Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

Posts in "Appropriations"

December 18, 2014

‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Rewrites Legacy With ‘Cromnibus’

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Johnson called the 113th the “Do-Nothingest Congress,” but that label may not fit in the wake of a far-reaching “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 6:37 p.m. | They say numbers don’t lie. But in this case, numbers don’t tell the whole truth, either.

The 113th Congress wrapped up this week with 285 pieces of legislation signed into law by the president as of Thursday — one more than the 284 measures enacted in the 112th, which was previously the modern era’s least productive Congress. Both two-year terms end up well below the average from the preceding 20 Congresses, which typically produced 564 bills signed into law. (The median number of laws enacted for the past 20 Congresses is 604.) Full story

December 15, 2014

Defiant Pelosi Stands Firmly on Left

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Pelosi signals she’d rather fight than move to the middle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wide swaths of House Democrats have said they attribute Election Day losses to the caucus’s lack of a unified message, a strong pitch they can sell to voters and, above all else, a true sense their actions will match up with their rhetoric.

So when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke with the White House last week and fought against a trillion-dollar spending package containing policy riders abhorred by her caucus, progressives cheered the return of their liberal champion. Full story

December 12, 2014

House Passes Second CR in Near-Empty Chamber

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With Messer presiding over a near-empty chamber, the House approved a continuing resolution to keep the government running. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House quietly passed another continuing resolution Friday that would fund the government through Wednesday, providing the Senate more time, if needed, to pass the longer-term “cromnibus” — but also raising questions about the procedure for a bill that was unexpectedly passed in a nearly empty House chamber.

With just three members on the floor — GOP Policy Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana in the presiding officer’s chair, senior Republican appropriator John Culberson of Texas making the motion, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores of Texas standing by — the House passed a new continuing resolution Friday that would extend government funding through Dec. 17. Full story

December 11, 2014

Breaking Down the ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Updated)

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Clyburn and 56 other Democrats backed the “cromnibus.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:18 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12: The House passed the cromnibus Thursday night 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats voting for the bill, and 67 Republicans and 139 Democrats voting against. While the vote was close, the breakdown split along familiar lines. But there were some interesting trends and deviations in the vote. Full story

Obama, Hoyer Split With Pelosi on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Hoyer could be the key to finding enough Democrats to pass the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just hours from a government shutdown that everyone once insisted would never happen, House Democrats emerged from an emergency caucus meeting Thursday night much the same way they walked in: without a unified strategy.

Democrats are split on the “cromnibus” spending plan agreed upon by Republican House and Democratic Senate negotiators. The White House and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland want the cromnibus to pass. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California is against it, and she has significant backing from her caucus. Those who might be inclined to vote “yes” are keeping quiet, dodging reporters or saying they are still undecided.

Full story

Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:09 p.m. | Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.”

They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote.

Full story

Nail-Biting Vote Moves ‘Cromnibus’ Closer to House Passage (Video)

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Waters and other Democrats slammed “last-minute” riders in the “cromnibus.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The product of hours and hours of hard-fought negotiations could be lost Thursday if House Democrats decide, just hours before the government is to due to shut down, to band together and rebuff a trillion-dollar federal spending bill over two so-called “poison pill” policy riders.

Judging by a nail-bitingly close vote on a procedural measure to bring the legislation to the floor for full consideration, Democrats could have leverage to get the riders scrapped, or at least kill the bill and force what could be a better or worse deal, depending who’s being asked: A three-month continuing resolution that would fund government operations into the new year.

“If we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned. In a rare move for the House’s most senior lawmaker, Boehner voted on the rule to give his party another “yes.”

Full story

Boehner Backs Bill, Condemns ‘Cromnibus’ Process (Video)

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Boehner acknowledged frustrations with “cromnibus” process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The “cromnibus” came together with a last-minute backroom deal between Republicans and Democrats that forced the House to vote on the 1,603-page measure before anyone could reasonably read it, and plenty of lawmakers are upset — including Speaker John A. Boehner.

“This is exactly the way I don’t want to do business,” Boehner said Thursday, just hours before the House was slated to vote on the funding package.

The Ohio Republican campaigned for the speaker’s gavel by pledging to give lawmakers 72 hours before voting on pieces of legislation, and he’s previously been an opponent of pieces of thousand-page legislation.

Full story

December 10, 2014

Democrats’ Discontent on ‘Cromnibus’ Bubbles to Surface

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Israel characterized House Democrats’ reaction to the spending bill as grim. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As House Republican leaders try to shore up support for the “cromnibus” on their side of the aisle, it’s becoming less of a sure bet that House Democrats can be relied upon to make up for the shortfall if need be.

