Jennifer Shutt

Mnuchin says there is a topline agreement on spending caps and debt limit
Treasury secretary says talks continue on offsets and structure of a deal

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that agreement has been reached on spending levels for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021 as well as a two-year extension of the debt limit.

“The good news is we’ve reached an agreement between the administration, the House and the Senate on topline numbers for both year one and year two. We’re now discussing offsets as well as certain structural issues. And we’ve agreed as part of that deal there would be a long-term, two-year debt ceiling increase,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “So, I think, all of our first choice is to reach an overall agreement and we’re working hard to do that. But if for whatever reason we don’t get there in time, I am encouraging a debt ceiling increase.”

Pelosi: Debt ceiling, caps deal possibly on floor next Thursday
To make the deadline, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said negotiators on a sweeping package that would lift tight discretionary spending caps and raise the debt ceiling are aiming to have a bill on the House floor next Thursday.

Accordingly, the California Democrat said, talks would need to wrap up by this Friday night in order to post legislative text sometime over the weekend, required under the House’s rule that 72 hours’ notice is necessary for lawmakers to read bills before voting on them. “When we have an agreement we’ll write it up, and we have to do all of that by Friday evening,” Pelosi told reporters.

Senate appropriations markups likely off until September
Congressional leaders and Trump administration have to agree on spending caps in next few weeks

The Senate Appropriations Committee likely won’t mark up any of its fiscal 2020 spending bills before leaving town for the August recess — the first time in more than three decades the panel hasn’t debated any of the annual spending bills before the customary summer break.

The decision to hold back Senate appropriations bills in the absence of a spending caps agreement has set a markedly different pace for the committee than last year, when it sent all 12 of its bills to the floor before the break began.

Debt limit talks pick up pace and tax credit bonanza
CQ Budget podcast, Episode 118

With new warnings that the U.S. could run out of money to meet its obligations, Congress and the Trump administration are racing to raise the debt limit before lawmakers head home for August, says CQ Roll Call’s appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. And tax reporter Doug Sword explains how oil refiners could get up to a $10 billion windfall with an expired tax credit unless Congress intervenes.

Senate GOP lines up behind two-year debt, spending deal, whip says

Senate Republicans are coalescing around a push to raise discretionary spending caps and suspend the statutory debt ceiling for two years, rather than the one-year stopgap plan pushed by White House officials, according to the chamber’s No. 2 Republican.

“I think they believe that it would be good to deal with both of those issues for not just this next year, but for the following year as well,” said Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. “I suspect there are others who maybe don’t share that view, but I think the overwhelming majority of the Republicans, I think that’s what they believe.”

Pelosi: Debt limit vote possible before August recess
‘We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America,’ Pelosi said

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday didn’t rule out voting on a debt limit increase before the August recess, though she indicated the need to raise the discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020 is still an integral part of the discussions.

“Let’s see how the conversations go,” she said. “We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That’s never been what we’ve been about, but there are those on the Republican side who have embraced that again and again.”

McConnell waiting on House and White House deal on spending caps
Without an agreement on limits, Senate appropriators don’t know how much they have to spend, majority leader says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Thursday that the Senate won’t set its own discretionary spending level and proceed with appropriations markups until a universal caps agreement is reached between House Democrats and the Trump administration.

“I support getting some kind of deal that can tell us how much we can spend so we can go forward,” McConnell said. “The two key players in any caps deal are the speaker and the president. If they can agree on how much we can spend, then we are not spinning our wheels.”

Senate border bill faces hurdles

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol are generally unified in support of the Senate’s $4.59 billion supplemental relief bill for border agencies strained by record numbers of migrants crossing the southern border.

There’s just one problem: It’s not fully clear that President Donald Trump would sign the bipartisan measure, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 30-1 vote last Wednesday.

One-year spending cap option, warts and all, gains momentum
Yarmuth signals openness to deal, echoing comments made by Shelby a day earlier

Senior lawmakers are increasingly considering a scaled-back plan to raise discretionary spending limits for just the upcoming fiscal year, in what would be a departure from the two-year deals enacted in 2013, 2015 and again last year.

A decision to limit a deal to only fiscal 2020 appropriations might simplify negotiations that have been stalled for months. But it would also set the stage for another difficult showdown over spending levels next year, just before the presidential election.

Yarmuth says effort to unseat McConnell could be national marquee battle next year
Kentucky Democrat says challengers face long odds against Senate GOP leader, however

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday his two top picks to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2020 are Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful House race last year caught national attention, and sports radio talk show host Matt Jones.

