Omnibus Drops as House Speeds Toward Vote
Lawmakers could vote as early as Thursday on $1.3 trillion package

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, shown here in 2017, huddled with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to sell the $1.3 trillion spending package. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a $1.3 trillion omnibus package that would erase years of budget cuts and fund some of Republicans’ and Democrats’ top priorities.

The fiscal 2018 measure delivers on two of President Donald Trump’s biggest goals: a massive increase in military spending and new funds for border security and immigration enforcement. The omnibus would provide $700 billion for the Pentagon in all, or 10 percent more than the prior year, and close to $1.6 billion to bolster enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border, including construction of 33 miles of new fencing — though aides said funds for a “concrete wall” were not included.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Gets Appointment to Mississippi Senate Seat
State’s first woman in Congress expected to seek election in November

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is the designated successor to Sen. Thad Cochran. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith will be coming to the U.S. Senate next month.

Gov. Phil Bryant formally tapped the Republican agriculture and commerce commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who is poised to go out with a win on an omnibus spending bill. Currently in his seventh term, Cochran is resigning effective April 1 for health reasons. 

Omnibus Bill in Sight After ‘Big Four’ Meet to Iron Out Kinks
Finishing touches on $1.3 trillion package being applied

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters following a meeting of House and Senate leaders in Speaker Paul D. Ryan's office on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders and the White House have reached a preliminary deal on a roughly $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. GOP and Democratic aides were putting the finishing touches on the mammoth package and were expected to file it later Wednesday morning for House floor consideration.

Some issues remain unresolved as of Wednesday morning, requiring leadership attention.

Prosecutor: Stockman Ran a ‘Massive Scam’
Defense emphasizes Stockman’s humble living and says he just lost track of finances

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, seated, is accused of funneling charitable donations for personal use. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman was accused by a federal prosecutor in his corruption trial of running a “massive scam” in which he funneled charitable donations for his campaign and personal use and lied about it.

The former Texas Republican congressman’s trial began on Monday.

Senate Opts Against Limiting Trump’s War Powers
Measure to cease most military actions in Yemen shot down

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at a rally at the Capitol last year, pushed a resolution to end most U.S. military operations in Yemen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a whirlwind day of White House news, President Donald Trump on Tuesday retained the expanded war powers he inherited from his post-9/11 predecessors, as the Senate shot down a measure that would have ordered him to cease most U.S. military operations in Yemen.

Trump scored a victory on behalf of the executive branch’s ability to launch and sustain military operations in new countries without first getting authorization from Congress. Amid pressure from Republican leaders, the White House and the Pentagon, the chamber killed a resolution, 55-44, offered by a bipartisan group of senators that would have required Trump to cease all U.S. military action against groups other than al-Qaida in Yemen.

Yemen Vote in Senate, Russia Meddling Add to U.S.-Saudi Summit Intrigue
Senate to vote on Yemen war measure while crown prince is on U.S. soil

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, says the chamber will vote on a resolution calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Yemen this week, the same time Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud will be in the United States. Saudi Arabia has increasingly found itself bogged down in the Yemeni civil war. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Russia’s actions in the Middle East and South Asia are among the most-pressing topics President Donald Trump wants to discuss with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud when they huddle Tuesday, and an upcoming vote in the Senate on Saudi Arabia’s neighbor Yemen could add to the agenda as well. 

Trump and Salman — who has rocketed up the leadership totem pole of Saudi Arabia’s royal family — are scheduled to meet at the White House for a mini-summit. A senior administration official told reporters Monday that along with Russia’s often double-dealing in the region, trying to “push” Saudi leaders to seek a serious political solution to the conflict in Yemen and combating Iran will be atop the agenda.

DSCC Updates Digital Ad Attacking GOP Health Care Plan
YouTube ad will reach targeted voters in key 2018 states

The DSCC, chaired by Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, above, is launching new digital advertising against the GOP health care plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday is launching updated digital advertising against GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

The DSCC is timing this latest advertising, shared first with Roll Call, to the rough one-year anniversary of when the GOP-controlled Congress started trying to repeal the 2010 health care law during the spring of 2017.

Departing Appropriations Chairmen Set to Reap Omnibus Bounty
Fiscal 2018 spending bill a swan song for Cochran, Frelinghuysen

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s swan song as the outgoing chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee may be a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo )

The outgoing chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are set up for a bountiful swan song as a sprawling $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill comes to fruition this week.

For Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, resigning April 1, it’s a “mic drop” moment as the ailing 80-year-old Mississippi Republican will walk off the stage just after the omnibus measure is expected to become law. Cochran’s departure leaves his state with an enormous loss of clout that he will be anxious to ameliorate in his final go-round.

Democratic Showdown in Illinois’ 3rd District
Lipinski-Newman primary is flashpoint in party’s identity struggles

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski is facing a tough primary challenge on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a state where Democrats are targeting four Republican-held seats in November and need viable candidates to make it through Tuesday’s primaries, the nominating contest in Illinois that’s receiving the most attention is in a safe Democratic district. 

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, co-chairman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, is facing the toughest contest of his seven-term congressional career with a primary challenge from marketing executive Marie Newman for his 3rd District seat.

Opinion: Pompeo’s Rendezvous With Senatorial Waterboarding
Secretary of state designee faces the most anti-Trump committee in Congress

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is slated to succeed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he will face one of the most grueling confirmation hearings since President Donald Trump took office, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the realm of the 21st century Sun King, Donald J. Trump, there is room for only one Rex, the president himself.

The style of Tuesday morning’s surprise sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made corporate human relations departments seem warm and nurturing in comparison. Trump fired the highest-ranking Cabinet member — the official who is fourth in line for presidential succession — in Halloween fashion by trick or tweet.