Ryan McCrimmon

Trump Budget Request Rolls Out to a Quarreling Congress
Selling deep cuts aimed at poor and middle class could be rough going

The ambitious fiscal blueprint now heads to a bitterly divided Congress, which has the authority to adopt or reject the White House spending plans. Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, will visit the Capitol this week to try to sell the $4.1 trillion outline to top budget writers in the House and Senate.

Those hearings will officially kick off the fiscal 2018 budget and appropriations cycle in Congress, a process that has been on hold for months as lawmakers waited for Trump’s full budget proposal and as they finished up last year’s spending work.

Omnibus Agreement Details $1 Trillion in FY 2017 Spending
Democrats say they blocked Trump agenda, Republicans tout defense, security spending

By Ryan McCrimmon and Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call

House and Senate appropriators early Monday morning unveiled the text of an omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, a more than $1 trillion package that funnels extra money to the military but rejects many of President Donald Trump’s other signature spending proposals.

Trump Administration Lifts Hiring Freeze
OMB Director Mulvaney: ‘This does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly’

New guidance from the Trump administration out Wednesday will officially end the federal hiring freeze implemented days after the president took office.

“This does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters ahead of the formal release.

Trump Budget Slashes Nondefense Spending to Boost Pentagon
Plan calls for eliminating Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, and others

President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled the first portion of his fiscal 2018 budget request, a discretionary spending plan that includes new funds for a major military buildup and severe cuts to federal agencies certain to be strongly resisted by lawmakers on both sides. 

Among the hardest hit agencies under Trump’s “skinny” budget proposal are the State Department and the EPA, which would see a 28 percent and 31 percent reduction from enacted levels, respectively.

It’s Huge: Trump Administration Sets Record with Empty OMB Director Slot
S.C. Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney still waiting for confirmation

The Senate’s slow pace in confirming Cabinet nominees appears to be holding up lawmakers’ work on major fiscal legislation while they wait for President Donald Trump’s budget shop to get up and running.

The White House needs to move on budget priorities and discretionary spending levels for fiscal 2018; a wrap-up of fiscal 2017 appropriations; and supplemental funding requests to boost military spending and begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Search for Billions to Pay for Border Wall Confronts Congress
Spicer told reporters Trump would seek to impose a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico

Republican leaders said Thursday they plan to pony up $12 billion to $15 billion in the coming months to begin construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, but that large sum of money may be just the first installment to fund a project that could cost taxpayers as much as $40 billion, according to some independent estimates.

In addition, Republicans face likely opposition not just from Democrats but also centrist Republicans and fiscal hawks who would balk at seeing that kind of tab added on to the deficit. Travis Hall, a spokesman for the House Republican Study Committee, said the conservative group will insist on offsets, as it has with supplemental appropriations in the past.

Budget Nominee Mulvaney an Investor in Gold, Silver
President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee the federal budget holds stock in a range of funds, from gold and uranium mining to the global airline industry

Mulvaney: I Paid $15,583 in Back Taxes for Household Employee

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, the staunch conservative nominated to become President-elect Donald Trump’s budget chief, failed to pay more than $15,000 in federal payroll taxes for a past household employee, he told the Senate Budget Committee in a questionnaire.

“I have come to learn, during the confirmation review process, that I failed to pay FICA and federal and state unemployment taxes on a household employee for the years 2000-2004,” Mulvaney, R-S.C., wrote in a section of the document, obtained by Roll Call on Wednesday. “Upon discovery of that shortfall, I paid the federal taxes.”

Trump Nominates Anti-Deficit Crusader Mulvaney to Head OMB
South Carolina Republican expressed interest in position before election

President-elect Donald Trump announced Saturday the nomination of South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, an opponent of government spending who rode the 2010 tea party wave to Congress, for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Stopgap Bill Adds Money for Flint, Paves Way for Mattis Confirmation Vote
Heads off partial shutdown by extending funding through April 28

Congressional negotiators released a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to fund federal agencies and programs through April 28.

Final details of the 70-page continuing resolution were hammered out behind closed doors Tuesday while both Republicans and Democrats warned that various provisions and possible additions to the package were causing problems.

Frelinghuysen Poised to Take the Gavel of House Appropriations
Committee that will fund major Trump proposals set for centrist chairman

The last time Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen popped into the spotlight was when the congressman — 61 at the time — chased down a 19-year-old pickpocket who’d mugged him in Georgetown, and held the thief until the police arrived.

