Kellie Mejdrich

Draft stopgap would protect Ukraine aid, deny wall flexibility
Draft CR doesn’t grant administration request to use CBP funds to build sections of southern border wall outside of Rio Grande Valley Sector

The measure would also accommodate a White House request to allow an increased rate of disaster relief spending as cleanup from Hurricane Dorian continues and other tropical disturbances still threaten

House Democrats are circulating a draft stopgap spending bill to fund government agencies beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year that would prevent the White House from blocking military assistance to Ukraine and money for a variety of foreign aid-related programs.

White House asks Congress to fund Dubai expo, farmer payouts
The request also includes billions for border wall and space defense

The Trump administration is seeking lawmakers’ assistance with numerous priorities in the inevitable stopgap funding measure needed by Sept. 30, which on its own would simply continue current levels without adjustments for other needs that have arisen over the past year.

The 21-page list of “anomalies” submitted to Capitol Hill last week and obtained by CQ Roll Call includes items ranging from increased borrowing authority for the Agriculture Department to fund payments to farmers taking a financial hit from retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, to financing construction and operation of a pavilion at the 173-day World Expo starting next October in Dubai.

Trump pulls plug on foreign aid cuts amid blowback
Administration was seeking $4 billion in unspent foreign aid funding

President Donald Trump scrapped a plan to cancel more than $4 billion in unspent foreign aid, following a bipartisan uproar from Capitol Hill, lawsuit threats from stakeholders and pushback within his own Cabinet.

Transmission of the rescissions request to cut unspent funds at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development was expected sometime this week. But “POTUS decided not to move forward,” one source with knowledge of Trump's decision said Thursday.

White House readies $4 billion foreign aid cuts package
Proposal to eliminate unspent funds could ratchet up tensions with Congress over appropriations

The White House budget office on Thursday evening sent a proposal to trim unspent foreign assistance funds by “north of $4 billion” to the State Department for review, according to a senior administration official.

The final price tag of the rescissions package, which could also target unspent balances at the U.S. Agency for International Development, would likely change before being formally submitted to Capitol Hill, the official said.

White House lifts pause on State, USAID spending
The move comes after a flurry of congressional criticism of OMB's funding freeze

The White House has released certain funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that over the weekend had been temporarily frozen, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action comes after the Office of Management and Budget told those two agencies to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances, and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.

‘Public charge’ rule creates Homeland spending bill headache
Amendment blocks proposed rules on immigrant access to Medicaid and food stamps

An amendment inserted into the House's fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill by Appropriations Committee Democrats during the panel's June markup would bust the subcommittee's allocation by nearly $3.1 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Adopted on a 28-21 vote, the amendment from Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Pete Aguilar and Barbara Lee of California, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin would block a number of Trump administration immigration policies, including protecting beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation and revoking Trump's travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

Senate inches toward Wednesday budget deal vote
McConnell laid out the process for a series of get-out-of town votes

Senate leaders edged toward get-out-of-town votes on Wednesday, lining up a series of President Donald Trump’s nominees for confirmation either this week or shortly after the summer recess.

There was still the matter of voting on the two-year budget caps and debt limit suspension package, but clearing that measure for Trump’s signature appeared likely Wednesday. A notice from Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said consideration of the budget measure was “expected to occur” Wednesday. 

Not so fast, recess: Senate hurdles to late-summer departure
McConnell: There’s little time to confirm several Trump nominees, and clear a budget measure to beat the debt ceiling deadline

Senators hoping to get out of town for an early summer recess departure faced a potentially lengthy workweek.

There’s little time to confirm several of President Donald Trump’s nominees, including judges, and clear a budget measure to beat the Treasury Department’s debt ceiling deadline before leaving, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday in opening remarks.

Budget caps, debt limit bill expected to pass House Thursday
A furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor

House lawmakers expressed confidence on Wednesday that the two-year budget and debt ceiling deal will pass in that chamber, though a furious whip effort was underway by both parties to clinch a strong bipartisan showing on the floor.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it became clear a large majority of Democrats were prepared to vote for the measure after Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders released a statement green-lighting the compromise budget caps measure.

