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Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’

White House Retreating from Budget Talks

  • September 11, 2015
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With Democrats the minority party in both chambers, many on Capitol Hill had expected President Obama and his top staff to appear at the negotiating table with congressional Republicans to strike a deal to lift the statutory spending caps. White House participation in budget talks seemed logical, especially in light of Obama’s repeated threats to veto any fiscal 2016 spending bills that provide budget relief for the Pentagon but not domestic agencies. Recent statements from White House press secretary Josh Earnest, though, point to a White House that prefers to remain on the sidelines, reports CQ …

House GOP to Gather Input from Lawmakers on Contents of CR

  • September 10, 2015
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House Republicans will hold listening sessions with rank-and-file members over the coming days to figure out how to reconcile the need to fund the government starting Oct. 1 with conservatives’ desire to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. “The listening session is to get the best idea so that we’re closer to being on the same page,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said after the Republican conference met Wednesday. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters after the meeting that no decisions had been made as to when the chamber would vote on a continuing resolution (CR) needed to avert a shutdown, but some members believe the House could consider a stopgap as soon as next week …

Defense Bill Remains on Schedule, Thornberry Says

  • September 9, 2015
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Despite the need to hash out differences over several issues centered on military benefits, Congress is on track to complete the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Tuesday. “I think we’ve made progress and hopefully we will have a conference report available to come to the floor soon,” Thornberry said, reported CQ Roll Call. The chairman would not discuss specific disagreements but expressed optimism that work on the annual policy measure would be finished shortly. “I don’t know about timing. I think most issues are resolved …

White House Reiterates Demand to Bust Spending Caps

  • September 9, 2015
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White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday reiterated President Obama’s pledge to veto any fiscal 2016 spending bill that merely sticks to the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act. “He will not sign into law a budget bill that would lock in sequester levels of spending,” he said. With defense spending bills in both chambers already sidestepping the caps by stashing tens of billions of extra dollars in the Pentagon’s war account, the White House ultimatum essentially is warning Republicans that Obama won’t sign any spending bill unless it offers budget relief for non-defense agencies. Lawmakers need to strike a bipartisan deal, Earnest said, reported CQ. Earnest indicated, though, that the White House likely would agree to a continuing resolution that sticks to existing spending levels in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

GOP Leaders Hope to Avoid Standoff over Funding

  • September 7, 2015
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With summer vacation over for Congress, one of the more urgent pieces of business for congressional leaders will be passing a continuing resolution (CR) by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown, an effort likely to be complicated by the intersection of conservatives’ attempt to use the CR to defund Planned Parenthood and the Republican presidential primary. With three GOP presidential candidates — Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — seemingly eager for a showdown over the issue, “there’s real potential for fireworks in the Senate in September …

House Conservatives Still Aiming to Defund Planned Parenthood

  • September 3, 2015
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The August recess has not tempered calls by the conservative caucus of the House GOP to use the fiscal 2016 continuing resolution as a vehicle to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, a strategy which risks shutting down the federal government. At the minimum, the strident views of House conservatives likely will lead to a polarizing debate within the House Republican conference in the coming weeks as GOP leaders consider a stopgap spending measure to keep the government open after Sept. 30, reported CQ Roll Call. Conservative members insist that the Republican leadership’s plan to conduct multiple congressional investigations in response to a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue will not be adequate. They also are viewing the issue as a referendum on Republican leadership …

Avoiding a Shutdown Will Be Highest Priority following Recess, McConnell Says

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers’ primary challenge when they return to Capitol Hill next week will be clearing a measure to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WYMT in Hazard, Ky., on Monday. McConnell blamed Senate Democrats for blocking action on fiscal 2016 spending bills because they offered budget relief to the Pentagon but not to domestic agencies, reported the Hill. “They prevented us from doing any of the bills that appropriate money for the government, thereby forcing a negotiation when we go back in after Labor Day, which I’ll be engaged in with the administration and others to try to sort out how much we’re going to spend and where we’re going to spend it,” McConnell told the television station …

GOP Source Outlines Possible Opening Offer in Budget Talks

  • September 1, 2015
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When Republican leaders decide to launch negotiations over the fiscal 2016 budget caps with the White House, their opening offer may be to lift the limits on defense spending by $38 billion, while raising the cap on domestic agencies by some lesser amount. Such a plan would offset the extra defense spending by extending the Budget Control Act caps for an additional two years in the 2020s, a source with ties to senior GOP lawmakers told CQ. Any extra domestic spending agreed to would be paid for by increasing the nation’s debt. Republicans would consider only a two-year deal to raise the statutory caps that would go through FY 2017, according to the source …

House Leaders Try to Steer Conservatives from Shutdown Path

  • August 28, 2015
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House Republicans continue to search for a strategy to placate conservative lawmakers intent on defunding Planned Parenthood without risking the second government shutdown in three years. GOP leaders’ preferred response to a series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue would be to build bipartisan opposition by conducting multiple congressional investigations, reports Politico. But a group of 18 House Republicans want to deny funding to the group during the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, a move that likely would not get past the Senate, let alone President Obama. The conservatives, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), say shutting down the government is not their intention, yet they are not afraid if that is the ultimate outcome …

Pentagon Could Be Stuck with Full-Year CR

  • August 25, 2015
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With Congress still uncertain how it will approve funding to keep the federal government operating in fiscal 2016, one option lawmakers are considering is passing a yearlong continuing resolution (CR), reports Defense News. The Pentagon is used to operating under CRs, which typically fund the government at the previous year’s level for a discrete period of time until Congress can pass a full-year spending bill. Because it locks the department into the previous year’s production levels and doesn’t provide funding for new starts, however, a yearlong CR would disrupt DOD’s procurement plans and contractors’ budgets. “It really creates havoc on programs, projects and activities in the Defense Department,” Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of an extended stopgap funding measure …

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