WRDA

Ryan’s Piecemeal Approach May Keep GOP Infrastructure Push Afloat
But speaker’s strategy of multiple bills could complicate Senate passage

Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants to break an infrastructure overhaul into pieces, moving five to six bills before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A key piece of the Republicans’ 2018 legislative agenda is shape-shifting.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s pronouncement last week that an infrastructure overhaul will be tackled in multiple bills serves a dual purpose: It keeps hope for one of the president’s top policy priorities alive, while setting more realistic expectations for what will get done this midterm election year.

Some Democrats Plan Slowdown as Senate Wraps Up Year
Chamber races to wrap up several broad bills by Friday

California Sen. Barbara Boxer has vowed to block a water infrastructure bill over a drought provision. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some Senate Democrats are planning to block or slow down legislation as Republicans try to whittle down what’s left of their to-do list for the 114th Congress this week.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor Monday that he plans to complete work on a spending measure to keep the government funded and a conference report authorizing defense programs. McConnell added that work continues on water infrastructure legislation and an energy policy bill.

House Republicans to Allow Flint Vote
Deal on water bill amendment expected to resolve government funding impasse

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, right, seen here with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, has reached an agreement with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to allow an amendment authorizing aid for Flint, Michigan, to be included in a water resources bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans late Tuesday acquiesced to Democrats’ demands to  address the Flint, Michigan, water contamination crisis, when the Rules Committee voted to allow an amendment to a water resources measure that would authorize $170 million in assistance.

The move comes just one day after the Rules panel blocked a similar attempt to get a vote on Flint aid as the chamber took up the Water Resources Development Act. The change of heart signals interest in resolving a stalemate over Flint that has held up a must-pass stopgap spending bill to keep government agencies running into December.