Jennifer Shutt

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out
Members face November deadline for developing legislation and report

The 16 lawmakers tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process will begin meeting informally this month to determine if they can agree on bipartisan changes before the end of November, according to House Budget Chairman Steve Womack.

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform has an uphill climb before it can produce the type of legislation that a majority of its Democrats and a majority of its Republicans will support — let alone the type of bill that a majority of each chamber will vote to enact.

Trump’s Trade Policies Get a Senate Slapdown
Lawmakers support congressional authority over tariff decisions

Senators delivered a bipartisan, if nonbinding, rebuke to President Donald Trump’s trade policies on the floor Wednesday, voting 88-11 to express support for congressional authority over presidential decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

The motion, offered by GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, would instruct conferees on an unrelated $147 billion spending bill covering the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to “include language providing a role for Congress in making a determination” under a law enabling presidents to impose trade restrictions on security grounds.

Podcast: How the Summer Spending Stretch Is Shaping Up
CQ Budget, Episode 68

Congress returns from its Fourth of July break with expectations that it will tackle a robust spending agenda including the two chambers negotiating the final shape of three spending bills — as lawmakers hope to avoid another 12-bill omnibus. But, there are several challenges ahead both inside and outside of the annual appropriations process. CQ appropriations reporters Ryan McCrimmon and Kellie Mejdrich discuss what the final three months leading into fiscal 2019 hold with guest host Jen...
Senate GOP Appropriators Stress Bipartisanship in Trump Meeting
‘If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans’

Senate Republican appropriators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to enact spending bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, as long as sufficient resources are devoted to border security.

“If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the start of a meeting with Trump. “I’m willing to work with Democrats to get to ‘yes.’ But, ‘yes’ has to be consistent with being strong.”

Podcast: A Flurry of Budget Activity
CQ Budget, Episode 65

CQ budget and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt breaks down the various budget measures Congress will take up this week, including the three-bill spending package and a possible House fiscal 2019 budget resolution to set spending and revenue guidelines for the coming fiscal year.

 

Tweaked Trump Cuts Request Restores EPA, Ebola, Sandy Funds
But whip count could be close, with burden solely on GOP to pass rescissions package

The Trump administration revoked a slice of its $15.2 billion “rescissions” request Tuesday, targeting items that received a cool response from GOP lawmakers whose votes will be needed but leaving intact most of the original proposal.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Capitol Hill proposing to reduce the size of the cuts by a combined $515 million, with nearly half of that coming from restoration of $252 million in unspent funds that could potentially be used to combat a renewed Ebola virus outbreak overseas. Democrats have cited the recent Ebola resurgence in the Democratic Republic of Congo as reason to blast Republicans for considering the cuts.

Podcast: Here Come the Minibuses
CQ Budget, Episode 63

The House takes up its first package of spending bills — a minibus — for fiscal 2019 this week, while the Appropriations committees continue to mark up their remaining bills ahead of floor action. CQ Budget and Appropriations reporter Ryan McCrimmon and Roll Call Senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski explain what the summer holds for appropriations bills in both chambers and how other legislative priorities may impact floor votes. ...
Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough on House Appropriations
One-two punch on the panel would be the first since women led the House Beauty Shop Committee

The House of Representatives hasn’t had two women lead a committee since the Select Committee on the House Beauty Shop was eliminated in 1977.

All of that could change in January.

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.

Republicans Warming to $15 Billion Cuts Package
Dispute remains over whether proposal is protected from filibuster

Republicans appear ready to advance the White House’s $15.4 billion rescissions request through both chambers of Congress, after the administration dropped the idea — for now — of canceling funds provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted in March.

“If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, noting that the so-called special message “does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal.”

Partisan Fight Over $15 Billion Rescissions Package Developing
Democrats not ready to play ball, Pelosi suggests

The Trump administration on Monday outlined a roughly $15 billion “rescissions” request it plans to send to Congress on Tuesday, targeting unspent health care and green energy funds for the largest share of the cuts.

The bulk of that request proposes eliminating $7 billion in budget authority from the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $5 billion from fiscal 2017, for which there is no authority to spend the money, and $2 billion from a contingency fund for states that the White House doesn’t expect any states to draw from, a senior administration official said.

Podcast: Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget, Episode 58

Republican lawmakers are hoping to be able to pass several of the 12 spending bills before the 2019 fiscal year begins Oct. 1. CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt explains how that might work. ...
Balanced-Budget Amendment Falls Short in House
Roll call vote could provide midterm campaign fodder

Republicans fell short of the two-thirds support needed to send a balanced-budget amendment to the Senate on Thursday, but they succeeded in getting a roll call vote that can be used during the midterm campaigns to criticize Democrats as lax on fiscal discipline.

The 233-184 vote followed four hours of debate that centered on the growth of entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, as well as how balancing the budget would impact the economy.

State Activists Watching Washington Balanced-Budget Kabuki
Rapt audience for Thursday’s symbolic vote

The House’s balanced-budget amendment vote Thursday may be a symbolic gesture aimed at shoring up Republicans’ conservative base in advance of the midterm elections. But it’s all too real for activists at the state level, who are watching closely and thrilled about the national spotlight on an issue that has been percolating quietly outside the Beltway.

Despite the joint resolution’s lack of support within the halls of Congress, there is still optimism that a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution will be sent to the states for ratification during the next few years.

Richard Shelby Officially in as Senate Appropriations Chairman
GOP colleagues ratify powerful committee's vote

Senate Republicans officially chose Sen. Richard C. Shelby as Appropriations chairman on Tuesday after his fellow Republicans ratified the Committee’s Monday evening vote during a closed-door lunch.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed the Alabama Republican’s selection, as well as the approval of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as the new Rules chairman, replacing Shelby.

Senate Republicans View White House Rescissions Package as Non-Starter
Senators skeptical of going back on the bipartisan spending deal

Senate Republicans on Monday threw cold water on a forthcoming proposal from the White House that will ask Congress to cut previously enacted spending, including from the $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Donald Trump signed last month.

Republican lawmakers are concerned about how moving forward with a “rescissions” package would affect future bipartisan negotiations over spending bills.

Podcast: Fiscal 2019 Holds Same Old Problems
CQ Budget, Episode 53

The fiscal 2018 omnibus is finally law. But, Congress is already prepping to take on the fiscal 2019 appropriations process. Despite optimism, meeting the Oct. 1 fiscal year deadline will be an uphill climb, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt.