Jennifer Shutt

Texas Rep. Kay Granger grabs spotlight with tough primary ahead
Granger led effort condemning Pelosi for ripping up Trump's State of the Union text

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to rip up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on live television enraged House Republicans. But it was Rep. Kay Granger, who once said Trump doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as war veterans, who led the effort to defend the president.

The Texas Republican introduced the resolution condemning Pelosi on Wednesday after talking with Minority Whip Steve Scalise about how “appalled they were by the Speaker’s actions,” according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Shelby leaves door open for earmarks' return
House Democrats have floated the idea in recent weeks

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby appeared to soften a little Tuesday on a potential return of earmarks in spending bills this year, after saying last week his Republican colleagues probably wouldn’t allow it.

The Alabama Republican said that despite the Senate GOP Conference vote last year in favor of a permanent ban on the practice, he thinks there’s an argument to be made for a reversal.

House earmarks decision likely next week, Lowey says
Resuming practice would mean members could push projects for their districts

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey indicated Thursday that the word would come down as soon as the week of Feb. 3 on whether lawmakers would be able to seek special projects for their districts in next year’s spending bills.

The New York Democrat’s comments follow weeks of behind-the-scenes conversations during which she has begun to formulate how the House might bring back the controversial earmarking process during an election year. She’s also sought to assuage fears from Democrats in swing districts who have concerns about how the practice could impact them in November.

Shelby skeptical of nascent House discussions on earmarks
‘The Republican Caucus is on record against that,’ Senate Appropriations chairman says

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said it’s unlikely Republicans in his chamber will bring back spending bill earmarks, regardless of what the House decides.

“The Republican Caucus is on record against that, so that’s not going to go anywhere right now,” the Alabama Republican said Tuesday. Himself a prolific earmarker before the practice stopped in 2011, Shelby declined to discuss his personal views on the topic at this point. “I’m part of the [GOP] caucus and the caucus is not going to support that. So unless the caucus is involved it won’t happen,” he said.

Lowey to discuss earmarks with freshman, at-risk Democrats
Tuesday meeting marks first step in determining whether there's enough consensus to attempt to bring back the line items

House Democratic leaders are moving ahead with their sales pitch for the return of earmarks — which an aide dubbed “community project funding.”

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., is set to meet Tuesday with a group of freshman House Democrats and others considered vulnerable in the 2020 elections to talk about a possible return of local projects in the spending bills for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. 

The most wonderful time of the year: budget forecast release week
CQ Budget, ep. 141

The House has returned from recess and the impeachment trial continues on, but that's not what has David Lerman and Jenn Shutt excited — they're pumped up for the Congressional Budget Office to release its annual budget forecast. Listen to their predictions. Plus, earmarks could make a comeback. Jenn explains what's going on. ...
US ready for potential coronavirus outbreak, CDC assures lawmakers
CDC officials said they currently have the resources needed to address the spread of the virus

Federal health officials told lawmakers Friday that they have the resources they need to address the spread of the virus originating from Wuhan, China, although senators acknowledged the potential need for supplemental funding down the road.

The briefing for roughly two dozen senators came as the case count for the new version of coronavirus in China was rapidly increasing, prompting authorities there to effectively quarantine tens of millions of people in Wuhan and surrounding cities. China’s National Health Commission reported 571 cases and 17 deaths as of Thursday, though news reports on Friday said there were now more than 800 cases and at least 26 deaths.

Appropriators feel the squeeze of budget caps as veterans health funding grows
Nondefense programs could soon see spending cuts unless Congress makes adjustments

Appropriators and stakeholders have begun coming to grips with the reality of narrow funding increases under next year’s budget caps, as politically sacrosanct veterans health care spending continues to grow and eat into what’s left for all other nondefense programs.

Last summer’s two-year budget deal front-loaded its spending cap increases into the first year, allowing about 4 percent more for discretionary spending in fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2021, increases are capped at less than 0.4 percent, or $5 billion, despite fixed costs for veterans health care that are likely to require substantially more.

Talking taxes 2020
CQ Budget, Ep. 138

Tax reporter Doug Sword sits down with guest host Jennifer Shutt to explain why Congress added so many tax bills to a massive spending package and what exactly those provisions will mean during the upcoming year. CQ Budget delves into what didn't make it into the package and predicts how far those provisions will advance in 2020.

Trump signs spending bills, averts shutdown
Fiscal 2020 appropriations packages become law just ahead of midnight deadline

President Donald Trump signed two behemoth spending packages totaling $1.4 trillion on Friday night, preventing another year-end government shutdown with an hour and a half to spare.

