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.

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.

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.

Icebreaker, Border Wall Compete for Support in Defense Measures

The Coast Guard could eventually boost its polar icebreaker fleet to six under a compromise defense policy bill for fiscal 2019. Trouble is, a draft House spending measure would wipe out the actual money in favor of paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Trump-Backed Coast Guard Icebreaker Runs Aground in House Bill

The future of the U.S. Coast Guard’s mission in the Arctic could be in jeopardy, as a draft House spending measure approved today wouldn’t fund a new polar icebreaker that had received backing from President Donald Trump.

Democrats Object as Transit Grants Get the Gateway Treatment

Critical rail and bus rapid transit projects could be collateral damage in the Trump administration’s crusade against the Gateway Project, Democratic appropriators said in response to a letter by the agency overseeing transit grants.

Senate Sends Trump Message on Drones, Transit in Spending Bill

President Donald Trump’s administration should follow the lead of Congress on transportation priorities, Senate appropriators made clear in a spending bill and accompanying committee report.