Tom Cole

GOP Frets About Fiscal Restraint Progress
Conservatives pushing cuts to mandatory spending

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans are still discussing options for the budget and appropriations process, even as conservatives are pushing for steep cuts to mandatory spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fiscal restraint has long been part of the Republican Party’s brand, but GOP lawmakers have made little progress on reducing the amount of money the federal government spends. And frankly, they’re sick of it.

That’s the impetus for what has become a serious push by rank-and-file House Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to enact mandatory spending cuts.

Natives on the Hill Aims to Be an Antidote to Homesickness
Three staffers launch new group for fellow Native Americans

Natives on the Hill co-founders, from left, Renée Gasper, Catelin Aiwohi and Kim Moxley. (Courtesy Sen. Tom Udall’s office)

A new staff association hopes to help Native Americans feel at home in D.C.

“A lot of us are away from home, and so there’s a community element to it. It’s harder to feel Indian sometimes in D.C. because you’re disconnected from ceremonies, cultural events,” said Kim Moxley, co-founder of Natives on the Hill. “It’s like a ‘battling homesickness’ mechanism.”

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.

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

House Appropriators Float 12-Bill Omnibus Before Recess
Package would likely be dead on arrival in the Senate

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., has an ambitious Omnibus plan to address the already behind-schedule government funding process. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are weighing an ambitious plan to pass a 12-bill appropriations package for fiscal 2018 ahead of the August recess, top GOP appropriators told CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

The package effectively would be an instant omnibus — one that consists of 12 spending bills written by the GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Raise Budget Caps
Economic and national security investments vital to our long-term success

Not raising the budget caps risks shortchanging the next generation by leaving behind an ill-prepared workforce, a crumbling infrastructure, and a stagnant economy, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We begin the 2018 budget process facing arbitrary and irresponsible spending caps that threaten our security, our economy, and our nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation. Yet, the budget proposal put forth by President Donald Trump does not respond to this simple truth. In fact, it will take our country in the opposite direction.

The president would provide additional funds for one important aspect of government — defense — but would do so at the expense of all other investments. That’s not a responsible proposal — and it should not be treated as one. Even some of my Republican colleagues have criticized these misguided priorities of President Trump. House Budget Committee member Tom Cole, R-Okla., called the president’s proposed cuts “short-sighted,” saying, “These are investments the country ought to be making.”

GOP Members Pull Back Curtain, Describe ‘Hands-On’ President
Trump gave McCarthy, a former whip, call sheet as health care vote neared

President Donald Trump congratulates House Republicans after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law, during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In the end, the political novice-turned-president out-whipped a longtime vote wrangler.

House Republicans, on their second try this year, found just enough votes to pass a measure to partially repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. As they looked for votes, senior members say President Donald Trump got his hand dirty — even giving a little tactical advice hours before the dramatic vote to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the chamber’s GOP whip from 2011 to 2014.

Health Care Vote Takes Away GOP’s Offensive Campaign Message
Repeal has been winning message, but GOP now has plan of its own to defend

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, a Freedom Caucus member and Democratic target, voted for the health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For nearly seven years, Republicans have run — and won — on the campaign promise to get rid of the 2010 health care law.

But now that House Republicans are on record on their own replacement plan, that unifying offensive message has faded, especially since some of their most vulnerable incumbents are at odds with leadership and the White House on what’s being touted as the party’s first major legislative victory this Congress.

Photos of the Week: Protests and Selfies on the Hill as House Hands Senate Health Care
The week of May 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., photographs protesters on the East Front of the Capitol on Thursday after the House passed the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has headed out on recess — they’re scheduled to return May 16 — after a busy week passing both an omnibus spending bill and a repeal and replace plan for the 2010 health care law. 

The Senate also passed the omnibus this week but debate remains on the health care plan. 

Republicans Facing Re-Election Adjust to an Unpredictable President
Incumbents focus on local successes while waiting for a major legislative win

New Jersey Republican Rep. Leonard Lance is charting his own course in the 7th District and isn’t supporting his party's health care plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s been one constant in President Donald Trump’s first 100 days, it’s unpredictability.

He keeps members of his party — even his own staffers — guessing about what he may say or do on any given policy issue. For Republicans running for Congress in 2018, that instability only underscores the importance of running localized races.