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October 14, 2015

Posts in "Federal Budget"

October 9, 2015

House GOP Regroups, Still With No Endgame in Sight

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 07: Rep. Tim Ryan, R-Wisc., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, October 7, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans described the mood as “good” inside the closed-door members’ meeting Friday morning — despite the fact that less than 24 hours earlier, lawmakers were reportedly in tears over the news that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was withdrawing from the race for speaker.

“Heh heh!” Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, trilled when asked whether he thought the uncertainty over the leadership vacuum in conference would be resolved by close of business Friday, when the House adjourns for a weeklong recess. Full story

September 16, 2015

House Freedom Caucus Loses Member Over Planned Parenthood

m McClintock, R-Calif., speaks at a news conference held by Citizens Against Government Waste at the Phoenix Park Hotel to release the 2015 Congressional Pig Book which identifies pork-barrel spending in Congress, May 13, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McClintock has left the House Freedom Caucus (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least one House Freedom Caucus member has had enough.

California Republican Tom McClintock delivered a resignation letter to HFC Chairman Jim Jordan on Tuesday that laid out a number of issues he’s had with the conservative group. From the Freedom Caucus’s strategy on Department of Homeland Security funding, to voting against the rule for trade legislation, to threatening to block the Iran disapproval resolution, McClintock has been a vocal critic of many HFC strategies. It appears, however, that a vow to vote against any spending bill that funds Planned Parenthood was the final straw.  Full story

September 15, 2015

Scalise: Here’s How to Bypass Senate Democrats on Planned Parenthood

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scalise says use budget reconciliation to bypass Senate Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican leaders have yet to settle on a strategy for preventing a government shutdown and satisfying hardline conservatives who want to defund Planned Parenthood — but Majority Whip Steve Scalise is putting a new option on the table.

Scalise told CQ Roll Call Tuesday he is discussing with members the possibility of using budget reconciliation — a fast-track process that would allow Republicans to bypass the threat of a filibuster and force a bill through the Senate — to zero out federal dollars for Planned Parenthood. Full story

House Leaders Keeping Options Open on Shutdown

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly on camera media availability in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner is trying to keep options open on the House side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two weeks away from a government shutdown, neither chamber has released a bill to fund the government past Sept. 30 — and it doesn’t seem like the House or the Senate are in much of a hurry.

The House will vote on two abortion bills this week, a nod to conservative members who insist Congress has to take action after the release of a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue. Full story

September 10, 2015

Boehner and the Planned Parenthood Waiting Game (Video)

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three weeks away from a government shutdown, as Republicans wrestle with just how far they’re willing to go to defund Planned Parenthood, Speaker John A. Boehner isn’t ruling out anything.

“Listen: The goal here is not to shut down government,” Boehner said during his weekly news conference. “The goal is to stop these horrific practices of [Planned Parenthood] selling baby parts. So that’s the goal.” Full story

September 8, 2015

Conservative Reform Network Argues for Compromise

UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Neil Bradley, chief strategy officer Conservative Reform Network, poses in their office on Capitol Hill on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conservatives and Republicans win — with strategic compromises, Bradley says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans face some challenges this fall, including government funding, a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, spending level negotiations, the debt ceiling — but an outside center-right group is telling conservatives these challenges can be opportunities, if lawmakers are realistic.

Neil Bradley, the former deputy chief of staff for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former Majority Leader Eric Cantor and now the chief strategy officer for the Conservative Reform Network, dropped an open letter Tuesday titled “Policy Challenges and Opportunities.”

Full story

Planned Parenthood Battle Puts Boehner in Bind

UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds his weekly on camera media availability in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner faces balancing act this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the end of the fiscal year, September is almost always a busy month on Capitol Hill. But this year, a funding fight over Planned Parenthood is shaping up to be emblematic of John A. Boehner’s entire speakership: a subtle and chaotic effort to lead a divided Republican Conference while avoiding the most damaging public relations pitfalls.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said Republicans don’t have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood. But House conservatives — mobilized by the release of a series of undercover videos featuring officials talking about abortion procedures — seem undeterred. 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

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

May 19, 2015

Democrats Hold Their Noses, Help Pass Highway Fund Patch

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Amodei voted “present” Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats had two difficult votes to take on Tuesday, and for the most part, they held their collective noses and voted “yes” with Republicans.

Lawmakers passed, 357-67, the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill to fund the operations of the House and congressional support agencies. They also voted to float the Highway Trust Fund an additional two months in an even larger bipartisan showing, 387-35, with one lawmaker, Mark Amodei, R-Nev., voting “present.” Full story

April 30, 2015

One Down, 11 to Go: GOP’s Uncertain Appropriations Season

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., is interviewed by CQ Roll Call in his Capitol office, November 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rogers acknowledges passing all 12 GOP spending bills will be tough. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leaders succeeded in holding back all but 19 of their members on the first appropriations vote of the season without even formally whipping against the Republican bill.

It’s a sign the Democratic caucus is putting a plan in motion to try to stymie GOP appropriations bills one by one, until Republicans reach a breaking point and agree to reconsider the current sequester-level spending caps. Full story

April 29, 2015

House GOP Postpones Votes on VA Spending Bill

Mulvaney, R-S.C., conducts a bicameral news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to urge passage of the Homeland Security Department funding bill, February 12, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican Mulvaney teamed Wednesday with Maryland Democrat Van Hollen to derail, for now, the veterans spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans have been boasting about their early start to appropriations season, but consideration of the very first spending bill — considered the least controversial of all 12 annual measures — hit a snag Wednesday night.

GOP leaders had intended to hold evening votes on a slew of amendments and on final passage of the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, but ultimately opted to postpone that vote series at the very last minute. Full story

House Democrats Threaten to Sink House GOP Spending Bills

ocratic Caucus chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Becerra and other Democrats may defect on the Department of Veterans Affairs spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats voted unanimously last year for the appropriations bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs and related programs; this year, there could be considerable defections.

Reps. Xavier Becerra of California and Joseph Crowley of New York, the chairman and vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus respectively, told reporters Wednesday morning they would not be complicit in passing the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill this week — a bill they contend would ultimately decimate veterans services.

Full story

April 16, 2015

House Wraps Tax Week, Prepares Trade Issues

A U.S. Capitol Police officer removes a package from the undercarriage of the gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The small helicopter was painted with a U.S. Postal Service logo. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Capitol Police officer removes a package from the undercarriage of the gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the Capitol Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the exception of a homemade gyrocopter landing on the Capitol lawn, everything in the House went just according to plan this week.

Lawmakers hit the exits Thursday after voting, 240-179, to kill the so-called death tax, also known as the “estate tax” in less Republican circles. Full story

All the Budget Conference’s a Stage

Price, R-Ga., chairman of the House Budget Committee, talks with reporters after a news conference with members of the committee in the Capitol Visitor Center to introduce the FY2016 budget resolution and discuss ways to balance the budget, March 17, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After wrangling a Republican budget through the House, House Budget Committee Chairman Price now has to find common ground with Republicans — and maybe a few Democrats — in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How do Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate conference a partisan budget that is little more than a messaging document? They don’t — at least, not really.

No one truly expects both sides to come to a consensus agreement on the budget. No one even really expects Democrats to play much of a role in the budget conference. It could be, as one Democratic aide with knowledge of the situation predicted, one public meeting “just for show, just to check that box.”

But there are plenty of House and Senate differences on the budget that will need to be worked out between Republicans and, well, Republicans. Full story

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