Budget

Still confused about Trump’s demands of Congress? Maybe it’s you
President ‘always lays it right out there,’ but Hill slow to ‘adjust,’ Eric Ueland says

President Donald Trump — here in January 2018 with Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Thune of South Dakota and Vice President Mike Pence — has clear legislative goals despite confusion at times on the Hill as to what they are, legislative affairs director Eric Ueland says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — If you’re a Republican lawmaker or congressional aide who struggles to understand what Donald Trump wants in legislation, take a long look in the mirror.

Because it’s you. Not him.

House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

President Donald Trump greets House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.

McCarthy: Addressing debt would be Republicans’ top priority if they take back House
Environment, technology and privacy rights would also top agenda, McCarthy says

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is promising action on the national debt if Republicans retake the chamber next year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — As House Republicans kicked off a 48-hour retreat here Thursday afternoon to plot their path back to the majority, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the GOP’s top priority if it retakes the chamber in 2020 would be to address the national debt.

“First thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of,” the California Republican said. “This is continuing to grow.”

Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020
Republicans had a unified message with a unified focus, NRCC chairman writes

Republican Dan Bishop’s victory in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District confirms the effectiveness of President Donald Trump as a GOP surrogate and the unpopularity of the Democrats’ socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Republicans’ special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn’t just overcome his Democrat opponent’s two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate’s 2018 efforts by 2 points — quite a different narrative from what the cable news pundits want voters to believe and great news for Republican prospects next year.

Senate spending bill would slash foreign military aid
Questions raised about how Pentagon is handling funds to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies

The Pentagon was unable to tell the Senate Appropriations Committee how many weapons purchased under one program had been ordered, received, or were in transit or lost. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut more than $2 billion from U.S. military overseas aid programs largely due to mismanagement, according to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Combined with cuts to previously appropriated funds, the potential reductions would affect programs to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies and another account to reimburse Pakistan for the same sort of efforts.

Even Joe Biden was once the upstart
Former vice president’s 1972 Senate race was long-shot campaign that paid off

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Ruth Burrows at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday August 8, 2019. Biden is making his third run for president. But his first run for the Senate provide clues to how far he has come in politics. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the sixth installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden was an unknown lawyer in his first term on the New Castle County Council when he started talking to people about his next move.

Draft stopgap would protect Ukraine aid, deny wall flexibility
Draft CR doesn’t grant administration request to use CBP funds to build sections of southern border wall outside of Rio Grande Valley Sector

North Carolina Highway 12 leading onto Hatteras Island is covered with sand after Hurricane Dorian hit the area on Sept. 6. The draft stopgap spending bill being circulated by Democrats would accommodate a White House request to speed up disaster relief spending for Dorian cleanup as other tropical disturbances still threaten. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The measure would also accommodate a White House request to allow an increased rate of disaster relief spending as cleanup from Hurricane Dorian continues and other tropical disturbances still threaten

House Democrats are circulating a draft stopgap spending bill to fund government agencies beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year that would prevent the White House from blocking military assistance to Ukraine and money for a variety of foreign aid-related programs.

Senate appropriations process continues to devolve
Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations spending bills mired in abortion dispute

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has seen the Senate’s appropriations process begin to fray this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators have abandoned plans to mark up two spending bills Thursday that have become mired in a partisan dispute over abortion policy.

The Appropriations Committee announced it will postpone consideration of its fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill and its State-Foreign Operations bill. As of Wednesday evening, the panel still planned to take up its Defense and Energy-Water bills at a full committee markup, along with a measure that would divvy up total discretionary spending among the 12 subcommittees.

White House keeping foreign aid spending on a tight leash
Funding plan apportions roughly 2 percent of the remaining funds per day for the remainder of the fiscal year

Last month, the White House considered permanently canceling the funding, but President Donald Trump balked after pushback from top GOP officials on Capitol Hill as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House is slowly releasing its previous hold on State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funds that lapse after Sept. 30, according to sources familiar with the move. But the agencies still could face difficulty spending it all before the deadline.

The Office of Management and Budget has required that the remaining funds in 10 accounts be “apportioned,” or parceled out, in one-quarter increments on the first four Sundays in September. Last month, the White House considered permanently canceling the funding, but President Donald Trump balked after pushback from top GOP officials on Capitol Hill as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Debating 2020 Democrats should not ignore our exploding debt
Our nation’s security — and ultimately its freedom — are dependent on its bottom line

Democratic 2020 hopefuls would do well to remember that our growing debt burden could cancel every initiative of the next president, Minge and Penny write. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — Twenty current and former Democratic presidential candidates have now debated twice without any discussion of an issue that actively threatens our nation and ideals: our growing debt burden.

Out of 229 questions asked by the moderators, not one was about the national debt. While there are many important passion-arousing causes for candidates to discuss, “boring” fiscal matters, such as our nation’s exploding debt — and the spiraling interest that comes with it — could cancel every initiative of the next president unless she or he has a plan to address it.