appropriations

Podcast: Defense, Domestic Budget Increases Crucial for Long-Term Spending Deal
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 41

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CQ appropriations reporters Kellie Mejdrich and Jennifer Shutt discuss the two-week spending bill that averted a government shutdown and look at how lawmakers may keep the government funded beyond Dec. 22.

House Leaders Show Wide Gap in Year-End Priorities

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, showed the two parties have a wide gap in their priorities for the end-of-year spending debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wide gap between Republicans and Democrats on year-end priorities was on full display Thursday as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held their weekly press conferences.

Pelosi said Democrats will not support the two-week continuing resolution that the House is voting on Thursday afternoon because it doesn’t address “urgent needs,” while Ryan wouldn’t say explicitly that Republicans have enough votes to pass it on their own.

Congress Being Congress: Funding Fight Kicked to Later in December
Shutdown threat this weekend averted, but after Dec. 22, the odds go up

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., a senior appropriator, thinks defense funding could be a vehicle for GOP priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even as President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a government shutdown “could happen,” Congress is on track to pass a two-week continuing resolution to avoid just that.

But after that stopgap, there are no guarantees. Republicans are working on a strategy that appears designed to test Democrats’ resolve to pick a fight over their spending priorities.

Freedom Caucus Open to Linking Spending Deal to Health Care
Senate insurance market stabilization measure could be part of calculus now

From left, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leave a meeting in the Speaker’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As House Republicans continue to strategize about how to fund a defense spending increase by Christmas, a key conservative said Wednesday he’d be open to a bipartisan Senate proposal to fund the cost sharing reduction subsidies for the health insurance exchanges if that’s what it would take to get Senate Democrats on board.

“If Alexander-Murray would break the defense and non-defense wall, that may be a price that many would be willing to pay,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said, even as he noted that has not been a part of the discussions so far.

GOP Spending Strategy Would Delay Shutdown Showdown
House Republicans consider multistep formula for combination defense-CR

Speaker Paul D. Ryan hosted a strategy meeting in his office Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are working on a multistep government funding strategy that involves a two-week stopgap measure to keep the lights on beyond Dec. 8 and fully funding defense by Christmas.

No final decisions have been made but the idea GOP leaders have discussed with key conference members is to stick to the plan to pass a continuing resolution through Dec. 22.

Deadline Looming, House GOP Keeps Talking About Funding Options
House GOP leaning around funding government through Dec. 22

House Republicans continue to haggle over the length of a short-term funding the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans appear to be sticking with plans to pass a two-week stopgap funding bill, despite conservatives’ push to add an additional week to have the deadline bump up against New Years Eve instead of Christmas.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday declined to confirm plans to stick with a vote on a continuing resolution lasting through Dec. 22 but several Republicans leaving a GOP conference meeting where the matter was discussed indicated that was the decision.

Flint Aid Negotiations Continue as Time Runs Out

Peters, left, and Stabenow, right, have been pushing for aid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers and Senate staffers worked through the weekend to find a way to provide aid to Flint, Mich., and move forward on a bipartisan energy bill. But, as of Monday, negotiations were still ongoing.  

Democrats stalled debate on the energy bill   last week after senators failed to agree on how to address the crisis in Flint, where corroded pipes have leached toxic levels of lead in the water supply. With the Senate set to consider a North Korea sanctions bill on Wednesday, negotiators are running out of time to reach an agreement. "I think we're closer than we were on Thursday," Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the bill's Democratic floor manager, told reporters Monday evening.  

Zika Virus Funding Met With Caution in Congress

Burwell will brief lawmakers on Zika Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill leaders responded cautiously to President Barack Obama's announcement Monday that he would ask Congress to provide $1.8 million in emergency funding to bolster the response to the Zika virus.  

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is set to brief Senate leaders and relevant committee leaders  Tuesday on the virus, which is typically spread through mosquitoes and has been linked to a birth defect. The World Health Organization last week declared the virus a global health emergency. Obama will send his budget for 2017 to Congress on Tuesday, and leaders have pledged to give it serious consideration.  

Michigan Democrats Want GOP Governor to Lobby for Flint Aid

Schumer, Stabenow and Peters look at poster showing dirty water in Flint during the Senate Democrats' news conference on the lead contaminated drinking water. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan's Democratic senators, who are seeking $600 million in federal dollars to replace Flint's toxic water pipes and support families affected by lead exposure, are hoping the state's GOP governor will lobby his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill to help foot the bill.  

With Republican support uncertain for a measure assisting Flint, Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Thursday urged Gov. Rick Snyder to use his political connections.  

35 Years Later, Former Hostages, Lawmakers Cheer Restitution

Isakson led a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to secure restitution for former Iranian hostages. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 1979, Johnny Isakson was just one of many Americans tuning in to Ted Koppel's late night reports on the status of Americans taken hostage in Iran — what became the 444 day saga.  

"I was one of the people that was alive when 'Nightline' got started," the Republican senator from Georgia recalled Wednesday. "I took an interest when it happened. Never knew that I would get to the United States Senate, and when I got there on the Foreign Relations Committee, I came to appreciate the work that had been done in the past by people who tried to make compensation happen."