Omnibus Drops as House Speeds Toward Vote
Lawmakers could vote as early as Thursday on $1.3 trillion package

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, shown here in 2017, huddled with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to sell the $1.3 trillion spending package. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a $1.3 trillion omnibus package that would erase years of budget cuts and fund some of Republicans’ and Democrats’ top priorities.

The fiscal 2018 measure delivers on two of President Donald Trump’s biggest goals: a massive increase in military spending and new funds for border security and immigration enforcement. The omnibus would provide $700 billion for the Pentagon in all, or 10 percent more than the prior year, and close to $1.6 billion to bolster enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border, including construction of 33 miles of new fencing — though aides said funds for a “concrete wall” were not included.

Mass House Democrat Defections Likely On Omnibus Without DACA Commitment
‘We believe this is a very, very critical issue to be resolved,’ Hoyer says

House Minority Whip Steny  H.Hoyer, D-Md., suggested Democrats may oppose the omnibus without a commitment to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dozens of House Democrats are likely to vote against the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill if the final deal, which leaders hope to announce Wednesday afternoon, does not include a commitment to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

House Democrats have been frustrated for months by Republicans’ refusal to allow a floor vote on legislation to protect so called-Dreamers — DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. They’ve voted against several stopgap spending bills because of congressional inaction to provide a permanent replacement for DACA, which President Donald Trump tried to end effective March 5 but federal court rulings have kept alive.

On Omnibus, Congressional Leaders Are All Feeling Good
Ryan, Schumer and Pelosi all say they feel negotiations are in a good place

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters following a meeting of House and Senate leaders in Speaker Ryan’s office on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders emerged just before 11 a.m. Wednesday from a meeting to negotiate outstanding issues on a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill predicting a deal was forthcoming in a matter of hours. 

“We feel like we’re in a good place,” the Wisconsin Republican said upon exiting his office, where the meeting was held.

Omnibus Bill in Sight After ‘Big Four’ Meet to Iron Out Kinks
Finishing touches on $1.3 trillion package being applied

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters following a meeting of House and Senate leaders in Speaker Paul D. Ryan's office on the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders and the White House have reached a preliminary deal on a roughly $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. GOP and Democratic aides were putting the finishing touches on the mammoth package and were expected to file it later Wednesday morning for House floor consideration.

Some issues remain unresolved as of Wednesday morning, requiring leadership attention.

Spending Bill Unlikely to Include DACA Fix
White House, Democrats talking past one another

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, says Democrats rejected the latest White House offer. Democrats counter the White House already missed its chance on a DACA fix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Prospects are dim that a short-term patch that would extend a program protecting about 690,000 “Dreamers” from deportation will be included in the upcoming fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Conversations remain ongoing between Congress and the White House on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with some aides insisting a last-minute deal is a possibility. President Donald Trump wants to end the Obama administration program, but federal judges have blocked him and Dreamers brought to the United States illegally as children are in limbo.

Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football
As omnibus approaches, lawmakers should resist the temptation to throw the agency around

CBO Director Keith Hall, right, talks with Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi before an oversight hearing in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress finally heads for a vote this week on a long overdue omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018 — a year that is nearly halfway over. Fiscal policy debates on taxes and health care have added friction to an already partisan atmosphere.

Caught in the middle of this endless wrangling on Capitol Hill about budget priorities — where to cut, where to spend — is an organization that has come under fire for telling it like it is on the cost of those proposals, the Congressional Budget Office.

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

Among the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force is continuing incentives for recipients to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Expect More Trump on Nomination Fights, Short Says
Legislative affairs chief decries Democrats even as Senate awaits nominees

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short offered more criticism of Senate Democrats on nominations Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Clark file photo)

The White House renewed its complaints Friday about the pace of Senate action on nominations Friday, even as President Donald Trump is making the “personnel business” more complicated by shifting his Cabinet and other senior staff positions.

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short described himself as a “warm-up act” and suggested President Donald Trump soon will make a larger “foray” into the nominations debate.

Romney Could Create ‘New Power Center’ in Senate, Flake Says
Arizona Republican: Senate needs ‘an independent voice’

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said the Senate needs someone like Mitt Romney. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the same day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney filed to run for Senate in Utah, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake said the chamber needs someone like Romney to be an “independent voice.”

“We need Mitt Romney in the Senate,” the Arizona Republican said Thursday at an event at the National Press Club. “We need an independent voice, somebody who will enter the Senate chamber with immediate gravitas and someone who can work across the aisle, and actually, I think, create a whole new power center in the Senate. I think that’s desperately needed.”

Pelosi Suggests Trump Trying to Get Wall Funding ‘For Nothing’
’Not a whole lot of reason’ for Democrats to negotiate on short-term DACA, she says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says Democrats won’t agree to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall for nothing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If President Donald Trump was hoping Democrats would agree to fund his border wall proposal for a short-term extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that is already being kept afloat by the courts, he will be disappointed. 

“Should we give a border wall for nothing? No, I don’t think so,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.