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April 16, 2014

Posts in "Spending Cuts"

March 21, 2014

Cantor Says House Budget Will Conform to ‘Spending Limits’ (Updated)

boehner 144 0312141 445x307 Cantor Says House Budget Will Conform to Spending Limits (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:44 p.m. |Majority Leader Eric Cantor is telling House Republicans they will produce a budget that adheres to spending limits and balances the budget in ten years.

“We owe it to the American people to demonstrate how we will allocate their tax dollars and balance the budget,” Cantor wrote Friday to House Republicans.

The Virginia Republican noted that President Barack Obama’s budget “blows past” the spending caps previously agreed to for fiscal 2015, but the the House GOP’s budget will conform to the agreed upon “spending limits.”

The pluralization of that last word is key: There are rumors that House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan intends to offer a budget that would adhere to the overall spending limit, but would exceed the defense spending caps, which are unpopular with a number of Republicans. Full story

March 11, 2014

Cantor Scores First GOP Rebranding Win as Pediatric Research Bill Sails Through Senate

cantor121013 445x295 Cantor Scores First GOP Rebranding Win as Pediatric Research Bill Sails Through Senate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., cheered the passage of one of his top priorities Tuesday, as a pediatric research funding bill he laboriously pushed through the House easily passed the Senate.

The bill is the first piece of legislation under the umbrella of Cantor’s much-publicized Republican rebrand to pass the Senate, and his office now expects President Barack Obama to sign the bill into law.

“So often everyone is focused on what Congress cannot accomplish that we overlook the good that can be done when both parties work together,” Cantor said in a statement.

Of course, the road to passage was not so simple for the legislation. It moves $126 million over 10 years that would be used to pay for political conventions into a fund that can only be applied to pediatric research through the National Institutes of Health.

Yet many House Republicans opposed the bill because they would rather see the money used to offset the deficit. Top Democrats, meanwhile, called the $126 million a pittance in the NIH budget and said Cantor was simply trying to obscure several years of Republican-led cuts to medical research.

It was not until Cantor rebranded the bill itself that he found legislative success.

The bill was renamed for Gabriella Miller, a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died last year. Afflicted with brain cancer, she nonetheless made viral YouTube videos advocating for heightened awareness for pediatric diseases.

With Miller’s parents watching from the House chamber’s visitors gallery, the bill passed in December on a 295-103 vote despite objections from Democratic leaders.

It passed the Senate on Tuesday with unanimous consent.

January 30, 2014

GOP Leaders to Obama: Sign Our Bills

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – In a letter to President Barack Obama, House Republican leaders asked him to push four House-passed proposals they say fit the priorities he set out in his State of the Union address, but which are largely panned by Democratic groups and have in some cases drawn veto threats.

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, along with his top leadership team, cited Obama’s “year of action” theme to revive four controversial bills on job skills, drilling and pediatric research the House has already passed and they say should move in the Senate.

“Naturally, we don’t agree with all of the proposals you outlined in your speech, but where there is potential for agreement we believe it is critical that we come together to advance the interests of the American people,” they wrote. Full story

January 15, 2014

5 Interesting Tidbits From Conversations With Conservatives (Updated) (Video)

A monthly meeting with the press and conservatives lawmakers has become a must-attend event — and not just for the free Chick-fil-A.

The Conversations with Conservatives event, hosted by the Heritage Foundation, brings a group of the most far-right legislators on Capitol Hill together to discuss a wide range of topics. And while lawmakers were, unexpectedly, a bit more reserved on topics like the omnibus this month, they had plenty to say on other issues.

Here are five interesting tidbits from the discussion: 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 7, 2014

Jobless Benefits Split House GOP, Democrats

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Levin gave an impromptu press conference on jobless benefits in the Senate press gallery Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Ways and Means ranking Democrat Sander M. Levin wants an unemployment insurance extension, doesn’t want to pay for it, and wants it now.

With a handful of Senate Republicans voting with Democrats on Tuesday to advance legislation restoring lapsed unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans, Levin called on Speaker John A. Boehner to pass a temporary extension now and work out how to pay for it later.

“There is a present emergency,” Levin said during an impromptu press conference in the Senate press gallery. “This is not something theoretical.”

