Budget

Budget Chairmen Weigh in on Veterans Funding Fight
‘Proponents of the effort argue that it is needed to ensure adequate care for our veterans. We disagree.’

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wrote to top appropriators in both chambers Tuesday insisting that funding for veterans private medical care be kept within the topline $597 billion nondefense spending cap for fiscal 2019. 

That’s a direct shot at the Senate Appropriations leadership on both sides, who want to exempt from budget limits additional funds for the so-called Veterans Choice Program, enacted after the 2014 wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pension Plan Rescue Legislation Getting Tough to Price
Congressional Budget Office walking back previous estimates of cost

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is co-sponsoring legislation to shore up pension plans, but it faces an uncertain price tag. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An effort to shore up troubled pension plans for many middle-class workers comes with a squishy price tag.

A bill (S 2147) by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department that could make loans to multiemployer pension plans for union workers. Those plans have been estimated to be underfunded by about $65 billion, endangering the retirements of about 1.5 million residents nationwide.

Rules Readies Financial Services, Interior-Environment Bill
McHenry files only GOP leadership amendment

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., removes his bow tie as he walks down the House steps after the final vote of the week on Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee recommended a rule Monday that would allow 87 amendments to be heard when the House turns to floor debate of the combined fiscal 2019 Interior-Environment and Financial Services spending bill this week.

Among the amendments will be a Republican provision to bar the U.S. Postal Service from expanding its offering of banking services. But an amendment to provide $380 million in grant funding to states to beef up election security, pushed repeatedly by Democrats citing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, didn’t make the cut.

Trump ‘Insults’ District Residents With Unilateral Court Picks, D.C. Delegate Says
Trump administration wants to nominate D.C. prosecutor to supervisory position

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said Monday that the Trump administration has bypassed her on selections of federal law enforcement officials serving the district. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The District of Columbia’s congressional delegate took the Trump administration to task Monday for “refusing to consult with her” on the nominations of a series of federal law enforcement officials who would serve the district.

“The Trump administration continues to ignore the voice and input of D.C. residents when selecting federal officials to serve them,” Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a press release.

Podcast: New Costs for Veterans Health Slow Spending Bill Progress
CQ Budget, Episode 69

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images file photo)

Joint Budget Committee Will Meet on the Side to Work It Out
Members face November deadline for developing legislation and report

Co-Chairman Steve Womack and the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform will meet on the side to see if they can work out their differences. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 16 lawmakers tasked with overhauling the budget and appropriations process will begin meeting informally this month to determine if they can agree on bipartisan changes before the end of November, according to House Budget Chairman Steve Womack.

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform has an uphill climb before it can produce the type of legislation that a majority of its Democrats and a majority of its Republicans will support — let alone the type of bill that a majority of each chamber will vote to enact.

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is interviewed for the “CQ on Congress” podcast on June 28. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.

‘White and Wealthy’ Colleagues Called Out in Letter to DCCC Demanding Intern Pay
13 interns sign note to Chairman Ben Ray Luján

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., is receiving a letter from 13 intern Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of current interns at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a letter Thursday to Chairman Ben Ray Luján requesting pay.

But they didn’t stop there.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.