Budget, Finance & Taxes

Election-Security Grants a Sticking Point in Spending Debate

Fights over election-security grants and top-line figures in the Financial Services appropriations bill are among the issues holding up one of the spending packages lawmakers hope to send to President Donald Trump by the end of the month.

Lawmakers Take Wait-and-See Approach on Florence Relief Funding

Lawmakers aren’t rushing yet to pass a Hurricane Florence disaster spending bill before the House recesses in October.

Florence’s landfall today, in the peak of hurricane season, comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s war chest is about seven times higher than it was in 2017. That gives lawmakers more runway before needing to rush out any FEMA supplemental funding bills, which totaled almost $50 billion last year.

GOP Split Over Border-Wall Fight in Lame Duck or Next Congress

Republican lawmakers are split over what could be a lose-lose scenario: whether to set a deadline for completing funding of the government shortly before Christmas, or in January, when Democrats may have taken control of the House.

What’s in the Final VA, Energy, Legislative Branch Minibus

The final version of a three-bill package lawmakers hope to send soon to President Donald Trump would fund a new Veterans Affairs health-care law, block money for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility, and require Senate candidates to file their finance reports electronically.

Wall Funding Waits While Leaders Rush Bipartisan Spending Bills

The race to complete appropriations bills before the fiscal year ends this month is more likely to benefit Democrats than conservative Republicans, as congressional leaders plan to pass a major domestic spending bill quickly and delay efforts to secure more money for a border wall.

Air Force Yanks Bomb Contract From Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch

The Air Force plans to scrap a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to make bunker-busting bombs amid lawmaker complaints it had been given to a foreign-owned company with ties to a U.S-sanctioned Russian oligarch.

Aviation Compromise Could Ride Stopgap Funding, GOP’s Thune Says

Bicameral, bipartisan staff meetings that began Monday to negotiate a compromise aviation bill could lay the groundwork for a bill to ride along with an appropriations agreement into law, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told Bloomberg Government.

FEMA Faces Another Hurricane Challenge Amid Lawmaker Scrutiny

FEMA officials say lessons from last year’s hurricane season have bolstered its island response know-how as another storm nears Hawaii, bringing with it rain and strong winds.

“We learned a lot in 2017, obviously,” said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Thursday. “We made a lot of changes in real time in addition to high level efforts.”

Senate Dispatches More Easy Amendments to Spending Package

Action on changes to the combination military-labor-health-education spending package (H.R. 6157) is starting out slowly, as usual.

The Senate is continuing to consider a trickle of non-controversial amendments. Today, for instance, senators adopted 95-0 an amendment from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) that would require a report on the military’s electronic health records.

Congress Frets as Grad Student Forgiveness Tab Rises By Billions

Young people sinking under debt flocked to student loan forgiveness programs after those initiatives were expanded years ago. But what started with good intentions has morphed, critics say, into an expensive way for high-income earners, many with graduate student loans, to have their debts forgiven on the taxpayer’s dime.