econ

Podcast: Shutdown Scramble
CQ Budget, Episode 45

Supporters of the so-called DREAM Act protest outside the Capitol on Sunday evening as the Senate was working to find a way to end the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CQ Budget Tracker Editor David Lerman has the latest on the government shutdown and why Senate lawmakers are at an impasse.

 

Here’s What Members Are Doing With Their Salary During Shutdown
Withholding, returning, and donating, lawmakers say they’re refusing salary while government is shut down

Signs are posted outside of the Library of Congress in Washington on Sunday notifying visitors that all Library of Congress buildings will be closed to the public during the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A government shutdown always unleashes a cascade of political histrionics, and chief among those is lawmakers “refusing” their salaries.

Scores of senators and House members sent out news releases over the weekend defiantly proclaiming what they would do with their salaries while the government remains shuttered.

White House Not Shooting Down Possible Shutdown-Ending Deal
Sanders sharply attacks Schumer after ‘Jell-O’ remark about Trump

A "Restricted Area Do Not Enter" sign is on the barricades in front of the White House fence to help deter fence jumpers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials on Monday did not signal opposition to a possible deal among senators that could lead to the end of a government shutdown that has bled into the workweek.

After negotiating all day with a bipartisan group of 20 senators, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Sunday night announced a commitment to take up legislation related to the legal status of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Immigrants, or DACA, program as well as border security after the expiry of the next stopgap spending bill (assuming there’s not another shutdown). That came as he pushed back from 1 a.m. to noon Monday a vote on a three-week government funding bill.

Warren’s PAC Spreading Cash Around in Swing Senate States
Doled out money to state parties in Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Montana, and Nevada

The leadership PAC for  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., disbursed campaign cash in swing Senate seats including Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of state Democratic parties and committees got a helping hand from a PAC affiliated with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the last fundraising quarter.

PAC for a Level Playing field, Warren’s leadership PAC, donated to state Democratic parties where Democrats are trying to be competitive, according to the PAC’s quarterly FEC report that was filed on Friday.

AFL-CIO Passes on Endorsing O’Rourke
Comes after concerns about his support for free trade

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, said he was unable to attend the Texas AFL-CIO convention because of other commitments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas branch of the AFL-CIO passed on endorsing Rep. Beto O’Rourke in his challenge against Sen. Ted Cruz at its convention.

O’Rourke did not attend the labor group’s convention in Austin on Sunday and was not listed on the slate of statewide candidates the group was endorsing, the Texas Tribune reported.

Word on the Hill: Shutdown Day 3
Who’s wearing what over the weekend, still time for football amid negotiations

A worker pushes a senate subway car Friday morning as the Senate considers the House passed continuing resolution to fund the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Pentagon Strategy Outstrips Its Budget Process
After slow staff-up, Defense Department is trying to make up for lost time

The Pentagon will be waiting another budget year to fully match its strategy to its fiscal requests.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Pentagon is churning out a frenzy of strategy documents that bolster President Donald Trump’s calls for a massive — and pricey — military buildup that includes new weaponry and more troops. The department’s own budget process, however, has not yet caught up.

On Friday, the Defense Department rolled out the National Defense Strategy, coming on the heels of the National Security Strategy and a leaked draft of the Nuclear Posture Review. These documents detail policies that come with hefty price tags, such as surpassing China and Russia in fiercely competitive areas like cyberspace and outer space.

The Army’s Ryan McCarthy Pulls the Plug on Bad Acquisitions
“We’re not informed enough,” undersecretary says

Ryan McCarthy, the Army’s undersecretary since August, says his motto is “fail early, fail cheap.” (Courtesy Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy/Facebook)

There’s something different about the Army these days. In a word, it is humility.

The service does not have a flagship new weapon in the works, only minor modifications to existing systems. Its recent efforts to develop costly hardware have flopped. Its acquisition budget, relative to the Air Force and Navy, is expected to decline in the next decade. U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan now number in the thousands, not the scores of thousands.

Opinion: Now More Than Ever, Social Security and Medicare Need Their Public Trustees
Two key seats have been vacant for years; that must change

Four Cabinet members, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, sit on the boards overseeing Social Security and Medicare, which are currently without their public trustees. The vacancies could undermine public confidence, Blahous and Reischauer write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lost in Washington’s political cacophony is the alarming erosion of the financial foundations of Social Security and Medicare. Focused on more immediate crises and reluctant to touch this “third rail” of politics, today’s lawmakers, like many before them, have avoided even discussing the inevitable painful adjustments they will be forced to make.