Agriculture

Opinion: This Budget Isn’t Dead on Arrival
Trump’s budget draws the battle lines between the parties

A president’s budget sets the tone, direction and parameters of the debate over government operations and Republicans in Congress will be hard-pressed to go against a president of their own party, Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Every year, Congress affixes the same toe tag to the White House budget within minutes of its delivery: “Dead on Arrival.”

The phrase is such a cliche, and so often repeated by members of Congress who dislike the president’s numbers, that it’s hard to find a news story about each year’s budget that doesn’t include those three words. It’s also discounted as just a “blueprint,” “a political document” or a “proposal” written for disposal. When I was a budget reporter for CQ, and at other publications, these were my watchwords.

Reacting to Trump Budget, Van Hollen Previews 2018 Message
DSCC chairman says budget will be ‘wake-up call’ to Trump voters

Reacting to President Donald Trump's proposed budget, DSCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said it will likely be a wakeup call to GOP voters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Previewing a likely political argument heading into 2018, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen says the proposed reductions in President Donald Trump’s budget would disproportionately hit more rural, Republican areas.

“I think this is going to be a wake-up call to a lot of people who supported Donald Trump that his budget is betraying them,” Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said at a Thursday afternoon news conference on Capitol Hill. 

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

Copies of President Donald Trump’s overview of budget priorities for fiscal year 2018, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” are put on display at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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.

Former Rep. Eligio ‘Kika’ de la Garza Dies at 89
Texas Democrat served 16 terms in the House

Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, D-Texas, second from right, claps as Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, throws a football in a House conference room in this undated photo. De la Garza passed away Monday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 1978, Texas Democratic Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza was invited to accompany his colleague Rep. Leo J. Ryan to Guyana on a fact-finding mission and escort people being held at the People’s Temple colony to safety.

De la Garza, like several colleagues in the House, turned down the invitation due to the House’s “hectic” schedule. Ryan and four other members of his delegation were murdered as they were getting on a plane to leave the country before more than 900 people committed mass suicide in the jungle.

Agriculture Nominee Moves Closer to Confirmation Hearing
OGE releases Sonny Perdue’s ethics agreement and financial disclosures

Sonny Perdue served two terms as governor of Georgia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue agreed to extricate himself from a web of interests and restructure two family trusts to remove himself and his wife from active involvement if he wins confirmation as Agriculture secretary, according his disclosure documents at the Office of Government Ethics.

The release of Perdue’s financial disclosure and ethics agreement sets the stage for the Senate Agriculture Committee to schedule a confirmation hearing. The committee said last Friday it had received Perdue’s long awaited official nomination papers, nearly two months after President Donald Trump announced he planned to nominate him. It’s unclear if Perdue has completed a committee questionnaire that is typically part of the confirmation process. 

Tough Choices for Democrats: Obstruct or Govern
Angry constituents want members of Congress to step up

Police escort Republican Rep. Tom McClintock through a town hall audience from the Tower Theatre in Roseville, California, on Feb. 4. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP file photo)

It’s now well known in Washington that on Feb. 4, police escorted GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, a fifth-term libertarian whose district stretches from the Sacramento suburbs to Yosemite National Park, out of a town hall meeting full of angry constituents in Roseville, Calif., 30 miles northeast of the state capital. The calls of activists opposed to President Donald Trump rained down: “This is what democracy looks like!”

Less than a week later, activists ambushed another Republican representative also starting his ninth year in Congress, Jason Chaffetz, at a town hall in a high school auditorium in suburban Salt Lake City. “Do your job!” they yelled at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, demanding that he investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest.

Cabinet-Level Nominees Play the Waiting Game
Politics, paperwork and holdings slowing things down

Four Cabinet-level nominees remain to be confirmed. Clockwise from top left, Dan Coats for director of national intelligence, Alexander Acosta for secretary of Labor, Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative and Sonny Perdue for secretary of Agriculture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Alan Diaz/AP, Chambersandpartners.com, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Farm groups thought they’d have a new Agriculture secretary by now after a long wait to find out who would be the nominee. But they’re growing anxious again over the delayed confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. 

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of keeping him from filling his Cabinet, but Perdue’s nomination appears to be on hold because the Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to receive his paperwork.

House Moves on Obamacare, Spending Bills While Senate Waits
The Senate will be focused on undoing Obama-era regulations

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore. may oversee a markup of the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By REMA RAHMAN and BRIDGET BOWMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

The public will get its first look at House Republicans’ bill to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law likely early this week, but timing on committee markups of the legislation is unclear. 

Senate Floor Could Be Ripe for Procedural Obstacles
With Cabinet mostly confirmed, contentious legislation awaits

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says Republicans should get their “own act together” before accusing Democrats of not being able to compromise. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Since the beginning of the 115th Congress, the Senate has operated in a procedural bubble, where Republicans can largely move nominations and legislation with simple majorities on the floor.

That has been the case for votes on the latest slate of Cabinet-level nominations that included confirmations of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Interior secretary, Ben Carson as Housing and Urban Development secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be Energy secretary.

Cafaro Returns to Washington in New Educator Role
Ohio Democrat doesn’t rule out another run for Congress

Capri Cafaro is an executive resident at American University’s School of Public Affairs. (Courtesy Capri Cafaro)

Capri Cafaro is back in Washington, but not the way she initially envisioned it 13 years ago.

The Ohio Democrat ran unsuccessfully for Congress, the first time at age 26. In 2007, she was appointed to the Ohio Senate, where she served for nine years, rising to Democratic leader. She authored the state’s Medicaid law, one to clear the rape kit backlog, another for a program to stimulate developing goods derived from the state’s agriculture industry, and one for a program to promote tourism. She also served on the ethics committee for eight years, the second-longest in state history.