budget

Despite New Tariffs, China Still Not Budging on Trade Tactics, White House Says
Senior official indicates Canada no closer to joining Mexico trade deal than it was when talks started

U.S. and Chinese flags on a table where military leaders from the two countries met in 2014. Four year later, the economic giants are in the midst of a bitter trade dispute. Depsite President Trump’s tariff's little progress has been made, an official said Friday. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

The Trump administration is not aiming to “cleve off” the U.S. economy from China’s, but it intends to continue pressuring the Asian giant even though tough moves like repeated rounds of tariffs have yet to bring the fundamental changes President Donald Trump is demanding.

“Our goal is not to totally divorce our economies from each other,” said a senior official who briefed reporters Friday at the White House about trade matters. “Our goal is for China to stop behaving unfairly.”

Trump Calls Spending Plan ‘Ridiculous’
President’s tweet raises doubts he’ll sign bill that would avert shutdown at end of month

President Donald Trump called the government spending package headed his way “ridiculous,” raising doubts about whether he’ll sign it. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump raised the odds of a government shutdown that lawmakers from both parties thought they had averted, calling a spending package headed his way to keep the federal lights on “ridiculous.”

“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Extra Hurricane Relief Cash Could Wait Until After Elections
Ryan: ‘Right now FEMA has money in the pipeline’

Residents of Spring Lake, North Carolina, are evacuated from their apartments as flood waters rise. FEMA enters the recovery phase with coffers flush with cash. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more than enough money to assist states hit by Hurricane Florence and likely won’t need Congress to pass an emergency disaster aid bill in the coming weeks, based on figures provided to lawmakers.

Due to lawmakers’ largesse when they provided more than $136 billion in late 2017 and earlier this year — mostly to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma — government disaster aid coffers are flush with cash. It’s a vastly different situation from last year, when Congress returned in September after Harvey spent five days battering Houston and surrounding areas.

Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling
Program prompts complaints of ‘jurassic pork’ as some see earmarks by another name

Where supporters see a way to bankroll innovate programs that the military may not even know it needs, critics see pork by another name. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon will soon have received about $2.3 billion in the last nine years — money the military never requested — for a special fund intended to help replace earmarks after Congress banned them, our analysis shows.

Buried deep inside the $674.4 billion Defense spending measure for fiscal 2019 that the Senate is expected to vote on this week is a chart with one line showing a $250 million appropriation for the Defense Rapid Innovation Fund, the latest installment of sizable funding for a largely unknown program that quietly disburses scores of contracts every year.

Spending Splurge
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 78

A little girl and a man look through the windows of the Capitol dome miniature model in the Capitol Visitors Center Monday afternoon Sept. 10, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate lawmakers made a deal to give the Pentagon a huge spending boost and defy President Donald Trump's call to cut various health, education and labor programs. CQ Defense reporter John M. Donnelly and Health reporter Andrew Siddons unpack the mammoth spending package now making its way through Congress.

Show Notes:

Trump Again Defends Puerto Rico Response as Hurricane Florence Nears
President blames ‘totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan’ for problems after Maria

Hurricane Florence rainfall predictions as the storm heads for the Carolinas and Virginia, according to the National Hurricane Center. (NOAA)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned Hurricane Florence could prove “bigger than anticipated” as it barrels toward the Carolinas and sharply blamed a Puerto Rican mayor for the widely panned federal response to a storm there last year.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long on Tuesday warned Florence has “an opportunity of being a very devastating storm,” adding “the power is going to be off for weeks.” He predicts the storm will be a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall this weekend. And Trump told reporters after being briefed by Long and Homeland Security officials that Florence will be “tremendously big and tremendously wet” with “tremendous amounts of water.”

Trump Wants to Freeze It. But Federal Pay Isn’t Driving Deficits
‘There’s a misconception that federal employees are all affluent,’ one advocate says

Rep. Barbara Comstock and other vulnerable House Republicans might have difficulty explaining a federal pay freeze to their constituents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal worker compensation, repeatedly used as a piggy bank to fund other priorities earlier this decade, is once again in budget cutters’ crosshairs. The latest catalyst is President Donald Trump’s desire to shrink costs associated with the “administrative state,” both by freezing civil workers’ pay next year and making them contribute more to their pensions.

The pay freeze issue is coming to a head as soon as this month, when Congress decides whether to incorporate Trump’s proposal or allow a 1.9 percent boost to federal worker pay next year, as contained in a bipartisan Senate spending package approved on a 92-6 vote last month.

Spending Milestone Within Reach
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 77

U.S. Capitol dome. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Congress is racing to pass at least three spending bills as early as this week and is poised to make progress on others, says CQ Budget Tracker editor David Lerman. Time, however, is running out.

 Show Notes:

Potential Fiscal Year Move Sows Discord on Select Budget Panel
Womack, Lowey disagree on moving government operations to a calendar year

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, who co-chairs the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, says a change to a calendar year would be a motivating force to get spending bills done on time. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government may soon operate on a fiscal year that begins on Jan. 1, if the Republican co-chair of a special committee charged with overhauling the budget and appropriations process has his way. But Democrats on the panel are not sold, throwing into doubt tentative plans to release a full slate of recommendations this month.

Rep. Steve Womack said Friday he expects the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to change the start of the fiscal year for the first time since 1976, when it was moved to Oct. 1 from July 1. The Arkansas Republican also said the panel is likely to recommend making the annual budget resolution a biennial exercise instead, though it is unlikely to split the appropriations bills over two years, as has been floated.

What Would Pete Domenici Think?
Current lack of fiscal discipline would’ve alarmed late Senate Budget chairman

Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, second from right, celebrates a budget deal with the White House on July 29, 1997, along with, from left, Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, Senate Finance Chairman William V. Roth Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Surrounding them on the House steps are tour groups of Boy Scouts and schoolchildren.(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — One year ago this week, we lost a great statesman and legislator. Pete Domenici’s storied career in public service, most notably as a U.S. senator, spanned more than three decades. He will forever be the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Equally remarkable, he was a Republican from traditionally blue New Mexico — and its longest-serving senator. That says something about his personal and policy appeal to the public, regardless of party.