After taking a “wait-and-see” approach over the past week on the massive appropriations bill needed to fund the government past Thursday, Democrats on Wednesday began staking out positions — from consternation to flat-out opposition — to the 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion measure unveiled the night before. Full story

December 9, 2014

Lawmakers Release Massive ‘Cromnibus’ 2 Days Ahead of Shutdown

With roughly 51 hours left before the government runs out of cash, lawmakers released the text Tuesday night of a massive 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion bill to keep federal agencies running past Dec. 11.

The spending package, a carefully negotiated piece of legislation between the Republican House and Democratic Senate, would fund the vast majority of government operations through September with the notable exception of the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans, frustrated by President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, want to tighten the purse strings on the DHS, which the bill funds only to Feb. 27. DHS is the agency charged with carrying out much of the president’s immigration orders. Full story

December 4, 2014

Boehner Suggests He Won’t Cave to Conservatives on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

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Boehner . (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As conservatives push back against a bill to fund the government past Dec. 11, Speaker John A. Boehner signaled Thursday that he didn’t expect to make any sizable changes to the so-called “cromnibus” in order to placate voices to the right.

“I expect that we’ll have bipartisan support to pass the omnibus,” Boehner told reporters Thursday, in response to a question on whether the Ohio Republican anticipated needing some Democratic votes to pass the bill, and whether that would give Democrats leverage on negotiating riders in the appropriations bill.

Conservatives are bashing the cromnibus — which would fund all elements of government until October except the Department of Homeland Security, which would be funded until March or February — because it does not block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Full story

December 3, 2014

Jeff Shockey Goes for the Reverse Revolving Door Again

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Shockey, left, was Lewis’ staff director on the Appropriations Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Veteran appropriations aide and lobbyist Jeff Shockey has been appointed staff director of the House Intelligence Committee under incoming Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The move marks the second time Shockey has left a lobbying gig to take a senior position with a House Committee.

Shockey, a perennial on the Roll Call Fabulous 50 list of top staffers, spent about six years as the Republican staff director and deputy staff director for the House Appropriations Committee, where he managed the committee’s professional staff and oversaw the twelve annual appropriations bills, supplemental appropriations bills and continuing resolutions. Most recently, he’s been in business at Shockey Scofield Solutions, a lobby shop he founded in 2011 with John Scofield, a one-time Republican communications director for the House Appropriations Committee. Full story

Conservative Opposition to Spending Bill Could Give Pelosi Leverage

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King won’t back any bill with funds for the president’s immigration order. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With many conservatives now insisting they won’t vote for any government spending bill that doesn’t block the president’s executive action on immigration, could House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats get a sweeter deal in exchange for votes to pass a bill to fund the government beyond Dec. 11?

Conservatives spent much of Wednesday firing up their base, building opposition to any spending bill — omnibus, continuing resolution or “cromnibus” — that doesn’t explicitly defund the immigration order.

“Some will say we’ll vote to fund it for now and then we’ll have reinforcements from the Senate next year,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said during a press conference-turned-tea-party-rally Wednesday. “Two problems with that: One of them is that we would have lost our virtue. How do we make the argument that we’re going to defend the Constitution in January, February, March or April, if we’re not willing to defend the Constitution in December?”

King said he was unwilling to vote for any bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security without blocking the executive action, even if it only funded the department for a month.

“This is a matter of principle,” King said. “This is a matter of constitutional issue.” Full story

December 2, 2014

Less than 2 Weeks to Shutdown, Conservatives Cool to ‘Cromnibus’

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Jordan and other conservatives are digging in their heels on the so-called cromnibus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As House Republicans sort out how they will fund the government past Dec. 11, leadership is running into a problem: Many conservatives looking to block President Barack Obama’s immigration plan contend the House must act now rather than wait until later.

That’s a more confrontational approach than the “cromnibus” proposal floated by GOP leaders Tuesday morning. The cromnibus — a portmanteau of continuing resolution and omnibus — would incorporate 11 of the 12 appropriations bills in the House, funding operations through the end of the fiscal year in September, and couple that package with a temporary CR for Homeland Security operations, likely to extend to March.

Homeland Security houses the agencies where the bulk of the executive action implementation is expected to take place.

GOP leaders argue the cromnibus is the best way to keep the government open while ensuring a fight later on the immigration executive actions — once all of Capitol Hill is under Republican control.

They also point to a “sweetener” of sorts, a chance to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that’s been introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., to “disapprove” of Obama’s immigration actions.

But it might not be enough for many of the president’s staunchest opponents in Congress.

Full story

October 16, 2014

Republicans, Democrats Trade Punches Over CDC, NIH Ebola Funding

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Scalise says Democrats are politicizing Ebola.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House majority whip lashed out at Democrats Thursday for trying to blame Republicans for sanctioning cuts to medical research that might have helped curb the spread of Ebola in the United States.

“It’s a ludicrous attack,” Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., told a small group of reporters following an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the Obama administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis.

“You had a hearing today with a number of officials … and not one person asked for an additional dime of money,” Scalise went on. “[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas] Frieden himself has actually made public comments that he has the resources they need.” Full story

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