Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 7, 2015

Posts in "Budget"

October 5, 2015

Defense Bill Far From a Sure Thing in the Senate

Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., are at odds over the NDAA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCain and Reed are at odds over the NDAA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With opposition on the left gaining momentum, the Senate will consider this week the conference report for the annual defense authorization measure.

Democrats haven’t said they’d filibuster, but the White House last week issued a veto threat, only 37 Democrats supported the measure in the House, and the Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., refused to sign off on the conference report. Full story

September 30, 2015

The Senate Republicans Who Voted Against Keeping the Government Open

government shutdown

Tea party activist John Oltesvig of North Carolina wears a colonial costume with a tri-corner hats at a rally just before the 2013 shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

None of the Republicans running for president voted Wednesday for a “clean” continuing resolution, which will fund the government beyond the midnight end to the fiscal year.

In all, 20 Republican senators voted against the measure, which passed the Senate 78-20. Among them were presidential candidates Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, while Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina did not vote. Full story

Senate Sends House Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

UNITED STATES - September 29: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens to a question during a news conference following the weekly Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell is poised to deliver on his “no shutdown” promise. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

For a government funding vote that lagged until fiscal New Year’s Eve, this one was a snoozer.

Senators voted 78-20 to send to the House a measure that would keep the discretionary spigot open through Dec. 11, with the hope that Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill will be able to cut a budget deal with the White House. Full story

September 29, 2015

Deal-Hungry Senate Eager for Boehner’s Halloween Treats (Video)

UNITED STATES - September 22: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., smiles as he jokingly addresses that it will only be himself and Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., at the weekly Senate Democrat news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reid wants a budget deal with Boehner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senators from both parties want outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, no longer handcuffed by hardliners in his conference, to send over as many treats as he can — with a minimum of tricks — before retiring around Halloween.

Four days after Boehner’s announcement he’ll step down next month, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was touting Tuesday the prospects for a two-year top-line budget deal — and Reid’s wish list for Boehner’s promised “barn cleaning” includes an increase in the federal debt limit.

Full story

August 26, 2015

Rubio: GOP Needs 60 Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Rubio held a town hall Wednesday in Londonderry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio held a town hall Wednesday in Londonderry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio sounds rather bearish on repealing Obamacare anytime soon, even if he or another Republican becomes president.

Outlining his economic and foreign policy visions at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, the Floridian said upending the 2010 health care overhaul law would take the support of a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 senators.

Full story

August 19, 2015

Tim Kaine: Sequestration, VA Hospital Top Concerns

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

RICHMOND, Va. — While Sen. Mark Warner round-tabled down the street on Tuesday with a group of gig-economy workers, Virginia’s junior senator, Democrat Tim Kaine, met with local black business leaders in Richmond on a five-day economic tour through the state.

Talk primarily focused on federal contracting, which Kaine said later was consistent with the most common concern voiced by Virginia business interests: sequestration and the federal budget. Kaine predicted he’d hear sequester questions wherever he goes.

Roll Call on the Road logo“It might be procurement,” Kaine said. “It might be what happens if sequester hits, what are the defense cuts going to be? So a lot of the concern is in this federal budget space.”

On average, a 20-stop tour will lead to five great ideas for legislation, Kaine said, noting that a recent string of bills he’s introduced on opioids was inspired by a trip to southwest Virginia two springs ago. On Monday, he received a few ideas on how to improve care at a local Veterans Affairs hospital.

“Yesterday, I went to the [Hampton] VA hospital,” Kaine said. “They had the worst waiting times in the nation a year ago, now they are about the national average, from 30 days to about seven.”

Kaine asked what could be done to improve wait times even more, only to learn that red tape prevents Department of Defense hospital specialists from treating patients at VA hospitals without prior authorization. If DOD-qualified physicians could work in VA hospitals, that could speed up wait times, Kaine was told.

“I’d never heard that before,” Kaine said. “I didn’t realize DOD physicians couldn’t do it.”

Kaine also learned that the 2014 VA reform bill created a duplicate and conflicting system for when patients see private physicians.

“There was already within the VA the ability to refer people out to private physicians, but we set up two different structures where the reimbursement rates are different, some of the doctors who are in it are different, and it makes it extremely complicated,” Kaine said.

“Could we take the two programs — and there’s money for both — merge them into one and have a single set of criteria,” Kaine asked. “Makes perfect sense.”

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

August 4, 2015

Cruz Ready for Next Debt Limit Debate

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz recalled the last fight over the nation’s debt ceiling. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Remember what happened the last time Congress acted to raise the debt limit?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, certainly does.

The 2016 presidential hopeful found himself right in the middle, stopping a February 2014 effort to allow the Senate to vote on a debt ceiling measure with a simple majority.

Full story

June 16, 2015

Who Will Negotiate the Budget Deal?

Could Murray help avert another government shutdown? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Murray is trying to avert another government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With a little more than 100 days left to avoid a government shutdown, the federal budget process is about to lurch to a halt and it remains unclear who can get it going again.

Senate Democrats are promising to filibuster all of the annual appropriations bills — including the Defense bill teed up by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., until Republicans agree to spend more money on domestic programs.

The question is at what point do real negotiations start — and who does the negotiating. Full story

June 9, 2015

McConnell Cool to Budget Summit Talk

Reid and McConnell Democratic agenda

Reid, McConnell disagree over whether now is the time to hold a budget summit. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats and Republicans remain on a collision course over the budget, and at this point their leaders can’t even agree on how to negotiate.

Republicans have chosen to work within the sequester-created framework — at least for domestic spending — while Democrats have threatened to block any appropriations bills until Republicans agree to spend more money.

So it’s time to get everyone together to hash out the details over steaming bowls of Senate bean soup, right? Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 7:09 p.m.

May 5, 2015

Senators Vow to Protect Air Force’s A-10 Fleet

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate defense hawks fired warning shots over the Air Force’s nose on Tuesday over plans to retire the A-10 Warthog, vowing to fund the fleet through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The Air Force, looking to save more than $4 billion over the next few years, has pushed recently to retire the fleet of close-air support aircraft. But without an adequate replacement, Congress is clamoring for answers. Full story

April 29, 2015

Budget Resolution Clears Corker Hurdle

Corker (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Corker had withheld support for the budget conference report until Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bob Corker has signed off on the conference report for the fiscal 2016 budget resolution, clearing an obstacle for House and Senate Republicans to move forward.

The Tennessee Republican had been particularly concerned about a move by the conference negotiators to weaken his provision that would have phased out the use of certain changes in mandatory programs to raise discretionary spending (the so-called CHIMPs).

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:30 a.m.

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

April 10, 2015

After Budget Votes, Democrats Push Paid Sick Leave, Middle Class Tax Credits, Federal Benefits for Gay Couples (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murray’s amendment was among those to get clear of 60 votes during the budget debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:28 p.m. | Senate Democrats want Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to embrace lessons of the budget vote-a-rama that took place just before recess.

In a letter to the Kentucky Republican, a copy of which was obtained in advance by CQ Roll Call, nine Democratic senators called for votes on issues like paid sick leave and Social Security benefits for same-sex couples.

“Too often, the budget vote-a-rama is characterized as a partisan exercise that leaves no lasting policy impact. Working with you, we hope to make this Budget vote-a-rama different. While we strongly oppose the underlying Senate Republican budget and the negative impacts it would have on middle-class and working families, we believe the following four amendments represent policies that deserve a vote in this Congress,” the senators wrote.

Full story

March 31, 2015

10 Things We Learned From the Vote-a-Rama


Toomey got attention for changing his vote during last week’s vote-a-rama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the vote-a-rama in the rearview mirror, it’s worth taking stock of what the 15-plus hours of nonbinding votes on dozens of amendments said about the 2016 presidential election, how vulnerable senators voted and what issues might now come to the fore. Full story

March 27, 2015

Senate Budget Passes as Vote-A-Rama Wraps (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:20 a.m. | The Senate approved the GOP’s budget blueprint on a 52-46 vote following an epic vote-a-rama that featured dozens of test votes on everything from carbon taxes to Social Security benefits for same-sex marriages.

Two Republicans eyeing the White House voted no: Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, but otherwise the vote was along party lines.

“By passing a balanced budget that emphasizes growth, common sense and the needs of the middle class, Republicans have shown that the Senate is under new management and delivering on the change and responsible government the American people expect,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

“The Democrat-led Senate for years refused not only to pass a balanced budget, but any budget at all. Those days are over, and the proof is passage of a balanced plan with ideas that Congress’ nonpartisan analysts tell us would boost jobs, raise income and drive economic growth,” the Kentucky Republican added.

There were moments of drama, like two vulnerable GOP senators up in 2016 switching their votes to “yes” to back paid sick leave, giving it 61 votes.

Senators even voted to nix their own health insurance benefits on a 52-46 vote around 2:30 a.m. — a vote David Vitter of Louisiana has been seeking for nearly two years, much to the consternation of many of his colleagues.

Earlier the Senate Republicans eyeing the presidency jostled for position on war funding. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...