Border Democrats Walk Tightrope Between Wall, Constituent Jobs

Democratic lawmakers from U.S. border states are having to learn how to balance their opposition to President Trump’s proposed border wall with the boost in federal contract spending many of their districts have seen, thanks to tougher immigration enforcement.

Federal Contract Spending Trends: Five Years in Five Charts

Contract spending has grown by almost 6 percent per year over the past five years as federal agencies relied increasingly on governmentwide contract vehicles and simplified acquisition procedures. Bloomberg Government has identified five important spending trends that developed from fiscal 2014 through 2018.

McCarthy Intervenes for Bus Company Targeted by Spending Bill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) intervened in House-Senate spending bill negotiations to exclude a bus manufacturer in his district from a proposed funding restriction, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

Chao Defying Law on Self-Driving Auto Test Funds, Lawmakers Say

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao ignored explicit congressional direction by shutting down a program to test self-driving vehicle technology at a handful of government-designated proving grounds, key lawmakers from both chambers say.

Pentagon Renovation

Trump Space Force, Pentagon Plan Set to Collide With Budget Caps

Call it “Revenge of the Budget Control Act.” If this year is a feast for the Pentagon with its newly minted budget of almost $700 billion, the next two years threaten famine.

The Pentagon has laid out ambitious plans to take on strategic adversaries like Russia and China, grow the Air Force and the Navy, boost lethality, and – at President Donald Trump’s prodding – launch the new Space Force that could have a $13 billion price tag in its first five years by one preliminary Air Force estimate.

Border Wall, Census Citizenship Query Among Lame-Duck Fights

The deal to avoid a shutdown ensures that some of the most contentious debates in the fiscal 2019 spending process will take place later this year. Among them: disputes over border wall funds, asylum seekers, the Census Bureau’s proposed citizenship question and climate-change programs.

Veterans’ Health Program Price Tag Still Unknown, Say Lawmakers

Lawmakers say the Trump administration has kept them in the dark about the cost of a new law on veterans’ health care, a looming long-term expenditure that could complicate future budget negotiations.

The VA MISSION Act (Public Law 115-182) aims to give veterans more flexibility to seek subsidized health care at private facilities outside the Department of Veterans Affairs

Only 1 Percent of Applicants Receive Student Loan Forgiveness

Nearly all student borrowers who applied for loans forgiveness under a program for public and nonprofit workers have had their applications denied, according to new data from the Education Department. More than 28,000 borrowers applied to have their loans discharged under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which forgives loans for public and nonprofit workers who have made a decade’s worth of qualifying payments.

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.