Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football
As omnibus approaches, lawmakers should resist the temptation to throw the agency around

CBO Director Keith Hall, right, talks with Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi before an oversight hearing in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress finally heads for a vote this week on a long overdue omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018 — a year that is nearly halfway over. Fiscal policy debates on taxes and health care have added friction to an already partisan atmosphere.

Caught in the middle of this endless wrangling on Capitol Hill about budget priorities — where to cut, where to spend — is an organization that has come under fire for telling it like it is on the cost of those proposals, the Congressional Budget Office.

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Expect More Trump on Nomination Fights, Short Says
Legislative affairs chief decries Democrats even as Senate awaits nominees

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short offered more criticism of Senate Democrats on nominations Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Clark file photo)

The White House renewed its complaints Friday about the pace of Senate action on nominations Friday, even as President Donald Trump is making the “personnel business” more complicated by shifting his Cabinet and other senior staff positions.

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short described himself as a “warm-up act” and suggested President Donald Trump soon will make a larger “foray” into the nominations debate.

Romney Could Create ‘New Power Center’ in Senate, Flake Says
Arizona Republican: Senate needs ‘an independent voice’

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said the Senate needs someone like Mitt Romney. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the same day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney filed to run for Senate in Utah, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake said the chamber needs someone like Romney to be an “independent voice.”

“We need Mitt Romney in the Senate,” the Arizona Republican said Thursday at an event at the National Press Club. “We need an independent voice, somebody who will enter the Senate chamber with immediate gravitas and someone who can work across the aisle, and actually, I think, create a whole new power center in the Senate. I think that’s desperately needed.”

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

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says Democrats won’t agree to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall for nothing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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. 

In Shift, White House Embraces Art of the Possible
GOP source: ‘You’re just not going to pass legislation in 2018’

President Donald Trump speaks at Republicans’ retreat in West Virginia on Feb. 1 as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise look on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and White House officials, with their modest response to school shootings and in other recent remarks, have shelved bold demands of Congress for asks rooted more in the art of the possible.

The president started 2018 by pushing members of both parties to swing for the fences on a sweeping immigration deal, even offering them political cover when he told them he would “take all the heat you want to give me.”

Opinion: Not the Pennsylvania Message You’d Expect, but One Heard Around the World
World is watching as America struggles with basic questions of democracy and representation

President Donald Trump spoke at a rally for Rick Saccone Saturday night. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The election for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania was over, yet not over, on Wednesday, with all eyes on the few hundred votes that gave Democrat Conor Lamb an initial edge over Republican Rick Saccone.

And the reckoning has only begun. Amid the hand-wringing from nervous Republicans fearing a midterm blue wave and cautious optimism from Democrats who realize November is a long way off were signs that the tensions of this campaign resonate far beyond a spot in the southwestern corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Members Caught Off Guard on News of DACA Fix On Omnibus

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among the members who thought the ball was in the administration's court adding a DACA fix to the omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has held some discussions with Congress about addressing immigration in the pending fiscal year 2018 spending bill, according to GOP senators and aides, but members are skeptical that such a provision will be included in the omnibus package.

Lawmakers in both parties have sought a solution to the situation surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which covers undocumented immigrants who come to the country as children. President Donald Trump targeted it for expiration on March 5, which has been halted by court actions. The chamber voted on a series of different DACA proposals in February, but none garnered the necessary 60 votes to advance.

Take Five: Stephanie Murphy
Florida Democrat says her life is a reflection of the American dream

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., thinks it would be a fun change of pace to be a fashion blogger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, 39, a Florida Democrat, talks about working across the aisle, the moment she was called to public service and her gun violence-related biggest fear.

Q: What has surprised you most about Congress so far?

Omnibus Unlikely to Defund 'Sanctuary' Cities
Senate appropriator says it would make it too difficult to pass

Sen. John Boozman said it was unlikely the Senate would move to defund sanctuary cities, as House conservatives are pushing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A top Senate appropriator said Tuesday the final omnibus spending bill would likely not include a provision to defund “sanctuary” cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., suggested in two posts on Twitter that Congress should withhold federal grants for sanctuary cities in the omnibus. His remarks follow the Trump administration’s decision to sue California over three state immigration laws, escalating a battle over sanctuary jurisdictions that began shortly after President Donald Trump took office.