The existing stopgap funding law was set to expire at midnight.

Senate clears final spending package, wraps for the year
The bills now head to Trump's desk for his signature

The Senate cleared two spending packages totaling $1.4 trillion Thursday, sending the measures to President Donald Trump ahead of a Friday deadline.

Debate over the massive packages was tucked in between floor speeches about the House's Wednesday vote to impeach Trump — making for a strange mix of bitter partisanship over the impeachment process and broad bipartisan support for a wide-ranging year-end appropriations package.

Massive spending, tax packages headed for Senate
Lawmakers pointed out both sides had to make sacrifices in order to pass the bills

The House approved $1.4 trillion in spending for the fiscal year that began almost three months ago, in an almost surreal business-as-usual fashion that seemingly ignored the historic articles of impeachment scheduled for the floor the very next day.

Lawmakers made a show of dividing the spending measures into two bundles, in order to avoid the oft-ridiculed omnibus bill that both sides say represents the worst of the “swamp.” But the rushed nature of the vote, and in particular the late-night deal that tacked on a nearly $54 billion tax package, runs counter to promises of a more transparent process where the rank-and-file has input and time to study the legislation.

Appropriators reach spending agreement, fend off possibility of government shutdown
The deal ends months of negotiations that revolved around border wall funding

Republicans and Democrats reached agreement “in principle” Thursday on $1.37 trillion in government funding, staving off the possibility of another shutdown just a week before spending is set to run out, according to Appropriations Committee leaders. ...
Lowey: Spending deal looking more likely this week
More than 100 differences on full-year appropriations bills still need to be resolved before current funding runs out on Dec. 20

Congress and the Trump administration could reach agreement on full-year spending bills as soon as Thursday, according to House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey.

“If all goes well, we could have a deal by the end of the day tomorrow,” Lowey said Wednesday evening after reviewing an offer Republicans sent over midday. “I think their offer was real and we’re discussing it and we can find some agreement.”

Foreign aid rider tangles up final spending talks
The White House is concerned the rider could cut out faith-based aid groups from USAID contracts

Urged on by anti-abortion activists and religious groups, the White House is raising concerns in year-end spending talks about language secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in the Senate’s State-Foreign Operations bill they fear could cut out faith-based aid groups from U.S. Agency for International Development contracts.

Shaheen argues the provision in the bill would simply require USAID contractors to adhere to current law, which stipulates they can’t deny services to individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, political affiliation or other factors.

Lowey: Appropriations deal could be struck this weekend
House Appropriations chairwoman says House could vote next week

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey said Friday the House could begin voting on final spending bills for the current fiscal year next week.

After months of partisan stalemate, the New York Democrat struck a decidedly optimistic tone in predicting that negotiations on a final spending deal could wrap up this weekend, clearing the way for floor votes to begin. Lawmakers have been scrambling to complete a deal before current funding runs dry on Dec. 20.

Appropriators seek to wrap up talks this weekend
But panel members acknowledge ‘hurdles’ as Dec. 20 deadline for bill passage looms

Spending bill negotiators set their sights on wrapping up a year-end deal by this weekend, but they differed on how realistic that deadline might be.

With only two weeks left before current funding runs dry, appropriators are hoping to finalize work on all 12 spending bills and pass them by Dec. 20 to avoid another stopgap measure or possible government shutdown. But unless a deal comes together in the next several days, lawmakers have warned, there likely won’t be enough time to write the bills and move them through both chambers before the holiday recess.

Appropriators set Friday deadline for unresolved issues
Signals renewed intent to get a spending bill deal completed before the holiday recess

Individual spending bill negotiators are attempting to resolve lingering disputes this week before kicking any final disagreements upstairs.

Subcommittee heads have until Friday to give Appropriations Committee leadership a list of the sticking points that must be settled to complete work on fiscal 2020 bills, lawmakers said Wednesday.

Serrano recovering in Bronx following hospital stay
Retiring appropriator recovering from Parkinson’s-related fall

Rep. José E. Serrano, one of the House’s top Democratic appropriators, is recovering from a hospital stay due to a fall but plans to return to Capitol Hill “in the very near future.”

“Several months ago, I disclosed that I am battling Parkinson’s Disease. Recently, I suffered a related health complication that resulted in a fall,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “I required some time in the hospital to recover, and have had to continue that recovery process at home in the Bronx. I continue to work closely with my staff, and I look forward to returning to Washington in the very near future.”