Jennifer Shutt

House GOP Appropriators Facing Steep Turnover in 116th Congress
Both parties have endured upheaval in wave elections in the past

A Democratic “wave” this November, should one materialize, could result in the departure of as many as five senior House Republican appropriators, which would mark the biggest wipeout of major players from one side of the dais in 26 years.

Three subcommittee “cardinals” are facing tough re-election fights this November: Commerce-Justice-Science Chairman John Culberson and Military Construction-VA Chairman John Carter, both of Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

More Than Just ‘Regular Order’ at Stake in Senate Spending Push
Most vulnerable Senators now have material to take on the campaign trail

Senate approval of a $154.2 billion, four-bill spending package this week wasn’t just a banner moment for bipartisanship and the open debate and amendment process senators have been promoting.

There’s also a more practical reason: giving the most vulnerable senators on both sides of the aisle something to crow about on the campaign trail.

In Case of Shutdown, Most Border Security Staffers Would Keep Working
DHS would keep about 88 percent of its on-board staff during funding lapse

The two federal agencies tasked with enforcing President Donald Trump’s evolving immigration policies wouldn’t be hamstrung in the event of a partial shutdown of government operations, which is perhaps partly why the president has said repeatedly he’d be just fine with that outcome.

“If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said Monday during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Podcast: Senate Set to Surpass House
CQ Budget, Episode 71

Senate lawmakers will try this week to outdo their House colleagues by passing a four-bill spending package —if they can overcome snags, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. ...
For Once, Senate Set to Eclipse House in Appropriations Pace
But Congress has just 11 legislative days remaining with both chambers in session before Sept. 30

Optimism is building that Congress may send a handful of spending bills to the White House in September — avoiding the need for the entire federal government to operate under a stopgap during the fall and lowering the odds that a lame-duck Congress will resort to a 12-bill omnibus.

That hope is tempered, however, by the uphill climb to negotiate compromise versions of several spending bills that either have passed both chambers already or seem likely to by the end of this week. And the two chambers look to be headed for an impasse over border wall funding that could dominate the post-midterm session.

Rodney Frelinghuysen’s Last Appropriations Markup Hurrah
Colleagues on both sides of the aisle pay tribute to retiring chairman

In a session of Congress marked by bitter partisanship and high-stakes battles at seemingly every turn, the House Appropriations Committee stepped out of the maelstrom Wednesday to pay tribute to its erstwhile chairman, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the retiring New Jersey Republican presiding over his last markup of the panel. 

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., joked that Frelinghuysen was getting an “advanced look” at how he would be remembered after he dies.

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out
Members face November deadline for developing legislation and report

The 16 lawmakers tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process will begin meeting informally this month to determine if they can agree on bipartisan changes before the end of November, according to House Budget Chairman Steve Womack.

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform has an uphill climb before it can produce the type of legislation that a majority of its Democrats and a majority of its Republicans will support — let alone the type of bill that a majority of each chamber will vote to enact.

Trump’s Trade Policies Get a Senate Slapdown
Lawmakers support congressional authority over tariff decisions

Senators delivered a bipartisan, if nonbinding, rebuke to President Donald Trump’s trade policies on the floor Wednesday, voting 88-11 to express support for congressional authority over presidential decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

The motion, offered by GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, would instruct conferees on an unrelated $147 billion spending bill covering the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to “include language providing a role for Congress in making a determination” under a law enabling presidents to impose trade restrictions on security grounds.

Podcast: How the Summer Spending Stretch Is Shaping Up
CQ Budget, Episode 68

Congress returns from its Fourth of July break with expectations that it will tackle a robust spending agenda including the two chambers negotiating the final shape of three spending bills — as lawmakers hope to avoid another 12-bill omnibus. But, there are several challenges ahead both inside and outside of the annual appropriations process. CQ appropriations reporters Ryan McCrimmon and Kellie Mejdrich discuss what the final three months leading into fiscal 2019 hold with guest host Jen...
Senate GOP Appropriators Stress Bipartisanship in Trump Meeting
‘If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans’

Senate Republican appropriators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to enact spending bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, as long as sufficient resources are devoted to border security.

“If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the start of a meeting with Trump. “I’m willing to work with Democrats to get to ‘yes.’ But, ‘yes’ has to be consistent with being strong.”

Podcast: A Flurry of Budget Activity
CQ Budget, Episode 65

CQ budget and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt breaks down the various budget measures Congress will take up this week, including the three-bill spending package and a possible House fiscal 2019 budget resolution to set spending and revenue guidelines for the coming fiscal year.

 

Tweaked Trump Cuts Request Restores EPA, Ebola, Sandy Funds
But whip count could be close, with burden solely on GOP to pass rescissions package

The Trump administration revoked a slice of its $15.2 billion “rescissions” request Tuesday, targeting items that received a cool response from GOP lawmakers whose votes will be needed but leaving intact most of the original proposal.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Capitol Hill proposing to reduce the size of the cuts by a combined $515 million, with nearly half of that coming from restoration of $252 million in unspent funds that could potentially be used to combat a renewed Ebola virus outbreak overseas. Democrats have cited the recent Ebola resurgence in the Democratic Republic of Congo as reason to blast Republicans for considering the cuts.

Podcast: Here Come the Minibuses
CQ Budget, Episode 63

The House takes up its first package of spending bills — a minibus — for fiscal 2019 this week, while the Appropriations committees continue to mark up their remaining bills ahead of floor action. CQ Budget and Appropriations reporter Ryan McCrimmon and Roll Call Senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski explain what the summer holds for appropriations bills in both chambers and how other legislative priorities may impact floor votes. ...
Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough on House Appropriations
One-two punch on the panel would be the first since women led the House Beauty Shop Committee

The House of Representatives hasn’t had two women lead a committee since the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop was eliminated in 1977.

All of that could change in January.

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.

Republicans Warming to $15 Billion Cuts Package
Dispute remains over whether proposal is protected from filibuster

Republicans appear ready to advance the White House’s $15.4 billion rescissions request through both chambers of Congress, after the administration dropped the idea — for now — of canceling funds provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted in March.

“If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, noting that the so-called special message “does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal.”

Partisan Fight Over $15 Billion Rescissions Package Developing
Democrats not ready to play ball, Pelosi suggests

The Trump administration on Monday outlined a roughly $15 billion “rescissions” request it plans to send to Congress on Tuesday, targeting unspent health care and green energy funds for the largest share of the cuts.

The bulk of that request proposes eliminating $7 billion in budget authority from the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $5 billion from fiscal 2017, for which there is no authority to spend the money, and $2 billion from a contingency fund for states that the White House doesn’t expect any states to draw from, a senior administration official said.