POTUS, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ By Louise Radnofsky, Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson Updated April 20, 2017 11:04 p.m. ET


The president and his allies in Congress are rushing to sort through two sensitive issues—how to avoid a government shutdown next week while reviving a failed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act—as Mr. Trump nears the end of his first 100 days in office.

WASHINGTON—The White House has thrust a new set of proposals into talks to avoid shutdown of the government next week, while also seeking to revive a health-care overhaul that had collapsed last month.

With less than a week to pass legislation funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, negotiations are beginning to take shape. Democrats are demanding that the legislation include money for insurance companies, without which fragile insurance markets could implode, while the White House in return wants additional money for defense, the border wall and border enforcement.

Failure to extend the funding would trigger a partial government shutdown on April 29, the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Republican leaders will need Democratic votes in the Senate, and likely in the House, to pass a spending bill, giving the minority party unusual leverage in negotiations. Discussions now hinge on Democratic demands that the government continue payments that help support Affordable Care Act insurance plans. The money, known as “cost-sharing” payments, helps insurers lower costs for low-income consumers.

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Source: Trump, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ

The prospect of a shutdown looms – BY J.A. Sep 18th 2015, 21:48 | WASHINGTON, DC


THE leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination include eight more or less distinguished politicians, such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, and two men, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, with no political experience and some odd ideas. Mr Trump wants to deport 11.3m people in two years; Mr Carson thinks being gay is a matter of choice and the Affordable Care Act the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery”. Polls suggest these greenhorn screwballs command more than half the Republican vote.

To understand why Americans are so fed up with politicians, it would be reasonable to start with the government shutdown of September 2013, when the failure of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass a budget led to about 800,000 federal employees being sent home for 12 days and the mothballing of numerous government programmes and services. This was estimated to have cost the economy $24 billion in lost output; it also hurt the Republicans.

At the time, almost half of Americans said the shutdown had cost them and most blamed the GOP—even if the nation’s disdain for Congress at the time was a lesson in bipartisanship. Only around a quarter of voters, Republican or Democratic, said they were satisfied with their congressional representative.

You might think the Republicans, now in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, would want to avoid a repeat of that embarrassing, damaging episode. Yet the prospect of another shutdown looms. Lawmakers have only 12  days to pass a fresh budget for the fiscal year beginning on October 1st; or, if they cannot, to sign off on a stopgap agreement, called a “continuing resolution”, which would maintain the current rates of expenditure for three or four months. Their progress is discouraging.

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http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/09/americas-dysfunctional-politics

 

Budget brinkmanship grips DC – By Rebecca Shabad – 07/05/15 06:00 AM EDT


Greg Nash

Republicans and Democrats are locked in an increasingly bitter debate over government spending, with few legislative weeks remaining to avoid another shutdown this fall.

Bolstered by veto threats from President Obama, Senate Democrats are vowing to block all GOP spending bills, arguing the legislative work is pointless until Republicans come to the negotiating table.

“Republicans’ current appropriations strategy is only driving our nation toward another government shutdown,” House Democratic leaders said in a letter sent last month.

Republicans, meanwhile, have slammed Democrats as using obstructionist tactics, labeling their strategy the “filibuster summer.”

Democrats need to “pull their party back from a senseless path of forcing endless filibusters and a shutdown no one wants but the hard left,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech.

The debate is certain to heat up when lawmakers return from the July 4threcess, with no guarantee that lawmakers can find a way to avoid the second shutdown of the federal government in two years.

With Democrats standing in the way of the normal appropriations bills, some experts predict Congress will be forced to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded past Sept .30.

“At this particular point, I think it’s a déjà vu,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“I expect we are headed toward a continuing resolution, a continuing resolution that would probably run into as late as November or December,” he said.

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http://thehill.com/policy/finance/246825-budget-brinkmanship-grips-capitol

 

Leaders race to set up votes on trillion-dollar spending bill – By Rebecca Shabad – 12/08/14 06:19 PM EST


House and Senate negotiators late Monday were racing to tie up loose ends on a $1 trillion spending bill so lawmakers have enough time to vote on the package and avert a looming government shutdown on Friday.

A leadership aide told The Hill the cromnibus won’t be released Monday night and will instead be unveiled Tuesday. This could complicate the House and Senate’s efforts to end the lame-duck session this week.

The House still plans to adjourn Thursday afternoon, a House GOP aide said.

Democrats are also now preparing for a Tuesday unveiling.

