leadership

Trump’s budget chief tries to sell spending and debt limit deal to skeptical conservatives
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Acting OMB Director Russ Vought Vought is viewed as closely aligned with spending hawks in the GOP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Acting White House budget chief Russell Vought appeared on the Fox News Channel Tuesday morning to defend the two-year spending and debt limit accord reached Monday, which had immediately been savaged by conservatives for costing too much and doing nothing to rein in long-term deficits.

“I love the concern of the conservatives who are bringing attention to the problems that we have with fiscal responsibility in this town. This president put forward more spending cuts than any president in history, and we have been negotiating for five months,” Vought said. “We’re now up against a deadline, heading into the August recess, where we need the debt limit extended, we need to continue to rebuild the military.”

Trump, Democrats split differences in two-year budget deal
Negotiators are still working on some ‘technical language’ issues

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been updating President Donald Trump on talks between him and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a potential deal on spending caps and the debt limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The White House and congressional leaders are close to unveiling a spending and debt limit deal that would boost funding levels by nearly 4 percent across federal agencies, wiping out the 10 percent cuts that were scheduled to take effect under current law.

According to sources familiar with the proposal, the deal calls for a topline defense figure of $738 billion in fiscal 2020, or slightly higher than the House Democrats’ initial request for $733 billion, but short of the Trump administration’s $750 billion request, which includes cap-exempt accounts for troops serving in conflict zones overseas.

Road ahead: All eyes on the budget and debt limit deal, except when Mueller testifies
House to tackle border issues, while Senate will confirm Defense secretary, clear 9/11 compensation bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to clear the debt deal this week before the chamber departs for the August recess. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes this week will be on whether House lawmakers are able to pass a deal to raise the debt limit and set spending levels for the next two years before leaving for the August recess on Friday.

That is except, of course, when former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III seizes all the attention when he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

White House offers up extensive menu of cuts for spending caps deal
The administration wants at least $150 billion in savings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the talks for her side of the aisle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration has laid out a wide array of spending cuts and tweaks to mandatory programs for Democratic leaders to consider for inclusion in a two-year discretionary caps and debt limit package.

The White House offsets menu includes $574 billion culled from items in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, according to a source familiar with the proposal. In addition, there’s $516 billion in “structural reforms” obtained by extending current discretionary spending limits by another two years, through fiscal 2023.

Rep. Cleaver: ‘Forget’ Trump's tweets... ‘We can't continue to react to this’
Missouri Democrat abandoned House presiding chair amid partisan bickering over vote to condemn Trump’s racist tweets

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver abandoned the presiding chair of the House Tuesday amid partisan bickering over a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump’s racist tweets against four Democratic congresswomen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A day after Rep. Emanuel Cleaver abandoned his post presiding over House proceedings in frustration over bickering between Republicans and Democrats, the Missouri Democrat urged lawmakers and the American people to ignore President Donald Trump’s online antics as he “tweets away his presidency.”

“We can’t continue to react to this,” Cleaver said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day” about the chaos that ensued as Democrats tried to hold a vote to condemn racist tweets the president posted over the weekend attacking four minority female congresswomen.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to meet one-on-one
A rift between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez has deepened in recent weeks

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, pose for a group photo of House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center, at the State of the Union address earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pricey pension rescue headed to House floor next week
Bill would provide financial lifelines to union pension plans

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., confirmed the pensions bill is ready for a floor vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will bring a $64.4 billion measure that would provide financial lifelines to union pension plans to the floor next week.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, the bill’s author, on Tuesday confirmed the schedule for the legislation, which has gone through the Ways and Means as well as Education and Labor panels.

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday her view that in addition to "parity" for nondefense and defense spending increases, funding should be added for Department of Veterans Affairs health care. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

It’s time for a cease-fire in the latest war of words
President, Democrats would be wise to focus on what really matters to voters — the economy

From left, Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib at a Monday news conference. The latest firestorm involving President Donald Trump and the four House progressives is all about politics and positioning, and voters know it, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s been a rough week in Washington, and it’s only Wednesday. The president created a firestorm over the weekend, lobbing rhetorical bombs at “the squad,” the four House Democratic freshmen whose heated comments and extreme policy proposals have created one fire storm of controversy after another.

Now, the president’s getting return fire from Democrats and the media and some Republicans for his tweets, while the House floor Tuesday devolved into a war of words. I suspect most people would be grateful for a cease-fire from the increasingly personal attacks and almost hand-to-hand combat over everything from impeachment to immigration to congressional investigations.

McCarthy pitches monthlong debt ceiling stopgap, if deal can’t be reached
He suggested a 30-day extension to avoid default in early September, if a compromise on discretionary spending caps can’t be reached

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is floating a fallback plan to pass a 30-day extension of the debt limit in the absence of a broader deal before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s top Republican suggested that lawmakers pass a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to avoid default in early September, if Democrats and the White House can’t agree on compromise discretionary spending caps before leaving for the summer break.

“We should not leave for August without dealing with that. And I would say if we can’t get this done, we should do a 30-day [stopgap],” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. He also said lawmakers ought to stay in town a few days past July 26, when House lawmakers are currently scheduled to leave town, if necessary. The Senate is slated to be in session for an extra week.