McCarthy pitches monthlong debt ceiling stopgap, if deal can’t be reached
He suggested a 30-day extension to avoid default in early September, if a compromise on discretionary spending caps can’t be reached

The House’s top Republican suggested that lawmakers pass a 30-day extension of the debt ceiling to avoid default in early September, if Democrats and the White House can’t agree on compromise discretionary spending caps before leaving for the summer break.

“We should not leave for August without dealing with that. And I would say if we can’t get this done, we should do a 30-day [stopgap],” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. He also said lawmakers ought to stay in town a few days past July 26, when House lawmakers are currently scheduled to leave town, if necessary. The Senate is slated to be in session for an extra week.

Mnuchin: Parties moving closer on debt limit, spending caps
Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that White House and congressional leaders are “getting closer” to a deal that would raise austere spending caps as well as the statutory debt ceiling.

Mnuchin told reporters at a briefing on cryptocurrency regulation that he planned to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., later Monday. The two have been having regular conversations since last week, including a Saturday phone call.

Tempers flare as leaders, White House fall short on spending deal
Failure to reach agreement after top-level meeting in Capitol

A meeting of top White House officials and congressional leaders broke up Wednesday without agreement on topline funding allocations for appropriators, raising fresh doubts over their ability to avert another fiscal crisis later this year.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of upping the ante on nondefense spending from what they’d put on the table previously.

‘Sex-starved males’ comment sets off House floor kerfuffle
Rep. Norma Torres stirs GOP colleagues with comments during debate

A routine House debate nearly exploded Wednesday when California Democrat Norma J. Torres implied her Republican colleagues were “sex-starved males” for opposing abortion.

“Mr. Speaker, it is tiring to hear from so many sex-starved males on this floor talk about a woman’s right to choose,” Torres said as lawmakers debated a rule setting up amendment consideration for a four-bill spending package that includes funding for public health programs.

Repeal of abortion funding ban won’t be part of spending debate, sponsor says
Longstanding Hyde amendment unlikely to be addressed on House floor this week

An amendment to repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on using federal public health funds for abortions won’t be part of the debate on a nearly $1 trillion appropriations bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services and several other agencies.

That was the view Monday night of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, who co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment, which the appropriations package headed to the House floor this week would continue. The language is named for its author, the late Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde.

Senate to take one last shot at disaster, border aid bill
The remaining sticking points are over immigration and oversight provisions related to Trump’s border funding request

Senate Republicans were huddling behind closed doors Thursday morning to discuss their next move on supplemental aid for disaster victims and handling a huge influx of migrants at the southern border.

One emerging possibility was to drop billions of dollars in aid the White House is seeking for border-related agencies, including Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

House passes plus-upped disaster aid package

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.

Democrats look to defend Obamacare with disaster aid amendment

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats would propose an amendment to a $13.45 billion disaster aid package that would block the Justice Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s push for a court ruling invalidating the 2010 health care law.

The move is another threat to consensus on a supplemental spending bill that leaders hoped could be negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but talks have until now been weighed down by disagreement over the package’s size and scope. Senate Democrats’ strategy introduces a new hurdle and is part of a broader push by Democrats to steer public attention toward health care.

Disaster aid vote is expected after recess, but what’s in it is still in the works
Several issues, including Puerto Rico, continue to be sticking points

Senate leaders are teeing up a vote after the weeklong St. Patrick’s Day recess on an as-yet-undefined disaster aid package for victims of major storms and other natural disasters during the last two years.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Thursday filed a motion to limit debate on proceeding to a $14.2 billion disaster aid bill the House passed in January.

Puerto Rico aid among issues complicating disaster bill talks
The size and scope of a disaster aid package has become a flashpoint among Senate appropriators

The size and scope of a disaster aid package has become a flashpoint as Senate appropriators construct a supplemental spending bill they hope to move quickly.

The fight appears to be between Democrats who want additional aid for Puerto Rico and states ravaged by 2017 storms, while Republicans are attempting to keep the bill contained to rebuilding from disasters that struck last year.

Disaster aid fix would open spigot for cherry growers
The provision on its face strains the definition of ‘emergency,’ but Washington cherry growers are smarting from China’s retaliatory tariffs

Talk about a sweetener.

An arcane provision moving through Congress as part of must-pass disaster aid legislation would let farmers earning more than $900,000 on average for the past three years qualify for President Donald Trump’s $12 billion program compensating producers for trade-related losses.