Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2015

Posts in "Appropriations"

July 29, 2015

Highway Bill Might Be Senate’s Last Accomplishment Before August

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s on the road to shipping the House a six-year highway bill before leaving for August recess, despite the fact House members won’t be around to debate it.

Senators voted Wednesday morning to clear the final major procedural hurdle on the highway measure, but that could be the chamber’s last significant bill before the August recess, even with the Senate planning to stick around for another week. Other than advancing a three-month bill to keep transportation programs running past the end of July, there’s little thus far on the schedule for the first week of August. Full story

July 16, 2015

McConnell Uses Clout to Help Hemp Industry

McConnell wants to expand the market for industrial hemp grown in Kentucky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell wants to expand the market for industrial hemp grown in Kentucky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be the best friend in Washington for the nascent industrial hemp industry.

The Kentucky Republican announced Thursday he had secured hemp-processing language in an Agriculture Department spending bill.

“Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot programs continue to prosper and I want to make sure our legal hemp producers can safely transport their crops between states, including to States that maintain processing facilities, so they can fully capitalize on the commercial potential for this commodity,” McConnell said in a statement.

Full story

June 22, 2015

Schumer Eggs Republicans

Schumer is using eggs to beat up on the GOP. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer is using eggs to beat up on the GOP. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The latest salvo in what’s looking to be a summer of sparring over spending? Eggs.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is using rocketing egg prices to rip the GOP’s domestic spending tourniquet — one of many kitchen-table arguments we’re told to expect from Democrats ahead of a potential Sept. 30 shutdown showdown.

At his weekly Sunday news conference, the New York Democrat highlighted recent news of an outbreak of bird flu that has led to tens of millions of chickens being slaughtered and thus, an unusually limited supply of eggs. Schumer said the proposed Republican budget for the Agriculture Department includes cuts of about a half-billion dollars.

Full story

June 18, 2015

Senate Waste Watchers Soldier On

From left, Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., appeared with Pigfoot, a mascot for Citizens Against Government Waste. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

From left, Toomey, McCain and Jeff Flake appeared with Pigfoot, a mascot for Citizens Against Government Waste, in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A dog-bite prevention website. Vermont puppet shows. Researching the bomb-sniffing capabilities of elephants.

Those are just some government spending projects labeled “wasteful” in this Congress by a crop of lawmakers who continue to take on the mantle of pork busters four years after Ohio Republican John A. Boehner banned earmarks after he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011.

Full story

June 17, 2015

Senate’s Defense Endgame Expected Thursday

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans McConnell and Cornyn are setting up a defense appropriations showdown Thursday with Democrats.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up to make the case that Democrats are flip-flopping on national security.

With the debate time on the defense authorization bill set to expire late Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican indicated in opening the day’s session that votes are likely to be rolled into Thursday. And as soon as the authorization is off the floor, it will be in order to consider his motion to limit debate to take up the Defense Department’s appropriations measure.

Full story

June 11, 2015

Flake Releases ‘Jurassic Pork’ Report

That's Jurassic Pork, not Jurassic Park. It's the latest report from anti-earmark Sen. Jeff Flake. (Screenshot)

That’s Jurassic Pork, not Jurassic Park. It’s the latest report from anti-earmarker Flake. (Screenshot)

Blending dinosaur and swine metaphors, Sen. Jeff Flake released “Jurassic Pork” Thursday — a report aimed at highlighting projects that survived despite the 2010 earmark moratorium.

“Fossilized within the federal budget, these projects continue to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Many have even outlasted the terms of the politicians who created them,” the Arizona Republican wrote. Full story

June 1, 2015

Appropriations Bills Face Democratic Roadblock

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Moran’s among the Republican appropriators eager to see bills on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It might be too early to put the nail in the coffin of the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, but get your hammer ready.

After the Senate Appropriations Committee met for its first full committee markup shortly before the Memorial Day break, Democrats made clear they will try and block any effort to pass the bills until a budget deal is reached allowing them to spend more money.

Full story

May 7, 2015

Watch: Loretta Lynch’s First Testimony as Attorney General

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies held a hearing on the Department of Justice’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in as head of the DOJ last week, will testify for the first time as attorney general. Full story

May 5, 2015

Graham, Leahy Host Elton John to Promote Fight Against HIV/AIDS

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Patrick J. Leahy hosted Sir Elton John at the Capitol Tuesday evening as part of a push to ensure funding for the bipartisan effort to combat AIDS.

