Steny H Hoyer

Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling
Program prompts complaints of ‘jurassic pork’ as some see earmarks by another name

Where supporters see a way to bankroll innovate programs that the military may not even know it needs, critics see pork by another name. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon will soon have received about $2.3 billion in the last nine years — money the military never requested — for a special fund intended to help replace earmarks after Congress banned them, our analysis shows.

Buried deep inside the $674.4 billion Defense spending measure for fiscal 2019 that the Senate is expected to vote on this week is a chart with one line showing a $250 million appropriation for the Defense Rapid Innovation Fund, the latest installment of sizable funding for a largely unknown program that quietly disburses scores of contracts every year.

Leahy Endorses Return of Spending Bill Earmarks
Doing so could allow for orderly, timely appropriations process, Vermont Democrat says

Remarks by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., on bringing back earmarks echo similar ones expressed by House Minority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee would like to bring earmarks back to the appropriations process, restoring a practice banned in 2011 after several years of scandals and negative publicity.

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Friday that there’s “no question” that once again allowing earmarks is one way lawmakers can have an orderly, timely process for annual appropriations bills.

15 Members Pledge to Withhold Speaker Vote Without Rule Changes
8 Democrats, 7 Republicans part of bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., said he will not vote for a speaker who doesn’t back the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed rule changes for making the House more bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least 15 members of the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus have pledged to withhold their vote for speaker if the candidate that emerges as the majority party’s nominee does not back the caucus’s proposed rule changes.

The Problem Solvers unveiled a package of rules changes in late July dubbed “Break the Gridlock.” The proposals aim to open up the legislative process in a way that prioritizes bipartisanship.

Democrats Weighing Earmark Revival if They Take Back House
Elimination of earmarks led to an “abdication of Congress’ power of the purse,” Hoyer says

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is calling for lawmakers to bring back earmarks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At the end of a speech Wednesday outlining what he billed as congressional Democrats’ vision to renew the county’s faith in government, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer called for lawmakers to bring back earmarks.

It was a noteworthy mention from the Democrats’ No. 2 in House leadership during a talk that focused on his party’s plans — should it win control of the chamber in the midterms — to overhaul campaign finance and government ethics laws and to weed out the perception of corruption on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.

Steny Hoyer Touts Oversight and Ethics Standards as Key to Trust in Government
Eyeing majority, Maryland Democrat and minority whip looks at transparency as winning issue

Hoyer layed out proposals to boost transparency, oversight and to strengthen ethics standards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Efforts to boost transparency, ethics and oversight are among House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer’s strategies for restoring Americans’ trust in government if Democrats win the House majority for the next congress.

“Our people believe their government is rigged against them. This belief undermines trust in government and impedes our ability to govern,” the Maryland Democrat told a crowd Wednesday.

Government Overhaul Like ‘Caffeine’ for Economic Agenda, Dems Say
Minority whip to deliver speech Wednesday outlining campaign finance, voting, ethics, rules overhauls

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will deliver a speech Wednesday calling for Democrats to quickly pass a government overhaul package in January if they are in the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats win the House majority, Steny Hoyer believes their economic agenda will do better if they first pass a government overhaul package to help restore Americans’ continuously eroding trust in government.

“To regain that trust, our response must be vigorous and innovative,” the minority whip plans to say in a speech Wednesday morning, according to excerpts shared with Roll Call.

Congressional Schedule Shows a Light Week Ahead
Agenda abbreviated by Rosh Hashanah on Monday and Tuesday

The congressional schedule is slightly abbreviated next year because of Rosh Hashanah. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Both chambers of Congress will have abbreviated schedules this coming week, largely due to Rosh Hashanah, which begins in the evening on Sept. 9 and ends on the evening on Tuesday, Sept. 11. 

On Monday and Tuesday, no votes are expected in either chamber. 

Brennan Fracas Could Rip Through Senate’s Defense Spending Debate
Security clearances, abortion among amendment topics floated

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, here with Chairman Richard Burr, says he plans to introduce an amendment to the 2019 defense spending bill that would block the president from revoking security clearances. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is ready to start voting on amendments to the fiscal 2019 Defense spending bill, possibly including several that could stir spirited debate.

Senators have only agreed so far to vote on two relatively uncontroversial amendments to the the two-bill package that includes both the $675 billion Defense bill and the $179.3 billion Labor-HHS-Education measure. Those first two votes are scheduled for Monday evening.

Rep. Jim Himes: Top 3 Democratic Leaders in Late 70s Is ‘A Problem’
New Democrat Coalition chairman won‘t say whether he‘ll back Pelosi for speaker

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., says it’s “a problem” that the top three House Democratic leaders are in their late 70s. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the centrist New Democrat Coalition wouldn’t say Friday whether he would back Nancy Pelosi for House Democratic leader but he did vocalize an issue with the current leadership team.

“The fact that our top three leaders are in their late 70s — I don’t care who those leaders are — that is in fact a problem,” Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes told CNN.

Speaker Race Could Hinge on Who Agrees to Change the Rules
House members have an ultimatum for those who covet the top spot: No changes, no gavel

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is among the members demanding wholesale rules changes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whichever party controls the House in 2019, the next speaker won’t secure the job easily and will likely have to promise major changes to how the institution operates, with members demanding that as a condition for support.

Frustration has grown among rank-and-file members for years as leadership usurped decision-making power from committees. Lawmakers have pushed to change House and caucus rules to return influence to individuals and committees, but with limited success.