Budget

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Opinion: Raise the Caps to Raise Up American Communities
Congress needs to invest to keep America safe and prosperous

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is seen on a closed circuit television in the subway leading to the Rayburn Building in 2011, soon before the House voted on the Budget Control Act. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

As President Trump and congressional leaders negotiate a framework for federal spending, it is important to stop pitting “defense” and “nondefense” investments against one another, when both are so critical to our common security and prosperity.

Only by treating these investments with parity can Congress do its part to promote the shared future American families and communities deserve.

Democrats Push GOP to Delay Tax Talks After Alabama
But Republican tax conference committee is full speed ahead

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones's victory in the Senate race to replace Jeff Sessions could scramble the legislative calculus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats were quick to call on Republicans to delay their efforts to rewrite the tax code, saying Doug Jones' victory in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama is a sign from voters that needs to be heeded.

“The vote on the tax bill should be postponed. The voice of Alabamians should be heard on this and Doug Jones should have a chance to weigh in,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Wednesday.

A Tax Conference Committee Meeting Mostly For Show
Parameters are clear for final Republican push on tax bill

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady makes his way to a meeting in the speaker’s office in the Capitol on Dec. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing against the members of the House and Senate attending Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the conference committee finalizing the tax code overhaul, but it’s mostly for show and unlikely to be must-see television.

That’s because, with the arguable exception of the farm bill, open meetings of conference committees are not where the deals get done, despite the talking points from top negotiators.

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, as Washington braced for the results of the Alabama Senate election and timing on a vote on tax overhaul and spending is in flux. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, even as the timing on two big-ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation remained fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is underway.

House Republicans meeting as a conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, Wednesday.

Opinion: One Year Later — Why 21st Century Cures Still Matters
Help underway for diseases that impact virtually every family

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., hold thank you signs made by Max Schill, who’s diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the 21st Century Cures Act on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2015. Upton and DeGette spearheaded the act. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

 

 

Six Things to Watch as Tax Overhaul Endgame Nears
Final votes could come just before lawmakers leave for the holidays

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says both Senate and House tax plans have “strengths” when it comes to the treatment of income of pass-through entities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of sticking points emerged last week as Republican lawmakers began jockeying for their favorite parts of the House and Senate tax plans.

Top tax writers from each chamber will formally meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss their differences, but the real negotiations have already begun behind the scenes.

Treasury Sees Rosy Revenue Effects of GOP Tax Plans

Borrowing some nomenclature from the White House, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., dubbed the Treasury report "fake math." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Treasury Department on Monday estimated the Senate Republican tax code overhaul would actually shrink annual deficits over 10 years, a sharp break from congressional revenue estimates showing the GOP tax plans could cost at least $1 trillion over a decade.

Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy released a one-page summary of its analysis of the Senate-passed legislation, which predicts the legislation would raise revenue by $300 billion over 10 years compared to current law.

Podcast: Defense, Domestic Budget Increases Crucial for Long-Term Spending Deal
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 41

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CQ appropriations reporters Kellie Mejdrich and Jennifer Shutt discuss the two-week spending bill that averted a government shutdown and look at how lawmakers may keep the government funded beyond Dec. 22.

Budget Deal Could Bust Caps by $200 Billion
Two-year agreement expected to draw motley crew of supporters

Marc Short, left, White House director of legislative affairs, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse at the Capitol on Dec. 1. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional negotiators have moved well north of $200 billion in their discussions of how much to raise discretionary spending caps in a two-year budget deal.

The higher numbers under consideration follow an initial Republican offer several weeks ago to raise defense by $54 billion and nondefense by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019 — a $182 billion increase in base discretionary spending.