Michael B Enzi

Trump refuses to raise budget caps, complicating his re-election fight
‘Doesn’t sound like a winning position for Republicans,’ former GOP aide says

President Donald Trump speaks on Jan. 4 at the White House, flanked, from left, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Democratic lawmakers want to raise caps on federal spending. So do many Republicans. But despite the desires of each party’s congressional leadership, President Donald Trump is refusing to go along, possibly complicating his re-election bid.

In its latest federal spending request, the White House proposed a steep hike in the Pentagon budget for fiscal 2020 — an unsurprising move by a Republican president who has vowed to “rebuild” the U.S. military. But Trump and his team would keep existing spending caps in place.

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.

A 25-cent gas tax hike has support, but is 5 cents a year enough?
Right now, the hike is needed to maintain current spending levels, and isn’t enough to pare down a growing project backlog

A pothole is visible on a road on April 25, 2017, in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As Congress debates how to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent, groups as disparate as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are urging lawmakers to bite the bullet and raise the gas tax by 25 cents a gallon over five years.

But even if they bite it, a nickel increase every year for five years may not be a magic bullet. That’s because the extra money in the early years will be needed just to maintain the current level of spending, and provide nothing to attack a growing backlog of projects.

Road ahead: As Congress digests Mueller conclusions, it has plenty more on its plate
House will attempt to override Trump’s veto, while Senate takes up Green New Deal

A Capitol Visitor Center employee sets up a shade umbrella last Tuesday outside the CVC entrance. The Senate and House minority parties may need an umbrella to block the shade the majorities plan to throw at them this week amid votes on the Green New Deal and overriding a presidential veto. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill spent much of the weekend waiting to find out what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III discovered about Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election. But as Congress digests the principal conclusions of his report, prepared by Attorney General William P. Barr, leaders will also try to get members to address other priorities.

Barr’s four-page letter sent to Congress on Sunday afternoon stated that Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”

Enzi moving ahead with ‘realistic’ budget resolution
Senate Budget chairman says he wants to avoid gimmicks

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi aims to write a “realistic” budget, not a gimmicky one. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Budget Committee plans to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution the last week of March, setting out spending and revenue targets for the next five years.

Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, who skipped the exercise last year, said he intends to break from past practice and write a “realistic” budget which, for example, would not envision balancing or wiping out deficits.

House Democrats’ budget to assume corporate tax increase
Yarmuth aims to bring fiscal 2020 budget resolution to floor by early April

New House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution in time to reach the chamber floor in early April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. John Yarmuth, the new House Budget chairman, said his chamber’s budget blueprint will aim to claw back lost revenue by boosting the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent to as high as 28 percent, with rate increases also possible for high-earning individuals.

The Kentucky Democrat said Friday he wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution, which will outline his party’s vision for taxes and spending over the next decade, in time to reach the House floor in early April. Yarmuth said Democratic leaders have told him they want to be ready so they can set the procedural stage for passage of all 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

Unfinished Appropriations Work Piled High as Yuletide Awaits
Avoiding partial government shutdown tops the list

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., says he’s ready to take up a stopgap measure tiding lawmakers over until after Christmas, if that’s what it takes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome to “hell week” on Capitol Hill.

From wrapping up seven of 12 outstanding appropriations bills to enacting a landmark overhaul of criminal sentencing laws, the last week before Christmas is shaping up to be a frantic one — made more difficult by likely absences of lame-duck lawmakers not coming back next year.

Budget Scuffle Stalls ‘Blue Water’ Benefits for Vietnam Vets
Science, costs concern for GOP holdouts; Dems yell hypocrisy

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson remains bullish the Senate can pass the measure to make more Vietnam era veterans eligible for treatment for exposure to Agent Orange. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and veterans groups are working to convince a few last holdouts to stop blocking a quick floor vote on a bill to extend benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Advocates are lobbying President Donald Trump to sign the bill if the Senate clears it. But Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has questions about whether science backs up the policy. And Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming is concerned about its nearly $2.2 billion cost over a decade.

Senator Named Mammal Lover of the Year
Mike Enzi touts award for his work with American bison

Bison decorated cupcakes await to be eaten at the 4th annual Congressional National Bison Day Reception in 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Meet your “2018 U.S. National Mammal Champion”: Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi.

Yes, really.

House Republicans to Consider Changing the Way They Select Committee Leaders
Proposal is part of a broader Thursday debate over internal conference rules

Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., want to change the way the House Republican Conference selects its committee leaders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update Thursday 5:01 p.m. | House Republicans on Thursday will consider changes to their internal conference rules, with several amendments targeting the process for selecting committee leaders. 

The biggest proposed change comes from Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, who wants committee members to be able to choose their own chairmen or ranking members.