budget

Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Tax Overhaul Path Unclear Amid Budget Chair's Expected Departure
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 28

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Action on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that is key to a tax overhaul remains uncertain as House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black is expected to resign to run for governor of Tennessee, say CQ Roll Call's House leadership reporter Lindsey McPherson and budget reporter Jennifer Shutt.

Leading contenders to replace Black include GOP Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio. Meanwhile, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Tom McClintock of California could also make the list if they decide to seek the post.

CBO Would Disclose Research Models, Data Under Lee Measure
Utah Republican latest to target Congress’ budget scorekeeper

Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants the CBO to ‘show how its models work.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hits keep coming for the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans in Congress continue to lash out against the nonpartisan scorekeeper following its unflattering analysis of recent GOP health care proposals.

Republican lawmakers and White House officials in recent months have accused the CBO of partisan bias; called for slashing its budget; singled out individual employees; and suggested the agency is now obsolete.

Senate Republicans Face Key Tax Overhaul Decisions
Effort remains in nascent stages in the face of looming deadlines

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says the GOP debate over rewriting the tax code pits the establishment, who oppose proposals that would add to the deficit, against conservatives who would “rather see a tax cut.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have not yet come to a consensus on several crucial decisions that must be made before any serious work begins on legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Complicating that effort are a number of pressing deadlines the chamber faces, including funding the government past the end of September, the upcoming debt ceiling, and a pending reauthorization of a popular children’s health insurance program. 

Opinion: GOP Tax Dilemma — Somebody’s Got to Pay More
There’s a reason tax reform doesn’t happen often

South Dakota Sen. John Thune believes that traditional budget scorekeeping underestimates the dynamic effects of tax cuts on the economy, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Any deduction you look at in the tax code has a constituency behind it,” John Thune said last week as we chatted about taxes in his Senate office. “If you are going to do tax reform that is revenue-neutral … that means that you have to kill some deductions or scale them back.”

Too often Republican oratory depicts tax reform as across-the-board rate reductions where everyone wins and nobody loses. It is like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — “where all the children are above average” — but a lot richer.

Podcast: Congress' Perfect Fall Storm
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 28

Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., takes his seat for the Senate Budget Committee to order for the hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the President’s budget proposals on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers scurried out of Washington for the August recess but what they left undone, says CQ budget reporter Kellie Mejdrich, will not only complicate their lives politically when they return in September but test the nation’s fiscal obligations.

Tax Overhaul ‘Ain’t Going to Happen’ If Not by Thanksgiving, Meadows Says
Freedom Caucus chairman says it would be difficult to support corporate rate above 20 percent

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., says a tax overhaul needs to complete by Thanksgiving or it will not happen. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows endorsed Wednesday the White House’s aggressive timetable for overhauling the tax code, saying the effort will die if a bill doesn’t pass before Thanksgiving.

“If we do not have a bill that we’re actually debating in September [that] hopefully gets a vote in October, it will not get to the president’s desk by Thanksgiving. … If it doesn’t get there by Thanksgiving guys, it ain’t going to happen,” the North Carolina Republican said to a crowd of conservative activists at an Americans for Prosperity rally at the Newseum. 

Diane Black Will Need to Resign Budget Chairmanship or Seek Waiver
Tennessee Republican is running for governor

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black is running for governor and may have to give up her Budget Committee chairwomanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Diane Black may have to step down as Budget Committee chairwoman now that the Tennessee Republican is running for governor of her home state, but who will want to take the gavel of a panel whose primary work product has run into major roadblocks for two years in a row?

Black, the first woman to chair the Budget Committee, has only held the gavel for eight months. She replaced Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who was chairman for just two years before President Donald Trump tapped him to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

Appropriators Softening Trump's Proposed Fiscal 2018 Cuts
How House and Senate levels agreed upon by leaders compare to Trump's

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., prepares for a hearing in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators are not giving President Donald Trump the degree of overall cuts that he asked for in fiscal 2018 funding. The House passed a package of four titles last week and has cleared the remaining eight through full committee, while the Senate has cleared six titles through full committee. Appropriators are softening Trump’s cuts by more than $50 billion.

Here's a look at how Trump's budget request for the coming fiscal year compares to levels agreed upon by Appropriations leaders in the House and Senate:

White House Talks Tax Outreach, but Senators Guarded
Legislative director outlines ambitious timetable

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, left, here with Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso last week, has hopes for a bipartisan tax overhaul effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll)

The White House sees Democrats up for re-election in states President Donald Trump won as possible partners in their effort to overhaul the tax code, but Senate Republicans appear less optimistic about the chances of a bipartisan bill.

White House legislative director Marc Short said Monday the White House is not wed to using the often partisan reconciliation process to advance a tax overhaul, though senators were hesitant to rule out that procedural tool.