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Posts in "Government Shutdown"
June 10, 2014
With only two months before a crucial fund for highway projects nationwide is tapped, House Republicans and the White House touted dueling plans Tuesday aimed at avoiding a late-July construction shutdown.
Speaker John A. Boehner told Republicans in a private morning meeting that leadership’s plan to raise cash for a temporary $15 billion road fix by eliminating some Saturday mail service may not be ideal, but is the only viable plan that does not raise taxes.
On the other side of the Capitol, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx tried to sell the House Democratic Caucus on a larger-scale highway bill President Barack Obama unveiled earlier this year, which would also bolster the Highway Trust Fund.
Foxx told reporters after the meeting that the administration’s policy is the viable one because it also reauthorizes the expiring surface transportation bill.
“We’ve got to get past … the gimmicks in transportation and really get serious about trying to get a long-term strategy going,” Foxx said. Full story
June 9, 2014
The House is back in Washington for almost two full months, but don’t look for a lot of breakthroughs: GOP leadership has pared back big-ticket wish lists, choosing instead to sprint for the August recess with a relatively modest legislative agenda.
There is less and less serious talk of an overhaul of immigration, a rewrite of the tax code or replacing the Democrats’ health care law. Instead, it’s much more likely the next two months of House floor action — roughly 28 legislative days before a monthlong summer recess — will be consumed by such small-bore economic measures as targeted tax extenders and energy regulation bills.
February 27, 2014
Speaker John A. Boehner gave a nice assessment of the tea party Thursday on its unofficial five year anniversary, but stressed he isn’t exactly happy with groups like the Tea Party Patriots who are trying to fire him.
“My gripe is not with the tea party; my gripe is with some Washington organizations who feel like they got to go raise money by beating up on me and others,” Boehner told reporters.
The Ohio Republican also said he has ”great respect for the tea party and the energy they have brought to the electoral process.”
As we wrote today, Congress seems to have a mostly mixed assessment of the conservative movement.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning also fielded questions about the tea party and its legacy.
The California Democrat said the tea party had “hijacked” the Republican Party, and that tea partyers “considered it a success when they shut down government.”
Pelosi said her message to Republicans was this: “Take back your party, this isn’t who you are.”
February 14, 2014
CAMBRIDGE, Md. — President Barack Obama credited House Democrats’ party unity for getting Republican leaders to back off debt limit brinkmanship at the caucus’s annual retreat here.
“This caucus has shown, time and time again, under the most difficult circumstances, the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud,” Obama said on Friday morning.
There’s no better example, Obama said, than the vote to raise the debt ceiling earlier this week, which passed the House with all but two Democrats voting “yes” — and only 28 Republicans.
“I was just talking to [Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] before I came out here,” he continued. “The fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions, the fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit, is just one example of why, when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off, and I could not be more proud.”
While Biden delivered something of a pep talk to Democrats framed in the context of the 2014 election cycle, Obama steered clear of such rhetoric; in fact, he made no mention at all of the November elections.
But Obama did energize the crowd of lawmakers assembled in a Hyatt Regency ballroom on Friday morning by promising to continue to sign executive orders on specific policy issues on which House Republican refused to budge.
“I want to work with Congress, but I’m not gonna wait, because there’s too much to do,” he said.
Obama conceded that there are some areas in which he could not enact change through his now-infamous “pen and phone” strategy, such as an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and an increase in the minimum wage across all work sectors.
In those areas, Democrats would have to show resilience on their own.
“Punting and putting things off for another year, another two years, another three years, it hurts people, it hurts our economies, it hurts families and part of what I like to think makes us Democrats is not simply some abstract ideological set of beliefs but the fact that we’re reminded every single day that we’re here to help a whole bunch of folks out there, our neighbors, our communities who are struggling still and need our help and they’re counting on us,” Obama said.
“Good thing is, they got some outstanding members of Congress who are willing to fight for them,” he continued, “regardless of the political costs.”
February 7, 2014
In his Rayburn office on Capitol Hill, Rep. Steve Scalise has a case of triumphs.
The Louisiana Republican exhibits an impressive array of corks under glass in a custom-made display-box coffee table. Each was popped from a Champagne bottle to mark a momentous occasion: averting the New Year’s 2013 fiscal cliff, personal achievements such as becoming chairman of the Republican Study Committee and local legislative milestones such as funding for the Gulf Coast recovery.
A Sharpie pen marks the date of consumption, and the corks rest near small gold plates inscribed with the events that called for the bubbly.
With more than a dozen in all, Scalise hopes he’ll add to the collection in the months he has left before the end of his term leading the influential RSC.
Scalise’s broad mission, he told CQ Roll Call, is “to help move leadership to a more conservative place.”
And while that could easily be the stated goal of every RSC chairman, Scalise now has an even bigger task before him: offering the American voting public a glimpse of what kind of policy Congress could send to the president’s desk if only there were a Republican Senate to help.
“It’s important what we do the rest of the year,” Scalise said in the course of two more-than-20-minute sit-down interviews. “I want us to be bold.”
January 24, 2014
In between quips about his tan complexion and common mispronunciations of his name, Speaker John A. Boehner acknowledged, in a Thursday evening interview with comedian Jay Leno, that Republicans were to blame for the government shutdown.
“It was a very predictable disaster, and the sooner we got it over with, the better,” the Ohio Republican said during his televised appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
“I told my colleagues in July I didn’t think shutting down the government over Obamacare would work because the President said, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,’” Boehner continued. “And so I told them in August ‘Probably not a good idea.’ Told them in early September. But when you have my job, there’s something you have to learn … When I looked up, I saw my colleagues going this way. And you learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk … So I said, ‘You want to fight this fight? I’ll go fight the fight with you.’” Full story
January 15, 2014
Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said he was “almost giddy” after the strong bipartisan vote to pass the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.