The delay in the bill’s release will push everything back. The Rules Committee will now likely meet on Wednesday.

A GOP aide to the Rules panel said it would be possible to mark up the legislation in committee and vote on it the same day in the House, but he suggested leadership would want to give lawmakers more time to review it.

The delay would then likely lead to a Thursday vote in the House. Lawmakers could then bounce it over to the Senate before the midnight deadline to keep the government open.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told reporters late Monday that the timing of the bill’s release is now up to leadership in both chambers.

Mikulski said she and her House counterpart, Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), agreed on 11 of the 12 appropriations bills.

“There are some other items being discussed between Boehner, Reid, McConnell and Pelosi,” Mikulski said. “When those are resolved, we’ll file the bill and be ready to go.”

Mikulski suggested policy riders aren’t the issues holding up the bill. She also didn’t rule out a short-term continuing resolution (CR) for a few days to make way for the main package.

“Let’s see what they can get done tonight, but we’re ready to roll,” she said. “I believe that we will not have a shutdown.”

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), an appropriator, said Monday afternoon there are three or four items that are still being ironed out in the spending package, including a reauthorization to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which is set to expire at the end of the year.

It allows the federal government to act as a backstop for businesses in case of a terrorist attack. Congress created TRIA following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been keeping a tight lid on any details, and one aide said Durbin’s remarks were “incorrect.”

The package is expected to encompass 11 appropriations bills that cover most of the government for the rest of fiscal 2015 and one continuing resolution (CR) that funds the Department of Homeland Security for only a couple of months.

The Democratic caucus is scheduled to meet at noon on Tuesday and the GOP conference, which normally meets Tuesday mornings, is now expected to huddle early Wednesday.

If the House and Senate can’t pass the main package before the deadline Thursday night, lawmakers might have to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for a few days before holding votes on the main package. That’s exactly what Congress had to do last January before lawmakers passed the omnibus package that funded the government through September.

Scott Wong, Bernie Becker and Mike Lillis contributed.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. and 10:24 p.m.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/226373-leaders-race-to-set-up-votes-on-11t-government-spending-bill

The anxieties of the GOP majority – By Alex Isenstadt and Kyle Cheney 11/23/14 8:00 AM EST


House Speaker John Boehner, in a press conference held Nov. 21, 2014, responds to President Obama's decision to invoke execution action towards immigration reform.  (M. Scott Mahaskey/Politico)

It was a quiet meeting on the eve of a political explosion.

At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 30 or so members of the 2012 GOP freshman class of the House of Representatives gathered in a conference room in the Capitol Visitor Center for what’s become a monthly conclave. For the junior representatives, this was a chance to get some face time with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Everyone knew that the next evening, President Barack Obama planned to deliver an in-your-face rebuke to Boehner, who’d warned the president not to “play with matches” and act on his own to suspend deportation of millions of immigrants.

All of those gathered had reason to be angry: Here was the president pretending, absurdly, that he hadn’t just had his butt whipped in the midterms, and defying the biggest GOP House majority-to-come in more than 80 years. Almost exactly a year before, some in the room had been among the most vocal Republicans pushing for a government shutdown as a legislative strategy against Obama.

But now came a stern message from Boehner: The GOP shouldn’t take the bait this time. And as discussion moved around the table, there was little desire for another shutdown, even from the conservatives, over the president’s executive action on immigration. No one wanted to let Democrats off the mat and hand them a political win — especially not now, barely two weeks after the GOP’s historic midterm victory. “There was definitely a sense that they didn’t want to do that [the 2013 shutdown] again,” said an aide to one of the participants.

(Also on POLITICO: Rise of the Rust Belt Republicans)

Outwardly, Republican rhetoric toward the president hasn’t softened much, especially since Obama’s speech Thursday night. The consistent meme is that he is behaving like an unconstitutional monarch.

“The president has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a ‘king’ or an ‘emperor’ — not an American president,” Boehner said in a statement the morning after the speech. “With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek. And, as I told the president yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.”

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http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/the-anxieties-of-the-gop-majority-113113.html?hp=t2_r

Hill aims to avoid shutdown drama – By JAKE SHERMAN and MANU RAJU | 9/7/14 10:04 PM EDT


The U.S. Capitol is shown. | Getty

It’s a rare moment of unity in a historically divided and unproductive Congress. | Getty

Close

Congressional leaders from both parties are gearing up to pass a bill to avert a government shutdown with as little drama as possible.

With Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) facing a tough race, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) eager to gain more than a handful of seats in the House and early voting starting later this month in states represented by endangered Senate Democrats, virtually everyone is ready to get back home — quickly.