Levin said he wanted the House to pass the bill currently under consideration in the Senate, which would extend the expired unemployment insurance for three months without an offset, and then work toward a larger, longer-term solution that could include an offset. Full story

Steny Hoyer to Eric Cantor: ‘Talk Is Cheap’

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer slammed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday, ahead of a Cantor speech to the Brookings Institution on Wednesday.

“Talk is cheap,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing of the Virginia Republican. “Performance is what pays off.”

The Maryland Democrat’s remarks came the day before Cantor is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Brookings Institution on school choice as an avenue for solving income inequality in America. They also came on the heels of House passage of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act, which the chamber’s No. 2 Republican championed and which authorizes funds for pediatric health research.   Full story

December 12, 2013

House Passes Budget Deal

murray ryan 041 111313 445x312 House Passes Budget Deal

(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

Boehner Blasts Groups Opposing Budget Deal

House Speaker John A. Boehner appears to have had enough of outside groups trying to assert their influence on congressional affairs.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, the typically even-keeled Ohio Republican lashed out against those groups that oppose the bipartisan budget agreement and threaten to bring it down by “scoring” the GOP votes.

“You mean the groups who came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” Boehner asked a reporter who had just begun to ask him about the growing discontent among influential groups such as Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity.

“They’re using our members, and they’re using the American people for their own goals,” Boehner went on, his voice growing louder and his tone growing sharper. “This is ridiculous.

“Listen,” he said. “If you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.” Full story

December 10, 2013

33 House Republicans Want a Sequester-Level CR, Just in Case

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 6, 2013

All Quiet on the Conference Front

murray ryan 323 103013 445x315 All Quiet on the Conference Front

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No news is, well, news, as Congress nears pressing deadlines to reach a budget deal and pass a farm bill — and there doesn’t appear to be an agreement for either one, at least before Monday.

House GOP aides familiar with the status of both negotiations say conferees will continue to talk in the days ahead, but there are no formal scheduled meetings at the moment.

“We’re waiting on some of the proposals that were discussed Wednesday to be scored and then they’ll reassess accordingly,” said a House GOP aide familiar with the farm bill negotiations. The top four farm bill conferees met on Wednesday and described the meeting as “productive.” Full story

December 5, 2013

Pelosi Draws, Then Smudges, Lines in Sand on Budget

Gov Steve Beshear 6 120513 445x299 Pelosi Draws, Then Smudges, Lines in Sand on Budget

Pelosi, left, wants Republicans to agree to an extension of unemployment benefits. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants unemployment insurance legislation to be passed this year, but she sent conflicting signals Thursday about what Democrats’ demands would be.

First, she seemed to be drawing a line in the sand by saying Democrats would not support any forthcoming budget agreement that doesn’t include an extension of unemployment benefits.

“We are making a very clear statement that we cannot, cannot support a budget agreement that does not include unemployment insurance in the budget or as a sidebar in order to move it along,” Pelosi said at a special hearing convened by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee specifically on the subject of unemployment insurance.

Later she seemed to walk back those remarks during a Democratic leadership press conference, clarifying that she would not make her vote on a budget agreement contingent upon a one-year extension of emergency unemployment insurance aid.

“What I said was … as we go forward with the budget, I wanted to see unemployment insurance in there,” Pelosi said. “It could be separate from that as well.” Full story

December 4, 2013

‘Do-Nothing’ Label Belongs to Democrats, Boehner Says (Video)

One day after Speaker John A. Boehner told Senate Democrats to “get serious” about negotiations over the farm bill and a budget agreement, the Ohio Republican gave a defensive speech on the House floor blaming Democrats for Congress’ lack of legislative accomplishments this year.

“The Senate and the president continue to stand in the way of the American people’s priorities,” Boehner said. “When will they learn to say ‘yes’ to common ground? When will they start listening to the American people?”

Boehner seemed to be responding to various news reports that the first year of the 113th Congress has been the least productive in modern congressional history.

That will likely still be true even if Congress is able to craft a budget agreement, as well as a farm bill deal before leaving town for the holidays. The top four farm bill conference committee members are scheduled  to meet Wednesday and budget negotiators have until Dec. 13 to deliver a budget agreement for fiscal 2014.

December 3, 2013

Is a Budget Deal Close? Depends on Whom You Ask

murray ryan 323 103013 445x315 Is a Budget Deal Close? Depends on Whom You Ask

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

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