policy

Budget Overhaul Proposals Likely to Stay in Play After Nov. 30
Joint Committee expected to offer recommendations next month

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., says that proposals that aren’t accepted by other lawmakers could work their way into future legislation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The legislative proposals under development by the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform could enjoy a life of their own after the special panel’s work is done later this year.

Members of the 16-member bicameral committee are hoping to agree on a package of proposed changes to improve the budget process by a Nov. 30 deadline, allowing their recommendations to be submitted to Congress for action.

Trump — Again — Threatens to Send Military to U.S.-Mexico Border
And he would, again, face legal hurdles in Congress to deploy active-duty military troops there

President Donald Trump once again floated the legally dicey idea of sending U.S. military troops to the southern border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday dusted off the cobwebs of an old proposal from April to deploy military troops along the southern U.S. border in an effort to stem illegal crossings by immigrants.

“I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” the president threatened, if Mexico does not heed his request to stop what he termed an “onslaught” of people crossing the border into the U.S.

3 Ways Congress Can Punish Saudi Arabia
Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder prompts bipartisan calls for action

Saudi officials arrive at the White House on March 20 ahead of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats alike to impose stiff penalties on Saudi Arabia for its suspected murder of a prominent dissident journalist, as new gruesome details were leaked by Turkish intelligence on Wednesday.

The growing congressional outrage over the reported torture, beheading and dismemberment two weeks ago of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is diametrically opposed to the signals coming from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the rush to judge the kingdom. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., wants Democrats to legalize marijuana if they take back the House majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Capitol Ink | Red Wave

Pelosi Not Willing to Trade Over Border Wall, Calls It Trump ‘Manhood Issue’
‘It’s probably the worst way to protect the border,’ House minority leader says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she will not trade with President Donald Trump for his border wall, calling it a "manhood issue" for him. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is nothing she would trade for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting a hard negotiating stance in advance of an expected December showdown over the issue.

“It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that,” the California Democrat said during a discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. 

Democratic Unity on Budget Faces Tests in New Congress
What flavor of nationalized health care can the party agree to — if any?

Progressive Democrats of America holds a news conference to announce the launch of a Medicare for All Caucus at the Capitol on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If voters give Democrats control of the House in November, they’ll get a chance to write the first left-leaning budget blueprint since 2009 in that chamber.

That would give Democrats an opportunity to show through the tax and spending blueprint how they want to address rising deficits, insolvency projections for social safety net programs, and get a jump on their 2020 message.

Menendez, Pompeo Feud Over Diplomatic Nominees
Secretary of state accuses New Jersey Democrat of ‘putting our nation at risk’

From right, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker arrive for a hearing on July 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A tiff between New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slowing down the confirmation of nominees for the nation’s diplomatic corps, already understaffed at a time of mounting global challenges.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State nominees over their qualifications even as he continues to press Pompeo to fulfill long-standing oversight document requests.

Stick With Senate Farm Bill or Extend Existing Law, Groups Say
Agriculture committee staffers in both chambers continue to work on compromise

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., helped push through their farm bill that passed the chamber on an 86-11 vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Unless key farm bill negotiators use the Senate version as the template for a new bill, an extension of the now expired 2014 farm law would be better than using the House farm bill as the basis for a conference report, representatives from nutrition, environmental, small farmer and food policy groups said Monday.

At a briefing, the organizations said the House and Senate farm bills differ sharply in important areas. While they want a new bill to replace the farm law that expired Sept. 30, the organizations say they represent a broad coalition that would oppose a bill based on the House farm bill version, which calls for changes, including to farm payments and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.