federal-deficit

Can Paul Ryan Keep the Manure Out of the House Barn?

Ryan walks through Statuary Hall to Boehner's office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:10 p.m. | Rep. Paul D. Ryan may agree with his conservative colleagues about the way the budget deal was cooked up — it “stinks,” he told NBC News — but its passage sets the speaker-in-waiting up to tackle the multitude of challenges ahead.  

The budget agreement should give the new speaker some breathing space to foster an environment of empowering committees and members, at least until the beginning of December. But the fact that Boehner, in his final news conference as speaker, agreed with the Wisconsin Republican that the process of arriving at the two-year budget agreement and debt limit increase was broken illustrates just how challenging Ryan's new assignment really is.  

Corralling the Votes for Budget Deal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:27 a.m. | Even before Tuesday morning's GOP conference meeting to sell the bipartisan budget agreement got underway, Rep. Tom Cole and others were already making their pitch.  

The Oklahoma Republican and longtime ally of retiring Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had a message particularly for what he called "the vote no, hope yes crowd" of House Republicans who would want to see a big deal go through without having to use their individual cards to vote in favor of it.  

House Leaders Keeping Options Open on Shutdown

Boehner is trying to keep options open on the House side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two weeks away from a government shutdown, neither chamber has released a bill to fund the government past Sept. 30 — and it doesn't seem like the House or the Senate are in much of a hurry.  

The House will vote on two abortion bills this week, a nod to conservative members who insist Congress has to take action after the release of a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office sent out a press release Tuesday that ended with this sentence: "Defunding Planned Parenthood and saving newborns is the right thing to do, and the House is going to do it."  

Conservative Reform Network Argues for Compromise

Conservatives and Republicans win — with strategic compromises, Bradley says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans face some challenges this fall, including government funding, a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, spending level negotiations, the debt ceiling — but an outside center-right group is telling conservatives these challenges can be opportunities, if lawmakers are realistic.  

Neil Bradley, the former deputy chief of staff for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former Majority Leader Eric Cantor and now the chief strategy officer for the Conservative Reform Network, dropped an open letter Tuesday titled "Policy Challenges and Opportunities."  

One Down, 11 to Go: GOP's Uncertain Appropriations Season

Rogers acknowledges passing all 12 GOP spending bills will be tough. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leaders succeeded in holding back all but 19 of their members on the first appropriations vote of the season without even formally whipping against the Republican bill.  

It's a sign the Democratic caucus is putting a plan in motion to try to stymie GOP appropriations bills one by one, until Republicans reach a breaking point and agree to reconsider the current sequester-level spending caps. "It will be tough to pass these bills," Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., conceded Thursday afternoon, hours before the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations vote. The bill passed, 255-163, but only after an anxious 24 hours leading up to the vote for House GOP leaders, who are determined to pass their spending bills in part to demonstrate to 2016 voters the party's ability to govern responsibly.  

All the Budget Conference's a Stage

After wrangling a Republican budget through the House, House Budget Committee Chairman Price now has to find common ground with Republicans — and maybe a few Democrats — in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How do Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate conference a partisan budget that is little more than a messaging document? They don't — at least, not really.  

No one truly expects both sides to come to a consensus agreement on the budget. No one even really expects Democrats to play much of a role in the budget conference. It could be, as one Democratic aide with knowledge of the situation predicted, one public meeting "just for show, just to check that box."  

Did Van Hollen Miss a Layup Opportunity With Progressives? (Updated)

Van Hollen surprised some progressives when he didn't vote for their budget this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:42 p.m. |  Congressional Progressive Caucus members were emboldened this week.  

Their fiscal 2016 budget proposal won 96 votes on the floor, which translates into half of all House Democrats endorsing the policy platform of one third of the whole House Democratic Caucus — plus a higher threshold than for any CPC budget ever before.  

GOP Defense Hawks Trump Conservatives as House OKs Budget

Wednesday's budget vote was a win for Scalise and the rest of the GOP leadership team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After months of leadership's best-laid plans falling apart on the floor and behind the scenes, House GOP leaders eked out a much-needed victory Wednesday, with Republicans endorsing a budget that added even more defense dollars to the blueprint reported out committee.  

The House voted 228-199 to adopt the budget resolution, after first endorsing that budget in a closer 219-208 vote. Leadership chose a quirky rule to get the budget through, making it so that the top vote-getter among six budget proposals would get a vote on final adoption. Ultimately, everything went according to plan. And more Republicans jumped on the budget bandwagon after it was clear the measure had the votes to get through the chamber.  

House GOP Leaders Prepare For Budget Battle (Updated)

Scalise denied he had a whipping problem. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:54 p.m. |  At their weekly news conference Tuesday morning, House Republican leaders went on the offensive to sell their budget resolution.  

One aspect of the pitch — along with the fact that their budget balances and doesn't raise taxes — focuses on the spending plan's proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the event the House and Senate go to conference on their two fiscal blueprints, a procedural gambit known as "reconciliation" could, they argue, accomplish that goal. The timing for such a pitch is fortuitous: The House is due to begin consideration of its official budget and a number of outliers Tuesday afternoon, just a day after the five-year anniversary of the 2010 health law's enactment.  

Quirky 'Queen of the Hill' Rule Could Solve GOP Budget Impasse

Flores, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said his group's proposed budget sets out markers for the GOP. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are breaking out their procedural rulebooks for the House budget resolution, with leadership getting creative to appease defense hawks who want additional spending and conservatives who are apt to reject more military dollars that aren't offset.  

The House Rules Committee Monday set up a series of votes this week on six budget proposals: The one reported out of committee, the version reported out of committee with an additional $2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, a leaner Republican Study Committee budget, a House Democratic Caucus budget, a proposal from the Progressive Caucus, and one from the Congressional Black Caucus. The budget with the $2 billion additional defense dollars is the one House leadership ultimately wants to see adopted. That proposal will be the final vote in the series.