Jennifer Shutt

Democratic Unity on Budget Faces Tests in New Congress
What flavor of nationalized health care can the party agree to — if any?

If voters give Democrats control of the House in November, they’ll get a chance to write the first left-leaning budget blueprint since 2009 in that chamber.

That would give Democrats an opportunity to show through the tax and spending blueprint how they want to address rising deficits, insolvency projections for social safety net programs, and get a jump on their 2020 message.

Key House Appropriators Face Tough Midterm Elections
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 81

Three Republican House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen — Kevin Yoder of Kansas, John Culberson of Texas and John Carter of Texas — face tough re-elections, says Roll Call senior political reporter Bridget Bowman. A loss for Yoder and Culberson would mean that lame-duck lawmakers end up negotiating two vital spending bills — Homeland Security and Commerce-Justice-Science.

Where Two Men Normally Sit, Two Women Flank Sen. Susan Collins During Kavanaugh Speech
Seating chart ignored during Maine Republican’s lengthy ‘yes’ delivery

Senate Republicans appeared to rearrange floor seats on Friday so that two women, instead of two men, would sit behind Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, as she gave a floor speech about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., sat behind Collins during the afternoon speech, but those seats are assigned to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., according to an official seating chart.

Border Wall Funding Battle Could Dominate Lame Duck
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 80

It's not all 12 as they had hoped, but lawmakers did get five big spending bills signed into law, leaving seven others for the lame-duck session. The president's insistence for border wall funding could take center stage, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt.

Republicans Likely in for a Messy December Funding, Leadership Fight

Budget Overhaul Panel Dances With Deadline
Womack and Lowey have a lot to work out before November — like when the fiscal year will start

A special bicameral panel established to try to overhaul the annual budget process won’t reach a final agreement before the House leaves on Friday for its six-week midterm election break. But its members will meet privately one more time before the lame duck session to discuss various proposals that could become part of a final bill.

“With regards to timeline, the two co-chairs will not complete work on a joint proposal in the three legislative days remaining this month, so the end of September timeline will not be met,” according to Evan Hollander, a spokesman for Rep. Nita M. Lowey. The New York Democrat is co-chairwoman of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, alongside co-chairman Steve Womack, an Arkansas Republican, who had pushed for a deal by the end of this month.

Extra Hurricane Relief Cash Could Wait Until After Elections
Ryan: ‘Right now FEMA has money in the pipeline’

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more than enough money to assist states hit by Hurricane Florence and likely won’t need Congress to pass an emergency disaster aid bill in the coming weeks, based on figures provided to lawmakers.

Due to lawmakers’ largesse when they provided more than $136 billion in late 2017 and earlier this year — mostly to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma — government disaster aid coffers are flush with cash. It’s a vastly different situation from last year, when Congress returned in September after Harvey spent five days battering Houston and surrounding areas.

Violence Against Women Act Extension Included in Stopgap Spending Deal
Programs authorized under law set to continue through Dec. 7

The Violence Against Women Act, which was set to expire Sept. 30, will be extended through Dec. 7 under a stopgap spending bill released Thursday.

“Any program, authority or provision, including any pilot program, authorized under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 shall continue in effect through the date specified,” the bill text reads.

Watershed Moment as Three Appropriations Bills Clear on Time
House voted 377-20, sending legislation to the president’s desk

A batch of three spending bills is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk following a 377-20 House vote Thursday, marking the first on-time delivery of a quarter of the annual appropriations measures in a decade.

The $147.5 billion package — which funds the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers and the operations of Congress — is the first installment of what lawmakers hope will be nine bills becoming law before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. 

Beating the Hurricane: Senators Pass Spending Bill and Finish Votes for the Week
Agreement allows senators to beat any Hurricane Florence delays

Updated 7:49 P.M. | Senators finished their work on the first bundle of fiscal 2019 spending bills and headed for the exits Wednesday, after they reached a deal to effectively complete the week’s tasks just hours after arriving at the Capitol.

The agreement to allow passage of a three-bill spending package and confirmation of President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Internal Revenue Service, Charles P. Rettig, on Wednesday night will allow senators to head out before too many delays arise from Hurricane Florence’s arrival along the Carolina coast.

