Technology & Innovation

House Passes $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill, Starting Process to Avert Shutdown
Massive measure was released the night before the vote, so members didn’t have time to read it

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., walks through Statuary Hall on his way to his office after the House voted to proceed with the omnibus funding bill Thursday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, starting the process for averting a government shutdown and ending government funding by stopgap. 

The vote was 256-167. The bill includes funding boosts for defense that Republicans sought, as well as for domestic programs on the nondefense side of the ledger that Democrats sought. 

House Narrowly Passes Rule to Begin Debate on Omnibus
Some Freedom Caucus members join Democrats in voting against it

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and former chairman Jim Jordan are leading their group's charge against the omnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday narrowly passed a rule to begin debate on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, a more-than-2200 page measure GOP leaders had released just the previous night.

Several members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus joined Democrats in voting against the rule, which set up a single hour of debate and blocked amendments to the bill. The final tally was 211-207. 

With Omnibus, Trump Learning You Can’t Always Get What You Want
White House priorities reflected, but not some of the premier asks

Speaker Paul D. Ryan glances toward President Donald Trump during a Feb. 28 ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham at the Capitol. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters/Pool file photo)

Lawmakers defied President Donald Trump by excluding many of his demands in an emerging government spending bill. But the measure is not a complete loss for the commander in chief despite the late-game lobbying needed to secure his always tenuous support.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, as lawmakers were saying final negotiations were underway, Trump’s signature was not yet certain. White House aides had gone silent on the matter, usually a sign the boss is unhappy. But the president signed off on the omnibus spending deal during an afternoon meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, according to a Republican leadership source familiar with the meeting.

Mass House Democrat Defections Likely On Omnibus Without DACA Commitment
‘We believe this is a very, very critical issue to be resolved,’ Hoyer says

House Minority Whip Steny  H.Hoyer, D-Md., suggested Democrats may oppose the omnibus without a commitment to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dozens of House Democrats are likely to vote against the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill if the final deal, which leaders hope to announce Wednesday afternoon, does not include a commitment to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

House Democrats have been frustrated for months by Republicans’ refusal to allow a floor vote on legislation to protect so called-Dreamers — DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. They’ve voted against several stopgap spending bills because of congressional inaction to provide a permanent replacement for DACA, which President Donald Trump tried to end effective March 5 but federal court rulings have kept alive.

No Clear Path to Legislation for Lawmakers Expressing Outrage Over Facebook Revelations
Congress has historically taken a hands-off approach to tech oversight

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, has not indicated whether he will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers, motivated by revelations of Facebook Inc.’s handling of users’ data, may take a look at proposals for new data safeguards — but it’s far from clear that Congress has a clear path from lawmakers’ anger over Facebook to legislative action.

Disclosures about Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica, and the latter’s behavior in the 2016 elections, may have given legislation greater urgency than was the case after companies such as Equifax Inc. lost the data of about 145 million consumers. But legislation doesn’t seem imminent and, to the extent it’s about data protection, may miss the mark.

On Omnibus, Congressional Leaders Are All Feeling Good
Ryan, Schumer and Pelosi all say they feel negotiations are in a good place

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters following a meeting of House and Senate leaders in Speaker Ryan’s office on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders emerged just before 11 a.m. Wednesday from a meeting to negotiate outstanding issues on a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill predicting a deal was forthcoming in a matter of hours. 

“We feel like we’re in a good place,” the Wisconsin Republican said upon exiting his office, where the meeting was held.

Spending Bill Unlikely to Include DACA Fix
White House, Democrats talking past one another

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, says Democrats rejected the latest White House offer. Democrats counter the White House already missed its chance on a DACA fix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Prospects are dim that a short-term patch that would extend a program protecting about 690,000 “Dreamers” from deportation will be included in the upcoming fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Conversations remain ongoing between Congress and the White House on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with some aides insisting a last-minute deal is a possibility. President Donald Trump wants to end the Obama administration program, but federal judges have blocked him and Dreamers brought to the United States illegally as children are in limbo.

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.”

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.

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.

Congress Could Split Payments to Broadcasters Over Two Years
Thune, Walden explore compensating spectrum moves over longer period of time

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says members are exploring spreading out payments to broadcasters for spectrum moves from one year to two. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune says authorizers and appropriators are exploring whether to compensate broadcasters for giving up spectrum over two years rather than one, a change that could make it a more palatable item in spending bills.

The South Dakota Republican, who is also chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., are trying to secure about $1 billion to compensate broadcasters for giving up one part of the spectrum and move to another. But appropriators are balking at the sum.

Trump Intensifies War on California’s Immigrant ‘Sanctuaries’
So far, little to show for effort to crack down on illegal immigration

Protesters arrive at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles during a march on Feb. 28. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The legal struggle over immigrant “sanctuaries” is escalating, and deep-blue California is ground zero.

“This is basically going to war,” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration is suing the state over three recently enacted laws limiting local and state law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Opinion: Once Again on Immigration, a Victory for the All-Or-Nothings
With DACA tied up in the courts, the urgency for Congress to act is gone

The inability of President Donald Trump and Democrats to compromise on DACA and border security has given hard-liners on both sides of the immigration debate a win, Cardinal Brown writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump travels to California later this month to view the prototype designs for a new border wall, perhaps he will take a moment to think about what could have been. Because as things stand, those eight 30-foot-long samples are the only walls likely to be built.

Trump could have had his wall. He had numerous opportunities to get it, dating all the way back to the “Chuck and Nancy” deal last fall. All he had to do was agree to something he says he wants — a permanent replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program he canceled in September.

Analysis: Trump Skips Tough Immigration Talk With Latinos
President addressed business group in his charmer-in-chief persona

President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Latino Coalition’s Legislative Summit at the J.W. Marriott in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The crowd Donald Trump addressed Wednesday didn’t chant “build the wall!” And the president didn’t mention the border barrier idea that helped him get elected. Nor did he talk of Latino gangs, immigrant “rapists” and mass deportations.

Trump appeared something of a fish out of water as he stood at the familiar presidential podium before a backdrop featuring the logo of The Latino Coalition. After all, as a presidential candidate Trump railed against Latin American countries for sending drug pushers and “criminals” to the United States.