The South Carolina Republican and Vermont Democrat, who serve as chairman and ranking member on the Appropriations subcommittee that handles foreign operations, praised the legendary musician’s efforts, along with those of U2’s Bono and others involved with the ONE Campaign.

“What I get from this room at this very moment is togetherness. It feels very good. So much of the world is torn apart by not speaking to each other, and Sen. Graham says … this is a bipartisan thing. This is something that we have to come together on,” Elton John said. “There’s a lot of love in this room.”

Full story

Wicker Pledges GOP Will Adhere to Strict Spending Limits (Video)

Durbin is dubious the GOP will stick to their budget levels in appropriations bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Durbin is dubious the GOP will stick to their budget levels in appropriations bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate was preparing to finalize the fiscal 2016 budget resolution, both sides seem to want the spending blueprint to be an election issue next year.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., for instance, is touting the new GOP majority approach as returning the Senate to normal operations.

Full story

April 28, 2015

Senate Democrats Warn GOP on Appropriations (Video)

 (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even before GOP lawmakers filed a budget resolution conference report, Senate Democratic Conference Chairman Charles E. Schumer put down a marker.

“Republicans should be warned right here, right now, Democrats are not going to help you pass appropriations bills that lock in senseless, automatically triggered cuts that hurt the middle class,” the New York Democrat said. “Instead, we’ll be eager to work with our Republican colleagues to prevent those cuts from taking effect and restoring both defense spending and vital middle class funding in an even way, one dollar for defense, one dollar for the middle class.”

Full story

March 26, 2015

Freshman Senator: Pay for Obamacare Replacement With … Obamacare

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: From left, Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., attend a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup in Dirksen Building on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, January 8, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cassidy, center, a freshman senator and Louisiana doctor, has a different spin on replacing Obamacare than most Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bill Cassidy, the freshman senator from Louisiana and a doctor, has been pushing fellow Republicans in his first few months in the Senate to embrace an alternative to Obamacare — one he predicts will insure more people without mandates.

And he even says he has a way to pay for it: Obamacare. Full story

March 9, 2015

Sanders Throws Flames, but Doesn’t Torch Appropriations Process

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sanders said Obama was “mistaken” in thinking he could negotiate with Republicans in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bernard Sanders promised to live up to his “grumpy grandpa” reputation Monday, giving a gruff rebuke of GOP priorities and also criticizing the president’s approach to working with Congress.

The Vermont independent threw flames at both national political parties during a lunchtime appearance at the National Press Club, calling the Democratic Party “out of touch” and repeatedly referring to the GOP as a “right-wing extremist party.” But he made no promises to torch Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plans to return to regular order on appropriations from his perch on the Senate Budget Committee.  Full story

March 5, 2015

Shaheen Finds Her Groove in Successful DHS Funding Fight

Shaheen, D-N.H., speaks with reporters following her news conference with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Sec. Vilsack announced $25 million for nation's farmers to turn commodities into value-added products. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Shaheen’s indefatigable efforts on behalf of the Homeland Security appropriations bill earned kudos from fellow Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jeanne Shaheen didn’t have months to prepare for becoming the leading Democrat on Homeland Security spending. She didn’t get the chance to start the process at the beginning, with the president’s budget request and weeks of hearings.

The New Hampshire Democrat had no such opportunity because from the moment she became the ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, she was operating in budget crisis mode, thanks to last December’s “cromnibus” deal, with the DHS relying on stopgap spending until Wednesday’s signing of a full-year funding measure. Full story

February 27, 2015

Senate Votes on Full DHS Funding, With House Set to Punt (Updated)

Pelosi and Reid conduct a news conference Thursday in the Capitol’s Senate studio to criticize Republican leaders on the hold up of the Department of Homeland Security funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:39 p.m. | The Senate did its best to wrap up the current year’s funding debate, even as the House is opting for another punt.

Senate Democrats said they wouldn’t try to block the House’s punt, meaning a likely Groundhog Day version of the debate three weeks from now.

After weeks at loggerheads, the Senate moved quickly Friday morning to pass a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for the balance of the fiscal year. The key vote was on invoking cloture to bat back any potential filibuster of the underlying bill — a 68-31 outcome well north of the 60 needed to clear the procedural hurdle. Democrats were united in seeking the “clean” funding bill but Republicans fractured, with most voting to filibuster the plan put forward by their Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to break the impasse.

Senate Republicans who face the voters next year in states won by President Barack Obama split on funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to advance the bill.

Rob Portman of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa voted no.

The final vote on passage was also 68-31.

Full story

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