Harold Rogers

For Once, Senate Set to Eclipse House in Appropriations Pace
But Congress has just 11 legislative days remaining with both chambers in session before Sept. 30

Kentucky Rep. Harold Rogers, left, here in June 2017 with House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, says the Senate’s actions “greatly enhance” the chances of getting the spending bills passed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Optimism is building that Congress may send a handful of spending bills to the White House in September — avoiding the need for the entire federal government to operate under a stopgap during the fall and lowering the odds that a lame-duck Congress will resort to a 12-bill omnibus.

That hope is tempered, however, by the uphill climb to negotiate compromise versions of several spending bills that either have passed both chambers already or seem likely to by the end of this week. And the two chambers look to be headed for an impasse over border wall funding that could dominate the post-midterm session.

Democrats Line Up on Floor to Call Attention to Election Security
Maneuver has been used before on other hot-button issues

Rep. Mike Quigley is among the House Democrats trying to restore election security funding to a key program. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats took turns Wednesday requesting a vote on an amendment to fund election systems protection, saying the money is needed to “prevent Russian interference” in future elections.

The procedural moves from Democrats come ahead of a vote on a Republican-led spending bill (HR 6147) that would zero out election security grants that help states to fortify their systems against hacking and cyber attacks. The Election Assistance Commission is funded at $380 million under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted earlier this year. 

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.

Arizona Teachers Latest to Walk Out, Members Supportive
Grand Canyon State ramps up protest, lawmakers react across U.S.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., speaks with Roll Call in his office in the Longworth Building. Grijalva said he supports Arizona teachers in the fight for better education funding, as teachers voted on a Friday walkout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona teachers voted Thursday night to join their counterparts in states such as West Virginia and Kentucky protesting wage and benefit cuts.

Teachers in the state voted through the Arizona Education Association to participate in a statewide walkout Friday to fight for better pay and school funding.

Podcast: Abortion Rift Slows Spending Bill Progress
CQ Budget, Episode 51

Former House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers expressed support for an omnibus, 12-bill approach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CQ budget and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt explains how the latest negotiations to arrive at a fiscal 2018 catchall spending bill have been mired over funding that could reach Planned Parenthood, always a contentious issue for lawmakers. Also, Congress considers changing the start of the fiscal year.

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

The House Staring Contest: Pelosi and Ryan
Speaker hemmed in by Democrats on one side, conservative Republicans on the other

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leaves the House chamber Wednesday after ending her eight-hour speech on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is in a staring contest with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over immigration that could result in a government shutdown.

But if the Wisconsin Republican blinks, he will likely push conservatives, many of them already at a boiling point with his leadership, over the edge.

The Appropriator in Winter: Frelinghuysen’s Last Stand
With re-election out of the way, Approps chairman seeks productive final year

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, left, talks with Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at a hearing last June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is giving up the throne of what used to be the most sought-after seat at the Capitol after just one year.

The House Appropriations chairman is going out amid a blizzard of Republican infighting; lackluster presidential approval dragging down many of his “blue state” GOP colleagues; the increasing polarization of the electorate; and greater influence of Southern and Western conservatives at the expense of Northeastern moderates like himself.

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.

Word on the Hill: Spelling vs. Basketball
O’Rourke’s birthday surprise, Moulton’s wedding, and Jackson Lee’s partnership

Reps. Derek Kilmer of Washington, left, and Ted Deutch of Florida talk to the co-champions of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jairam Hathwar, second from left, and Nihar Janga, before last year’s National Press Club Spelling Bee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two longtime congressional competitions are taking place this evening: the National Press Club Spelling Bee, and the Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game. Which one will you attend?

The spelling bee, which pits members of the media against lawmakers, is at 7:15 p.m. at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW). Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is a late addition to the members’ team. Meanwhile, lawmakers take on lobbyists in the basketball game, starting at 7:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Smith Center (600 22nd St. NW). The game follows a matchup between congressional staffers and lobbyists.