Appropriations

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

CBO Would Disclose Research Models, Data Under Lee Measure
Utah Republican latest to target Congress’ budget scorekeeper

Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants the CBO to ‘show how its models work.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hits keep coming for the Congressional Budget Office, as Republicans in Congress continue to lash out against the nonpartisan scorekeeper following its unflattering analysis of recent GOP health care proposals.

Republican lawmakers and White House officials in recent months have accused the CBO of partisan bias; called for slashing its budget; singled out individual employees; and suggested the agency is now obsolete.

Border Wall, Agents Would Get $15 Billion Boost From Cornyn Bill
DHS was consulted, Senate majority whip says

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, conducts a news conference on border security legislation in the Capitol on August 3, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans introduced legislation Thursday that would authorize $15 billion for new border wall construction and technology, the hiring of thousands more Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents, and measures to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities.

The bill, authored by Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is a companion measure to a House bill introduced last month by Johnson’s counterpart, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

Diane Black Will Need to Resign Budget Chairmanship or Seek Waiver
Tennessee Republican is running for governor

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black is running for governor and may have to give up her Budget Committee chairwomanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Diane Black may have to step down as Budget Committee chairwoman now that the Tennessee Republican is running for governor of her home state, but who will want to take the gavel of a panel whose primary work product has run into major roadblocks for two years in a row?

Black, the first woman to chair the Budget Committee, has only held the gavel for eight months. She replaced Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who was chairman for just two years before President Donald Trump tapped him to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

House Republicans’ August Messaging Plan: Deflect and Pivot
Recess resource kits highlight bills House GOP passed, tax overhaul plans

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Republicans plan to spend August touting bills they’ve passed and their plans to overhaul the tax code. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans left Washington largely stumped about how to go home for a monthlong recess and defend to their constituents Congress’ failure to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. 

The concerns were so great that many members during a GOP conference meeting Friday — just hours after a Senate vote on a scaled-back repeal bill failed — pleaded with leadership to keep the House in session in August.

Debt Ceiling Options Aired but Fast Action Doubtful

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is exploring options on the debt ceiling, but action is not likely anytime soon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By RYAN MCCRIMMON and PAUL M. KRAWZAK

Senate leaders are searching for a path forward to raise the debt ceiling, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, but action before the August recess appears very unlikely.

Word on the Hill: From Little League World Series to Congress
Solar talk and Stevie Wonder tickets

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis bats during a Little League baseball game in 1991. (Courtesy DeSantis’ office)

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., passed along some veteran advice for a Florida Little League baseball team, which is competing for a regional title this weekend and a chance to play in the Little League World Series.

The Palm Beach Post asked DeSantis, who played in the Little League World Series in 1991, for his thoughts. 

Congress Wants More Immigration Judges, and Fast
Appropriators want Justice Department to pick up the pace

Sen. Richard Shelby's Appropriations subcommittee wants more immigration judges on the bench.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress wants to fund more judges to tackle the growing backlog of deportation and other immigration cases, even as lawmakers are hammering the Justice Department for not hiring them fast enough.

Both House and Senate Commerce-Justice-Science spending bills would fund an additional 65 immigration judges and support staff in fiscal 2018, on top of 10 new judges provided for in the fiscal 2017 omnibus spending bill. But appropriators in both chambers included language in bill reports questioning the Justice Department’s efforts to fill those positions.

Appropriators Softening Trump's Proposed Fiscal 2018 Cuts
How House and Senate levels agreed upon by leaders compare to Trump's

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., prepares for a hearing in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators are not giving President Donald Trump the degree of overall cuts that he asked for in fiscal 2018 funding. The House passed a package of four titles last week and has cleared the remaining eight through full committee, while the Senate has cleared six titles through full committee. Appropriators are softening Trump’s cuts by more than $50 billion.

Here's a look at how Trump's budget request for the coming fiscal year compares to levels agreed upon by Appropriations leaders in the House and Senate:

Flake Reflects on the Rise of Trump in New Book
Arizona Republican regrets his 2008 vote against bank bailout

The crux of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s new book “Conscience of a Conservative” is criticism of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Donald Trump’s America, you might never expect a Republican senator to freely admit to a history of harboring undocumented immigrants.

But that’s effectively what Sen. Jeff Flake has done, recalling his pre-political life in farming and ranching in northern Arizona in a new book “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle” released Tuesday by Random House.