Mark Walker

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed that if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions, they would write them to those topline numbers.

House Republicans’ Immigration Bill Not Ready for Floor Action
Whip team says they will continue to refine the legislation

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and his team did a whip count on a GOP immigration bill, and it showed the measure wasn’t quite ready for a floor vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans’ preferred immigration bill is not ready for a floor vote, a Wednesday whip check showed, but leadership is expected to continue working it.

The bill by House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul is the most conservative of the proposals House and Senate lawmakers and the White House have floated for addressing the coming expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The House Staring Contest: Pelosi and Ryan
Speaker hemmed in by Democrats on one side, conservative Republicans on the other

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leaves the House chamber Wednesday after ending her eight-hour speech on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is in a staring contest with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over immigration that could result in a government shutdown.

But if the Wisconsin Republican blinks, he will likely push conservatives, many of them already at a boiling point with his leadership, over the edge.

House Leaders Face Threats of Intraparty Rebellion on Budget Deal
Conservatives are already balking and DACA proponents could be right behind

Speaker Paul D. Ryan arrives in the Capitol on Jan. 29. Ryan is already facing conservative opposition from his GOP conference to the reported budget deal in the works. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Republicans’ day of reckoning is almost here.

As early as Wednesday, the four corners of congressional leadership are expected to announce a sweeping budget deal that could increase the sequestration spending caps by nearly $300 billion over two years, extend the debt ceiling without any spending changes designed to reduce the deficit, and appropriate more than $80 billion for disaster relief without pay-fors.

House Passes Stopgap Bill as Hill Leaders Work on Spending Caps
Work on a longer-term deal is ongoing

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday he was “very optimistic” about striking a spending caps deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House passed legislation Tuesday to extend agency operating budgets at current levels for another six weeks, as congressional leaders worked behind closed doors to shape a longer-term deal that could dramatically boost discretionary spending across the government.

The House vote was 245-182 on the temporary spending bill, which would also provide a full year’s worth of Pentagon appropriations as well as a package of health care funding extensions. There were 17 Democrats backing the measure, while eight Republicans opposed it.

House GOP Plan Likely to Set Up Funding Bill Volley with Senate
House Democrats retreat may fall victim to latest funding strategy

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said the plan to fully fund the Defense Department through the end of fiscal 2018 while keeping the remaining agencies running on a stopgap schedule was “the right move.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders on Monday finally agreed to execute a government funding strategy conservatives and defense hawks have been pushing for months: fully fund the Department of Defense through the end of fiscal 2018 while keep the remaining agencies running through a fifth a stopgap measure.

The play call in advance of the Feb. 8 government funding deadline all but assures a volley with the Senate, which is expected to reject the House GOP measure.

2018 Republican Agenda Not What Lawmakers Envisioned
Plan for the year ahead coming out of GOP retreat is leaner than Republicans had hoped

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrive for a news conference at the media center during the House and Senate Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The 2018 Republican legislative agenda is on a diet.

As House and Senate GOP lawmakers huddled at a West Virginia resort Wednesday through Friday for their annual retreat, they discussed a handful of legislative items they would like to tackle this year, including defense, infrastructure, workforce development and the budget process.

Republicans Divided on Minimum Needed for Immigration Deal
White House, conservatives pushing four pillars while others open to just two

Senate Republican Conference Chairman. John Thune, R-S.D., talks with reporters on Wednesday during the House and Senate Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Immigration negotiations are moving so slowly that congressional leaders haven’t even agreed on which policy areas must be addressed as part of a deal — a fissure that exists even within the Republican Party.

The White House and many House Republicans say that at a bare minimum, four pillars need to be addressed in any bill: border security, protections for “Dreamers” who will lose their legal status with the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, family-sponsored visas and the Diversity Visa lottery program.

Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers to Retreat Hits Truck
Reports: At least one dead, others injured

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a train crash involving a garbage truck in Crozet, Va., on Wednesday. An Amtrak passenger train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Va. No lawmakers were believed injured. (Zack Wajsgrasu/The Daily Progress via AP)

Updated 2:51 p.m. | A train transporting Republican lawmakers to the GOP retreat in West Virginia was involved in an accident with a truck late Wednesday morning.

Representatives were seen attending to injured people from the truck, according to a source on the train. At least one person was reported dead. 

Here’s What Members Are Doing With Their Salary During Shutdown
Withholding, returning and donating, lawmakers say they’re refusing salary while government is shut down

Signs are posted outside of the Library of Congress in Washington on Sunday notifying visitors that all Library of Congress buildings will be closed to the public during the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A government shutdown always unleashes a cascade of political histrionics, and chief among those is lawmakers “refusing” their salaries.

Scores of senators and House members sent out news releases over the weekend defiantly proclaiming what they would do with their salaries while the government remains shuttered.