Lindsey McPherson

House Passes $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill, Starting Process to Avert Shutdown
Massive measure was released the night before the vote, so members didn’t have time to read it

The House on Thursday passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, starting the process for averting a government shutdown and ending government funding by stopgap. 

The vote was 256-167. The bill includes funding boosts for defense that Republicans sought, as well as for domestic programs on the nondefense side of the ledger that Democrats sought. 

Paul Ryan Says He’s Done ‘A Phenomenal Job’ Restoring Regular Order
Speaker blames rushed omnibus process on Democrats, deadlines and a funeral

Speaker Paul D. Ryan thinks he’s lived up to his promise to open up debate on legislation and restore so-called regular order in the House, blaming the rushed process of the fiscal 2018 omnibus on Democrats, deadlines and a funeral. 

“By and large, we’ve done a phenomenal job,” the Wisconsin Republican said when asked if he feels he’s delivered on the promises he made to House Republicans when taking over as speaker in 2015.

House Narrowly Passes Rule to Begin Debate on Omnibus
Some Freedom Caucus members join Democrats in voting against it

The House on Thursday narrowly passed a rule to begin debate on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, a more-than-2200 page measure GOP leaders had released just the previous night.

Several members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus joined Democrats in voting against the rule, which set up a single hour of debate and blocked amendments to the bill. The final tally was 211-207. 

Read the Bill or Get Out of Town Quickly? On Omnibus, Congress Chooses the Latter
‘This is a Great Dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in America,’ Sen. Kennedy says

As Congress stares at a Friday deadline to fund the government, the reality that members will have scant time to actually read or process the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus before voting on it is starting to sink in.

The Wednesday night filing of the more than 2,200-page measure was the starting pistol that sent lawmakers into a mad dash against the government funding clock. They were given 52 hours.

Mass House Democrat Defections Likely On Omnibus Without DACA Commitment
‘We believe this is a very, very critical issue to be resolved,’ Hoyer says

Dozens of House Democrats are likely to vote against the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill if the final deal, which leaders hope to announce Wednesday afternoon, does not include a commitment to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

House Democrats have been frustrated for months by Republicans’ refusal to allow a floor vote on legislation to protect so called-Dreamers — DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. They’ve voted against several stopgap spending bills because of congressional inaction to provide a permanent replacement for DACA, which President Donald Trump tried to end effective March 5 but federal court rulings have kept alive.

On Omnibus, Congressional Leaders Are All Feeling Good
Ryan, Schumer and Pelosi all say they feel negotiations are in a good place

Congressional leaders emerged just before 11 a.m. Wednesday from a meeting to negotiate outstanding issues on a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill predicting a deal was forthcoming in a matter of hours. 

“We feel like we’re in a good place,” the Wisconsin Republican said upon exiting his office, where the meeting was held.

No Snow Day on Capitol Hill Wednesday
Floor votes and hearings are still expected

Executive agencies might close Wednesday for the snowstorm that’s bearing down on Washington, but it should be closer to business-as-usual on Capitol Hill.

The cold rain and expected changeover to snow is arriving when lawmakers are already safely in the nation’s capital, so the most usual reason to cancel business — flight delays — won’t be an issue.

Paul Ryan Yields to Trump on High-Profile Issues
Speaker hedges on omnibus, sexual harassment, tariffs

Speaker Paul D. Ryan laughed Tuesday when a reporter asked him if he thinks President Donald Trump should stop attacking special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. 

“The special counsel should be free to follow through with his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely,” Ryan said. “I am confident that he’ll be able to do that. I’ve received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration.”

Jim McGovern Most Likely to Take Over for Slaughter on Rules Panel
Massachusetts Democrat to serve acting ranking member until Pelosi names successor

After House Rules ranking member Louise Slaughter’s death, Rep. Jim McGovern will take over her committee post in an acting capacity, and remains the most likely candidate to succeed her. 

The Massachusetts Democrat was the second-highest-ranking Democrat on Rules behind Slaughter. McGovern’s seniority grants him the opportunity to serve as acting ranking member in her absence, as he did this week while she was in the hospital for a concussion. Slaughter, 88, the first woman to head the Rules panel, died Friday

Pelosi, Self-Described ‘Master Legislator,’ Not Worried About Attacks
‘I don’t think the Koch brothers should decide who the leader of the Democratic party is in the House,’ she says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not worried about Republican campaign attacks against her stirring up enough opposition among Democratic candidates to impact her future as Democratic leader. 

