After several weeks of negotiations proceeding in fits and starts, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a power-sharing agreement governing the operation of the evenly divided Senate.  As expected, the deal, which passed by voice vote, largely conforms to the agreement in place when the Senate was last evenly

With Republicans favored to clinch retention of the Senate Majority by winning two of three remaining Senate races in Georgia and Alaska, a comprehensive immigration reform bill probably will not gain significant traction in the Senate in the next two years, even if the Democratic-controlled House decides to move such a bill. In the event

April began with Washington learning of the first-quarter fundraising hauls of Democratic presidential hopefuls, many of whom are current or former senators and House members. Meanwhile, several additional potential presidential candidates continue to weigh their options for jumping into the race, with much of the attention on former Vice President Joe Biden, who is trying

Washington, D.C., is absorbing President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to Congress since the Republican Party lost the House of Representatives in the midterm election last fall, amid concerns that the ongoing budget impasse over a potential southern border wall and related immigration issues might lead to the year’s second government shutdown.

The U.S. House and Senate have convened for a lame duck session of Congress, during which they must compromise on legislation that funds the government or face a shutdown. They may also endeavor to move additional legislation and continue to confirm Trump administration nominees before the end of the 115th Congress later this month.

The

The House and Senate are entering their respective final runs before the November midterm elections, following a two-day break for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year — even though the possibility of Hurricane Florence entering the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area cut short an already shortened week. The pressing items of business are funding the government

Members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. this week for a three-week work period before the Memorial Day recess.  As with the congressional agenda in April, the Republican majority will work towards meeting deadlines on several priority items—Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills, the Farm Bill authorization (set to lapse in September), the Federal Aviation

Today a three-week work period begins for Members of Congress arriving back in Washington, where President Trump has remained active (including via his Twitter account). The President has announced initiatives to address a host of topics, from immigration reform to international trade, as well as personnel changes within his Cabinet and White House staff. With the midterm elections now firmly in its sights, Congress is more likely to react to the President’s actions through its confirmation and oversight responsibilities, than through legislation requiring compromise and bipartisanship.

After negotiating a two-year, bipartisan budget deal in early March and passing a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government through the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, in a dramatic, eleventh hour tweet, President Trump toyed with the idea of vetoing the massive spending package after House and Senate passage last month, which would have caused the government to shut down.  He eventually signed the bill into law, after announcing his reservations with the legislation, stating he would “never sign another bill like this again.”  In particular, the President said he had wanted more funds for his proposed border wall with Mexico.  The chaos this surprise veto threat caused for congressional leadership demonstrates how volatile the political process has become even as Republicans control both the Executive and Legislative branches. Congressional Republicans may have learned that they can cut deals on Capitol Hill, but they cannot leave out the White House without risking a veto threat.

The President’s disappointment with the omnibus appropriations bill has reportedly resulted in discussions with GOP leadership about a potential rescission request, which would roll back portions of the spending bill even though it has already become law.  While it is unlikely that a majority of members would support a rescission request from the Administration, the fact that GOP leaders are even engaging in the conversation with the President shows that he can impose his own frame on Congress’s agenda. A rescission request could jeopardize the FY 2019 appropriations process that is underway, set to the topline numbers established by the March budget agreement.


Continue Reading The Congressional Agenda for April