“This gives us a big boost here, this vote, this big vote,” said the Kentucky Republican, “this spirit and attitude that prevailed.” Full story
January 13, 2014
On Monday evening, appropriators from both chambers unveiled a massive omnibus spending bill to fund the government through the end of September, the culmination of just a few weeks of work and bipartisan negotiations.
The House is expected to pass the 1,582-page package of all 12 appropriations bills this week, if for no other reason than to dispel anxiety over another government shutdown and encourage a return to the age of “regular order.”
But, as with any major piece of legislation, the final product necessitated some compromises, and there are policy riders that are sure to ruffle feathers from members on both sides of the aisle — even if they won’t be enough to sink the whole ship.
Here are a handful of the provisions House lawmakers will have to swallow in the name of passing the spending bill: Full story
December 30, 2013
This year, doing the business of the People’s House was, at best, a struggle. It’s well-known that 2013 was, legislatively, the least productive session in congressional history. Leaders strained to get to 218 — a majority in the 435-seat House (in case you had no idea where the blog name came from). And there were some pretty notable news stories as a result of all this congressional dysfunction.
But as painful as the year was for members, covering the House was a pleasure, one which we here at 218 only had the honor of doing for about half the year.
In that short time, 218 — or “Goppers,” as we were formerly known, which rhymes with “Whoppers,” for all you still wondering about that — had more than a few favorite stories.
Among the labors of love, there was a piece about the 10 Republicans who could one day be speaker, a story on an internal August playbook that went out to House Republicans telling them to profess how they were fighting Washington, and a piece (in response to his “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment) asking the question: How do you solve a problem like Steve King? Full story
December 23, 2013
The consensus among Capitol Hill reporters these days is that Rep. Tom Cole is a member worth chasing down a hall.
There’s no telling what he might say. Just this year, he said certain factions in the House GOP were acting like drunk “Uncle Joe” ruining the family Christmas party, called the coup to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner “amateur night at the Bijou,” and said shutting down the government was the “political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum.” But what makes Cole the must-have voice in any story about House Republicans is this: He brings the plainspoken, down-home Oklahoma truth.
“I’m a little bit old to not say what I think,” he told CQ Roll Call over the phone after the House adjourned for the year. “You only got so many years left — and I intend to make them count.” Full story
December 10, 2013
Thirty-three conservative House Republicans — including one committee chairman — have signed onto a letter urging leadership to bring to the floor a “clean” one-year continuing resolution that funds the government at sequester levels.
But don’t construe this plea as a coordinated assault on a budget deal that could emerge as soon as Tuesday afternoon, according to Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who spearheaded the letter along with Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise.
And don’t use it to characterize how all the lawmakers would vote should the deal replace the sequester, as expected.
“The letter is not, ‘What are we going to vote for, what can we support?,’” Mulvaney told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview. “All we’re saying is, ‘Look, if we don’t get anything we can support, we are not going to tolerate a government shutdown.’” Full story
December 5, 2013
Speaker John A. Boehner tempered expectations for deals on the budget and the farm bill Thursday, saying neither issue appears to be poised for conclusion.
At his weekly press conference, the Ohio Republican told reporters “there’s clearly no agreement” on a budget from the two chief negotiators, House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. Their self-imposed deadline to reach a deal is Dec. 13, and sources indicated on Wednesday that an agreement could be announced in the coming days.
Boehner didn’t say whether he planned to move forward with passing a short-term continuing resolution next week to float government funding past Jan. 15, though he told his members last week that he would do so if necessary in order to take the threat of another government shutdown off the table.
As for the farm bill, Boehner said, “I’ve not seen any real progress,” and signaled that the House was prepared to pass a one-month extension of current funding for agriculture and nutrition programs to buy farm bill conferees more time. Full story
December 3, 2013
House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said Tuesday that he is “somewhat optimistic” that the members of a bipartisan, bicameral budget conference committee will deliver on a broad spending agreement by their Dec. 13 deadline.
Fearing a broad budget deal might ultimately elude conferees, House GOP leaders are reportedly mulling a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through Jan. 15, when the current CR expires — but the Kentucky Republican doesn’t think that will be necessary.
A House-Senate budget agreement would provide higher spending caps at which to write the twelve appropriations bills, which have been stymied by political fighting over the austere sequestration levels.
Those caps, Rogers said, would allow appropriators to come up with an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2014, negating the need for any stopgap spending measure to float government operations in the interim. Full story
House Republican leadership’s decision to call the chamber back into session next Monday for legislative business — a change to the set 2013 congressional calendar — is sparking all kinds of speculation about what it might mean for fiscal 2014 budget prospects.
Namely, is the budget conference committee nearing a deal to replace the sequester and provide higher spending levels for appropriations bills? Or will the committee’s Dec. 13 deadline come and go with an agreement still elusive?
While some speculation has centered on a possible plan to move a continuing resolution to fund the government, one GOP leadership aide told CQ Roll Call that the chamber was likely set to be in session on Dec. 9, so that the Rules Committee could pave the way for a House vote on a deal secured by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
November 12, 2013
If you like GOP leadership’s health care plan, so too does the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America.
The two conservative groups, known better of late for their troublemaker opposition to the Republican leadership’s strategies, are back on board as leadership looks to strike at smaller chunks of Obamacare and highlight Democratic divisions.
“It’s a no-brainer for Republicans to spend every day talking about a law that is incredibly unpopular with Americans and getting more unpopular every day,” said Barney Keller, the communications director of the Club for Growth. “It’s a political winner for Republicans, and we’ve said that all along.”