Tom Cole

Informal Nature of Border Wall Request Roils Spending Debate
Trump still hasn’t submitted “budget amendment” on $5 billion demand

President Donald Trump still hasn’t put details of his $5 billion request for border wall funding on paper in any official capacity. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump’s $5 billion demand for a U.S.-Mexico border wall has held up the entire spending wrap-up for fiscal 2019. Yet Trump still hasn’t put the details of that request on paper in any official capacity, a departure from precedent that is in keeping with this president’s unconventional style.

The fact Congress hasn’t gotten a formal letter to change the border ask seems technical. But it has set a stage for debate where no one’s arguing on the same terms. And this has arguably let lawmakers and the White House escape a broader debate on the substance by simultaneously referring to an outdated budget request or a dollar figure that doesn’t exist formally on paper.

The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses
Here’s a rundown of some of the funding disputes bubbling under the radar

it’s not just the headline-grabbing clashes over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that could sabotage a deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.

The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On
A combination of individual brands and attacks on Democratic challengers helped them win

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., won re-election last week as his fellow Republicans in the suburbs lost. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 were largely washed away in the Democratic wave last week — but three managed to hang on.

GOP Reps. John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and David Valadao all won their races on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (though Valadao’s margin has narrowed with votes still being counted).

Following GOP Losses, Emmer Poised to be Next NRCC Chairman
Minnesota Republican hasn’t yet laid out specific priorities to win back House

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed in Wednesday's leadership elections to be the next chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than a week after losing over 30 seats in the House, the chamber’s Republicans have coalesced around the next person to lead their campaign committee.

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed Wednesday to be the next chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, replacing Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers. Along with California Rep. Mimi Walters, whose race has not yet been called, Emmer was one of two deputy NRCC chairs during the 2018 cycle.

Murmurs of Discontent in GOP Ranks As Mueller Nabs Manafort, Cohen
Some House Republicans speak more candidly about what it would take to impeach Trump

Some Republican House members are speaking more candidly about what it would take for them to impeach President Donald Trump. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Republican embrace of President Donald Trump is beginning to show cracks as some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers stepped up their criticism of the president back home in their districts in a week where his former personal lawyer and onetime campaign chairman pleaded to and were found guilty of eight federal crimes apiece.

No one is jumping to conclusions yet about whether Trump should face impeachment. But some Republican lawmakers have been candid in recent days about the prospect of impeaching the president, and what would need to happen for them to consider such a step.

Schumer: Republicans ‘Co-Conspirators’ With Trump If Silent on Cohen, Manafort
President’s former campaign chairman and personal attorney guilty on eight charges each

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the GOP was a “co-conspirator” with President Donald Trump if its members did not speak out against the “culture of corruption” surrounding the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer slapped a searing label on the Republican party Thursday, saying that if his colleagues across the aisle remain silent on the “culture of corruption” surrounding President Donald Trump, the GOP as a whole would be a “co-conspirator” with the president.

Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance, bank loan, and tax fraud and directly implicated the president for directing him to commit a crime in a New York courtroom Tuesday.

Congress to Trump: We Don’t Want Another Shutdown
Some Republicans worry shuttering government would hurt chances of keeping control of Congress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s staff sets up a “#TRUMPSHUTDOWN” poster at January news conference while President Donald Trump was threatening a shutdown. Over the weekend, Trump threatened a shutdown for fiscal 2019 unless Democrats assent to more funding for his proposed southern border wall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have spoken loud and clear in response to President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the government over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border: We don’t want another shutdown.

Republicans are worried that such an occurrence just a month before the November elections could compromise their congressional majorities in a midterm year that historically swings back to the party that does not control the White House.

Rodney Frelinghuysen’s Last Appropriations Markup Hurrah
Colleagues on both sides of the aisle pay tribute to retiring chairman

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., presided over his final markup as Appropriations chairman on Wednesday, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle praised his leadership and bid him farewell. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a session of Congress marked by bitter partisanship and high-stakes battles at seemingly every turn, the House Appropriations Committee stepped out of the maelstrom Wednesday to pay tribute to its erstwhile chairman, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the retiring New Jersey Republican presiding over his last markup of the panel. 

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., joked that Frelinghuysen was getting an “advanced look” at how he would be remembered after he dies.

House Republicans Hope to Resuscitate Immigration Issue
July votes expected on family separation, and guest worker and E-Verify

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said GOP leaders will keep their promise for a July vote on an agriculture guest worker program and mandatory E-Verify and are also discussing legislation to address family separations at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans’ thorniest issue, immigration, is not going away after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat of their “compromise” bill.

GOP leaders are planning votes in July on two more narrow bills that are also not guaranteed to pass. Some rank-and-file Republicans want to continue talks on a larger measure in hopes of finding an elusive path to passage. 

Senate GOP Appropriators Stress Bipartisanship in Trump Meeting
‘If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans’

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., conduct a news conference in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republican appropriators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to enact spending bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, as long as sufficient resources are devoted to border security.

“If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the start of a meeting with Trump. “I’m willing to work with Democrats to get to ‘yes.’ But, ‘yes’ has to be consistent with being strong.”