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House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

Prospect of Repeat Budget Failure Puts Pressure on Republicans
Budget needed for GOP to get to tax overhaul, possibly mandatory spending cuts

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, seen here at a committee hearing last month with ranking Democrat John Yarmuth, is confident Republicans will pass a budget this year, despite GOP divisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans face the possibility of failing to pass a full budget resolution for the second year in a row, despite making progress on their goals for a fiscal 2018 budget resolution.

The stakes are much higher than last year as the budget, through the reconciliation process, has become a tool for Republicans to advance legislation without Democratic support, something they lack on nearly all of their top priorities.

Opinion: Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Challenge of 2018
Over-interpreting British results a risk for Democrats

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom, arrives at party headquarters in London on June 9. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

If campaign consultants in both parties had their way, congressional challengers would never utter an interesting word and incumbents would have their Capitol Hill voting records airbrushed from history. Politics would be reduced to a clash between two physically attractive candidates (preferably with photogenic families), obediently reciting robotic talking points.

The major problem with this beguiling fantasy is a pesky group of human beings known as voters. Increasingly, voters crave authenticity, a hard-to-define attribute that comes across as the antithesis of poll-tested and blow-dried.

Analysis: Can Corbyn Channel Sanders-Style Socialism Into UK Upset?
Election results could steer Democrats in the U.S. to the left

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party of the U.K., speaks to activists during a rally Wednesday in Glasgow, Scotland, on the final day of campaigning before the election. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations, Jeremy Corbyn has led the Labour Party in the United Kingdom to a stunning turnaround from guaranteed loser to genuine contender in Thursday’s election.

Though still very much the underdog, Corbyn has reinvigorated the party with a surge of youthful, socialist enthusiasm that will look familiar to anyone who followed last year’s Democratic presidential primaries. And that success could provide a guide for Democrats looking to build their party up in the age of Trump.

Opinion: Mick Mulvaney’s Compassion — Not for the Needy
Republican budget funds big programs, pulls back safety net

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney not only dumped the concept of compassionate conservatism, he literally redefined what compassion should mean in today’s Washington, Patricia Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When George W. Bush ran for president in the late 1990s, he did it on a platform of “compassionate conservatism,” a smooth-edged rebranding of the conservatism that had become synonymous with callousness in the age of Newt Gingrich. Bush’s compassionate conservatism assured voters that he wasn’t going to waste their money the way he said Democrats would, but that he also wasn’t going to hurt people in the process, especially the least among us.

Bush won, but the concept of conservatism took a beating under his administration, as federal budgets ballooned and his vision of the role of government expanded at home and abroad.

Freedom Caucus May Push for More Than Tax Overhaul in Next Budget
Reconciliation instructions for overhauling welfare system among issues caucus plans to discuss, Meadows says

Rep. Mark Meadows signs pictures taken of him with constituents to send the constituents as a thank you for their time. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are considering a push for broader reconciliation authority in the upcoming fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would allow Republicans to pursue policies beyond a tax code overhaul.

“We believe that writing the instructions more broadly will give us greater flexibility not only to get tax reform but also to address other areas simultaneously,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said in an interview here Friday.

How Trump Became the Vacillator in Chief
Contradictions are rife in president’s first 100 days

President Donald Trump has oscillated between hard-line and more conciliatory positions over his first 100 days in office. (Composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump describes himself as “flexible.” A senior aide says the president does not flip-flop, but changes his mind because he is “not doctrinal” like previous occupants of the Oval Office.

It shows. And it drives Capitol Hill and the rest of official Washington crazy — unless you bill flummoxed clients by the hour.

Five Questions Key to Passage of the GOP’s Tax Overhaul
White House tax plan vies with House and Senate proposals

President Donald Trump’s tax plan released Wednesday offered few details on how it would not increase the deficit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump put the pressure on congressional Republicans last week to fall in line or advance an alternative on a tax overhaul by releasing a list of his tax principles.

As lawmakers scramble to respond, they will need to find answers to five big questions dealing with issues such as revenue and deductions that could hold the key to completion of major tax legislation that’s long been the goal of Republicans.

Opinion: Figure It Out, Mr. President
Congress isn’t built to just do what Donald Trump says

President Donald Trump must choose if he wants to be a hardcore anti-establishment president or a smart deal-maker, Allen writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

If it were up to President Donald Trump — and a lot of Americans — Congress might not exist. After all, the legislative branch is the kind of inert obstacle that a disruptor business executive doesn’t have to contend with as he innovates and improvises in the private sector. 

Alas, for Trump, the Founding Fathers believed that wild swings in direction could tear a fragile nation asunder. They made it difficult for a president — any president — to rewrite public policy, push the nation to war or enter into treaties.

Trump Signs Action Expediting Foreign Steel Prices Investigation
National security concerns cited

U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House on his way to a waiting Marine One helicopter April 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke a Snap-On tool factory during the trip. (McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday, citing national security concerns, signed an executive action expediting a Commerce Department probe examining whether manipulated foreign steel prices could hinder his envisioned military buildup.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters that the investigation was formally launched on Wednesday evening over concerns that the U.S. steel industry would be unable to keep up with demand of the Trump administration’s planned military buildup. Contracts for major Pentagon weapons programs typically are accompanied by stipulations that combat gear must be built using American steel.