entitlements

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.

Trump Campaign’s Final Midterms Ad: ‘Future ... Not Guaranteed’
Fact check: Spot doesn’t mention economy slowed under GOP President Bush

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a 2018 campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump campaign announced a $6 million midterms closing argument television ad blitz that will try to convince voters they are better off than they were before President Donald Trump took office.

But it excludes some facts.

Despite the Rhetoric, Congress Is Unlikely to Tackle Deficit, Entitlements
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 83

The rising deficit, the president’s request for 5 percent in budget cuts and discussions of needing to trim Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security set off a storm of debate just three weeks before the midterms. Roll Call's senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski, senior CQ budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak and co-host Jennifer Shutt explain why Congress is unlikely to deal with any of it.

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Fiscal 2018 Deficit Clocks In at $779 Billion, White House Reports
Largest hole in six years, executive branch finds

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the FY2019 Budget for OMB on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the largest budget shortfall in six years, the White House reported Monday.

The official deficit tally for fiscal 2018 marked a $113 billion increase from the previous year and accounted for 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The report confirms the third consecutive fiscal year of rising deficits despite a strong economy. 

What Would Pete Domenici Think?
Current lack of fiscal discipline would’ve alarmed late Senate Budget chairman

Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, second from right, celebrates a budget deal with the White House on July 29, 1997, along with, from left, Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, Senate Finance Chairman William V. Roth Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Surrounding them on the House steps are tour groups of Boy Scouts and schoolchildren.(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — One year ago this week, we lost a great statesman and legislator. Pete Domenici’s storied career in public service, most notably as a U.S. senator, spanned more than three decades. He will forever be the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Equally remarkable, he was a Republican from traditionally blue New Mexico — and its longest-serving senator. That says something about his personal and policy appeal to the public, regardless of party.

At Rally, Trump Says Democrats Would ‘Destroy’ Social Security
President tells supporters impeachment would be ‘your fault’

President Donald Trump, here at a campaign rally in 2016, was in Montana again on Thursday night. And he made Social Security a midterm election issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than two months from Election Day, President Donald Trump on Thursday night stepped up his rhetoric about Social Security and other federal benefit programs by warning Democrats want to “destroy” them.

The president had not focused on the federal retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits program at previous political rallies. But as the midterm elections near, he debuted some new — and sharp — lines at a rally in Billings, Montana.

Podcast: A Growing Controversy
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 13

MAY 26: Farm land is watered by a large irrigation sprinkler in the desert near Palmdale, Calif., on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Time Running Out in Ryan’s Quest to Overhaul Welfare Programs
Speaker returns to Jack Kemp roots as he targets SNAP and TANF

In his remaining months as speaker, Paul D. Ryan is making one last push on poverty. Above, Bishop Shirley Holloway helps Ryan unveil his plan for “A Better Way” in Anacostia in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has spent his 20-year congressional career primarily focused on two issues, taxes and poverty. The Wisconsin Republican led a major rewrite of the tax code last year, but when he retires at the end of this term he won’t have many accomplishments to tout on poverty.

The last big win for conservatives in the so-called War on Poverty was the 1996 welfare overhaul, Ryan acknowledged on PBS’ “Firing Line” earlier this month.

Opinion: No News Is Bad News — The Looming Social Security Crisis
Don’t be fooled by the absence of alarming headlines

Demonstrators in Chicago in 2011 rally against cuts to federal safety net programs. Social Security is facing severe challenges that policymakers must address soon, Fichtner writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Social Security crisis is not only real, it is already well upon us.

That may not have been obvious to everyone from the annual report issued by the program’s trustees last week. With neither a dire nor stellar update, the report inspired little passion. In fact, many might have mistaken the minor changes to mean that Social Security’s finances are now stable. But don’t be fooled: The absence of alarming headlines is anything but good news.