Maine

Budget Deal Could Bust Caps by $200 Billion
Two-year agreement expected to draw motley crew of supporters

Marc Short, left, White House director of legislative affairs, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse at the Capitol on Dec. 1. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional negotiators have moved well north of $200 billion in their discussions of how much to raise discretionary spending caps in a two-year budget deal.

The higher numbers under consideration follow an initial Republican offer several weeks ago to raise defense by $54 billion and nondefense by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019 — a $182 billion increase in base discretionary spending.

LePage Calls ‘Fake News’ on Report Trump Wants Him to Challenge King
Report didn’t adequately list his accomplishments as Maine’s governor, LePage political adviser says

Maine Gov. Paul LePage greets the crowd before then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Portland in August 2016. (Sarah Rice/Getty Images file photo)

Maine Gov. Paul LePage did not take kindly to a report that President Donald Trump wants him to challenge Maine Sen. Angus King, branding the story as “fake news.”

LePage, a businessman-turned-Republican politician, called the report “vile,” according to a tweet by a WCSH-TV reporter. 

Photos of the Week: Three Resignations, a CR Extension and the Holidays Kick Off
The week of Dec. 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler arrives Thursday for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI. Nadler became the top Democrat on the panel following Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 10:08 a.m.The week on the Hill was not short on news. Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct while Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, announced he intended to do the same soon. Late Thursday, Republican Trent Franks from Arizona said he would resign effective Jan. 31 over sexual harassment allegations in his office.

At the same time, the funding deadline to keep the government open loomed. But a government shutdown was averted Thursday — at least for another two weeks — when both chambers passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 22. 

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.

Picture This: A ‘Perfecto’ Final Tax Bill
As House, Senate negotiate, president raises expectations

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks with reporters about the GOP tax bill between votes in the Capitol on Nov. 30. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House and Senate are not even in formal conference negotiations on a tax overhaul measure yet, but the expectation from the White House is clear: It’s got to be “perfecto.”

On a day of increasing uncertainty over how to fund the government past Dec. 8, President Donald Trump hosted a small group of Senate Republicans at the White House and placed his marker. 

Opinion: A Tribute to John Anderson — A Passionate Moderate
Independent presidential candidate radiated honor

In a partisan era, it is worth pausing to remember passionate moderates like John Anderson, Shapiro writes. (Ira Schwarz/AP file photo)

Every political reporter remembers his or her first time — that is, the first time they sat with a presidential candidate in a car cutting through the dark New Hampshire night listening to the dreams of a man who wanted to lead the nation.

For me, it was November 1979, with the Cold War raging, militant students occupying the American embassy in Tehran and Jimmy Carter in the White House. The candidate I was profiling was ten-term Illinois Rep. John Anderson, who was animated by the outlandish fantasy that he had a chance to defeat Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination.

Freedom Caucus Seeks to Delink Tax and Spending Negotiations
Members threatened to sink motion to go to conference on tax overhaul

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says there’s growing consensus for a longer stopgap funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Freedom Caucus on Monday threatened to sink a motion to go to conference on the tax overhaul — a procedural move they had been pushing for — in an attempt to negotiate a longer stopgap funding bill to delink upcoming tax and spending deadlines.

But in the end, all but one member of the 36-member hard-line conservative caucus voted for the motion to go to conference after Chairman Mark Meadows had a conversation off the floor with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, and other caucus members huddled on the floor with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash was the only caucus member to vote against the motion, which was agreed to, 222-192.

Trump Gives Roy Moore Strongest Endorsement Yet
President labels Democratic candidate Doug Jones ‘a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!’

President Donald Trump made his strongest endorsement yet of Roy Moore in the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated at 3:23 p.m. | Donald Trump on Monday gave his strongest endorsement yet to Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, making clear that keeping the seat in Republican hands is more important to the president than the sexual misconduct charges against the former judge.

The president used a pair of tweets to urge Alabama voters to send Moore to the Senate in next Tuesday’s special election, writing that Democrats’ blanket opposition to the just-passed Senate Republican tax cut bill shows Moore’s vote is necessary.

Senate Republicans Secure Votes for Tax Overhaul

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., provided the Senate GOP with the necessary vote to advance the tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:03 p.m. | Senate Republicans appear to have the votes necessary to approve their tax code overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came out of a meeting with other Republicans and announced they had enough support. Shortly after, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would support the GOP tax bill, adding the cushion GOP leaders were seeking after Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana earlier Friday said they had received enough assurances that their concerns would be addressed in a conference committee.