Budget

White House readies $4 billion foreign aid cuts package
Proposal to eliminate unspent funds could ratchet up tensions with Congress over appropriations

President Donald Trump's administration could send Congress a proposal to cancel $4 billion in foreign aid funding in the coming days. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The White House budget office on Thursday evening sent a proposal to trim unspent foreign assistance funds by “north of $4 billion” to the State Department for review, according to a senior administration official.

The final price tag of the rescissions package, which could also target unspent balances at the U.S. Agency for International Development, would likely change before being formally submitted to Capitol Hill, the official said.

Border emergency hits six months; ball back in Congress’ court
Lawmakers may again try to terminate Trump's declaration allowing him to shift funds for wall construction

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats appear in February at a news conference on the joint resolution to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It is not clear whether they will try again to pass a similar measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday marks six months since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border, a notable anniversary because it gives Congress another shot at ending it.

The flashpoint in the debate remains funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, a prominent pledge made during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid that now hangs over the 2020 campaign.

White House foreign aid cuts to spare Ivanka, Pence favorite programs
Global health, women's economic development and religious protections would not be cut

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, spearheaded a women's economic development program that would not be cut. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Funding to support global health programs, promote women’s economic development and protect Christians and other religious minorities abroad from persecution would be exempt from a package of cuts to foreign aid that the White House is developing.

A senior administration official said Monday those programs are a high priority for President Donald Trump.

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, does a TV interview on Jan. 20, 2015. Cuccinelli, now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced a new rule giving immigration officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

CQ Roll Call Analysis: Lower spending, deficits partially due to budget control law
CQ Budget podcast, episode 122

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CQ Roll Call's Budget Editor Peter Cohn combed through the numbers since Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 and found something remarkable: the spending caps produced some results but most of the savings were because of factors out of Congress' hands. 

White House lifts pause on State, USAID spending
The move comes after a flurry of congressional criticism of OMB's funding freeze

The White House has agreed to release certain State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding after it had been temporarily frozen. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has released certain funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that over the weekend had been temporarily frozen, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action comes after the Office of Management and Budget told those two agencies to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances, and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.

Senate bill aims to protect taxpayers from costly drugs
Seeks to help Medicare control costs so premiums can remain stable

One proposed change to Medicare prescription drug benefit is to help the program control costs it absorbs to keep premiums stable. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress this year could enact the biggest overhaul of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit since it was first established in 2003. If successful, seniors — and taxpayers — would be more insulated against the cost of the most expensive drugs. 

One proposed change is meant to help Medicare control the costs it absorbs so that the program’s premiums can remain stable despite increasing drug prices. Supporters of the drug program tout its low premiums, with the Trump administration and the private insurers who run Part D recently highlighting that average consumer premiums will fall in 2020.

Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall
$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby  plans for his committee to begin marking up spending bills when Congress returns in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

‘Public charge’ rule creates Homeland spending bill headache
Amendment blocks proposed rules on immigrant access to Medicaid and food stamps

Rep. David Price, D-N.C., offered an amendment that would block the Department of Homeland Security's proposed "public charge" rule from going into effect. (File photo by Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

An amendment inserted into the House's fiscal 2020 Homeland Security spending bill by Appropriations Committee Democrats during the panel's June markup would bust the subcommittee's allocation by nearly $3.1 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Adopted on a 28-21 vote, the amendment from Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Pete Aguilar and Barbara Lee of California, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin would block a number of Trump administration immigration policies, including protecting beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation and revoking Trump's travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.