Richard C Shelby

White House offers up extensive menu of cuts for spending caps deal
The administration wants at least $150 billion in savings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the talks for her side of the aisle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration has laid out a wide array of spending cuts and tweaks to mandatory programs for Democratic leaders to consider for inclusion in a two-year discretionary caps and debt limit package.

The White House offsets menu includes $574 billion culled from items in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, according to a source familiar with the proposal. In addition, there’s $516 billion in “structural reforms” obtained by extending current discretionary spending limits by another two years, through fiscal 2023.

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

Sen. Patrick Leahy cast his 16,00th vote Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol Dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own. 

Pelosi, Mnuchin appear close to spending caps, debt limit deal
Agreement would likely include a two-year extension of the debt limit and spending levels

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday her view that in addition to "parity" for nondefense and defense spending increases, funding should be added for Department of Veterans Affairs health care. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are close to making an announcement about spending caps and the debt limit.

“We have a clear understanding of what we want to agree to, and I think that's progress,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon after speaking with Mnuchin, who was preparing to leave Wednesday for the G-7 meeting in France. “We'll have an announcement about something soon, one way or the other.”

Senate appropriations markups likely off until September
Congressional leaders and Trump administration have to agree on spending caps in next few weeks

Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is holding off on assembling the fiscal 2020 spending bills (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee likely won’t mark up any of its fiscal 2020 spending bills before leaving town for the August recess — the first time in more than three decades the panel hasn’t debated any of the annual spending bills before the customary summer break.

The decision to hold back Senate appropriations bills in the absence of a spending caps agreement has set a markedly different pace for the committee than last year, when it sent all 12 of its bills to the floor before the break began.

Senate GOP lines up behind two-year debt, spending deal, whip says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is pushing for a debt and budget deal to reflect Democratic priorities. Senate Republicans seem to be coalescing around two-year timeframes, but overall spending is still an issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are coalescing around a push to raise discretionary spending caps and suspend the statutory debt ceiling for two years, rather than the one-year stopgap plan pushed by White House officials, according to the chamber’s No. 2 Republican.

“I think they believe that it would be good to deal with both of those issues for not just this next year, but for the following year as well,” said Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. “I suspect there are others who maybe don’t share that view, but I think the overwhelming majority of the Republicans, I think that’s what they believe.”

Harry Reid still has a few punches left
Former Senate majority leader keeps working more than a year after pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential horse race and how much he hates the Yankees in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid retired from Congress back at the end of 2016, but the old boxer still has a few punches left for the institution he served in for 30 years, not to mention the New York Yankees. 

The 79-year-old Nevada Democrat met with CQ Roll Call in his office off the casino floor at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip last week to talk his health, politics and a little baseball.

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.

Pelosi: Debt limit vote possible before August recess
‘We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America,’ Pelosi said

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference held by Senate and House Democrats on health care coverage of preexisting conditions on the Senate steps on Tuesday July 9, 2019. Also on Tuesday, she gave some indications about when the House might vote on raising the federal debt limit. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday didn’t rule out voting on a debt limit increase before the August recess, though she indicated the need to raise the discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020 is still an integral part of the discussions.

“Let’s see how the conversations go,” she said. “We certainly do not want any thought of default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That’s never been what we’ve been about, but there are those on the Republican side who have embraced that again and again.”

Spending, legal hoops ahead for Trump on census question

Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department will have more to say about how it will proceed on litigation on the census soon. But a path forward in the courts or in Congress is unclear. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Warming up for the next round of the fight over adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census after setbacks in the courts, the Trump administration’s latest effort faces numerous hurdles in court that could spill out into Congress’ annual spending talks.

The administration has been coy about how it will try to relitigate the question, and Attorney General William Barr told reporters Monday the “pathway” to reinstate it may be unveiled later this week.

Why there's no Senate spending plan as deadline nears
CQ Budget podcast, Episode 117

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., are two key players in how the chamber will deal with fiscal year 2020 spending. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)