Rep. Ken Calvert to come to the floor late Wednesday night to offer an amendment to reverse an earlier vote to ban Confederate flags at federal cemeteries, it wasn’t the California Republican’s idea.

In the hours that followed, culminating in GOP leadership pulling its first appropriations bill of the season, lawmakers said it was unfortunate that Calvert, chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, was getting much of blame for the events that transpired. Full story

June 16, 2015

Diaz-Balart Gumming Up Obama’s Cuba Thaw Plans

House Republican Conference

Diaz-Balart prefers a low-key style of legislating through the appropriations process (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is not a quiet man. The gregarious Florida Republican, known for sudden eruptions of laughter and dramatic gesticulations, is hard to miss in a crowd. But when it comes to legislating, the seven-term lawmaker blends in, working methodically, usually behind the scenes, to put his stamp on policy.

That’s how the son of Cuban exiles has become one of the Obama administration’s biggest obstacles to normalizing relations with the communist nation 90 miles south of Florida. Full story

June 9, 2015

‘Fast-Track’ Trade Fight Nears Crucial House Vote

Reps. Tom Price, R-S.C., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman and ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the first panel to preside over an OCO fight in 2015.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reps. Tom Price and Chris Van Hollen, the chairman and ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the first panel to preside over an OCO fight in 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Backers of “fast-track” legislation in both parties have enough confidence in Trade Promotion Authority’s likelihood of passing the House to talk about a possible vote later this week.

But enough uncertainty remains that Republican leaders haven’t yet added the bill — which would clear the way for President Barack Obama to move forward on a 12-nation Pacific trade deal — to this week’s floor schedule. Full story

May 20, 2015

Once-Bipartisan COMPETES Act Leaves Democrats Cold

Smith, R-Texas, makes his case for funding of his committee during the House Administration Committee hearing on "Committee Funding for the 113th Congress" on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith put a GOP stamp on legislation Democrats once ran on: the COMPETES Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back in 2007, the America COMPETES Act — landmark legislation aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness through federal investments in scientific research and development — was a bipartisan labor of love.

Inspired by a National Academies’ report published in 2005, the bill was particularly lauded by Democrats, especially the moderates of the New Democrat Coalition who were instrumental in getting the measure over the finish line — and who later laid claim to the act on the stump.

But what a difference eight years makes. Full story

May 15, 2015

Breaking Down the House Defense Bill Vote

Smith, D-Wash., speaks during the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith is the ranking Democrat on Armed Services, but said he couldn’t support the GOP’s defense spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After clearing an amendment hurdle Thursday that looked like it could jeopardize passage, the House easily passed the National Defense Authorization Act Friday, 269-151.

It was a strong vote, with 41 Democrats joining 228 Republicans to pass the annual defense authorization measure. But it was closer than it’s been in years, with 143 Democrats and eight Republicans saying “no” to a bill with issues both parochial and perennial. Full story

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