Budget

Four spending bills on the move; Democrats eye allocations deal
Leaders scramble to make headway on appropriations for fiscal year before stopgap measure runs dry

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. (right), arrive for the House Democrats caucus meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic leaders Tuesday called for bicameral talks to reconcile competing spending allocations for long-delayed fiscal 2020 appropriations bills.

With barely five weeks left before the current stopgap funding measure runs dry, congressional leaders are scrambling to make headway on appropriations for the fiscal year that began on Oct.1. Lawmakers have already acknowledged that another stopgap could be needed to fund at least part of the government and avoid a shutdown before Thanksgiving.

Facebook posts biggest quarterly lobby tab, as business, health interests dominate K Street
Impeachment is not slowing down lobbying efforts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018. Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook is on pace to spend more on federal lobbying this year than ever before, according to public disclosures out this week, as the social media giant’s CEO prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The company — at the center of debates over the spread of false information, data privacy and others — spent $12.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first nine months of the year. In 2018, Facebook shelled out $12.6 million for 12 months of lobbying.

Shrinking congressional districts look for federal help
Some districts may have lost 30,000 or more people through 2018

Flint, Mich., residents Virginia Mitchell, right, and her daughter-in-law, Tiara Williams, pictured in 2016 during the city’s lead contamination crisis. Flint is among communities that have lost population since 2010 and are seeking more federal dollars. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite explosive growth in other areas of the country since 2010, about 80 congressional districts have lost significant population over the decade — leaving many looking for help from the federal government. 

Some districts may have lost 30,000 or more people through 2018, many of them in manufacturing and mining areas in the Northeast, according to Census Bureau data released last month. Most of those districts are represented by Democrats but located in states President Donald Trump won in 2016 by promising new trade deals that have since taken a back seat in Washington.

Record lobbying tab racked up by FreedomWorks on health care
Conservative group spent more in third quarter alone than all of last year combined

Activists participate in a rally hosted by FreedomWorks on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The conservative lobbying and grassroots group FreedomWorks disclosed spending more than $2.7 million, the most it ever has reported shelling out, for federal lobbying campaigns in just three months this year.

Opposition to health care proposals such as “Medicare for All” and a Democrat-backed bill that would rein in prescription drug prices drove much of the work, said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks’ vice president of legislative affairs.

Democrats could tie paychecks to testimony in impeachment inquiry
Little-used provision would deny pay to administration officials seen as stonewalling House investigators

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, and the heads of the Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, in an Oct 1. letter raised the possibility of senior administration officials not getting paid for any time spent stonewalling congressional investigators. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are threatening to force Trump administration officials’ compliance with their impeachment inquiry by targeting something they hold dear: their paychecks.

Democrats have twice referenced using an obscure provision in the annual Financial Services spending bill, referred to as Section 713, that says any federal employee who “prohibits or prevents, or attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent” another official from communicating with lawmakers shouldn’t be paid during that time.

Bipartisan cooperation put to the test in Senate
CQ Budget, Ep. 130

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks from his office to the Senate floor in the Capitol for a vote. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks from his office to the Senate floor in the Capitol for a vote. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four appropriations bills slated for Senate floor this week
A procedural vote to take up the bill could occur Tuesday or early Wednesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks in the Capitol on Oct. 16, 2019. The chamber expects to jump-start the appropriations process, taking up four spending bills with bipartisan support this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders plan to jump-start the stalled appropriations process by taking up a package of four spending bills this week that have strong bipartisan support.

Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican, announced plans to bring to the floor a package that combines the fiscal 2020 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD bills. The Appropriations Committee had advanced all four measures on unanimous votes.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 21
OMB officials refuse to testify about Ukraine deal while Republicans move to censure Schiff

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans will introduce a privileged motion to censure Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who is overseeing the impeachment investigation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is seeking details from the acting Director of National Intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general about efforts to protect the whistleblower who provided information about the conversation between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine.

The New York Democrat expressed concern amid ongoing and public attacks from Trump and threats to expose his or her identity. 

Mick Mulvaney, from Washington reformer to chief of graft
No matter what he says, don’t get over it, America

Mick Mulvaney is now at the center of an international corruption scandal he not only tolerated, but may have championed, Murphy writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OPINION — In 2008, days after political newcomer Mick Mulvaney won a seat in the South Carolina state Senate, he told a local newspaper that many voters had suggested that he run for the U.S. House seat held by Democrat John Spratt instead. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” Mulvaney said. “I’m perfectly happy being in the Senate.”

But within a year, Mulvaney was not only challenging Spratt, he defeated him handily in 2010 on a message of reforming Washington and slashing federal spending. “There’s a few things I just think we all believe,” he said in one campaign ad. “We cannot continue to spend money we don’t have.”

Road ahead: House to take up Turkey sanctions while Senate turns to appropriations
Election security bill also on House floor amid impeachment inquiry; Cummings’ services Thursday and Friday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff make their way to the floor Friday for the last House votes of the week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This week the House will consider a package of sanctions against Turkey and an election security measure, while the Senate will finally bring some fiscal 2020 appropriations bills to the floor.

Meanwhile, the House’s impeachment inquiry marches on, with five witness depositions scheduled for this week.