First Three Fiscal 2019 Spending Bills Readied for Floor
Hurricane Florence presents potential scheduling wildcard

Lawmakers reached agreement Monday on three spending bills that would provide about $147.5 billion next year for the departments of Veterans Affairs and Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and lawmakers’ offices and the Capitol complex.

The package came together after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations and at times tense conversations about funding levels and policy language. Aides said it was on track to reach President Donald Trump’s desk by week’s end. The tentative plan at this stage is for the Senate to go first, likely on Thursday, with the House to follow on Friday, although the arrival of Hurricane Florence remains a wildcard. 

Potential Fiscal Year Move Sows Discord on Select Budget Panel
Womack, Lowey disagree on moving government operations to a calendar year

The federal government may soon operate on a fiscal year that begins on Jan. 1, if the Republican co-chair of a special committee charged with overhauling the budget and appropriations process has his way. But Democrats on the panel are not sold, throwing into doubt tentative plans to release a full slate of recommendations this month.

Rep. Steve Womack said Friday he expects the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to change the start of the fiscal year for the first time since 1976, when it was moved to Oct. 1 from July 1. The Arkansas Republican also said the panel is likely to recommend making the annual budget resolution a biennial exercise instead, though it is unlikely to split the appropriations bills over two years, as has been floated.

Ryan: Earmarks Discussion Dead for This Congress
Speaker disappoints Republicans who want to bring back pork

Talk of bringing back local project earmarks in spending bills that has been bubbling within the GOP conference for the past two years won’t advance any further for now, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday.

“I don’t doubt that the next organizing conference for the next Congress will probably wrestle with this issue,” Ryan said.

Outside Kavanaugh Cacophony, Congress Faces Looming Deadline on Government Spending
Despite steady progress this year, lawmakers have little time to pass funding bills

The multiday media circus surrounding the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh notwithstanding, Congress is facing a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government, with appropriators struggling to work out their differences on fiscal 2019 spending. 

There are only 11 legislative days this month when the House and Senate are both scheduled to be in session. That means there isn’t much floor time in either chamber to vote on what could be as many as three conference reports with spending totaling more than $1 trillion, even if the legislation is privileged in the Senate and the House limits debate.

Appropriations Rush Before Midterms
CQ Budget, Episode 75

With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and midterm elections just around the corner, Republicans hope to pass nine spending bills to tout on the campaign trail. CQ senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak explains why that might be a heavy lift. ...
Democrats on DeVos Gun Proposal: ‘A Fountain of Bad Ideas’
Comes after report Education Department considers letting states use federal funds to buy guns for schools

Democrats are slamming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over a report that the Department of Education is considering allowing states to use federal dollars to purchase guns for schools.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have the discretion to approve state or local plans to purchase guns for teachers.

Deal on Budget Makeover Gets ‘Closer.’ So Does the November Deadline
Sen. Joni Ernst: ‘We have to wait for the House’

Members of the joint House and Senate panel tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process said they were getting closer to reaching a final agreement on bipartisan recommendations after a private meeting Wednesday.

“We talked about the debt, we talked about recommendations from some of these outside people who came in to testify. So the vortex is narrowing down,” said Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue. “And we’re getting agreement on things like reconciliation, schedule, biennial budgeting, fiscal year. So I’m encouraged. It may not be everything I would want, but we’re getting to something that actually could work.”

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

More Than Just ‘Regular Order’ at Stake in Senate Spending Push
Most vulnerable Senators now have material to take on the campaign trail

Senate approval of a $154.2 billion, four-bill spending package this week wasn’t just a banner moment for bipartisanship and the open debate and amendment process senators have been promoting.

There’s also a more practical reason: giving the most vulnerable senators on both sides of the aisle something to crow about on the campaign trail.

In Case of Shutdown, Most Border Security Staffers Would Keep Working
DHS would keep about 88 percent of its on-board staff during funding lapse

The two federal agencies tasked with enforcing President Donald Trump’s evolving immigration policies wouldn’t be hamstrung in the event of a partial shutdown of government operations, which is perhaps partly why the president has said repeatedly he’d be just fine with that outcome.

“If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said Monday during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Podcast: Senate Set to Surpass House
CQ Budget, Episode 71

Senate lawmakers will try this week to outdo their House colleagues by passing a four-bill spending package —if they can overcome snags, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. ...