Peter A DeFazio

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.

Democrats May Sink FAA Extension, Hurricane Tax Relief Package
Minority support needed to pass measure under fast track procedure

Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., oppose a GOP package to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief for hurricane victims. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief to victims of recent hurricanes could fail on the House floor Monday evening amid Democratic opposition. 

The minority party’s support is needed to pass the measure under a fast-track procedure known as suspension of the rules. Two-thirds support is required for passage on the suspension calendar, meaning at least 50 Democrats would need to vote “yes” if all 240 Republicans support the legislation. 

Trump Wants More Interstate Tolling, But Lawmakers Skeptical
Plan would give states more options

The Trump administration suggested in a fact sheet last week the idea of reducing restrictions on tolling on interstate highways. Pictured: I-278 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images File Photo)

President Donald Trump fleshed out his proposal last week to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure by listing tolling on interstate highways as one way to raise funds, but his idea is encountering reluctance in Congress.

Several key lawmakers said they were receptive to the idea, but cited obstacles to moving forward.

Panel Rebukes United, Other Airlines Over Passenger Treatment
‘Something is clearly broken’

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz testifies before a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in the Rayburn Building May 2, 2017. United president Scott Kirby appears at right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster warned the CEO of United Airlines and other industry executives Tuesday that a hearing into their customers’ experiences wouldn’t be pleasant.

Panel members from both parties followed through, blasting United CEO Oscar Munoz and other representatives of American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The hearing came after the release of video showing a passenger being forcibly removed from a United flight in early April so the airline could make room for its employees to fly.

Word on the Hill: What to Do This Weekend
A birthday wish from the floor

Cherry blossoms on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Friday! 

There are a few ways this weekend to celebrate the new month and the beginning of spring, and the end of what felt like a very long winter.

Members Show School Spirit as Sweet 16 Games Begin
Manchin, Cortez Masto go head-to-head while other members are torn

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA March Madness starts today and members are showing their school spirit. And talking a little smack.

Sen. Joe Manchin III is the only member of Congress who is an alumnus of West Virginia University — he graduated with a business administration degree.