It’s a rare moment of unity in a historically divided and unproductive Congress.

“I think we’re going to be out of there on Sept. 23 for sure because they need to be out,” McConnell said in a recent interview. “I think the speaker would like to leave early as well. I think it’s finally something we can agree on on a bipartisan basis.”

(Also on POLITICO: Ugly summer hounds Congress)

“Difficult to imagine,” one senior Senate Democratic aide said when asked about the likelihood of Congress staying past Sept. 23.

The House would like to be out even earlier: Representatives see Sept. 19 as their last day in session until Election Day.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be potential pitfalls.

The crisis in Iraq is forcing President Barack Obama to detail his strategy there, as he’ll do in a private meeting with Hill leaders on Tuesday and in an address to the nation Wednesday. Some Republicans want to take aggressive action to clamp down on the White House’s plan to act on immigration after the midterms. And the political climate will be as bitter as ever.

Senate Democrats are preparing to load up the calendar with politically charged bills, kicking off election season with a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) to allow Congress and the states to more tightly regulate how campaigns are financed. Once that bill meets a certain death in the Senate, Democrats are looking at reviving other proposals — such as one to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, another to let people more easily refinance their student loans and another to close the wage gap between men and women.

(Also on POLITICO: Why Obama retreated on immigration)

Once they fail, Democrats will accuse the GOP of blocking bills to help women and the middle class — key constituencies that could help determine which party controls the Senate. But the GOP will say Senate Democrats are playing politics by teeing up bills that would do little to fix the country’s problems, even as House Republicans roll out their own messaging bills.

House Republicans will spend the month focusing almost exclusively on branding Senate Democrats as obstructionists. The House is attempting to pass two large bills, one containing a number of so-called jobs measures, the other one filled with energy proposals. Neither of them will even get a vote in the Senate — but that’s the point.

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/congress-aims-to-avoid-shutdown-110693.html#ixzz3Ci6xvbuP

GOP seeks to end talk of shutdown – By Cristina Marcos – 07/22/14 08:40 PM EDT


House Republicans are considering a vote before the August recess on a stopgap bill that would avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Congressional aides cautioned that no final decision has been made, but the party appears to have a strong interest in completing a continuing resolution (CR) well before the deadline.

The last government shutdown in 2013 sent the GOP’s poll numbers plunging to historic lows. While Republicans are not making noise about another standoff this year, Democrats are likely to use the possibility of a shutdown to go on the attack.

Republicans are also well aware that the last shutdown fight escalated rapidly during the long August recess, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other senators staged events around the country calling for the defunding of ObamaCare.

Lawmakers had pledged earlier this year to complete the 12 individual appropriations bills to fund the government, but that effort quickly veered off track.

As recently as last week, the House was churning through the individual annual spending bills for fiscal 2015. The House on Wednesday passed its seventh fiscal 2015 appropriations bill for the Financial Services Committee, which provides funding for the IRS, Wall Street enforcement agencies and federal payments for the District of Columbia.

But the Senate has not passed a single appropriations bill for the new fiscal year, due to fights over amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) initially wanted to set aside time to consider appropriations bills this summer, but a $120 billion package stalled on the floor in June, and there has been no action since.

That makes it a near certainty that Congress will need to pass a stopgap measure to prevent the government from closing down for the second straight year.

A vote in the House next week would give the Senate little, if any, time to react before leaving town for the five-week break. Moving on the issue sooner rather than later would establish the House’s opening salvo and pressure the Senate to move quickly.

No details were available on the spending levels that the House bill might authorize. The budget agreement brokered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last year sets fiscal 2015 spending at $1.014 trillion.

The short-term funding bill would essentially put federal agencies’ budgets on autopilot and could last beyond the midterm elections. That way, the House and Senate could negotiate a more detailed omnibus spending bill after the elections to provide funding for all federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year.

The Ryan-Murray budget compromise originally gave appropriators hope that the House and Senate would be able to at least agree on a handful of regular appropriations bills, but that didn’t happen.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), were eager to pass at least a handful of the annual spending bills after the shutdown last fall.

But with few legislative days remaining, passing appropriations bills under so-called “regular order” is out of the picture.

Asked Tuesday about the possibility of a CR, Rogers said only, “We’re having conversations.”

This story was posted at 2:08 p.m. and updated at 5:54 p.m. and 8:40 p.m.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/212982-house-could-vote-next-week-on-funding-bill