Budget

$960B deficit expected this year, more than $1 trillion next
The return to trillion-dollar deficits has been moved up by two years from the previous forecast in May

Its sign is seen at the office of Congressional Budget Office. The office said in its updated budget and economic outlook that the federal deficit is likely to reach $960 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Congressional Budget Office has upped its estimate of current and future deficits largely as a result of the two-year budget deal enacted last month, which the agency projects will add $1.7 trillion in red ink over 10 years.

That forecast assumes that the increased spending in fiscal 2020 and 2021 thanks to the higher caps will continue throughout the decade-long budget window, growing with inflation. At the same time, changes to the economic forecast and a reduction in estimated interest rates will partly offset the spending increases, the agency said in its latest budget and economic outlook.

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families
Pelosi accuses White House of ‘seeking to codify child abuse’

A border security officer searches migrants before transferring them by bus to the McAllen Border Patrol facility in Los Ebanos, Texas, in July. The Trump administration is challenging a court order that limits the time children can be detained. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for years have chafed at the limitations resulting from the settlement, known as the Flores agreement. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday the new policy would get rid of an interpretation of Flores that has “substantially caused and continued to fuel” a migrant crisis at the southern border.

White House mulls slimmed-down foreign aid cuts package
Pompeo said to urge Trump not to use budgetary end-run

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly urged President Donald Trump to back away from a plan to rescind more than $4 billion in foreign aid previously approved by Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Trump administration plan to do an end-run around Congress and cancel more than $4 billion in previously approved foreign aid funds could be scaled back, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged President Donald Trump to back away from the idea in a phone call Monday night.

Details of the conversation between Pompeo, Trump and acting White House budget chief Russell Vought were shared by several individuals close to the foreign aid sector. A senior administration official declined to comment, other than to say it was a private conversation.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

White House readies $4 billion foreign aid cuts package
Proposal to eliminate unspent funds could ratchet up tensions with Congress over appropriations

President Donald Trump's administration could send Congress a proposal to cancel $4 billion in foreign aid funding in the coming days. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The White House budget office on Thursday evening sent a proposal to trim unspent foreign assistance funds by “north of $4 billion” to the State Department for review, according to a senior administration official.

The final price tag of the rescissions package, which could also target unspent balances at the U.S. Agency for International Development, would likely change before being formally submitted to Capitol Hill, the official said.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

White House foreign aid cuts to spare Ivanka, Pence favorite programs
Global health, women's economic development and religious protections would not be cut

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, spearheaded a women's economic development program that would not be cut. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Funding to support global health programs, promote women’s economic development and protect Christians and other religious minorities abroad from persecution would be exempt from a package of cuts to foreign aid that the White House is developing.

A senior administration official said Monday those programs are a high priority for President Donald Trump.

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, does a TV interview on Jan. 20, 2015. Cuccinelli, now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced a new rule giving immigration officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

CQ Roll Call Analysis: Lower spending, deficits partially due to budget control law
CQ Budget podcast, episode 122

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CQ Roll Call's Budget Editor Peter Cohn combed through the numbers since Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 and found something remarkable: the spending caps produced some results but most of the savings were because of factors out of Congress' hands. 

White House lifts pause on State, USAID spending
The move comes after a flurry of congressional criticism of OMB's funding freeze

The White House has agreed to release certain State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding after it had been temporarily frozen. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has released certain funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that over the weekend had been temporarily frozen, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action comes after the Office of Management and Budget told those two agencies to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances, and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.