Richard C Shelby

Air Force secretary: send disaster money ASAP
Officials say it will cost nearly $10 billion to repair recent storm damage at military bases

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testifies during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support hearing in Russell Building titled “United States Air Force Readiness,” on October 10, 2018. On Thurday Wilson said the Defense Department needs money to fix nearly $10 billion in damage to military bases.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Heather Wilson, the outgoing Air Force secretary, said Thursday that the Defense Department desperately needs Congress to quickly bankroll recovery from recent storm damage at military bases, which officials say will cost nearly $10 billion to fix.

Senate leaders are drafting a disaster aid supplemental bill that may contain a down payment in aid for Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The House passed its own version last week with $1.5 billion to help military installations recover from hurricanes.

Pelosi: To woo Trump, border aid will likely be attached to disaster bill
Adding a border-related element to the disaster relief bill could garner the Trump administration’s support

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on May 16, 2019. She told reporters that a disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An emerging multibillion-dollar disaster aid package will likely include humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants across the southern border, an element that could garner the Trump administration’s support.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that lawmakers are planning to add funding to the unreleased package that would help stem the “humanitarian crisis.”

Disaster aid deal nears as White House presses border funds
‘We’re going to have a vote next week,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., leave the Capitol for a meeting at the White House with President Trump and Senate Republicans on December 21, 2018. Lawmakers say a Senate disaster aid bill appealing to Donald Trump and Democrats — with border funding and money for Puerto Rico recovery — could get a vote next week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The monthslong Senate effort to draft a bipartisan disaster aid bill could come to a close within the next week, after members of both parties said Tuesday talks have taken a turn for the better.

“We’re going to have a vote next week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday after meeting with GOP colleagues for lunch. “I hope it’s a vote on a deal that has been reached with both sides of the aisle and the White House.”

House passes plus-upped disaster aid package

Relief for Puerto Rico after deadly hurricanes is among the issues hanging up a broader disaster aid package in Congress. (Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

The House passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to help victims of recent storms and flooding rebuild, with the price tag growing by about $1.8 billion on the floor through amendments to add funds for repairing damaged military facilities, highways, levees, dams and more.

The vote was 257-150, with 34 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the bill drafted by the Democratic majority. President Donald Trump and GOP leaders tried to tamp down defections on the bill, which they oppose because it would pump more money into Puerto Rico, which hasn’t yet been able to spend much of the $20 billion previously appropriated after 2017′s Hurricane Maria.

Trump’s $4.5 billion border demand slows disaster aid talks
McConnell said Republicans are ready to compromise on Puerto Rico aid, but border funding adds new wrinkle

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., talks with reporters in the Capitol on March 5. Shelby told reporters Tuesday that a request from the Trump administration to include additional border-related funding is causing prospects for a bipartisan disaster aid package to dim. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Prospects for a bipartisan disaster aid package appeared dimmer Tuesday after the Senate’s top GOP appropriator said the Trump administration and congressional Democrats are voicing fresh objections.

“I don’t know of a disaster aid bill in recent years that has been this protracted,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby told reporters.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Road ahead: Both chambers tackle disaster relief but conclusion still iffy
House goes after administration’s ‘junk’ plan rule, Senate nomination votes could result in Export-Import Bank quorum

From left, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., House Appropriations ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. The top four appropriators are key to reaching a bipartisan deal on disaster relief. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate appropriators hope to wrap up negotiations this week on a bipartisan disaster relief package that can get President Donald Trump’s support, while House Democrats plan to forge ahead with a vote on their own preferred proposal.

The House bill would provide $17.2 billion in aid to areas affected by recent natural disasters. The measure is similar to one the chamber passed in January, but it includes an additional $3 billion to address subsequent floods in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South.

First women to lead spending panel have a mission: keep the lights on
Lowey, Granger had one government shutdown dumped in their laps. Now they’re trying to avoid another one

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, left, and ranking member Kay Granger are the first pair of women to lead the panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first all-female duo leading the House Appropriations Committee since its Civil War-era creation is setting out to avoid the mess they walked into on Day One of their new roles — a government shutdown.

“I want to be very clear; I think there should be a commitment in the Congress — Democrats and Republicans working with the White House — to say, ‘We are adults, these are difficult issues, but we can resolve them,’” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey told CQ Roll Call this week in an interview alongside ranking member Kay Granger. “But throwing a tantrum and shutting down the government is not a responsible way to be a member of the government of the United States of America — whether you are in the legislative branch or the White House.”

White House Asks for $4.5 Billion Border Aid; Democrats Balk
The supplemental request doesn’t seek wall money, but Democrats may push for immigration policy changes they called harsh

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, named chairman of the Special Committee On Climate Change, participates in the press conference in the Capitol on the formation of the committee on March 27, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday requested an extra $4.5 billion to address the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border, in a move that could trigger a fresh round of criticism over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The supplemental request stops short of seeking additional money for a border wall, which Democrats have staunchly opposed. But Democrats are sure to press for changes to immigration policy they consider too harsh.

How the murder of a young Senate aide ushered in the ‘tough on crime’ era
After Tom Barnes died of a gunshot wound to the head in the ’90s, his boss called for the death penalty. D.C. is still feeling the aftershocks

A poster tacked up on Acker Street in Northeast pleads for information leading to Tom Barnes’ killer in 1992. (Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The worst thing Toof Brown has ever had to do is call the parents of Tom Barnes and tell them their son had been shot in the head.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, 1992, Barnes noticed he was low on coffee. So the 25-year-old Senate staffer put on his duck boots, left his rowhouse on Acker Street and headed to a local corner market. He’d lived in the neighborhood, about six blocks east of the U.S. Capitol, for roughly two months.