Nita M Lowey

House Appropriations may start markups in April
Markups have to begin in April or May at the latest to have any chance of bills passing on the floor in June

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chair of the House Appropriations Committee walks across the Capitol from the House side for a meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey and Democratic appropriators are looking at starting fiscal 2020 markups as soon as late April with the Defense, Labor-HHS-Education and Legislative Branch bills, people familiar with the process said.

The Military Construction-VA and Energy-Water bills also are on tap to be among the first five bills marked up, as part of an effort to begin advancing bills across the floor in June.

Senate to follow House, keep earmarks out of spending bills
Earmarks have also been banned in the Senate since 2011

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., is seen after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators don’t plan to revive earmarks this year, following the House’s lead set late last week by the Democratic majority across the Capitol.

“I would listen to meritorious things, but I don’t see that happening right now. The House has just spoken,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said Monday.

Rep. Omar won’t apologize for new comments, Dems plan anti-Semitism rebuke
House Democrats plan vote in response to anti-Israel comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., attends a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. The Democratic chairman of that panel is among those criticizing Omar for anti-Semitic remarks. The House will vote on a resolution this week in response. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic leaders on Wednesday will call up a vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism — a move meant to respond to anti-Israel comments made by Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Staff from the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Ethics Chairman Ted Deutch worked on the resolution over the weekend but the text has yet to be finalized, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Earmarks won’t be back this year, at least in the House
‘Pork’ has been banned in the chamber since 2011

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chair of the House Appropriations Committee, won’t bring back earmarks this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats don’t plan to revive home-state earmarks during the upcoming appropriations process, though they expect to continue discussing the issue with their Republican colleagues.

“Unfortunately, there is currently not the necessary bipartisan, bicameral agreement to allow the Appropriations Committee to earmark,” Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey wrote in a letter sent to members of the panel Thursday and released publicly on Friday. “For that reason, I do not expect fiscal year 2020 House spending bills to include congressionally-directed spending.”

Trump’s 2020 budget to contain a big defense boost, and nondefense spending cuts
Russ Vought confirms end-run around spending caps for defense while axing to nondefense appropriations in 2020 budget request

Boxes containing President Donald Trump’s budget request for FY2019 are unpacked by staff in the House Budget Committee hearing room, Feb. 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House’s top budget official confirmed plans to do an end-run around statutory spending caps for defense and add substantially to the off-budget overseas warfighting accounts, while simultaneously taking an ax to nondefense appropriations in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request.

In an opinion piece published online in RealClearPolitics, Office and Management and Budget acting Director Russ Vought laid out a case for boosting the Overseas Contingency Operations ledger well beyond what the Trump administration and Congress have sought in recent years.

Photos of the week: Shutdown averted, national emergency declared
The week of Feb. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., walks across the Capitol from the House side Monday for a meeting with other appropriators to try to revive spending talks and avert a second government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It appears Congress and the president have averted another partial government shutdown. On Thursday, both chambers adopted a conference report on a seven-bill spending package to fund the remainder of the government for the rest of fiscal 2019.

On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation to declare a national emergency aimed at securing additional funding for a wall on the southern border. 

The dead earmarks society
Congress gave up pork years ago. Now it could be making a comeback

Steny Hoyer says he’s working to restore congressionally directed spending, with “reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From the outside, they looked like a collection of political misfits akin to the characters from “The Breakfast Club.” This peculiar little crew of lobbyists, ethics watchdogs and government spending hawks included the likes of Public Citizen’s Craig Holman and former House member-turned-lobbyist Jim Walsh.

Instead of serving Saturday detention, like the high schoolers of the 1985 hit movie, they spent their meetings nearly a decade ago seeking compromise on one of Congress’ most politically fraught but powerful tools: earmarks. “It was a strange group, an eclectic group,” concedes Holman, whose liberal Public Citizen is best known for taking on K Street, not working with the lobbyists and lawyers in the sector. “We identified what the real problem with earmarks is — and earmarks do pose a serious problem with corruption.”

U.S. trade team ‘soldiering on’ in China ahead of high-stakes Xi meeting
Kudlow downplays deficit growth as experts, lawmakers sound alarms

White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow holds a news briefing at the White House in June. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

U.S. officials on the ground in China for high-stakes trade talks are “soldiering on” and will get facetime with Chinese President Xi Jinping, something a top aide to President Donald Trump calls a positive sign as a key deadline approaches.

“I’ve talked to the group [in China]. They’re covering all the ground,” said Lawrence Kudlow, the White House’s chief economic official. “They’re hard at it. They are going to meet with President Xi, so that’s a very good sign.”

Trump field tests 2020 campaign attack lines amid latest shutdown drama
‘We have to stop politicking every minute,’ Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey shoots back

President Donald Trump speaks as he is joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 4. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump tested a new 2020 script Monday night during a raucous rally in El Paso, slamming some new Democratic faces and policy proposals to the delight of a rowdy crowd.

But that doesn’t mean familiar targets and chant-encouraging lines were missing from the campaigner in chief’s roughly 80 minutes on stage in the West Texas border city. The president appeared to be field-testing which 2016 campaign lines to keep in his arsenal and which new ones might keep the conservative base energized — and angry at Democrats.

Hill Leaders Await Trump Reaction to Spending Deal
‘We’re not sure yet’ without seeing the details, White House spokesman says

Reporters follow Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as he leaves the meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials aren’t yet saying whether President Donald Trump will sign the emerging fiscal 2019 appropriations package agreed to “in principle” Monday night by top lawmakers from both chambers.

“We’re not sure yet,” White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News. “Until we actually see the language, it’s very hard for us to comment.” He raised concerns about provisions in the agreement that would reduce the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds, saying Democrats wanted that included because of their alleged support of “open borders.”