David Lerman

Down to the wire amid setback in government funding talks
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 98

A new snag over immigrant detention policy has thrown a monkey wrench into border security negotiations, as lawmakers look to prevent another government shutdown. CQ appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains what both sides are seeking and how the Trump administration is softening its demand on border wall funding.  

Show Notes:

Border security talks stalled over detentions, second shutdown possible
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told ‘Meet the Press,’ ‘you absolutely cannot rule out’ a shutdown.

Negotiations on a border security deal have hit a snag in a dispute over immigrant detention policy, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said Sunday.

House and Senate conferees were scrambling to reach a deal by Monday that would resolve the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall and avoid another partial government shutdown when current funding runs dry on Feb. 15. But Shelby put the odds of a deal at only “50-50,” citing a partisan rift over Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Border, homeland security deal could come over weekend
Members said they would use the weekend to resolve remaining concerns and aim to have legislative text on Monday

House and Senate negotiators were planning to work through the weekend to reach a border security deal that would clear the way for a final fiscal 2019 spending package.

A House-Senate conference committee on a Homeland Security bill had been hoping to reach an agreement by Friday. But members said they would probably use the weekend to resolve all remaining concerns, with the goal of producing legislative text on Monday.

Assessing the bleak options for ending the shutdown
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 94

As the longest shutdown in modern history enters its fourth week, CQ’s fiscal policy reporter Doug Sword assesses the options for ending the spending impasse. But none appear promising, as President Donald Trump has rejected the latest proposals.

How shutdown will sting across the board
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 93

 

Within days of the government shutdown setting a record,  federal agencies, employees and the general public will begin to feel the pain, says CQ budget and appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich. She also gives the latest developments in what is turning out to be a prolonged political battle.

White House wants $7 billion more for DHS to fund wall
More than half of the request is for a ‘steel barrier’ along the southwest border

The White House formally asked lawmakers Sunday to provide an additional $7 billion beyond what Senate appropriators proposed in their bipartisan Homeland Security spending bill last year, with more than half earmarked for a “steel barrier” along the southwest border.

The request, outlined in a letter from Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, doesn’t seem likely to lead to an immediate breakthrough in reopening large portions of the federal government that have been closed since Dec. 22.

House GOP Makes Another Push for Year-End Tax Cuts
Price tag, end-of-year shutdown maneuvers might complicate movement

House Republicans will try again this week to pass a year-end package of tax cuts after revamping the measure a second time to win broader political support.

The latest version of the bill restores an extension of two expired tax breaks: one for a biodiesel tax credit and another for a railroad track maintenance credit. The biodiesel credit, which would be extended and then phased out by 2024, was a particular priority for Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the likely chairman next year of the Senate Finance Committee.

Hell Week Amid Shutdown Fears
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 92

Spending Talks About to Hit a Wall, New Tax Plan in Doubt
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 90

Lawmakers are racing against the clock to pass seven more spending bills, but their efforts are likely to be a struggle amid President Trump's insistence for $5 billion for the border wall that Democrats don't want to give him, says CQ budget editor Peter Cohn. And CQ tax writer Doug Sword brings us up to date with the latest GOP effort to pass new tax legislation that would renew some tax breaks while making corrections to last year's massive tax overhaul. ...
The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses
Here’s a rundown of some of the funding disputes bubbling under the radar

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Mueller Probe, Wall Funding Could Trip Up Spending Plan
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 88

With just eight legislative days remaining to avoid a partial government shutdown, lawmakers will confront a slew of prickly issues, including Robert S. Mueller III's Russia investigation, in their government spending talks, says CQ's senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak. He games out what might happen to the seven pending bills that need to pass by Dec. 7.

Border Brawl on Display at Senators-White House Meeting Today
McConnell, Shelby trek to meet with Trump about wall funding

Key Republican senators head to the White House Thursday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump, hoping to resolve a border brawl that could hold up a year-end spending package and lead to a partial government shutdown.

The White House session could make clear whether Trump is prepared to give any ground in his request for a $5 billion down payment on a southern border wall — or whether he’s prepared to trigger a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. Senate appropriators have offered only $1.6 billion in their bipartisan version of a Homeland Security spending bill.

Democrat to Reshape Priorities on Spending Panel
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 86

Democratic Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York is expected to lead the powerful House appropriations panel in the new Congress and she already has a list of priorities she will be pursuing. CQ's budget and appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich gives us a rundown of what those are and where Lowey may find common ground or clash with the Trump administration.

Kudlow to Democrats: If You Win, Forget About Raising Taxes
Trump’s top economic adviser says projected robust growth will bring down deficit

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser warned Democrats Thursday that he would fight any tax increase to reduce the deficit if they take control of the House in the midterm elections next Tuesday.

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said tax increases won’t be needed to curb red ink because the administration is counting on robust economic growth of at least 3 percent a year.

How Trump's Imagined Tax Cut Could Work
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 84

President Donald Trump wants another tax cut for the middle class, a proposal administration officials and members of Congress are now scrambling to make happen. CQ budget and appropriations editor Peter Cohn explains the options available and their consequences.

 

What’s That Sound? The Monster in the Budget
No one wants to address it, but rising health care costs are draining federal revenues and pumping up deficits

For all the talk about health care this election season, politicians of both parties are ignoring a giant sucking sound.

The cost of health care continues to soar, vacuuming up a growing share of the nation’s economic output and putting an ever-larger strain on both family incomes and government budgets. Since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, the federal commitment to health care spending has grown from about 3 cents of every taxpayer dollar to nearly 34 cents, not counting interest payments on U.S. debt. And that share is set to keep rising in the coming years as the population ages.

Trump’s Tax Cut Gambit Gets Heads Scratching
Analysts remain skeptical new cuts are coming anytime soon

President Donald Trump’s election-season promise of a new 10 percent tax cut for the middle class raised a host of questions about its design, cost and effectiveness.

With details of the surprise initiative still a mystery, analysts could only guess at the types of tax breaks the president may be considering. The only clues so far are that the package would be geared narrowly to the middle class, and go beyond a House-passed bill that would make permanent the temporary tax cuts for individuals enacted last year.

Analysis: Here’s Why Trump’s Budget Proposal May Cut Deeper Than Advertised
Even cutting 5 percent would be a tough sell in Congress for either party

President Donald Trump’s new push to trim the proposed budgets of all federal agencies next year could prove more draconian than it sounds, amounting to a 25 percent cut for all nondefense programs compared to the current year.

Technically, the request is for 5 percent cuts across the Cabinet departments, as Trump laid out at a White House event Wednesday: “We’re going to ask every [Cabinet] secretary to cut 5 percent for next year,” Trump told reporters, presumably referring to fiscal 2020, beginning next October.

Fiscal 2018 Deficit Clocks In at $779 Billion, White House Reports
Largest hole in six years, executive branch finds

The federal government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the largest budget shortfall in six years, the White House reported Monday.

The official deficit tally for fiscal 2018 marked a $113 billion increase from the previous year and accounted for 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The report confirms the third consecutive fiscal year of rising deficits despite a strong economy. 

Behind the Interest Rate Increases
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 82

Stock market losses and interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve may be making some people jittery especially President Donald Trump. But none of it is abnormal, explains CQ's numbers guru, budget and appropriations editor Peter Cohn. ...