Analysis: Tough Road Ahead for Ryan in 2018
Will he want to stay in Congress after navigating immigration, budget and midterm challenges?

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., pictured arriving at the Capitol for a meeting to kick off 2018 spending negotiations, has a tough road ahead this year that could make him question his future in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan insists he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, but he has a tough road ahead in 2018 that could test his patience with his conference, their Senate counterparts, the president and Washington. 

The Wisconsin Republican is known for keeping his cool under pressure. Thus far in his still young speakership, he’s managed to diffuse disagreements within the House Republican Conference before they’ve reached a boiling point. He also claimed a significant victory last year with passage of the landmark tax overhaul bill, a long-held priority for the former Budget and tax-writing chairman.   

EP. 3: Earmark Debate Returns for House Republicans
Budget Tracker Extra


President Donald Trump’s pledge to drain the swamp hasn’t stopped some House Republicans from discussing bringing back earmarks, even as tea party lawmakers have called the practice pork-barrel spending. CQ Roll Call’s Budget editor Jane Norman and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt explain how the issue has gained enough traction to prompt House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to promise public hearings.

RSC Chairman: Conservatives May Clash With Trump on Infrastructure, Debt Ceiling
Walker advocates for Obamacare replacement in 2017, no earmarks

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker says Congress will work with Trump but conservatives may disagree with him on issues such as infrastructure and the debt ceiling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The new chairman of the Republican Study Committee said Thursday that conservatives could clash with President-elect Donald Trump early in his administration on infrastructure spending and on the debt ceiling.

In an interview for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” scheduled to air Sunday, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said it is incumbent upon Congress to work with the incoming administration but that there will likely be some differences of opinion. 

House GOP Postpones Decision on Whether to Restore Limited Earmarks
Ryan pledges to have a vote on the matter by the end of March

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., wants an exemption to a House GOP earmark ban for water projects. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans began a discussion Wednesday on whether to restore limited earmarks in spending bills after banning the practice in 2010. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan requested members delay a vote on the matter until early next year. 

The House Republican Conference met for more than three hours Wednesday to discuss party rules for the 115th Congress. Among the amendments the conference debated to its rules package were two proposals to restore some form of earmarking — the once common practice of designating discretionary funds for a specific project or purpose. 

Flake Releases 'Jurassic Pork' Report

That's Jurassic Pork, not Jurassic Park. It's the latest report from anti-earmarker Flake. (Screenshot)

Blending dinosaur and swine metaphors, Sen. Jeff Flake released "Jurassic Pork" Thursday — a report aimed at highlighting projects that survived despite the 2010 earmark moratorium.  

"Fossilized within the federal budget, these projects continue to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Many have even outlasted the terms of the politicians who created them," the Arizona Republican wrote. "While providing a glimpse into the past and the corrupting nature of the earmark favor factory and pork barrel politics that politicians in both parties are seeking to revive, Jurassic Pork also offers recommendations for Congress. First and foremost, like the age of the dinosaur, it would be best if the practice of earmarking remained a thing of the past."  

House GOP Touts Water Bill as a Sign of Thriving, Post-Earmark World

The water bill heading for a final vote is earmark free, after a long process and compromise from Shuster, left and Rahall, among others. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, May 17, 3:31 p.m. |  The notion of passing a major infrastructure bill through the House and Senate without earmarks seemed, at first, unthinkable.  

After all, it's a highly dysfunctional Congress, there's an army of outside conservative groups ready to thwart legislation that doesn't meet their standards and members from both parties have complained an earmark moratorium is a reason it's tough to get anything done.  

In Midst of Earmark Discussion, Group Releases Pig Book, Live Pigs

(Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

There sure has been a lot of talk about pork this week.  

Just a day after the "greased pig" analogy used by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on the Senate floor, Citizens Against Government Waste released its annual "Congressional Pig Book" at a news conference that featured a pair of live pigs and a large costumed pig character in the ballroom of a Capitol Hill hotel.  

Harry Reid Does Love His Earmarks (Video)

Reid, left, and Durbin are among the staunchest defenders of earmarks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There aren't many issues on which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disagrees with President Barack Obama, but earmarking is one of them.  

"I have been a fan of earmarks since I got here the first day," the Nevada Democrat said Tuesday afternoon.  

Republican Wants to Revive Earmarks — With Transparency (Updated)

Updated 10:01 p.m. | A Republican appropriator on Friday called for reviving congressional earmarks so lawmakers can use the power of the purse — but wants it to be transparent.  

During a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program, Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota urged a transparent process of congressionally-directed spending, when asked if earmarks should be allowed again in appropriations bills.  

Coburn, Udall Pushing Senators to Keep Earmark Moratorium

Udall would not support the return of earmarks. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan duo is circulating a letter touting support for maintaining the moratorium on earmarks by the legislative branch.  

Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., are spearheading the newest effort.