Nita M Lowey

Hyde amendment, other abortion riders in the spending limelight
Democrats set for showdown with Republicans, administration

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro opposes the Hyde amendment, but says it needs to be maintained for the spending bills to be signed into law. {Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The debate surrounding abortion access is about to spill over from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill as lawmakers begin debating must-pass appropriations bills.

Starting Wednesday, the House will take up a nearly $1 trillion spending package written by Democrats that would roll back Trump administration anti-abortion policies, including restrictions barring health clinics from recommending abortion services and preventing U.S. foreign assistance to aid groups that perform or promote abortions.

Lawmakers put funding ban on human embryo gene editing research in Ag. bill
The rider bars the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos

From left, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., attend a House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in Rayburn Building on July 25, 2018. By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language banning the funding of research involving the gene editing of human embryos, which has been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators did some soul searching Tuesday before deciding to include a policy rider in the fiscal 2020 Agriculture spending bill that would bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos.

By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language that had been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016 but was omitted in the draft bill approved on May 23 by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

House moves closer to undoing a ban on Dreamers working in government
An amendment to an appropriations bill was approved out of subcommittee Monday

An amendment to allow Dreamers to work in the federal government was approved out of subcommittee on Monday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House moved one step closer this week towards unlocking civil service jobs for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers.

Young adult immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or Dreamers, cannot apply to jobs on Capitol Hill or with federal agencies because of a little-known provision in annual appropriations bills. But Rep. Pete Aguilar announced Monday that an amendment he proposed to override the provision was included in a $24.9 billion government operations spending bill. That bill was approved by the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Monday night.

Road ahead: Plenty of legislating to be done around Trump impeachment chatter
Disaster relief bill and defense authorization among upcoming priorities

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., left, blasted House Republicans who objected to the disaster supplemental during the break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The increasing talk of the House launching impeachment proceedings is not yet crippling the legislative agenda that does exist, but that could change if President Donald Trump refuses to negotiate.

As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week, the first order of business will be for the House to finish the long-stalled emergency spending package for disaster relief. The Senate passed the compromise bill May 16, but the floor votes came after House members had already left town for the Memorial Day break.

Trump admin. pans Democrats’ plan to protect areas in Alaska and offshore
An Office of Management and Budget letter, dated last week, called it an attempt to ‘block’ activities promoting ‘America’s energy security’

This undated photo shows the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Trump Administration panned a move by House Democrats to try and block new lease sales in ANWR and in offshore waters. (Photo by Steven Chase/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Getty Images)

The White House budget office criticized House Democrats over provisions in their spending bills that would block the Interior Department from pursuing lease sales in offshore waters and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an ecologically sensitive region in Alaska.

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved the $46.4 billion Energy-Water and $39.5 billion Interior-Environment fiscal 2020 spending bills.

A mysterious illness killed their son as the AIDS crisis raged
These grieving parents decided to ‘do something’

Parents-turned-activists Vicki and Fred Modell meet with Steny Hoyer in the ’90s. (Courtesy Scéal Films)

Just a few years after losing her son, Vicki Modell found herself in front of a microphone, staring down a group of senators.

“It was such a welcoming environment.” That’s how she recalls the political climate of Washington in the early ’90s. “The Appropriations Committee would actually sit there and listen to people like us who were advocating for our cause.”

GOP Rep. causes $19.1 billion disaster aid bill to stall in House
The package had been passed in the Senate after border-related funding, sought by the White House, was removed

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., listen during the House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on April 2, 2019. He said Friday that he would block a unanimous consent request to block a $19.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill for victims of recent natural disasters. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House was unable to clear a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill Friday, after a freshman GOP lawmaker objected to a unanimous consent request.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, blocked the measure during the chamber's pro forma session, after telling reporters he had concerns about the process as well as the substance of the legislation.

Disaster bill negotiators drop divisive harbor fund provision
Senate and House negotiators hoping for a deal before Memorial Day recess

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., says it would be an “awful conclusion” if Congress fails to pass a disaster relief bill before Memorial Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:06 p.m. | Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said he has pulled his divisive proposed change in the Harbor Maintenance Fund from consideration in the long-stalled disaster and border supplemental package after meeting with President Donald Trump.

The Alabama Republican also said Trump appeared to support the level of border funding in the package, and White House officials indicated they see the emergency legislation becoming law soon.

House works to end Trump’s suspension of aid to Central America
The draft fiscal 2020 State-Foreign Operations spending bill would also provide funds reproductive health programs and international agencies

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., conducts a State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the State Department's budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 on March 27. Appropriators aim to restore aid funding to Central American countries in a 2020 spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House appropriators are trying to end a divisive suspension of foreign aid to Central America made by President Donald Trump, one of many provisions in a spending bill that would counter administration policy on a range of international issues.

The draft fiscal 2020 State-Foreign Operations spending bill released Thursday would also provide more money to reproductive health programs and international agencies.

First women to lead spending panel have a mission: keep the lights on
Lowey, Granger had one government shutdown dumped in their laps. Now they’re trying to avoid another one

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, left, and ranking member Kay Granger are the first pair of women to lead the panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first all-female duo leading the House Appropriations Committee since its Civil War-era creation is setting out to avoid the mess they walked into on Day One of their new roles — a government shutdown.

“I want to be very clear; I think there should be a commitment in the Congress — Democrats and Republicans working with the White House — to say, ‘We are adults, these are difficult issues, but we can resolve them,’” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey told CQ Roll Call this week in an interview alongside ranking member Kay Granger. “But throwing a tantrum and shutting down the government is not a responsible way to be a member of the government of the United States of America — whether you are in the legislative branch or the White House.”