Paul M. Krawzak

Womack Picks Bush White House Veteran as Budget Staff Director
Dan Keniry will replace Rick May and start on Feb. 20

Dan Keniry, a lobbyist and former legislative aide, has been named the new staff director of the House Budget Committee and will start Feb. 20.

Keniry was deputy assistant for legislative affairs to President George W. Bush, where he was principal liaison to the House. Keniry earlier worked as staff director of the House Rules Committee and a senior floor assistant to then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

House Passes Stopgap Bill as Hill Leaders Work on Spending Caps
Work on a longer-term deal is ongoing

The House passed legislation Tuesday to extend agency operating budgets at current levels for another six weeks, as congressional leaders worked behind closed doors to shape a longer-term deal that could dramatically boost discretionary spending across the government.

The House vote was 245-182 on the temporary spending bill, which would also provide a full year’s worth of Pentagon appropriations as well as a package of health care funding extensions. There were 17 Democrats backing the measure, while eight Republicans opposed it.

Despite Challenges, Broad Budget Deal Starts to Take Shape
Agreement would raise caps for defense and nondefense programs

Negotiators are close to an agreement on a budget deal that would raise discretionary spending caps by upwards of $300 billion over two years and provide billions of dollars more for nondefense programs that are outside the constraints of the caps.

Republican and Democratic staff with knowledge of the talks said it’s possible but not assured a deal could be reached as early as today and attached to the House stopgap spending bill Wednesday or Thursday. The House spending package, introduced Monday night, is headed to the floor of that chamber for a vote Tuesday afternoon as an amendment to an unrelated bill.

Podcast: Another Stopgap Coming as Congress Readies to Spend, Spend, Spend
CQ Budget, Episode 47

Negotiations to keep the government funded beyond Feb. 8 are underway, as lawmakers prepare to add even more to the nation's credit card, say CQ's senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. Also, the race heats up for the next chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

 

Debt Ceiling Crunch Will Come in Early March, CBO Says
Extraordinary measures will tide the government over for another month, Treasury predicts

Updated 3:45 p.m. | The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said the Treasury Department might make it into the first half of March before running out of cash to pay its bills, or a little later than the date announced by Treasury earlier in the day.

In November, CBO had projected that the statutory debt limit would not be reached until late March or early April. But because of legislation signed into law since the last estimate, most notably the tax code overhaul projected to lose at least $1 trillion in 10-year revenue, CBO is bumping up their timeframe by a few weeks.

Senate Schedules 10 p.m. Vote on CR; House Asked to be Flexible

As negotiations between Democrats and Republicans to avert a govenent shutdown continue, the Senate will vote at 10 p.m. on the House-passed bill to extend funding for four weeks, and members of the House have been asked to be available. 

Shortly after Senate leaders set up the late-night vote, the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise released a statement to members regarding further votes: “Please remain in town and flexible and we will relay any additional information as soon as it becomes available.... We aim to provide ample notice (approximately one hour) prior to any potential additional votes.”

Podcast: Inching Toward a Spending Spree
CQ Budget, Episode 44

CQ budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak explains the negotiations to lift the budget caps by as much as $250 billion over two years.

Show Notes:

GOP Leaders Under the Gun to Avert Partial Shutdown
As hope for DACA deal shrivels, Republicans stare down Friday deadline

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Congress began the week with growing uncertainty about the effort to pass another temporary spending bill, even as the prospect of a partial government shutdown loomed.

No budget talks were held over the long weekend after the breakdown in negotiations last week, people familiar with them said. Talks had stalled over the fate of roughly 690,000 “Dreamers” — young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who are currently shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

GOP Leaders Weighing Mid-February Stopgap, With Sweeteners
CHIP fix could grease bipartisan skids

GOP leaders are working on a stopgap continuing resolution that would continue current spending levels into mid-February and include a health care package that would reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, fund community health centers and extend various Medicare provisions, people with knowledge of the process say.

Some elements of the proposal are still being worked out, and it is unclear what the final package will look like. But the aim is to draw bipartisan support on the floor of both chambers next week, averting a partial government shutdown after midnight next Friday, Jan. 19, when the current stopgap expires.

Steering Panel to Meet Next Week on Next House Budget Chairman
Three candidates in the running as Diane Black steps aside

The House Republican Steering Committee plans to meet Jan. 9 to consider three candidates for the next Budget chairman, GOP aides said.

Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio are vying to succeed Diane Black, who is stepping down from the position to concentrate on her campaign for governor in Tennessee.

Senate Passes GOP Tax Plan After Procedural Stumble
House must vote again on Wednesday

By RYAN McCRIMMON and PAUL M. KRAWZAK

The Senate early Wednesday passed a final version of the GOP tax plan, leaving Republicans and President Donald Trump within striking distance of the most sweeping overhaul of the tax code in decades and their top policy goal for the year.

Budget Deal Could Bust Caps by $200 Billion
Two-year agreement expected to draw motley crew of supporters

Congressional negotiators have moved well north of $200 billion in their discussions of how much to raise discretionary spending caps in a two-year budget deal.

The higher numbers under consideration follow an initial Republican offer several weeks ago to raise defense by $54 billion and nondefense by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019 — a $182 billion increase in base discretionary spending.

Podcast: A Two-Year Budget Deal in the Making
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 39

CQ's Paul M. Krawzak spells out the progress lawmakers are making on reaching a two-year budget deal that would most likely lift the 2011 budget caps.

Show Notes:  

Podcast: How the Tax Cuts Could Stymie Economic Growth
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 38

Tax Cost Estimates May Not Be Released With Bill Text
Sources expect score to be available before Ways and Means markup

Updated 9:54 p.m. | Thursday’s release of the text of the Republican tax bill by the House Ways and Means Committee will set in motion the complex effort to estimate the effects of the legislation.

It is unclear whether initial cost estimates will be ready when Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady releases the text of the bill. Several people with knowledge of the process said they expect the score will not be ready until later in the week, or possibly until Monday before the markup. All Brady would confirm Tuesday is that a score would be available going into next week’s markup.

Senate Adopts Budget With House-Backed Changes
Late amendment expected to help speed up consideration of a tax overhaul

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday night that was amended at the 11th hour with the aim of making it acceptable enough to House Republicans to avoid a conference committee and speed the consideration of a tax overhaul.

The budget was adopted 51-49.

Senate Moves to Adopt House-Backed Budget Changes
Amendment negates need to go to conference to iron out differences

The Senate on Thursday night agreed, 52-48, to an amendment by Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi that modified the House-passed budget resolution, jettisoning reconciliation instructions aimed at getting $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts. 

Instead, the Wyoming Republican’s amendment replaces the House directive for a deficit-neutral tax cut with one that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, similar to the Senate’s.

Rob Woodall Doubles Down in Budget Chairmanship Race
Georgia Republican vying with two others for gavel

Rep. Rob Woodall is all-in in the race to succeed House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, if and when she steps down.

“Absolutely,” the George Republican said when asked if he will compete for the top spot when Black leaves the chairmanship. Black is running for governor of Tennessee next year, though she has not yet said when she plans to leave her position at the Budget panel.

Podcast: Why Any Tax Cuts Could Be Temporary
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 32

CQ budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak explains why a Senate budget resolution would add between $750 billion and $1.5 trillion or more to the deficit over 10 years, making any tax cuts temporary.

Show Notes: