Jennifer Shutt

Podcast: Abortion Rift Slows Spending Bill Progress
CQ Budget, Episode 51

CQ budget and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt explains how the latest negotiations to arrive at a fiscal 2018 catchall spending bill have been mired over funding that could reach Planned Parenthood, always a contentious issue for lawmakers. Also, Congress considers changing the start of the fiscal year.

Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Resigning From Senate in April
Longtime Republican senator cites his health as “ongoing challenge”

Updated 6:28 p.m. | Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran announced Monday he will resign from the chamber effective April 1, giving way to a special election in November. 

“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge,” the Mississippi Republican said in a statement. 

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

Senate Democrats Picked for Select Budget, Pension Committees

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday named eight senators to the select committees tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process as well as providing recommendations for restoring the solvency of multiemployer pension plans.

The New York Democrat selected Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, both of Hawaii, for the budget panel.

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Podcast: Trump Budget Could Conflict With Spending Plans
CQ Budget, Episode 48

Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski and CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt preview the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget request, which is being released just days after Congress passed a $153 billion increase to next year’s discretionary spending cap.

Show Notes:

Shutdown Begins After Midnight Deadline Passes
Senate has a vote on funding scheduled for 1 a.m. Friday

It’s official: The federal government has entered yet another partial shutdown. 

The Senate reopened at 12:01 a.m. Friday after recessing just before 11 p.m. Thursday, as Sen. Rand Paul continued his objections to moving up the timetable for a procedural vote on legislation that would extend government funding past the midnight deadline. That vote is currently set for 1 a.m.

Budget Deal Facing Senate Slowdown, House Objections
Second shutdown in as many months looms larger

Updated at 6:47 p.m.Confidence quickly waned Thursday afternoon that a massive $320 billion budget package with stopgap funding needed to avert a government shutdown at midnight would pass quickly as senators lodged procedural objections.

And if House Democratic leaders move from a passive vote-counting effort against the package to an aggressive one — neither chamber may have the time or the votes to pass the package before the current funding bill expires.

Five Continuing Resolutions? Par for the Course on Capitol Hill
Fiscal 2018 isn’t an outlier, yet, when compared to recent years

Frustration is high among lawmakers being asked to vote for yet another continuing resolution, the fifth of its kind for the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

None of the 12 annual appropriations bills have been enacted, and the reliance on interim funding at prior-year levels leaves agencies operating on outdated, and in some cases lower, budgets that don’t reflect new priorities and needs identified over the course of the previous year.

Republicans Huddle to Avoid Latest Shutdown Threat
House conference, Freedom Caucus to meet Monday evening

House Republicans will meet at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the latest stopgap spending bill that will be needed to avert another partial government, according to GOP aides.

The latest continuing resolution is in place through Thursday night, giving congressional leaders little time to navigate a thicket of difficulties in both chambers.

Podcast: Another Stopgap Coming as Congress Readies to Spend, Spend, Spend
CQ Budget, Episode 47

Negotiations to keep the government funded beyond Feb. 8 are underway, as lawmakers prepare to add even more to the nation's credit card, say CQ's senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. Also, the race heats up for the next chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.


The Appropriator in Winter: Frelinghuysen’s Last Stand
With re-election out of the way, Approps chairman seeks productive final year

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is giving up the throne of what used to be the most sought-after seat at the Capitol after just one year.

The House Appropriations chairman is going out amid a blizzard of Republican infighting; lackluster presidential approval dragging down many of his “blue state” GOP colleagues; the increasing polarization of the electorate; and greater influence of Southern and Western conservatives at the expense of Northeastern moderates like himself.

In Budget Talks, the ‘Dreamer’ Tail Wags the Spending Caps Dog
Immigration has been a major drag on wrapping up appropriations bills, members say

Lawmakers are hurtling toward a Feb. 8 spending deadline, when the fourth stopgap of fiscal 2018 expires, with little demonstrable progress toward agreement on new spending caps they have known would be necessary since the last two-year budget deal was reached in October 2015.

“Anybody would be very, very optimistic or unrealistic — take your choice — if they said by next Tuesday we’re going to have a global agreement. As a matter of fact, we appear to be moving in the opposite direction, which is sad,” House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.

Big Spending Goals, Zero Focus on Deficit in Trump Speech
The word “deficit” appeared in the State of the Union only once

President Donald Trump laid out plans in his State of the Union address Tuesday for additional spending on infrastructure, border security, defense, workforce training and paid family leave programs.

But he didn’t include any details on paying for those programs. The word “deficit” didn’t appear once in Trump’s speech — except to tout the nation’s “infrastructure deficit,” by which he meant more spending.

Podcast: Hoping to Avoid Another Shutdown
CQ Budget, Episode 46

Cornyn Lays Marker on Border Wall-for-Dreamers Tradeoffs
Majority whip says multi-year funding would be baseline for permanent DACA fix

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, suggested Wednesday that if Democrats want a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Republicans will want something close to a 10-year appropriation for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and security funding.

“If you want an annual appropriation, then I think you’ll get a one-year extension of the DACA status,” Cornyn said. “I think it’s not a good solution to say we’re going to provide a permanent solution for the DACA recipients and yet just do a one-year appropriation and then maybe an authorization, which may or may not get funded.”

Senate Adjourns, Ensures Government Shutdown on Monday
McConnell offers some concessions, but no deal yet

The federal government will be shut down on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back until noon Monday what was an expected 1 a.m. vote on trying to break a filibuster of a short-term spending package.

Flake Signals Deal to Vote on DACA Proposal
Measure could come to the Senate floor with or without Trump’s backing

Senators left the Capitol early Saturday morning hoping that an agreement hashed out after midnight would win enough support to get the votes to keep the government shutdown from extending to the workweek.

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said after the marathon vote in which a mostly Democratic group voted to block a government funding bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now agreed to put immigration legislation on the floor, with or without assurances of a signature by President Donald Trump.

Government Shuts Down as Senate Fails to Advance Spending Measure
Last-minute negotiations come up short

The Senate on Friday failed to cut off debate on a House-passed bill that would avert a government shutdown and extend funding another four weeks, setting into motion a lapse of appropriations under a unified Republican government. Lawmakers will now aim to make the shutdown short-lived, with the Senate scheduled to reconvene at noon Saturday to advance a shorter-term funding bill and send it back to the House.

House Lawmakers Ready to Carve Some Pork
Optimistic chatter around earmarks draws cheers, cringes

The U.S. House of Representatives appears ready to welcome back earmarks with open, bipartisan arms.

During a Rules subcommittee hearing Wednesday, lawmakers sounded optimistic that Congress will wrestle back a portion of its spending authority from the executive branch — though there was some discord over when and how earmarks should return.