Rodney Frelinghuysen

Election Year History Belies Ambitious Talk on Appropriations
Lawmakers’ spending goals could run right into midterm hex

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says he’s aligned with the president in not wanting another massive omnibus spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

November might seem far away, but the midterm elections’ impact on spending bills is already on display, amplified by internal Republican jockeying for leadership positions in the House.

Election years tend to chill swift movement on appropriations bills — especially when there’s potential turnover in leadership of one or both chambers. That’s in part because lawmakers want to focus on campaigning and are back home more than usual, and party leaders tend to want to shield vulnerable members from tough votes.

‘She Would Love All This Fuss’ — Louise Slaughter Memorialized in the Capitol
Family, colleagues remember a trailblazing, tough and funny member of Congress

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a memorial service for Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Wednesday. Slaughter, in picture, passed away on March 16 at the age of 88. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Louise Slaughter dreamed that she would die in the Capitol.

That’s at least according to her daughter, Robin Slaughter Minerva, who spoke during a congressional memorial service for her mother on Wednesday in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Florida’s Midterms Loom Large in ‘March for Our Lives’
Feb. 14 school mass shooting pushes gun violence to forefront in campaigns

Catherine Monroe, 19, who drove all night from Gainesville, Fla., rests near the Capitol Reflecting Pool before joining the student-led March for Our Lives rally on Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday to call for action to prevent gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Todd Foote came to Saturday’s “March for Our Lives” in Washington because of his son Austin.

Austin is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people last month. Scott Beigel, his cross-country coach, was among the victims. So were four of his friends. His best friend’s sister was in the hospital for two weeks.

Podcast: Top Appropriators Seek Hometown Cash as Shutdown Threat Nears
CQ Budget, Episode 52

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring at the end of the session, and theoretically the New Jersey Republican could grab some extra federal dollars for his district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ appropriation reporters Kellie Mejdrich and Ryan McCrimmon explain how a committee chairmanship can pay off in more ways than one and why Republicans are once again talking about another round of tax cuts.

 

Departing Appropriations Chairmen Set to Reap Omnibus Bounty
Fiscal 2018 spending bill a swan song for Cochran, Frelinghuysen

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s swan song as the outgoing chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee may be a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo )

The outgoing chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are set up for a bountiful swan song as a sprawling $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill comes to fruition this week.

For Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, resigning April 1, it’s a “mic drop” moment as the ailing 80-year-old Mississippi Republican will walk off the stage just after the omnibus measure is expected to become law. Cochran’s departure leaves his state with an enormous loss of clout that he will be anxious to ameliorate in his final go-round.

House Committee Leadership Is Becoming a Game of Musical Chairs
Term limits, fundraising pressure and reduced clout are taking a toll on GOP chairmen

Reps. Lamar Smith and Robert W. Goodlatte, shown here in 2014, are two of at least eight committee chairmen who are leaving Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what happens in the November elections, the House of Representatives will be a body transformed.

At least eight of the chamber’s sitting committee chairmen are quitting Congress — and two additional chiefs have already given up their gavels. These exits come at a cost to the institution, as House Republicans will lose policy expertise, political savvy and procedural prowess.

Porn Still Turning Up in the Federal Workplace Despite Ban
Congress made rules to block employees from watching porn. But will it act to enforce them?

North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones led the effort to expand a pornography ban as part of the 2017 omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s been six years since Congress began banning federal employees from watching pornography in the workplace. But even though lawmakers have gradually added the rule to spending bills, implementing it agency by agency, some workers are still pulling up porn — and some departments still aren’t covered.

As the spotlight on sexual exploitation intensifies in Washington and around the nation, it’s clear that the problem of online porn in the federal workplace hasn’t gone away.

Chao Goes Off the Rails on New York-New Jersey Project

Secretary of Transportation nominee Elaine Chao testifies as her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao came to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to answer questions about the administration’s infrastructure proposal Tuesday. But she spent much of the time confirming and defending the administration’s attempt to kill a New York and New Jersey rail program.

“Is the president of the United States personally intervening with the speaker to kill this project?” asked Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., referring to a weekend report in The Washington Post that President Donald Trump asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan to kill funding for the Gateway Program.

Wealth of Congress: 14 Vulnerable Incumbents Are Worth at Least $1 Million
Only one of them has spent money on his own campaign so far this cycle

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is the wealthiest member of Congress considered vulnerable for re-election this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fourteen vulnerable lawmakers were worth at least $1 million at the start of this Congress. These include House incumbents and senators whose November re-election races are rated either Toss-up, Tilts or Leans by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.

Personal money isn’t always advantageous in a tough campaign, but it can be helpful. Just one of these members has donated or loaned money to their campaign so far this cycle.

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”