Peter A DeFazio

CBO: Harbor Tax Provision in House Water Bill Widens Deficit
Change could increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., included a provision in the water infrastructure bill that would allow spending directly from the fund without approval by appropriators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contested provision that could be in the water infrastructure bill scheduled for House floor debate this week would increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The provision in the water resources development bill as it was introduced would allow for spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund without appropriations starting in fiscal 2029 and would increase direct spending by more than $2.5 billion and on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in at least one 10-year window following its effect date in 2029, the CBO said.

With a Taste of Regular Order on FAA Bill, Members Want More
Rank and file not optimistic that rule allowing 116 amendments will be used on future bills

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., left, and ranking member Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., will lead House debate on a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill with 116 amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the modern Congress, it’s almost unheard of for the House to vote on 100-plus amendments to a bill, as the chamber will do Thursday and Friday during debate on a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Rank-and-file members had little explanation for the sudden procedural openness, although some speculated it was related to the bipartisan nature of the FAA measure and the availability of floor time given the slim election-year legislative agenda.

FAA Authorization Headed for House Floor Vote Next Week
Changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy also being considered

The House is voting next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The House will vote next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and change disaster relief policy to focus more on mitigation than recovery.

In a statement Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said the House would vote on an aviation bill that would reauthorize the FAA through fiscal 2023 as well as include provisions of a bill previously passed by the House that makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy.

GAO: Pruitt’s Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law
Monday report states funds were not legally available

A staffer exits the Senate subway on April 11 with a poster detailing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA violated federal law when it paid more than $43,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt without first notifying congressional appropriators, the Government Accountability Office said.

The agency violated the law by using more than $5,000 of fiscal 2017 appropriated funds for an unintended purpose without giving lawmakers advance notice, GAO investigators wrote in a report released Monday.

Big Plans for Infrastructure Fade to Business as Usual
As lawmakers return from recess, their infrastructure agenda looks a lot like any other year’s

While President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul D. Ryan seem to be on the same page when they talk about breaking up an infrastructure overhaul into several bills, many of those smaller measures would have happened anyway. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returning from a two-week recess Monday may find that the debate over infrastructure looks a lot like routine congressional discussion of transportation bills.

Congress will go to work on aviation reauthorization and waterway and port projects, setting aside a comprehensive infrastructure plan favored by the administration for more discussions.

Ryan’s Piecemeal Approach May Keep GOP Infrastructure Push Afloat
But speaker’s strategy of multiple bills could complicate Senate passage

Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants to break an infrastructure overhaul into pieces, moving five to six bills before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A key piece of the Republicans’ 2018 legislative agenda is shape-shifting.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s pronouncement last week that an infrastructure overhaul will be tackled in multiple bills serves a dual purpose: It keeps hope for one of the president’s top policy priorities alive, while setting more realistic expectations for what will get done this midterm election year.

Chao Goes Off the Rails on New York-New Jersey Project

Secretary of Transportation nominee Elaine Chao testifies as her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao came to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to answer questions about the administration’s infrastructure proposal Tuesday. But she spent much of the time confirming and defending the administration’s attempt to kill a New York and New Jersey rail program.

“Is the president of the United States personally intervening with the speaker to kill this project?” asked Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., referring to a weekend report in The Washington Post that President Donald Trump asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan to kill funding for the Gateway Program.

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.

Trump Ups Infrastructure Spending Goal, but Offers No Details
White House may not have settled on a plan yet, Democrat says

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, left, and New Jersey Rep. Tom McArthur walk through Statuary Hall on Tuesday as crews set up television interview positions in preparation for President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump laid out a goal at his first State of the Union address Tuesday to spark $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending from public and private sources and couple the new spending with an overhaul of permitting procedures for projects.

Trump spoke in broad strokes throughout the evening, and his brief mention of infrastructure left many questions unanswered about the administration’s long-promised and still undelivered plan. A House Democrat speculated Tuesday after a canceled White House briefing that the administration hadn’t itself settled on the answers.

House Democrats Maintain Hard Line on Shutdown Demands
Pelosi: “There’s no point having the CR unless we have the terms of engagement”

From left, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., are casting doubt they would support a possible GOP Senate-hatched deal to end the shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Republican leaders want to advance a three-week continuing resolution as a way out of the government shutdown, they will likely need to round up the votes among themselves. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday rejected a fall-back plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a continuing resolution lasting until Feb. 8 and hold an open floor debate on an immigration bill.