“I feel pretty confident about my ability, first and foremost, to be a master legislator for the American people, that I have proven that,” the California Democrat said.

Pelosi Suggests Trump Trying to Get Wall Funding ‘For Nothing’
’Not a whole lot of reason’ for Democrats to negotiate on short-term DACA, she says

If President Donald Trump was hoping Democrats would agree to fund his border wall proposal for a short-term extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that is already being kept afloat by the courts, he will be disappointed. 

“Should we give a border wall for nothing? No, I don’t think so,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. 

House Democrats Punt on Leadership Question After Anti-Pelosi Candidate Wins
Caucus members say individual candidates should decide whether to run on calls for a leadership change

After four straight elections falling short of the majority, House Democrats have had their fair share of discussions about their caucus leadership and whether it’s time for a change. But with momentum on their side in the current cycle, they’re not yet ready to revisit those talks — even after the strong special election performance of a Democratic candidate who pledged not to support Nancy Pelosi in another bid for Democratic leader.

Democrat Conor Lamb led Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District special election, with all precincts reporting but the final outcome still undetermined at press time. Lamb’s expected victory is significant in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016, although Republicans downplayed the chances of Democrats replicating that success in similar districts.

House Passes School Safety Bill But Unlikely to Take More Action on Guns
GOP leaders deflect further action to the Senate since House has passed a background check reporting bill

It’s not quite one and done, but the bill the House passed Wednesday to provide grants for schools to implement safety protocols and training is likely the last action GOP leaders will take this Congress in response to a recent spate of mass shootings. 

The House passed, 407-10, a bipartisan measure by Florida Republican John Rutherford called the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act.

Republicans Downplay Pennsylvania Race, But Note Tough Road Ahead
GOP huddled Wednesday to discuss the special election

Republicans downplayed Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat is poised to win in a solidly GOP district. But it’s another reminder of the tough midterm election cycle ahead, they said.

The race in Pennsylvania’s 18th District had still not been called late Wednesday morning. Democrat Conor Lamb currently leads GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone by 627 votes in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016. Republicans were bracing for a loss in the final days of the race and were already placing blame on Saccone’s lackluster fundraising.

Rep. Louise Slaughter At Hospital Being Treated For a Concussion After Fall
Rules Committee ranking member did not suffer any fractures or broken bones, chief of staff says

Rep. Louise Slaughter, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, is in the hospital being treated for a concussion after falling at her Washington residence last week.

“Congresswoman Slaughter fell at her Washington, D.C. residence last week and was taken to George Washington University Hospital to receive treatment and monitoring for a concussion,” Slaughter’s chief of staff Liam Fitzsimmons said in a statement first provided to Roll Call. “She did not suffer any fractures or broken bones and is receiving excellent care from the world-class medical staff at GW hospital.”

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

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.

Ryan Says Infrastructure Overhaul Will Be Done in 5 to 6 Bills
'We don’t want to do one big bill,' speaker says

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday affirmed House Republicans’ intentions to complete an infrastructure overhaul this year but said that the effort will be broken into pieces. 

“We don’t want to do one big bill,” the Wisconsin Republican said at an event in Georgia with Home Depot employees.

Omnibus Action Next Week Possible, but Obstacles Still Exist
‘For the moment we have a lot of work to do to iron these out,’ Pelosi said

The nearly six-month delayed fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill could be brought to the House floor next week, but appropriators are still encountering major obstacles in drafting a bipartisan bill — even with unrelated landmines cleared. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he would like to bring the omnibus to the floor next week, but during a week-end colloquy with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, he did not announce it as a definite part of the upcoming floor schedule. Rather, he noted action on the spending package was “possible.”

Pelosi Mum on Whether Kihuen Should Seek Re-election
Nevada congressman announced he wouldn’t seek re-election after sexual harassment allegations

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was mum on whether Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen should seek re-election after saying he would not after being accused of sexual harassment.

“When he makes a decision, I’ll give you a reaction to it,” the Democratic leader said at a press conference Thursday.