Mark Walker

Time Running Out in Ryan’s Quest to Overhaul Welfare Programs
Speaker returns to Jack Kemp roots as he targets SNAP and TANF

In his remaining months as speaker, Paul D. Ryan is making one last push on poverty. Above, Bishop Shirley Holloway helps Ryan unveil his plan for “A Better Way” in Anacostia in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has spent his 20-year congressional career primarily focused on two issues, taxes and poverty. The Wisconsin Republican led a major rewrite of the tax code last year, but when he retires at the end of this term he won’t have many accomplishments to tout on poverty.

The last big win for conservatives in the so-called War on Poverty was the 1996 welfare overhaul, Ryan acknowledged on PBS’ “Firing Line” earlier this month.

How Donald Trump Shivved a Compromise GOP Immigration Bill
Aides were caught unaware by president's announcement

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress last year. On Friday, he appeared to end hopes a compromise immigration bill the conference hammered out would make it to the floor. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:03 p.m. Senior White House officials worked with House Republicans for weeks on a compromise immigration measure, but were careful to avoid saying anything publicly that would sink the measure. That changed Friday morning when President Donald Trump walked out to the White House’s North Lawn.

House Republicans reached agreement on a sweeping immigration overhaul measure after conservatives, moderates and leaders negotiated behind closed doors for weeks — with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also involved. Members said Thursday they had reached a deal to vote on two measures: a measure favored by conservatives and a compromise version in which all sides gave some ground.

Democrats Score Big in 21–5 Baseball Blowout Over GOP
Steve Scalise makes the game’s first out in feel-good moment of the night

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., is tagged out by Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., to end the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Thursday. The Democrats prevailed 21-5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats continued to show their dominance on the diamond Thursday night with a massive 21–5 win over the Republicans at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game. 

“More of a football game than a baseball game, but I think both sides gave it their all,” New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley said of the score after the game. 

GOP Seeks Changes to Immigration Deal They Crafted
Compromise would help Dreamers, fund border wall, curb family-based visa programs

People protest outside the Capitol on Jan. 21 to call for the passage of the so-called DREAM Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A compromise immigration deal brokered by House Republicans this week would offer so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship, provide nearly $25 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall and end family-based visa programs for certain relatives of U.S. citizens, according to a discussion draft of legislation circulated among lawmakers Thursday.

The discussion draft, provided to Roll Call by a staffer with knowledge of the negotiations, would create a new merit-based visa that Dreamers and other young immigrants could obtain starting six years after the bill is enacted. The visa would be available to Dreamers enrolled in the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, as well as those who are eligible but never signed up.

Analysis: Deep GOP Rift on Immigration Isn’t Easy to Fix
Look a little closer, and it’s clear the debate goes far beyond Dreamers

While the debate about citizenship for Dreamers has grabbed headlines, Republicans are fighting over something even more fundamental — the future of legal immigration. Above, immigration advocates march near the White House in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At first glance, the Republican Party’s latest bout of immigration infighting appears to orbit around one key disagreement: Should so-called Dreamers be given a path to citizenship?

Look a little closer, and it’s clear the rift goes far beyond Dreamers. What Republicans are struggling with is a fundamental dispute over the core values of the U.S. immigration system and who may benefit. And the same disagreements that have previously doomed the prospects of a deal threaten to do so again in this newest round of negotiations in the House.

House GOP Gets Closer on Dreamer Solution as Other Immigration Issues Arise
Negotiators coalescing around merit-based visa for young immigrants but path to citizenship still a sticking point

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is  among a group of slightly more than a dozen Republicans trying to negotiate an immigration deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of slightly more than a dozen House Republicans trying to negotiate a sweeping immigration bill came closer Friday to agreement on some issues, like how to deal with the “Dreamer” population, but found new obstacles on other matters like border security and interior enforcement.

Despite progress in some areas, several negotiators noted the likelihood that a discharge petition that would force a series of votes on immigration bills that lack unified GOP support would get to the required 218 signatures Tuesday.

House GOP Immigration Talks Raise Questions on Path to Law
Negotiators float cuts that couldn’t pass Senate

Speaker Paul D. Ryan tested the waters with a small cross section of House Republicans ahead of Thursday’s conference-wide immigration discussion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans say the goal of immigration negotiations is to reach agreement on legislation that could become law, but the ideas floated Wednesday run contrary to that claim.

While the negotiators appear to be seriously attempting to compromise on the legal status of so-called Dreamers, they’re also discussing cuts to legal immigration — like reducing family and diversity visas — that if passed through the House would have no chance of advancing in the Senate.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule
Legislative to-do list grows ahead of 2018 midterms

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have a lot of bills they’re planning to bring to the floor in the coming weeks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week.

After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.

Partisan Fight Over $15 Billion Rescissions Package Developing
Democrats not ready to play ball, Pelosi suggests

President Donald Trump begrudgingly signed the omnibus spending bill in March. Now his administration is making a $15 billion rescissions request. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration on Monday outlined a roughly $15 billion “rescissions” request it plans to send to Congress on Tuesday, targeting unspent health care and green energy funds for the largest share of the cuts.

The bulk of that request proposes eliminating $7 billion in budget authority from the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $5 billion from fiscal 2017, for which there is no authority to spend the money, and $2 billion from a contingency fund for states that the White House doesn’t expect any states to draw from, a senior administration official said.