Kansas

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team face a deadline next month to consider the rescissions package before procedural protections expire. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

Ratings Change: 5 GOP Open House Seats Shift Toward Democrats
Recent Republican struggles in special elections don’t augur well for party in fall

The race for retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District seat is now a Toss-up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from any single special election, but the trend is clear across nearly all of the special contests over the past year: Democrats are over-performing and Republicans are struggling to hold open seats.

The over-performance by Democratic candidates hasn’t been limited by geography, considering they have done better than expected in Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, even if they’ve fallen short in all but one of those races.

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats
Republicans find themselves more on the defensive as November looms

Former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan, seen here after being pulled from the Congressional Baseball Game in 2014, has left behinda an open seat that is the most likely to flip party control, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, it’s time for another of my “dangerous dozen open House seats” columns, which I have been writing since shortly after the establishment of the Jamestown Settlement (or so it seems).

This cycle’s version has a plethora of seats to choose from, given the 38 Republican and 19 Democratic seats where an incumbent is not seeking re-election, either because he or she is retiring or running for a different office. (The number does not include those districts where a special election has already filled a vacancy or will be held before November.)

House Appropriators Vote to End Perk for Former Speakers
Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi both back ending office space, funding for former speakers

Legislative branch operations would get a boost under legislation the House Appropriations Committee advanced, despite the bill’s deletion of a perk for former speakers of the House. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee advanced its $3.8 billion fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch spending bill to the floor Tuesday, after adopting an amendment to eliminate funding for a Capitol Hill office perk for former speakers.

The panel backed the bill, 47-0, after adopting by voice vote a manager’s amendment from Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, which would end taxpayer funding for an office for former House speakers, along with staff and other resources.

Pompeo Vows ‘Tough Diplomacy,’ Return of State’s ‘Swagger’
Trump cryptically touts U.S. activities that are ‘not even a glimmer in your eye’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with Mike Pompeo in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Flanked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised Tuesday to conduct “tough diplomacy” and told employees at the agency he wants to restore its “swagger.”

Trump and Pence made the short trek to Foggy Bottom on Wednesday morning for a ceremonial swearing-in of Trump’s second secretary of State. The president hailed Pompeo’s experience — as well as his own business school performance — while cryptically alluding to unspecified “things” the U.S. government is doing around the globe.

GOP Women’s Group Runs Digital Ad for West Virginia's Carol Miller
The five-figure buy is Winning for Women’s first independent expenditure

Winning for Women is making a five-figure investment in digital ads for state Del. Carol Miller ahead of next week’s GOP primary in the 3rd District. (Screenshot)

Winning for Women Inc., a new group formed to boost Republican female candidates, is making its first independent expenditure of the 2018 cycle for a West Virginia woman facing a competitive congressional primary next week.

Winning for Women is spending five figures on a digital spot supporting state Del. Carol Miller, who is running for the GOP nomination in West Virginia’s 3rd District. Current GOP Rep. Evan Jenkins is running for Senate.

Photos of the Week: Kids, a Kardashian and Macron at Capitol ... and More
The week of April 23 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., arrives to hold his weekly press conference as press offspring play on stage during Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday saw some cute new members of the press corps and congressional staff — the children who took over the Capitol during Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

The visitors offered moments of levity during leadership news conferences in an otherwise busy and heated week on Capitol Hill. 

Veterans Affairs Nominee Jackson Bows Out Amid Firestorm
Trump says he has another nominee in mind, but declines to identify his second choice

Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirsken Building after a meeting with Kansas GOP Sen. Jerry Moran on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, announced Thursday he was stepping aside amid new allegations of abusing alcohol and handing out prescription drugs.

Jackson’s withdrawal comes two days after Trump publicly advised him to bow out and just hours after a report surfaced, citing Senate Democrats’ summary of allegations against him, that he once got intoxicated and crashed a government automobile.

Analysis: Why I’m Cautious About Phil Bredesen’s Prospects in Tennessee
Former governor is running a good race, but federal campaign dynamics could turn against him

Phil Bredesen has bipartisan credentials from his time as a businessman, mayor and governor, but the dynamics of a federal race have a life of their own. (Courtesy Phil Bredesen for Senate)

Two early surveys show former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, holding a lead over Republican Rep. Marcia Blackburn in hypothetical ballot tests of this year’s Senate race.

Those polls, along with kind words about Bredesen from retiring Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, have raised the contest’s profile and heightened the buzz. But it’s best to be cautious about the former governor’s prospects as you watch the race play out.