Mark Walker

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

House GOP Charts Spending Collision With Senate
Republican reps discussing alternatives, no details provided

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. said in his experience trying to jam the Senate hasn’t been so successful.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:10 p.m. | House Republicans are continuing on course with a spending strategy expected to fail in the Senate as they huddled Wednesday to discuss other pressing matters that might ride on the must-pass measure.

GOP leaders signaled an intention to move forward with a plan to pass a spending bill next week that would fully fund defense appropriations through the end of the fiscal year above the sequestration cap and use a continuing resolution to extend current funding for remaining agencies until Jan. 19, several members said after the meeting.

Trump Signs Bill to Keep Government’s Lights on Through Dec. 22
The continuing resolution passed both chambers of Congress Thursday

President Donald Trump speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday signed the stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 22, according to a tweet from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 

The House and Senate passed the measure on Thursday, averting a government shutdown, for now.

Arizona’s Trent Franks to Resign Jan. 31
GOP lawmaker said to have made female staffers uncomfortable with talk of surrogacy

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks was first elected in 2002. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:24 pm | Arizona Republican Trent Franks said Thursday he is resigning from Congress effective Jan. 31 amid an Ethics Committee investigation into discussions he had with two female staffers about surrogacy. 

In a lengthy statement Thursday evening, Franks said he and his wife struggled with fertility.

House Conservatives Mixed Emotions Over White House Confab
Hints but no guarantees from leadership spark split feelings

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the two conservative House caucuses are both hopeful and worried about what’s happening Thursday afternoon at the White House.

They hope Speaker Paul D. Ryan is advocating for a Republican-crafted spending strategy during a meeting with President Donald Trump and other congressional leaders. But they worry that negotiations over topline spending numbers could undermine their position.

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.

GOP Spending Strategy Would Delay Shutdown Showdown
House Republicans consider multistep formula for combination defense-CR

Speaker Paul D. Ryan hosted a strategy meeting in his office Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are working on a multistep government funding strategy that involves a two-week stopgap measure to keep the lights on beyond Dec. 8 and fully funding defense by Christmas.

No final decisions have been made but the idea GOP leaders have discussed with key conference members is to stick to the plan to pass a continuing resolution through Dec. 22.

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, ‘Big Four’ Set to Meet Amid Shutdown Showdown
Huddle on year-end spending comes after last week's misfire

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders will meet with President Donald Trump one day before a shutdown showdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than two months into the fiscal year and with just days left before a temporary spending bill expires, congressional leaders and President Donald Trump are scheduled to sit down Thursday to discuss key spending issues.

The meeting comes a little more than a week after the two Democratic leaders, Charles E. Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House, opted to skip a meeting on the same topic, after Trump tweeted that he didn’t see a deal happening. And it will occur a little more than a day before the current continuing resolution funding the government expires at the end of Dec. 8. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan went ahead without them to the White House last week. 

As Tax Overhaul Looms, Senate Has Upper Hand
House GOP wary of Senate’s leverage given the narrow vote margin there

The Senate’s narrow margin on the tax overhaul provides it with some leverage in conference negotiations with the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s passage of a tax overhaul illustrated a fragile coalition of support that ironically provides the chamber with the upper hand headed into conference committee negotiations with the House.

House Republicans wanted a conference process on the two chambers’ differing tax bills to prevent the House from getting jammed by the Senate, as they acknowledge has happened frequently on major bills.