national-debt

Big Budget Deal Could Clean Out Boehner's Barn

McConnell, left, and Boehner are trying to work out a budget deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner's effort to "clean the barn" before leaving Congress is gaining momentum, with the four corners of congressional leadership and the White House hoping for a budget and debt limit deal.  

The Republican from Ohio does not want to leave a crisis behind for Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who is expected to be elected as the new speaker on Thursday.  

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."  

Make-or-Break Week for Republicans on 'Doc Fix,' Budget

Boehner and the leadership team face two big tests this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the House returns Monday, Speaker John A. Boehner faces two big tests of his hold on the ever-unruly Republican Conference: pushing through the GOP budget and putting the final touches on a speaker-approved Medicare "doc fix."  

After days of closed-door whip checks and haggling on amendments, the House Budget Committee advanced its fiscal 2016 budget on March 19  by a 22-13 vote. Every Republican supported the measure in committee, but GOP leaders are unlikely to be so lucky if the bill comes to the floor next week, as leaders said it would.  

Fiscal Conservatives Buck Leadership, Send Tighter Budget to Floor (Updated)

Price's budget goes to the House floor without the additional defense spending national security hawks had insisted upon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:02 p.m. |  House fiscal conservatives took the upper hand — for the moment — Thursday in their struggle with Republican defense hawks for control of the GOP's 2016 federal budget proposal.  

After 24 hours of uncertainty and stops and starts , the House Budget Committee voted along party lines, 22-13, to send a leaner spending plan to the House floor for a vote. GOP leadership had pressured Budget Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., all week to find enough votes on his panel to boost the plan's funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations account. Without that additional defense spending — about $2 billion in a overall federal budget of more than $3.8 trillion — many House Republicans said they wouldn't support the plan on the chamber floor next week.  

House Republicans Stymied Over Own Budget

Price said the votes weren't there. So far, he's right. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A marathon markup of House Republicans' proposed 2016 federal budget ended after midnight Wednesday with no resolution between the two GOP factions — defense hawks on one side, fiscal conservatives on the other — determined to put their own, seemingly incompatible stamps on the largely symbolic spending plan.  

Members and aides weren't immediately sure early Thursday if or when the House Budget panel would reconvene to try again to move the budget out of committee and onto the floor. The chaos signaled a minor vote-counting crisis had escalated into another full-scale meltdown between GOP leaders and fiscal conservatives.  

Quiet Win for Boehner? Bending the Entitlement Curve

Boehner is close to an elusive deal on a small piece of what allies are calling entitlement reform. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If the phrase "sustainable growth rate" sounds like it might be useful in putting you to sleep, you might have missed it.  

Speaker John A. Boehner is quietly putting the finishing touches on a legacy item that generations of high school civics teachers insist is the third rail of politics: "entitlement reform." It's no accident most Americans haven't heard much about a potential deal eliminating SGR and making changes to Medicare. A long-term bill is still in question, and final details are still being hammered out. But every day without an uprising on SGR is a day closer to a deal.  

GOP's New Freshman President Ready for Collaboration — or Confrontation

Rep.-elect Ken Buck hasn't been sworn in yet, but he's already a leader in the House, having been named GOP freshmen class president. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Corrected, Jan. 10, 11:48 p.m. : Colorado Republican Ken Buck turned in his district attorney's badge on Friday morning.  

"That's an emotional thing," said the nearly 30-year local law enforcement veteran.  

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.  

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The End of Debt Limit Brinkmanship? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio took the podium Tuesday at a private Republican Conference meeting across the street from the Capitol, well aware that he was out of options.  

His flock had once again left him, and so a bill suspending the nation’s borrowing cap until March 2015 would come to the floor without preconditions, he announced. Then, shunning questions, he hastily walked offstage to stunned silence.  

Military COLA Bill Passes House Easily (Updated)

Updated 3:27 p.m. | The House easily passed a bill restoring military pensions that were cut last year, but not before momentary drama over whether Democrats would back the measure.  

Because Republicans put the bill on the suspension calendar, it required a two-thirds vote, giving Democrats the ability to block it if they chose to. Top Democratic leaders signaled their opposition, but the bill passed 326-90.