Kay Granger

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announces retirement
New York Democrat has served in the House for three decades

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, is retiring after 16 terms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey announced Thursday that she is not running for reelection. The New York Democrat was the first woman to lead the powerful committee.

“After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is my deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country, and I will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.”

Meet the key appropriations players of the fall
List includes budget war veterans as well as relative newcomers

Eric Ueland has been the White House legislative affairs chief since June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s the behind-the-scenes work of top legislative aides that makes the Capitol Hill machinery work, and that’s never truer than when lawmakers are trying to hash out spending bills as Congress and the White House will be focused on this fall and winter.

After initial decisions by Republican and Democratic clerks — the top staffers on the Appropriations subcommittees — full committee staff will step in to help work out any remaining issues. Leadership staff will be on hand to address the most intractable disagreements and questions about what legislation can ride with the spending bills, and to make sure the measures have enough votes to pass.

House passes temporary funding bill; Senate vote next week
The vote punts final decisions on fiscal 2020 to just before the Thanksgiving recess

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The House passed an interim funding bill Thursday afternoon, extending appropriations through Nov. 21. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a stopgap spending bill that would continue government funding until Nov. 21, after spending the last few days arguing over aid to farmers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

The 301-123 tally saw just three Democrats vote ‘no’ and 76 Republicans supporting the measure. The strong bipartisan showing bodes well for quick Senate passage of the continuing resolution next week.

Senate border bill faces hurdles

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said he has not received assurances from the White House that President Donald Trump would support a bipartisan Senate bill providing humanitarian assistance at the southern border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol are generally unified in support of the Senate’s $4.59 billion supplemental relief bill for border agencies strained by record numbers of migrants crossing the southern border.

There’s just one problem: It’s not fully clear that President Donald Trump would sign the bipartisan measure, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 30-1 vote last Wednesday.

House Democrats offer changes to woo liberals on border funds
Bipartisan Senate measure moving in that chamber, adding to flux

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., talks with reporters before attending a meeting with other House Democrats to discuss potential border bill changes at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | House Democratic leaders sought to tamp down a rebellion among their party’s left flank Tuesday as they prepared for a floor vote on $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey offered a new manager’s amendment aimed at easing the concerns of Progressive Caucus and Hispanic Caucus members over the care of children who are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Her amendment would tack on requirements for CBP to develop standards for medical care, nutrition, hygiene and personnel training, as well as a plan to ensure access to translation services for individuals “encountered” by U.S. immigration agencies.

Trump admin. pans Democrats’ plan to protect areas in Alaska and offshore
An Office of Management and Budget letter, dated last week, called it an attempt to ‘block’ activities promoting ‘America’s energy security’

This undated photo shows the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Trump Administration panned a move by House Democrats to try and block new lease sales in ANWR and in offshore waters. (Photo by Steven Chase/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Getty Images)

The White House budget office criticized House Democrats over provisions in their spending bills that would block the Interior Department from pursuing lease sales in offshore waters and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an ecologically sensitive region in Alaska.

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved the $46.4 billion Energy-Water and $39.5 billion Interior-Environment fiscal 2020 spending bills.

A House Republican may block the disaster aid bill for a third time this week
Rep. Thomas Massie lodged the objection Tuesday, following Rep. Chip Roy who did so on Friday

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters after objecting to the unanimous consent for passage of the disaster aid bill in the House on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A second Republican lawmaker blocked Congress from clearing a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill — a tactic that will likely be repeated for a third time later this week during another round of political theater.

The GOP maneuvers are likely to be for naught, however, as it’s a matter of time before the House clears the package for President Donald Trump’s signature. The chamber reconvenes on June 3 after the weeklong Memorial Day recess, and a roll call vote could be held as soon as that evening, if another unanimous consent request expected Thursday is blocked.

Rep. Chip Roy won’t object to disaster aid package today, but others may
Texas freshman's objection who held up passage last week

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objected last week when the House tried to pass a disaster aid bill using unanimous consent during a pro forma session when most members were out of town. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas GOP lawmaker who blocked passage of a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill on Friday won’t be in the chamber Tuesday afternoon when the House reconvenes for another pro forma session. 

But with any lawmaker able to object to a new unanimous consent request, the odds of ramming the relief bill through the chamber without a recorded vote during this recess week remain shaky.

House spending panel advances measure boosting congressional funding

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who chairs the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, offered amendments to boost Members Representational Allowances. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a $3.97 billion fiscal 2020 Legislative Branch spending measure Thursday, following tension over total funding levels and the absence of a final budget agreement.

The panel voted 28-22 to report the draft bill to the floor, which would provide $164 million more than enacted fiscal 2019 levels.

House works to end Trump’s suspension of aid to Central America
The draft fiscal 2020 State-Foreign Operations spending bill would also provide funds reproductive health programs and international agencies

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., conducts a State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the State Department's budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 on March 27. Appropriators aim to restore aid funding to Central American countries in a 2020 spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House appropriators are trying to end a divisive suspension of foreign aid to Central America made by President Donald Trump, one of many provisions in a spending bill that would counter administration policy on a range of international issues.

The draft fiscal 2020 State-Foreign Operations spending bill released Thursday would also provide more money to reproductive health programs and international agencies.