Continuing Resolution

Senate Looks Ahead to Tax, Debt Limit Debates After Recess
McConnell predicts reconciliation process for tax overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met Tuesday with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on raising the debt limit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and JOE WILLIAMS

Tuesday might not be the last time the Senate leaders address reporters before departing for August recess, but their messages were already setting the stage for September.

House GOP Disgruntled Over Path on Spending Bill
Divisions over latest plan to break omnibus into chunks

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., thinks Republicans will end up where they usually do: with a continuing resolution for the appropriations process until they can strike a deal after the start of the fiscal year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Much of the congressional focus lately has been on Senate Republicans’ intraparty divisions on health care, but House Republicans are having struggles of their own on other issues. And the frustration is mounting.

The House GOP Conference faced its latest setback Wednesday after their leadership announced the previous evening that they would move a four-bill, security-related appropriations package on the floor next week instead of a measure combining all 12 appropriations bills.

GOP Leaders Want Vote on National Security Appropriations Bills
Move suggests lack of support to pass full omnibus

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., wanted the House to pass an omnibus spending bill before the August recess, but GOP leaders are pushing for a vote just on a package of national security-related appropriations bills. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

House GOP leaders on Tuesday announced a plan to have the chamber vote next week on a package of national security-related appropriations bills.

The announcement comes as a blow to several GOP lawmakers who had been pushing for the House to pass a 12-bill omnibus spending bill before the August recess.

The Senate at a Deliberative Crossroads
Health care debacle challenges unique traditions, process

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune highlighted bipartisan work ongoing at the Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The release of the Senate Republicans’ draft health care measure, coming on the heels of the demise of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, provoked a spasm of hard feelings in the chamber and questions about whether senators could restore its now-quaint reputation as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. 

“This is not the role model in my world, but I also understand that when the Democrats say, ‘We’re not going to vote for anything,’ that limits the options,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican. “But, I would love to see a Senate that functions, in which all hundred senators have the opportunity to present ideas, amendments and take votes.”

House GOP Undecided on Spending Path
Speaker says Republicans still having ‘family conversation’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., says Republicans are still at the 'family conversation' level of figuring out the appropriations process. Also appearing are, from left, Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With a little more than seven legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, House Republicans still do not have a consensus on the process for funding the government, fueling some discontent in the conference. 

“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re going to go about our appropriations process in this first year, but we’re going to move together on consensus,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters after the Republican conference met Wednesday morning.

Senate Republicans Reject DeVos’ Proposed Education Cuts
‘The kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrives to testify on the fiscal 2018 budget request for the Education Department on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday that the Education Department’s budget request was dead on arrival in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats alike defending programs the department proposes to slash or eliminate in fiscal 2018.

At the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, DeVos also clarified remarks she made in the House last month. She pledged Tuesday to ensure that federal school choice programs would require schools to follow laws for students with disabilities. She didn’t commit to any protections not in federal law.

House Appropriators Float 12-Bill Omnibus Before Recess
Package would likely be dead on arrival in the Senate

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., has an ambitious Omnibus plan to address the already behind-schedule government funding process. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are weighing an ambitious plan to pass a 12-bill appropriations package for fiscal 2018 ahead of the August recess, top GOP appropriators told CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

The package effectively would be an instant omnibus — one that consists of 12 spending bills written by the GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee.

Word on the Hill: JFK and Memorial Day Weekend
Logistics for Saturday’s parade and spottings this week

The Kennedy Stamps. (©2017 USPS)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, which is also President John F. Kennedy’s Centennial weekend.

Kennedy was born 100 years ago Monday. To celebrate, the United States Postal Service released a commemorative “forever” stamp to honor the late president.

Hurricane Prep Tour Arrives Before FEMA Administrator Does
Trump wants a former Alabama emergency manager in the post

Bob Fenton is the acting FEMA administrator. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

ARLINGTON, Va. — When the hurricane hunters and other federal officials came together Tuesday to promote emergency preparedness, there was no Senate-confirmed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be found.

The acting administrator is Bob Fenton, a longtime FEMA official who has been running the show since January and is the regional administrator for Region IX, based in the West.

Bigly Inning