Jennifer Shutt

Senate border bill faces hurdles

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol are generally unified in support of the Senate’s $4.59 billion supplemental relief bill for border agencies strained by record numbers of migrants crossing the southern border.

There’s just one problem: It’s not fully clear that President Donald Trump would sign the bipartisan measure, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 30-1 vote last Wednesday.

One-year spending cap option, warts and all, gains momentum
Yarmuth signals openness to deal, echoing comments made by Shelby a day earlier

Senior lawmakers are increasingly considering a scaled-back plan to raise discretionary spending limits for just the upcoming fiscal year, in what would be a departure from the two-year deals enacted in 2013, 2015 and again last year.

A decision to limit a deal to only fiscal 2020 appropriations might simplify negotiations that have been stalled for months. But it would also set the stage for another difficult showdown over spending levels next year, just before the presidential election.

Yarmuth says effort to unseat McConnell could be national marquee battle next year
Kentucky Democrat says challengers face long odds against Senate GOP leader, however

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday his two top picks to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2020 are Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful House race last year caught national attention, and sports radio talk show host Matt Jones.

Yarmuth admitted, however, that either candidate would face long odds in the Bluegrass State.

Senate GOP border aid package to largely track Trump request
Top Democrat on Appropriations details demands that will earn votes on measure

Senate Republicans appear likely to bless President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency border funding request in its entirety, gambling that either just enough Democrats will fall in line or they’ll be able to send a signal to the White House that it’s time to negotiate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up a yet-to-be-unveiled draft supplemental measure June 19. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday it will contain $4.5 billion, including “more than $3 billion” for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for the thousands of unaccompanied minors and families seeking refuge from violence in their home countries, many from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Women senators ‘shame the guys to hurry up and vote’
Female lawmakers push their male colleagues to pick up the pace

The women of the United States Senate took their colleagues to task Wednesday for taking too long to vote.

In the middle of a vote series that typically would have appeared mundane— with members frequently leaving the floor during one vote and returning during the next, or sitting in the cloakroom on their cell phones — most of the women were seated at desks, calling for regular order in an attempt to speed up what have become increasingly long series.

Republican senator likely to push colleagues to curtail August recess again
David Perdue says he wants time to consider spending bills

Sen. David Perdue says he is likely to again call for the Senate to cancel its August recess — or at least part of the five-week break — so lawmakers can work on spending bills.

“If we don’t get it done, I’m still of a mind that we need to be here in August. I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s just a reality. We’re not doing our jobs. We’re not getting it done,” the Georgia Republican said Tuesday at a pen-and-pad briefing.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

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

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.

Funding for migrant children running out with no deal in sight
Contractors could be asked to take care of 13,000 kids without pay

If Congress can’t pass a supplemental spending bill for border agencies within the next month, the administration could have to ask contractors to take care of more than 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children without being paid, according to Sen. Roy Blunt.

“Today there are 13,347 unaccompanied children that are the responsibility of the federal government,” the Missouri Republican said Tuesday. “All of the money to take care of those kids runs out sometime in the next 30 days. The appropriation is gone, the transfer authority is about to be gone and there is no money to take care of these kids.”

Hoyer and House appropriators back potential pay raise for Congress
Salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers have been frozen at $174,000 since 2010

House Democrats are making moves to lift the pay freeze that lawmakers have been living under since 2010. But the top Senate appropriator is not on board. 

House appropriators released their Financial Services fiscal 2020 spending bill earlier this week, striking a provision that blocked members or Congress from receiving an increase in pay that Republicans included in previous  Legislative Branch spending bills. The salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, but those with official leadership titles and responsibilities make more.

House finally sends $19.1 billion disaster aid package to Trump’s desk
Trump has said he supports the bill and is expected to sign it

The House sent a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump’s desk Monday, more than a week after the first of three Republican holdouts objected to passing the legislation by unanimous consent.

The bill, which was the result of months of exhaustive negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and the White House, received a vote of 354-58 just hours after the House returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break. 

Flood insurance gets renewal as disaster aid remains stalled
The package will instead likely pass the House on Monday when that chamber returns for recorded votes

A bipartisan $19.1 billion disaster aid bill hit another speed bump in the House on Thursday, but the National Flood Insurance Program got an extension. 

The disaster aid package, which received final sign-off from Republicans and Democrats as well as the Trump administration a week ago, was blocked when a third GOP congressman who objected to clearing the legislation through unanimous consent. It will instead likely pass the House on Monday when that chamber returns for recorded votes.

A House Republican may block the disaster aid bill for a third time this week
Rep. Thomas Massie lodged the objection Tuesday, following Rep. Chip Roy who did so on Friday

A second Republican lawmaker blocked Congress from clearing a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill — a tactic that will likely be repeated for a third time later this week during another round of political theater.

The GOP maneuvers are likely to be for naught, however, as it’s a matter of time before the House clears the package for President Donald Trump’s signature. The chamber reconvenes on June 3 after the weeklong Memorial Day recess, and a roll call vote could be held as soon as that evening, if another unanimous consent request expected Thursday is blocked.

Rep. Chip Roy won’t object to disaster aid package today, but others may
Texas freshman's objection who held up passage last week

The Texas GOP lawmaker who blocked passage of a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill on Friday won’t be in the chamber Tuesday afternoon when the House reconvenes for another pro forma session. 

But with any lawmaker able to object to a new unanimous consent request, the odds of ramming the relief bill through the chamber without a recorded vote during this recess week remain shaky.

Sharing info on potential sponsors of unaccompanied children stalled border funding
House Democrats sought to prevent HHS from sharing info with DHS

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said May 16 that she hoped the emerging disaster aid supplemental would also carry funding to care for children and families pouring over the border in record numbers, it seemed like a fait accompli.

But as the days turned into a week, something was clearly wrong. And suddenly, Senate leaders agreed to drop billions of dollars the Trump administration wanted to address what both sides called a humanitarian crisis at the border, in the interest of getting the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill over the finish line.

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

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.

Senate passes long-stalled disaster aid bill with Trump support
Negotiators agreed to revisit stripped border-related funding after the Memorial Day recess

After months of negotiations, Congress and the White House on Thursday reached agreement on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that will help communities recover from a series of deadly storms and wildfires. 

The draft bill does not include the border-related funding for migrants at the southern border sought by the Trump administration, the last hurdle that had been preventing a deal on the package.

Senate to take one last shot at disaster, border aid bill
The remaining sticking points are over immigration and oversight provisions related to Trump’s border funding request

Senate Republicans were huddling behind closed doors Thursday morning to discuss their next move on supplemental aid for disaster victims and handling a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

One emerging possibility was to drop billions of dollars in aid the White House is seeking for border-related agencies, including Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Republicans reviewing Democrats’ latest disaster aid offer
Chair declined to provide offer details, but said it could be the next step toward a bipartisan bill moving this week

Republican negotiators are mulling a counterproposal from Democrats on a multibillion-dollar package of supplemental aid for disaster victims that would also handle a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., declined to provide details on the offer, but said it could be the next step toward a bipartisan bill moving this week.