appropriations

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

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is facing a competitive primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican, may be warming to the idea of earmarks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat., said Thursday that the time for discussion on earmarks was fast coming to an end. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Ahead of House Iran war votes, Trump sends mixed messages
Despite veto threats, president urges lawmakers to vote their conscience on 2002 AUMF repeal

Anti-war demonstrators attend a rally outside the White House on Jan. 25. The action also took place in 153 cities in 20 countries for the Global Day of Protest. (Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images file photo)

As the House prepares to vote Thursday on two measures that would constrain President Donald Trump’s ability to launch attacks on Iran, the White House sent out mixed messages about how it wants lawmakers to vote.

The House will debate and vote on two measures that take different approaches to limiting the Trump administration’s military options when it comes to Tehran, which remains outraged at the United States for the early January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed Iran’s most powerful general, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Deficit widens, economic growth slows in new CBO outlook
Repeal of health care taxes the largest driver of 10-year deficit increase, according to projections

Under new Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal deficit is projected to fall slightly to $1 trillion in fiscal 2021 and then commence a steady rise to $1.7 trillion in 2030. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects higher deficits for this year and the coming decade, with a fiscal 2020 deficit of $1.015 trillion — $8 billion higher than the agency estimated last August.

The fiscal 2019 deficit was $984 billion, by comparison.

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

Chairman Richard C. Shelby, center, and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, attend the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement implementation bill on Jan. 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., is set to meet Tuesday with a group of freshman House Democrats and others considered vulnerable in 2020 elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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. 

House members considering ending ban on earmarks
Lawmakers have cautiously expressed growing interest in allowing special projects inserted into spending bills

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., briefly considered allowing earmarks last year, until announcing in March that they would not be allowed in fiscal 2020 spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House appropriators are considering lifting a nearly 10-year ban on congressionally directed spending, known as earmarks.

While no decisions have been made, a House Democratic aide said lawmakers are in the “early stages” of considering allowing earmarks in spending bills for the coming fiscal year. “There is considerable interest in allowing members of Congress to direct funding for important projects in their communities,” the source said.

Democrats seek to put teeth into ‘impoundment’ law
Going to court is only current option to force release of funds

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth wants to make it hurt if a president tries to block funding against lawmakers’ wishes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A fresh legal opinion challenging President Donald Trump’s hold on Ukraine military aid under a Nixon-era budget law may or may not move the needle with senators in the president’s impeachment trial.

But one thing is clear: Trump’s delay of $214 million in Pentagon funds is just the latest in a long line of findings by the Government Accountability Office going back decades that presidents of both parties have run afoul of the 1974 law. That statute was aimed at restricting “impoundments,” where the executive branch refuses to spend money appropriated by Congress.

GAO: Trump’s hold on Ukraine aid violated budget law
1974 budget law limits presidential authority to prohibit congressionally approved spending

President Donald Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in October. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Government Accountability Office said in an opinion Thursday that President Donald Trump violated federal budget law when he ordered White House officials to withhold most of a $250 million military aid package for Ukraine last summer.

The finding comes after House Democrats delivered articles of impeachment on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress grounds stemming from the Ukraine affair to the Senate Wednesday evening, triggering the Senate trial expected to start next week.