appropriations

Opinion: 3 Ways to Defeat Dysfunction on the Hill
Recent bipartisan moves offer hope for a return to traditional legislating

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform must advance some recommendations for change, even if they do not address every issue, Daschle and Lott write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four years ago this month, we joined with 27 other Americans to release recommendations to reform how our government works, improve the management of our elections, and promote more civic engagement.

At the time, the Commission on Political Reform, or CPR, was grappling with how to enable our institutions to better function in an era marked by hyperpartisanship. We did not think the tone and dysfunction in Washington could get worse — and yet it has.

Government Reorg Plan Greeted Without Fanfare
Key members of Congress seemed unaware of details as White House plan was released

The Office of Management and Budget, led by Director Mick Mulvaney, released a sweeping reorganization proposal on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize the federal government won’t likely be moving to the top of the Senate agenda anytime soon.

“This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the proposals. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”

Senators Keeping Hope — and ‘Regular Order’ — Alive
That immigration debate hasn’t derailed spending may be cause for optimism

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby and Sen. Roy Blunt are among the lawmakers trying to keep the Senate’s productive streak alive. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Does the Senate’s sudden appetite for “regular order” have any chance of continuing through the summer, particularly when it comes to writing spending bills?

“One only hopes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Appropriators seem to be able to get along better than other people.”

Analysis: Migrants, ‘Rocket Man’ and Trump’s Ever-Changing Mind
Executive order another contradictory move in an ever-changing presidency

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Capitol for a meeting on immigration with House Republicans on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump is a hardliner. Until he’s not. Donald Trump is open to compromise. Until he’s not.

The president — yet again — on Thursday reversed himself on a major issue by ending his administration’s practice of separating migrant families. In doing so, he bowed to all kinds of pressure: from his wife and daughter, from human rights groups, from Democratic members — and even from his fellow Republicans.

How Donald Trump Shivved a Compromise GOP Immigration Bill
Aides were caught unaware by president's announcement

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress last year. On Friday, he appeared to end hopes a compromise immigration bill the conference hammered out would make it to the floor. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:03 p.m. Senior White House officials worked with House Republicans for weeks on a compromise immigration measure, but were careful to avoid saying anything publicly that would sink the measure. That changed Friday morning when President Donald Trump walked out to the White House’s North Lawn.

House Republicans reached agreement on a sweeping immigration overhaul measure after conservatives, moderates and leaders negotiated behind closed doors for weeks — with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also involved. Members said Thursday they had reached a deal to vote on two measures: a measure favored by conservatives and a compromise version in which all sides gave some ground.

Authorized Flood Projects Left High and Dry on Funding
Desperate cities fear the next floods as Congress dawdles

Residents look down a flooded street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 2008. The city is still recovering from some of its worst flooding on record. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Ten years ago this month, the Cedar River overflowed into Cedar Rapids, Iowa, destroying a wide swath of the city’s downtown and residential neighborhoods.

The flooding caused $5.4 billion in property damage, according to the city. It affected more than 1,000 blocks of homes and businesses, City Hall, the county courthouse and hundreds of other buildings.

Podcast: Will a Minibus Rescue Hill’s GOP?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 12

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talk before a Senate Appropriations Committee markup in the Dirksen Building on June 7, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

Republicans would love to avoid shutdown drama before the midterm but a tight timetable stands in the way. CQ’s appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains why the budgetary salvage vehicle is called a “minibus” and why it just might work.

Spending Cuts Package Faces Uncertain Senate Fate
Narrow House passage, senatorial skepticism could make for rough road

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gavels in a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the FY2019 budget request for the Interior Department on May 10, 2018. Murkowski is dubious of the administration's rescissions package, saying that is the purview of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A nearly $15 billion package of spending cuts is now in the Senate’s court after the House late Thursday voted 210-206 to pass the “rescissions” measure.

Most Republicans voted to narrowly put the cuts package over the top, though there were 19 GOP defections. Democrats voted unanimously against the measure.

Tweaked Trump Cuts Request Restores EPA, Ebola, Sandy Funds
But whip count could be close, with burden solely on GOP to pass rescissions package

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and his office sent a revised rescissions package to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, although timing on a possible vote is unclear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration revoked a slice of its $15.2 billion “rescissions” request Tuesday, targeting items that received a cool response from GOP lawmakers whose votes will be needed but leaving intact most of the original proposal.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Capitol Hill proposing to reduce the size of the cuts by a combined $515 million, with nearly half of that coming from restoration of $252 million in unspent funds that could potentially be used to combat a renewed Ebola virus outbreak overseas. Democrats have cited the recent Ebola resurgence in the Democratic Republic of Congo as reason to blast Republicans for considering the cuts.

With Eye on Policy, and Politics, McConnell Scraps August Recess
Senate expected to be away the first week in August before returning for the rest of the summer

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in a Tuesday statement that the Senate would substantially curtail the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that the Senate will be in session throughout much of August, citing the need to move legislation and nominees. While widely viewed as a gambit to keep Democrats in competitive 2018 races off the trail, the move could have unintended and unpredictable political consequences. 

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.“Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”