John Yarmuth

‘Looking in the mirror’: Democrats’ failure to coalesce on spending numbers gives House GOP an opening
House minority shouldn’t be a player in budget talks, but Democrats may need their votes

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., center, is concerned that House Democrats are squandering their leverage in budget talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans should have virtually no power in the minority, but Democrats’ inability to unify as a caucus around topline fiscal 2020 spending levels has given them some unexpected leverage. The question now is what they’ll do with it.

President Donald Trump and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, don’t want to raise the statutory discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to reach a bipartisan deal to do just that to avoid a 10 percent cut in spending from fiscal 2019 levels.

House puts off vote on spending caps deal; adopts ‘deeming’ resolution

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced the spending caps bill would be punted until at least after the two-week recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House set an overall spending cap of nearly $1.3 trillion for appropriators in that chamber to write their fiscal 2020 bills, adopting a “deeming resolution” on Tuesday as part of the rule governing floor debate on separate spending caps legislation — although that legislation hit a snag on Tuesday. 

The tally was 219-201, with no Republicans voting for the rule and seven Democrats voting ‘no.’

Progressives are holding back votes on the spending caps bill
Progressive Congressional Caucus leaders want more nondefense funding over the next two years

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., participates in the House Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said Tuesday that the current bill to raise discretionary spending caps won’t pass the House unless it’s amended to allow more nondefense funding over the next two years.

“We do think that if we’re going to go negotiate, we should be negotiating from our strongest place and our strongest place is saying we want more nondefense spending. So that’s where many of us are at,” Rep. Mark Pocan said after a House Democratic Caucus meeting.

A House floor vote on spending caps could divide Democrats
As eager as Democrats are to raise spending caps, they don’t all agree on how much higher the new caps should be

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., are seen outside the Supreme Court during a rally with Congressional Democrats on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House might vote this week on a bill to raise discretionary spending limits for the next two fiscal years.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer was hedging his bets late last week, saying only that a floor vote was “possible.”

Road ahead: Barr testifying on DOJ budget, likely to get grilled about Mueller report
House to vote on net neutrality bill before Democratic retreat, Senate picks up pace on nominations after going nuclear

Attorney General William P. Barr will be the headline witness on Capitol Hill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All eyes will be on the House and Senate Appropriations committees this week — but not necessarily because of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget blueprint.

Attorney General William P. Barr is scheduled to testify Tuesday in the House and Wednesday in the Senate about the Justice Department’s budget, but the conversation is sure to turn to his handling of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.

Road ahead: Changing Senate rules, reupping Violence Against Women Act
McConnell heads into cloture clash with nothing much to lose

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up votes to make it easier to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are gearing up for a much-anticipated standoff over the debate time for confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees, as the House turns its attention to reviving and updating the Violence Against Women Act.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will address a joint meeting on Wednesday, following an invitation extended by the bipartisan congressional leadership to highlight the importance of the alliance.

‘No values?’ Democrats unlikely to advance a full budget, already facing GOP attacks
McCarthy riles Pelosi over oft-repeated remark that budgets are a ‘statement of values’

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says it’s unlikely Democrats will advance a full budget resolution this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are unlikely to advance a full budget resolution this year, opening the new majority to the same attacks it previously launched at Republicans for failing to get their budget resolutions to the floor.

But Democrats are expected to go a step further and not even mark up a budget resolution in committee this year. Republicans were quick to pounce, even though a final decision has not yet been made.

Talks to raise spending caps are underway, Enzi says
The Senate Budget chairman said House Democrats reached out to discuss legislation increasing the caps

Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., left, and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., make their way to the Senate floor before a vote on a continuing resolution to re-open the government which failed, on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The gears are beginning to turn in a way that could launch formal bicameral talks to raise discretionary spending caps for the next two fiscal years.

At the start of the fiscal 2020 budget resolution markup Wednesday, Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi said the House Democratic leadership reached out to him a day earlier to discuss legislation to increase the caps.

Trump is leaving infrastructure details to lawmakers. That has stymied them before
‘Few Republicans will go down this road,’ expert says of WH proposal in budget plan

President Donald Trump delivers a speech on June 7, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio about transportation and infrastructure projects. Despite it being a major 2016 campaign promise, he has been unable to get anything on the topic moving on Capitol Hill. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has talked about the “necessity” of a massive infrastructure overhaul since he became a presidential candidate in 2015, but his latest budget plan offers Congress the kind of vague proposal that has left them confused and stymied before.

The administration is asking lawmakers for $200 billion as an initial payment toward the president’s goal — up to $1.5 trillion from $1 trillion — for a sweeping project to upgrade the country’s roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, seaports and broadband networks. But senior officials say they won’t lay out a plan for which projects in which states Trump would like to see receive any of those dollars.

White House readies lean budget with fat nondefense cuts
Democrats have already rejected plan that even some Republicans say is unrealistic

Copies of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget run through the binding process at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY PAUL M. KRAWZAK AND DAVID LERMAN

President Donald Trump will send a budget request to Capitol Hill on Monday seeking to eliminate deficits in 15 years, relying on rosy economic growth forecasts to boost revenue and tight limits on nondefense appropriations to counterbalance hefty increases for the military and his signature border wall project.