Budget

Capitol Ink | Budget Showdown

Congressional Audit Reports That Nuclear Bomb Budget Falls Short
Building new weapons will cost 35 percent more, take longer

A U.S. Air Force F-16 similar to this aircraft dropped a mock, inert version of the B61-12 nuclear bomb in the Nevada desert last month, according to news reports. It was the first test of the bomb’s non-nuclear functions. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Building new atomic bombs to replace the oldest such weapons in the U.S. arsenal will cost 35 percent more than the Energy Department has budgeted for the effort, and production will start two years late, according to an internal department estimate cited in a new congressional audit.

Critics have assailed the rising cost of the B61-12 bomb program for several years. The new internal estimate is likely to add to the scrutiny, at a time when modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal is fast becoming one of the biggest federal budget challenges of the next two decades.

As GOP Tax Overhaul Shapes Up, Democrats Push To End The Tax Return
Taxpayers might love return-free filing, but the tax preparation industry does not

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the latest effort for return-free tax filing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin promised the “largest tax reform in the history of our country” on Wednesday as the White House and congressional Republicans gear up for a major overhaul.

But while their plans emphasize large tax cuts for corporations and more modest ones for individuals, some Democrats are promoting something far more radical: the end of the tax return.

GOP Moderates Still Holding Out on Health Care
18 members confirmed opposition while leadership remains optimistic

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., leaves Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office in the Capitol on Thursday, March 23, 2017. In the background, Capitol workers set up stanchions to keep the media from blocking the hallway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and ERIN MERSHON

Mixed messages about securing needed “yes” votes on the health care bill flew around the House Thursday as a flood of moderates confirmed they remain unswayed by the latest changes.

Decision Day for Avoiding a Government Shutdown?
Appropriators think that decision on another stopgap bill could come today

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., a former chairman, says there are still some “knotty issues” to work out on a 2017 spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators think they are close to a deal to fund the government through September, but the hour is fast approaching where a stopgap might be needed to prevent a shutdown at midnight Friday.

Kentucky Rep. Harold Rogers, a former Appropriations chairman and still a senior member of the committee, described the leaders as, “within striking distance” on a fiscal 2017 spending bill.

With Trump’s Wall Off the Table, Obamacare Takes Center Stage in Shutdown Showdown
Funding for subsidies leads remaining issues

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, right, Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, center, and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin leave the Democratic Senate policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It appears President Donald Trump will settle for enhanced funding for border security instead of his signature wall.

Talks about averting a government shutdown progressed Tuesday after funding for building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico fell off the negotiating table, but lawmakers still had to work through a thicket of issues — including health care funding and family planning. They have until midnight Friday to reach a deal before government funding runs out.

Should Democrats Turn to South Carolina’s Special Election Next?
Next week’s primaries could set up another competitive contest

Archie Parnell is the leading Democrat running for the seat left behind by former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who’s now the director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Screenshot, Courtesy Archie Parnell for Congress)

Democrats enthused by last week’s primary in Georgia, and their strong showing in Kansas earlier this month, have been making noise about playing more aggressively in upcoming elections that were previously dismissed as long shots — specifically Montana.

Mentioned less often, however, is South Carolina.

David Hawkings’ Whiteboard: Trump’s Next Budget Battle Begins Soon

The whiteboard is back! Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings looks past the current battle to fund the government to sketch out President Donald Trump’s next budget task – funding the government for fiscal 2018. His ambitions are big, find out how likely they are to get accomplished.

Trump Might Accept Wall Funding Later To Avoid Shutdown
Announcement could help negotiations on fiscal 2017 spending bills before Friday deadline

President Donald Trump delivers remarks while hosting ambassadors from the 15 country members of the United Nations Security Council with his Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, left, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in the State Dining Room at the White House on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By John T. Bennett and Jennifer Shutt, Roll Call

President Donald Trump indicated Monday that he might sign legislation that would avert a government shutdown even if lawmakers leave out the $1.4 billion he’s requested to begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Senate Democrats Look to Make Their Mark on Foreign Policy
With Obama no longer in the White House, minority party is stepping up

Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardinsays there’s no shortage of foreign policy leaders among Senate Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats are not shying away from criticizing the Trump administration when it comes to foreign policy.

It’s a new and potentially adversarial role: being in the minority while explosive headlines from conflicts abroad dominate the news.