Budget

The most wonderful time of the year: budget forecast release week
CQ Budget, ep. 141

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 11: Scaffolding has been removed from the upper section of the U.S. Capitol dome as the Architect of the Capitol works to complete the Capitol Dome Restoration Project before the 2017 presidential inauguration. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rainy days ahead: States boost reserves, anticipating slowdown
An expanding economy led to expanded budgets. Now, with slowdown looming, rainy-day funds get more attention

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signs the state's fiscal 2020 budget in his ceremonial office in the State House. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As the longest economic expansion in American history continued last year, state governments increased salaries for teachers and other public employees, authorized new construction projects and — recognizing good times won’t last forever — added to reserve funds.

Cash reserves could become more important this year, as experts project the economy to slow down in 2020. Though a full-scale recession seems less likely than it did at points last year, a slower rate of growth still appears likely. Fitch Ratings, a credit ratings agency, projects a 1.7 percent expansion in 2020, which would be the lowest level since 2011.

Democrats seek to put teeth into ‘impoundment’ law
Going to court is only current option to force release of funds

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth wants to make it hurt if a president tries to block funding against lawmakers’ wishes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A fresh legal opinion challenging President Donald Trump’s hold on Ukraine military aid under a Nixon-era budget law may or may not move the needle with senators in the president’s impeachment trial.

But one thing is clear: Trump’s delay of $214 million in Pentagon funds is just the latest in a long line of findings by the Government Accountability Office going back decades that presidents of both parties have run afoul of the 1974 law. That statute was aimed at restricting “impoundments,” where the executive branch refuses to spend money appropriated by Congress.

Trump undercuts military messages on brain injuries
President describes injuries from Iranian strikes as ‘headaches’

President Donald Trump’s description of potential military brain injuries as “not very serious” stands in contrast to the military’s call for such injuries not to be minimized. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday that U.S. troops suffering concussion-like symptoms had “not very serious” injuries clashed with a yearslong, hard-fought U.S. military campaign to spread the message that a brain injury is not something to be minimized.

Trump was referring to at least 11 cases of troops in Iraq reporting symptoms that officials said may or may not turn out to be so-called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 22
Coons lauds Schiff for 30 minutes of ‘mastery’; White House defense could begin Saturday

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, leaves a news conference Tuesday. The Senate rejected all of the amendments Schumer introduced to try to change the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 10:10 p.m.  

Delaware Democrat Chris Coons said House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s closing 30 minutes was “compelling” and that he showed a “mastery” of the material. Coons also said that there were snacks and coffee in the cloakroom. Coons said there has not been much outreach to him from Republicans.

Abortion policy activism heats up for Roe v. Wade anniversary
Groups gear up for ‘pivotal year’ with emphasis on states

Both sides of the abortion rights debate are doubling down on grassroots efforts to energize voters who share their beliefs about abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Groups pushing for the advancement of abortion rights and those looking to limit the procedure have an ambitious agenda starting this week, foreshadowing a year that could be critical for advocates on both sides of the debate.

In two months, the Supreme Court will hear its first major abortion case since 2016, and both sides are revving up for a major presidential election. States are also eyeing a number of new reproductive health bills as their legislatures come back into session.

Senate approves Trump trial rules, lining up a series of late nights
Chamber shot down attempts by Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the start of the impeachment trial on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted to approve Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules to govern the impeachment trial, which, despite last-minute changes Tuesday, earned no support from Democrats.

Senators adopted the updated resolution, 53-47, shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The resolution will now give House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team 24 hours to make their arguments over three days, instead of the two days initially proposed by McConnell.

Congress faces narrow spending increase as VA health care costs balloon
CQ Budget, Ep. 140

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 15: The U.S. flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol dome on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 21
Senate blocks every one of Schumer’s amendments on rules proposal

House impeachment managers address the media in the Capitol on the Senate trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 53-47 along party lines to approve Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, after a long night of debate that stretched to nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Senators almost entirely along party lines to block every motion Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer put forward Tuesday in an attempt to subpoena testimony from Cabinet officials, State Department and White House documents, and communications regarding Ukraine.

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade
The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump's signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.