Yarmuth admitted, however, that either candidate would face long odds in the Bluegrass State.

Senate GOP border aid package to largely track Trump request
Top Democrat on Appropriations details demands that will earn votes on measure

Senate Republicans appear likely to bless President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency border funding request in its entirety, gambling that either just enough Democrats will fall in line or they’ll be able to send a signal to the White House that it’s time to negotiate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up a yet-to-be-unveiled draft supplemental measure June 19. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday it will contain $4.5 billion, including “more than $3 billion” for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for the thousands of unaccompanied minors and families seeking refuge from violence in their home countries, many from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Women senators ‘shame the guys to hurry up and vote’
Female lawmakers push their male colleagues to pick up the pace

The women of the United States Senate took their colleagues to task Wednesday for taking too long to vote.

In the middle of a vote series that typically would have appeared mundane— with members frequently leaving the floor during one vote and returning during the next, or sitting in the cloakroom on their cell phones — most of the women were seated at desks, calling for regular order in an attempt to speed up what have become increasingly long series.

Republican senator likely to push colleagues to curtail August recess again
David Perdue says he wants time to consider spending bills

Sen. David Perdue says he is likely to again call for the Senate to cancel its August recess — or at least part of the five-week break — so lawmakers can work on spending bills.

“If we don’t get it done, I’m still of a mind that we need to be here in August. I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s just a reality. We’re not doing our jobs. We’re not getting it done,” the Georgia Republican said Tuesday at a pen-and-pad briefing.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

Hyde amendment, other abortion riders in the spending limelight
Democrats set for showdown with Republicans, administration

The debate surrounding abortion access is about to spill over from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill as lawmakers begin debating must-pass appropriations bills.

Starting Wednesday, the House will take up a nearly $1 trillion spending package written by Democrats that would roll back Trump administration anti-abortion policies, including restrictions barring health clinics from recommending abortion services and preventing U.S. foreign assistance to aid groups that perform or promote abortions.

Funding for migrant children running out with no deal in sight
Contractors could be asked to take care of 13,000 kids without pay

If Congress can’t pass a supplemental spending bill for border agencies within the next month, the administration could have to ask contractors to take care of more than 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children without being paid, according to Sen. Roy Blunt.

“Today there are 13,347 unaccompanied children that are the responsibility of the federal government,” the Missouri Republican said Tuesday. “All of the money to take care of those kids runs out sometime in the next 30 days. The appropriation is gone, the transfer authority is about to be gone and there is no money to take care of these kids.”

Hoyer and House appropriators back potential pay raise for Congress
Salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers have been frozen at $174,000 since 2010

House Democrats are making moves to lift the pay freeze that lawmakers have been living under since 2010. But the top Senate appropriator is not on board. 

House appropriators released their Financial Services fiscal 2020 spending bill earlier this week, striking a provision that blocked members or Congress from receiving an increase in pay that Republicans included in previous  Legislative Branch spending bills. The salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, but those with official leadership titles and responsibilities make more.

House finally sends $19.1 billion disaster aid package to Trump’s desk
Trump has said he supports the bill and is expected to sign it

The House sent a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump’s desk Monday, more than a week after the first of three Republican holdouts objected to passing the legislation by unanimous consent.

The bill, which was the result of months of exhaustive negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and the White House, received a vote of 354-58 just hours after the House returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break. 

Flood insurance gets renewal as disaster aid remains stalled
The package will instead likely pass the House on Monday when that chamber returns for recorded votes

A bipartisan $19.1 billion disaster aid bill hit another speed bump in the House on Thursday, but the National Flood Insurance Program got an extension. 

The disaster aid package, which received final sign-off from Republicans and Democrats as well as the Trump administration a week ago, was blocked when a third GOP congressman who objected to clearing the legislation through unanimous consent. It will instead likely pass the House on Monday when that chamber returns for recorded votes.

A House Republican may block the disaster aid bill for a third time this week
Rep. Thomas Massie lodged the objection Tuesday, following Rep. Chip Roy who did so on Friday

A second Republican lawmaker blocked Congress from clearing a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill — a tactic that will likely be repeated for a third time later this week during another round of political theater.

The GOP maneuvers are likely to be for naught, however, as it’s a matter of time before the House clears the package for President Donald Trump’s signature. The chamber reconvenes on June 3 after the weeklong Memorial Day recess, and a roll call vote could be held as soon as that evening, if another unanimous consent request expected Thursday is blocked.