Michael B Enzi

Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football
As omnibus approaches, lawmakers should resist the temptation to throw the agency around

CBO Director Keith Hall, right, talks with Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi before an oversight hearing in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress finally heads for a vote this week on a long overdue omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018 — a year that is nearly halfway over. Fiscal policy debates on taxes and health care have added friction to an already partisan atmosphere.

Caught in the middle of this endless wrangling on Capitol Hill about budget priorities — where to cut, where to spend — is an organization that has come under fire for telling it like it is on the cost of those proposals, the Congressional Budget Office.

With Expectations Low, Select Budget Panel Prepares to Meet
Committee has broad mission, but few hard deadlines

Rep. Steve Womack, the new House Budget Committee chairman, is head of the select budget panel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The select committee tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process is mandated by law to meet for the first time this week. But what they plan to talk about remains a mystery.

The law establishing the committee instructs the 16 members to provide “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly reform the budget and appropriations process” before Nov. 30, with an initial meeting to be held by March 11.

House Budget Chairman Mulls Skipping Budget Resolution
Newly installed Steve Womack says budget process may need changes

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, left, seen here with Georgia Sen. David Perdue at the GOP retreat in West Virginia on Thursday, says the budget process is broken. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:13 p.m. | WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Rep. Steve Womack, Budget chairman for less than a month, is considering skipping a budget resolution  — thinking time would be better spent changing the budget process.  

“If I can read the tea leaves on what’s coming from the Senate, that doing a budget resolution that will be meaningful, that we can get House and Senate together on, is very problematic right now,” the Arkansas Republican said at a Thursday press conference here, where GOP lawmakers were having their annual retreat.  

Photos of the Week: A Government Shutdown, Several Protests and a January Barbecue
The week of Jan. 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters cross Constiution Avenue in Washington on Saturday as they arrive for the Women’s March one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not yet March, but the week of Jan. 22 came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Action on Capitol Hill throughout the previous weekend and on Monday saw a government shutdown, multiple protests, long lines to get to work at Hill office buildings and more.

Enzi to Write New Fiscal Blueprint, but Prospects Unclear
Budget chairman suggests reconciliation instructions are not in the cards

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, left, speaks with Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall before the start of a Wednesday hearing on CBO oversight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi told Roll Call on Wednesday that he is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution, but is not inclined to include reconciliation instructions for changes to the tax code or mandatory spending that could move through the Senate on a simple majority vote.

The Wyoming Republican’s revelation comes amid widespread doubts about whether the Senate GOP will be able to muster the support to adopt a budget resolution this year.

Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

A Senate Christmas Present: Several Trump Nominees Confirmed
Senators finish delayed routine business, hard choices put off

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 7: The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stands on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the very end of an acrimonious first year working with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the Senate reverted to form, looking very much like the Senate.

GOP Tax Bill Signed, Nearly Sealed and Delivered

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, left, and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, conduct the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican tax writers signed off Friday on a compromise plan to overhaul the tax code, bringing House and Senate negotiations to a close and setting up final votes on the legislation early next week.

The tax conference agreement was set to be released Friday at 5:30 p.m. Some key details are already known, like a proposed corporate tax rate of 21 percent; a top individual rate of 37 percent; and a 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” business income.

Looming Spending Deadline Leads to Tax Consideration Crunch
Senate must turn attention to government shutdown threat by early next week

The Senate faces a deadline crunch on taxes this week so it can turn to another deadline on appropriations next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If the tax reconciliation bill somehow doesn’t make it to the Senate floor this week, it may have to wait until much closer to Christmas.

Pushing the measure back just a week would not seem to be an option because of December’s other deadline crush: the expiration of the current continuing resolution funding the government through Dec. 8.

Senate Adopts Budget With House-Backed Changes
Late amendment expected to help speed up consideration of a tax overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday night that was amended at the 11th hour with the aim of making it acceptable enough to House Republicans to avoid a conference committee and speed the consideration of a tax overhaul.

The budget was adopted 51-49.