Now the low-key centrist Republican from northern New Jersey is expected to become the next chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee at a golden moment for the GOP, with unified control of Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade.

House Easily Passes 10-Week Stopgap Spending Bill
Measure extends government funding through Dec. 9

The House on a 342-85 vote easily passed a 10-week stopgap spending bill late Wednesday, clearing the measure for President Barack Obama’s signature with two days to spare before a government shutdown.

The Obama administration voiced support for passage of the continuing resolution in a statement of administration policy. The House was expected to adjourn later Wednesday and not return until after the November elections.

Senate's Move on Stopgap Turns Tables on the House Again
Ryan left negotiating with members of his own party

The Senate appears on track to once again surge past the House on appropriations work, as House Republicans remain hung up over a continuing resolution needed to keep the government lights on after Sept. 30.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that he's engaging in talks with the White House and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to move a short-term stopgap spending bill to the floor as early as next week. In the House, Speaker Paul D. Ryan has not yet begun official talks within his own party, which is divided between a shorter-term continuing resolution that would wrap up spending decisions this year and a stopgap that would last until next March.

No 6-Month Stopgap for Democrats, Reid Insists
Would accept measure that continues funding into December

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that Democrats this month will oppose any stopgap spending bill that would punt current government funding and policies into 2017, a strategy favored by conservative Republicans who don't want a lame-duck session.

“Everyone should be alerted today to this: We are not going to agree to a long-term CR,” the Nevada Democrat told reporters on a conference call, referring to a continuing resolution. “We are not doing anything into next year. The Republicans should be made aware of that right now.”

Ep. 20: Spending Fights Await Lawmakers, Anti-Establishment Fervor Doesn't Trickle Down Ballot
The Week Ahead

  Show Notes:

Blame Game Over Congressional Zika Response Heats Up
Senate Democrats suggest cutting recess short to address funding

Republicans and Democrats on Thursday continued bashing each other for a lack of congressional action to combat the Zika virus. Both sides failed to reach an agreement on a spending package before leaving town in July for a seven-week recess.  

In a letter to Republican leaders, Senate Democrats again suggested cutting their recess short to return to the Capitol to pass new funding for Zika. Also Thursday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wrote an op-ed column for USA Today defending the House-adopted conference report on Zika spending that was blocked by Senate Democrats in July over their objections to offsets and policy language dealing with contraception, environmental protections and more.  

Zika Funding Gone by the End of September, HHS Says
Agency says mosquito control and surveillance will be 'severely limited'

The Obama administration on Wednesday pushed back against congressional criticism that available funding to combat the Zika virus is not being spent fast enough, claiming all the money on hand for domestic Zika efforts will be exhausted by the end of September.  

In a letter to senior health and foreign appropriators in both chambers, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services, provided further details of how the department is spending its share of the $589 million that the administration reprogrammed in April to fight Zika. Roll Call has reported recently that much of that total has yet to be spent, according to information from the Office of Management and Budget.  

First Zika Transmission Cases Within United States Hit Florida
Democrats, Republicans blame each other for failure to pass Zika package

Florida health officials determined Friday that four cases of Zika were likely transmitted by mosquitoes in the state, marking the first instances of mosquito-borne transmission within the continental United States.   

The development prompted the state’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to lash out at Congress and the Obama administration for failing to fully confront the virus. Democrats, in turn, scolded Republican leaders in Congress for leaving Washington for a seven-week summer recess without taking action to fund a Zika response.  

LGBT Uproar Ends Years of Open Debate on Spending Bills
Ryan backs off previous assurances on amendment process

Speaker Paul D. Ryan's decision to crack down on amendments to appropriations bills isn’t just a reversal of his previous assurances of an open amendment process — it’s a break with two decades of House tradition.  

Between fiscal 1996 and fiscal 2015, in only one year were so-called structured rules used for most of the regular spending bills, according to a March 2015 report from the Congressional Research Service.  

Senate Votes to Go to Conference on Zika Spending
Democrats brand public health response the fight of the month

The Senate agreed by voice vote Wednesday night to join the House in formal negotiations over a Zika virus response package, the latest incremental step toward clearing a bill for President Barack Obama's signature.  

The vote comes four months after Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency spending in February to combat the mosquito-borne disease. Informal discussions between House and Senate leaders and appropriators have been ongoing for weeks, but it remains unclear how the chambers will bridge major differences in their Zika legislation.