entitlements

White House wants to update poverty thresholds. It could affect food stamps and Medicaid benefits
Critics say move could weaken public assistance programs and increase hardship for low-wage earners

Supporters hold up “Save Medicaid” signs during the Senate Democrats’ news conference with disability advocates in September 2017 to oppose a Republican health care overhaul proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House Budget Office is considering its first update to inflation adjustment guidelines for poverty thresholds since 1978, with potential consequences for benefit programs serving low-income households.

The initiative is part of a re-evaluation of six inflation indexes used to track the impact on consumers of rising or falling prices. One of the indexes is used to adjust poverty thresholds, which underlie the calculation of eligibility for a number of benefit programs including Medicaid, food stamps and school lunches and breakfasts for poor children.

GOP conservatives sharpen knives for spending fight
House Republicans express concern about paying for $2 trillion infrastructure tab

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady says conservatives need to put entitlement programs “back on America’s radar.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Conservatives are making a fresh push to spread their message of fiscal discipline after new estimates that the Medicare and Social Security trust funds will soon be depleted, and amid talk of a $2 trillion infrastructure spending package and busting discretionary spending limits.

The House Republican Study Committee released a budget proposal Wednesday that assumes cutting $12.6 trillion in spending over a decade and eliminating the deficit within six years.

Grassley sees chance to pass infrastructure, drug price legislation
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 106

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with reporters as he arrives for the Senate Republicans' lunch in the Capitol. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year’s food stamps battle was contentious. This year Trump upped the ante
The Trump administration budget wants food stamp recipients under 65 to have work requirements

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 run through the binding process at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration would expand the pool of adult food stamp recipients subject to work, job-training or community service requirements to include people up to age 65, according to fiscal 2020 budget documents released Monday.

The proposal is broader than provisions in last year’s contentious House farm bill that called for applying work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, to able-bodied adults between the ages 18 and 59 with no dependents or with children older than 6. The proposal would have raised the age limit for adults subject to the work requirement from age 49.

Trump budget request triggers clash with Congress
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 102

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State lawmakers seek ban on Amazon-like incentives
Lawmakers in at least 3 states are pushing bills banning incentives similar to what Amazon received for its HQ2

Boxes with the Amazon logo turned into a frown face are stacked up after a protest against Amazon in the Long Island City neighborhood of the Queens borough on November 14, 2018, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Lawmakers in at least three states are pushing similar bills that would ban the states’ power to give corporate incentives like the kind offered to Amazon to locate its second headquarters.

The bills in New York, Illinois and Arizona would ban the states from offering incentives to any specific company. Existing state incentive agreements would remain in place under the bills. The proposals create a challenge for lawmakers who don't want to implement a prohibition on the incentives in their own states unless other states do as well.

Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans have a new look for the 116th
5 GOP freshmen got spots on the panel, coveted by lawmakers from states with defense industry presences

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., attends the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for William P. Barr, nominee for attorney general, in Hart Building on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate Armed Services Committee sets about its work in the 116th Congress, a handful of new faces will help shape the national security debate on the Republican side of the dais.

Five GOP freshmen have landed spots on the panel, an unusually high number for a committee that is particularly coveted among members whose states have military or defense industry presences.

Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

The partial government shutdown is already casting a dark shadow for prospects of what Congress might accomplish in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

With an Ambitious Policy Agenda, Pelosi is Poised to Lead the House Again
Calls increased from Democratic incumbents and candidates asking for new generation of leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 7, the day after Democrats had retaken control of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Basking in House Democrats’ midterm election wins, Nancy Pelosi is focused on the planks of the Democratic campaign platform that will become the new majority’s agenda: health care, infrastructure and cleaning up corruption in Washington.

But the California Democrat cannot escape questions about another theme that emerged on the campaign trail — opposition to her leadership.