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May 28, 2015

Posts in "Sequester"

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

May 18, 2015

Democrats: Don’t Cut Medicare to Fund Trade Deal

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., reads from his new book "My Country 'Tis of Thee," during a conversation at the Center for American Progress. The books touches on issues from his Muslim faith and family to the future of the country. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellison and Grijalva want changes to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats successfully blocked debate on Trade Promotion Authority in their chamber until they were promised a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance.

A similar gambit faces longer odds in the House, but Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota began Monday an effort to rally support among Democrats to force changes to the pending TAA legislation.

Full story

Democrats Face Risky Votes Ahead of Memorial Day Recess

Carney, D-Del., arrives for the House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Assessing the Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later" on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal

Carney acknowledged the effort to quash another short-term highway fund extension sends a message, even if it comes up short. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats have some tough decisions to make before Congress breaks for a week-long Memorial Day recess.

Walking a fine line between practicality and messaging, rank-and-file members are weighing their options for having the most impact on two legislative agenda items: A short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund and the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. 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 28, 2015

McCarthy Defends First 100 Days, Previews What’s Ahead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy defended the House GOP’s first 100 days of the 114th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the second reporters’ briefing of his majority leader career, California Republican Kevin McCarthy offered a strong defense of the House GOP’s record in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress.

Appropriations bills are coming to the floor as early as they have since 1974, he said, with the first two up for consideration this week; and committees are passing bills at a higher rate than in the past three Congresses. Full story

April 19, 2015

McCarthy Uses Bully Pulpit to Spotlight California Drought

McCarthy said it's up to the Senate. Cornyn suggests it's up to the House.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy has made the California drought a priority in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislation targeting arcane water rules is not typically the stuff of legacy building for high-profile political figures.

But for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, shepherding through Congress a bill aimed at easing the water shortage in his home state — while taking down some federal regulations conservatives contend contributed to the crisis — would be a personal triumph years in the making. Full story

April 16, 2015

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

March 18, 2015

After GOP Hawks Threaten Mutiny, Budget Committee Set to Add Defense Dollars

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

Rokita’s amendment adds to defense spending in the GOP budget. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a win for defense hawks, the House Budget Committee is set to vote Wednesday night on an amendment that would add $2 billion to the Overseas Contingency Operations fund and strike provisions requiring that the money be offset.

After more than a day of uncertainty — Would they add money in the Budget Committee? Would they not? Do it on the floor? In the Rules Committee? — Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee may finally be getting the extra dollars they pushed for.

The Budget Committee is slated to vote during the marathon markup session on Indiana Republican Todd Rokita’s amendment that would bring OCO funding up to $96 billion from $94 billion. Full story

December 5, 2014

Pelosi Warns GOP: Tread Carefully With ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 04: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes her way to a news conference at the House Triangle to call on House Republicans to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, December 4, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi warns GOP on spending bill riders. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is still keeping her powder dry when it comes to staking out a position on the House GOP’s fiscal 2015 spending bill, due to be revealed on Monday.

The California Democrat said no policy riders currently on the negotiating table were “deal breakers” on their own.

“Let’s look at the full package,” she said.

But the riders currently being discussed, she said, were cause for concern among members of her caucus.

If she made one thing clear at her weekly press conference on Friday, it was this: If Republicans want and need Democrats’ help in shoring up the votes on the so-called “cromnibus” to avert a government shutdown on Dec. 11, the GOP is going to have to make some compromises.

“We have extended the hand of friendship once again to say, ‘Let us help,'” Pelosi said of Democrats’ outreach to Republican leaders. “We haven’t heard back. We haven’t seen the bill. But there are some very destructive riders in it that would be unacceptable to us and unacceptable to the American people.” Full story

January 13, 2014

A Few Highlights — Or Lowlights — From the Omnibus

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

January 3, 2014

Cantor Lays Out January Legislative Agenda

Cantor, center, outlined the House's January legislative agenda on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Cantor, center, outlined the House’s January legislative agenda on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House will have a busy January judging by the lengthy legislative agenda Majority Leader Eric Cantor circulated among his colleagues on Friday.

The Virginia Republican’s memo, obtained by 218, lays out the obvious items of business: passing conference reports for the farm bill and for legislation funding the nation’s water programs, plus an appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal 2014.

The GOP-run House will also continue to assail the president’s health care law, starting next week with a measure to address potential security breaches on HealthCare.gov. Cantor released a memo on that specific priority on Thursday.

Cantor also told lawmakers to familiarize themselves with other initiatives that could come to the floor in the weeks ahead, such as a possible Iran sanctions resolution that has been on the back-burner since late last year.

Full story

December 30, 2013

The House Year in Review

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 12, 2013

House Passes Budget Deal

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House passed a budget agreement Thursday night that, though modest, could fundamentally change how Capitol Hill functions for the remainder of the 113th Congress.

Lawmakers voted 332-94 on the deal negotiated by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Breaking the vote down by party, Republicans were split 169-62, while Democrats divided themselves 163-32.

The vote was a difficult one for many members. Full story

December 11, 2013

Democrats Ignore Leaders to Pass Pediatrics Research Bill

House Democrats bucked their leaders Wednesday to join Republicans in voting for a contentious suspension bill that would authorize taking $12.5 million from political conventions and giving it to pediatric medical research.

The House voted 295-103, with 72 Democrats joining all but one Republican (Paul Broun of Georgia) easily clearing the threshold for a two-thirds majority required by suspension bills.

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, named after a 10-year-old girl who died in October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor, was the latest iteration of a proposal that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., unveiled in April.

Democrats and their leadership made it clear this week that their objection was not to pediatrics medical research funding. One Democrat, Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, called the bill “a joke,” and said it was “nothing but a guise and a ruse.”

Indeed, a number of Democrats pointed out Tuesday that it was Republicans who had cut billions from the National Institutes of Health and had proposed additional cuts in GOP budgets.

Full story

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