Podcast:Top Appropriators Seek Hometown Cash as Shutdown Threat Nears
CQ Budget, Episode 52

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring at the end of the session, and theoretically the New Jersey Republican could grab some extra federal dollars for his district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ appropriation reporters Kellie Mejdrich and Ryan McCrimmon explain how a committee chairmanship can pay off in more ways than one and why Republicans are once again talking about another rounds of tax cuts.


Departing Appropriations Chairmen Set to Reap Omnibus Bounty
Fiscal 2018 spending bill a swan song for Cochran, Frelinghuysen

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s swan song as the outgoing chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee may be a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo )

The outgoing chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are set up for a bountiful swan song as a sprawling $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill comes to fruition this week.

For Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, resigning April 1, it’s a “mic drop” moment as the ailing 80-year-old Mississippi Republican will walk off the stage just after the omnibus measure is expected to become law. Cochran’s departure leaves his state with an enormous loss of clout that he will be anxious to ameliorate in his final go-round.

'Phase Two' of Tax Cuts? What Is Trump Talking About?
GOP source: Lighthearted or not, president's idea is going nowhere

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017 as House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (clapping) looks on. Democrats were quick to exit the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A second Republican-crafted tax overhaul bill? In a highly competitive midterm election year? President Donald Trump keeps suggesting Republican lawmakers should do just that.

Trump and Republicans late last year relished his lone legislative feat, a tax bill that slashed rates while also opening new Arctic oil drilling and nixing Barack Obama’s individual health insurance requirement. He threw a celebration party with all congressional Republicans on the White House’s South Portico and insisted on signing the bill into law several days early in a hastily arranged Oval Office session.

In Shift, White House Embraces Art of the Possible
GOP source: ‘You’re just not going to pass legislation in 2018’

President Donald Trump speaks at Republicans’ retreat in West Virginia on Feb. 1 as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise look on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and White House officials, with their modest response to school shootings and in other recent remarks, have shelved bold demands of Congress for asks rooted more in the art of the possible.

The president started 2018 by pushing members of both parties to swing for the fences on a sweeping immigration deal, even offering them political cover when he told them he would “take all the heat you want to give me.”

Trump Picks Cable News Host Kudlow to Replace Cohn
'The president thinks very highly of Larry Kudlow,' spokesman says

Larry Kudlow, and his wife Judith at the New York City Ballet's Spring 2013 Gala. President Donald Trump has picked Larry to be his chief economic adviser. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The White House confirmed cable news commentator and former Reagan White House aide Larry Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as the president’s chief economic adviser. But it’s not clear the relationship will be a smooth one.

“Larry Kudlow was offered, and accepted, the position of assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council. We will work to have an orderly transition and will keep everyone posted on the timing of him officially assuming the role,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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

Former House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers expressed support for an omnibus, 12-bill approach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Former Ways and Means Aide Considered as Cohn Replacement
Source: Shahira Knight in running for chief economic adviser role

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster brief reporters on Jan. 23. Cohn announced this week he is leaving that position. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Shahira Knight, special assistant to President Donald Trump for tax and retirement policy, is under consideration to replace departing Gary Cohn as chief economic adviser, according to a senior White House official.

“She is very well respected here,” the senior official told Roll Call. “She has done a great job.”

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

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Opinion: Pick Up Your Forks. It’s Time for Another Dinner Table Bargain
Members of the Budget and Appropriations Process Reform Committee should follow the examples of Jefferson, Madison

If Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton — shown here in Constantino Brumidi’s 1872 painting — were able to hash out an agreement over dinner, so can the members of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, Hoagland writes. (Courtesy the Architect of the Capitol)

The table is set. The invitations have been sent. The 16 Senate and House members of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform have accepted. Now it is time for these 16 diners to sit down and choose from a long menu of options for reforming the broken budget and appropriation procedure that the budget process chefs have prepared over the years.

Importantly, these diners should not be cooking up new proposals according to their own individual tastes, but instead should focus on selecting three or four key menu items that have been proposed by some of their predecessors.

10 Policy Issues to Watch in Omnibus Spending Bill
Policy debates could complicate process

Immigration rights demonstrators hold signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September to oppose the president’s decision to end the DACA program for “Dreamers.” The omnibus is the next opportunity for lawmakers to extend protections.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A swath of sticky policy debates could entangle an upcoming final spending package for fiscal 2018, as lawmakers aim to attach their pet policy “riders” to the must-pass bill.

Negotiators are aiming to complete work on the massive $1.2 trillion bill and pass it before March 23, when the fifth stopgap funding measure of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, expires. Before they do, they’ll need a deal on which policy issues, from guns and immigration to Russia’s election meddling, will ride alongside the spending package.