budget

Four appropriations bills slated for Senate floor this week
A procedural vote to take up the bill could occur Tuesday or early Wednesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks in the Capitol on Oct. 16, 2019. The chamber expects to jump-start the appropriations process, taking up four spending bills with bipartisan support this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders plan to jump-start the stalled appropriations process by taking up a package of four spending bills this week that have strong bipartisan support.

Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican, announced plans to bring to the floor a package that combines the fiscal 2020 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD bills. The Appropriations Committee had advanced all four measures on unanimous votes.

Mick Mulvaney, from Washington reformer to chief of graft
No matter what he says, don’t get over it, America

Mick Mulvaney is now at the center of an international corruption scandal he not only tolerated, but may have championed, Murphy writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OPINION — In 2008, days after political newcomer Mick Mulvaney won a seat in the South Carolina state Senate, he told a local newspaper that many voters had suggested that he run for the U.S. House seat held by Democrat John Spratt instead. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” Mulvaney said. “I’m perfectly happy being in the Senate.”

But within a year, Mulvaney was not only challenging Spratt, he defeated him handily in 2010 on a message of reforming Washington and slashing federal spending. “There’s a few things I just think we all believe,” he said in one campaign ad. “We cannot continue to spend money we don’t have.”

Mulvaney acknowledges 2016 election investigation was tied to Ukraine aid freeze
Former GOP rep to Dems: ‘Get over it’ — politics will always shape U.S. foreign policy

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reacts to a question during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. Mulvaney took questions relating to the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and other issues during the briefing. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff contended Thursday the administration’s hold on a nearly $400 million military aid package to Ukraine had “absolutely nothing” to do with Trump’s desire for Kyiv to investigate his then-top Democratic rival. But it was linked to the 2016 U.S. election.

Mick Mulvaney acknowedged Trump held up the aid, in part, because of his concerns — rooted in conservative media — that Ukrainian officials worked to aid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and prevent him from winning the White House. Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate whether a hacked Democratic National Committee server that was penetrated in 2016 resides in that country. The conservative conspiracy theory has been widely debunked.

Senate floor debate beckons amid spending bill impasse
Under stopgap law, lawmakers have about five weeks to reach funding agreement

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says there’s a “good chance” the chamber can start debating spending bills next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate next week could debate a package of spending bills that have received bipartisan support in the Appropriations Committee, according to Chairman Richard C. Shelby.

“I’ve been hearing that and conversations lend me to think there’s a good chance,” the Alabama Republican said Wednesday, noting that the final decision is up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I think there are five, six, seven appropriations bills that we could pass if we get to the floor.”

Kurds are ‘no angels’ and their fight with Turkey is ‘not our problem,’ Trump says
In rare split, McConnell had sharp words about president’s decision to abandon Kurds in Syria

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office on Wednesday while Italian President Sergio Mattarella listens. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued distancing the United States from Kurdish forces in Syria who once were Washington’s chief ally in fighting the Islamic State group.

Trump’s decision to remove American forces who were positioned between Turkish troops and the Kurds has angered both Republican and Democratic members. Both chambers are expected to soon approve a resolution condemning his decision, which he says is necessary to help bring an end to what he calls America’s post-9/11 “endless wars.”

Taking lead on impeachment legal message, Trump gives GOP cover to defend him
Campaign official says GOP is benefitting from inquiry with voter registration, donation surges

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday. His legal argument on impeachment is that he committed no crime. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior White House officials and House Republicans are basing their counter-impeachment arguments on House Democrats’ process rather than legal arguments — but President Donald Trump is again doing his own thing and arguing the probe is invalid because, he says, he committed no crimes.

The president has no formal legal training, but that is not stopping him from leading his own legal defense, using tweets and public comments to claim House Democrats have no grounds to impeach him — and the Senate no reason to remove him — because he never outright asked Ukraine’s new president to investigate a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for U.S. aid.

Power struggle begins atop the House Appropriations Committee
CQ Budget, Ep. 129

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters as she leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

Federal judge rules Trump border wall declaration unlawful
Diversion of military funds violates fiscal 2018 omnibus spending law

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 20: A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Photo by Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to divert military funding to a southern border wall is unlawful.

In a 33-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Briones said Trump’s effort to divert more than $6 billion that Congress provided for military projects violates the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending law. 

Trump announces 'substantial' trade deal with China - but it's weeks from being final
U.S. won't raise some existing tariffs to 30 percent, Mnuchin says

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland on May 13, 2019, in Oakland, California. Chinese and U.S. officials, after trading tariffs and barbs for months, are again negotiating toward a potential trade pact. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday announced his administration has reached a “substantial” trade pact with China that includes some backing off of tariffs, but he signaled work remains to finalize the elusive pact.

The Trump administration has agreed to keep existing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese-made goods at current levels rather than raising them to 30 percent, as Trump had threatened to when talks previously stalled.