Homeland Security

Health care riders, farm payouts slow stopgap deal
Bill pulled from House Rules agenda late Tuesday afternoon

Montana Sen. Jon Tester is among those objecting to potential provisions in a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trade assistance for farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs and the details of several health care program extensions were standing in the way of agreement on a stopgap funding measure Tuesday, sources said.

According to a senior Democratic aide, the bill was likely to include an increase in the Commodity Credit Corporation’s $30 billion borrowing cap that the Trump administration asked for earlier this month. But provisions on “accountability and transparency” were still under discussion, the aide said.

As election security risks grow, Congress must get off the sidelines
Some Republican senators argue new legislation is unnecessary. They’re wrong

The work to address threats posed to our voting infrastructure is far from over, Waller writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Texas got some terrible news last month. Twenty-two municipalities in the Lone Star State were the targets of massive ransomware attacks — a kind of cyber kidnapping. According to the mayor of Keene, “Just about everything we do at city hall was impacted.” The Borger city government wasn’t able to process utility payments — putting residents at risk of losing access to running water or electricity.

If just a few attacks could debilitate almost two dozen cities in Texas, imagine the chaos if several hundred were carried out on our country’s voting infrastructure right before Election Day. To prevent this, Congress must pass legislation that deters future foreign interference in our electoral system.

Border wall, other disputes sidetrack Senate spending work
Panel's markup is delayed; government funding lapses on Oct. 1

Sen. Richard Durbin wants to move forward on military spending, but is unsure if that will happen. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s appropriations process fell into disarray Tuesday after a scheduled markup was abruptly postponed in a dispute over policy riders, and a fight over the border wall threatened to hold up defense spending.

Democrats were also resisting the GOP majority’s proposed subcommittee allocations that are needed to draft the 12 fiscal 2020 spending bills. And some lawmakers said there was still no agreement between the House and Senate on the length of a stopgap funding measure that will be needed to avoid a government shutdown come next month, when the new fiscal year begins.

Final price tag unknown for Cannon House Office Building renovation
Asbestos, PCBs among the hazardous materials found in the project

Thomas Carroll III, acting Architect of the Capitol, testifies during the House Administration Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The final price tag for renovations at the Cannon House Office Building, already potentially more than $100 million over budget, remains unknown as the project attempts to meet its scheduled 2024 completion date, the acting Architect of the Capitol told the House Administration Committee on Tuesday.

New mitigation efforts after hazardous materials were found in the building would require more money from Congress, and the project may need to combine phases, push deadlines and move additional offices out of the building for a longer period of time, acting Architect of the Capitol Thomas Carroll III said.

At ground zero, Homeland chiefs say cyber is top future threat
Former DHS chiefs urge proritizing cybersecurity risks

Former Homeland Security secretaries testify before Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee at the 9/11 museum in New York on Monday. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Nearly 18 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three former secretaries of Homeland Security gathered at ground zero on Monday and pressed the government to prioritize cybersecurity risks as one of the top threats to the United States.

Janet Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama, urged officials to apply greater creativity to cybersecurity in an effort to avoid the failure of “imagination” that the 9/11 Commission said might have prevented the 2001 airliner attacks.

Cannon renewal could be $100 million over budget; hazardous materials found
Project has not yet fully completed Phase 1 yet

The Cannon House Office Building renovation has encountered several hurdles. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The project to renovate the Cannon House Office Building could climb more than $100 million over budget, a process that has, in part, been delayed by the discovery of hazardous materials and a fluid list of changes requested by the Architect of the Capitol that deviates from the original plan.

Terrell Dorn, managing director for infrastructure operations at the Government Accountability Office, notes in testimony submitted for Tuesday’s House Administration Committee oversight hearing on the Cannon project that the Architect of the Capitol expects the total building renovation cost to increase substantially from the initial estimate.

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

President Donald Trump has told his staff to avoid a government shutdown, but several obstacles remain to getting spending deals, as well as other legislative priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.

As Congress kicks off a grueling September, several spending hurdles await
Immigration, abortion, guns will complicate future conference negotiations

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who chairs the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, has vowed to fight for funding for gun violence research, which the House included in its spending bill. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to begin marking up spending bills Tuesday, starting off a grueling September that will include debate on more than $1.3 trillion in spending.

All that work will be capped off with a stopgap spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown and give House and Senate lawmakers more time to work out the spending level and policy differences between the yet-to-be-released Senate bills and the legislation House appropriators marked up earlier this year.

Term limit rules targeted by Trump aren’t tipping scale on House GOP retirements
POTUS wants to discourage retirements, but life in the minority is also a factor

President Trump blamed the wave of retirements on a GOP conference rule that term limits committee chairmen. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is one member who said losing his top committee spot impacted his choice to not seek reelection. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has an idea he thinks would quell the growing list of House Republicans who say they won’t run for another term, but the president’s proposal might not get to the root of the GOP retirements.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump urged House GOP leaders to alter conference rules to allow committee chairs (and ranking members if in the minority) to hold their posts for more than six years.

Democrats question lack of flu vaccines, quarantine procedures for migrant children
Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren, also ask about medical screenings

Senate Democrats want to know more about the decision to not give flu vaccines to migrant children in U.S. custody. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, led by Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, are expressing new concerns about a decision not to provide seasonal flu vaccines to migrants in U.S. detention.

“This dangerous decision not to administer vaccinations for a disease that has already proven fatal to migrant children in CBP’s custody is immoral and irresponsible, placing entire communities at risk of the flu and its associated complications,” the senators wrote to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar.