Suspending the Rules


Suspending the Rules is Bloomberg Government’s weekly look at what’s happening in Congress, featuring news and analysis from BGOV’s team of legislative analysts and reporters.

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House Democrats Seek Budget Cap Increase, Trump Taxes

The House this week is scheduled to vote on a bill to raise the statutory spending caps for two years. With Tax Day just around the corner, House leaders have also teed up a vote on a tax administration bill, while Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has formally requested President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department.

House to Vote on VAWA, GOP Reckons with Health Care

The House this week will consider a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which lapsed on Feb. 15. The measure would also make changes to gun laws, prisoner placement, and housing assistance programs. Last week, the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to invalidate all of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Military Transgender Ban, Maduro on House Agenda 

The House this week will vote on a nonbinding resolution opposing the Trump administration’s move to ban transgender troops from serving in the military. The Pentagon said it plans to implement the policy in April, after several temporary injunctions were lifted.

Trump Issues First Veto, House Eyes Net Neutrality

President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday, rejecting a resolution that would overturn his national emergency declaration at the southern border. Another resolution he opposes, this one to end U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war, could land on his desk soon.

White House Budget, House Transparency Bills on Tap

The White House officially kicked off the fiscal 2020 spending fight today with a budget that proposes aggressive cuts to domestic spending and increases for the Defense Department. On this episode of Bloomberg Government’s “Suspending the Rules,” budget and appropriations reporter Jack Fitzpatrick and legislative analyst team lead Adam Schank look at the big picture of the budget and what comes next.

Elections Bill Vote This Week, GOP Procedural Wins

House Democrats are poised to bring their signature elections and ethics package (H.R. 1) to the floor this week. Last week, House Republicans used an obscure parliamentary tool to insert language opposed by most House Democrats into a gun-buyer background check bill.

Dems Fight Emergency Order, Congress Tackles Privacy

Democrats in the House have introduced a joint resolution to undo President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, which he’s using to divert funding for his border wall.  Among the dozens of committee and subcommittee hearings scheduled for this week are several examining data security, privacy laws, and corporate practices.

Trump’s Emergency Declaration, Democrats’ Gun Bills

President Donald Trump signed an agreement on Friday to keep the government open while issuing an emergency declaration to reprogram funding for a border wall. House Democrats plan to take up two bills after the Presidents Day recess to close what they describe as loopholes in the nation’s gun buyer background check system.

Spending Talks Hit Snag, House Preps Health-Care Bills

As of Monday morning, talks to keep the government open stalled over disagreement on the number of immigration detention beds. House Democrats are starting to unveil health-care bills and hold committee hearings.

Trump To Seek Wall, Compromises in State of the Union

President Donald Trump will attempt to thread the needle in his State of the Union address Tuesday, demanding money for a border wall while calling for bipartisan compromise on other issues. Democrats last week reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand penalties for wage discrimination based on sex.

Senate DOD Cybersecurity Chairman Lays Out Priorities

Senate Republicans have no appetite for another government shutdown, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told Bloomberg Government homeland security reporter Michaela Ross at BGOV’s 2019 Hill Watch event on Jan. 30. He spoke about congressional budget negotiations and his plans for military cybersecurity as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity. Hear their conversation and questions from the live audience on this special episode of “Suspending the Rules.”

House Budget Chairman Yarmuth Previews 2019 Agenda

Democrats oppose linking the debt limit to the border debate. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, outlined that position and Democratic priorities — including on “Medicare for All” — in an interview with Bloomberg Government budget and appropriations reporter Jack Fitzpatrick at BGOV’s 2019 Hill Watch event on Jan. 30.

Busy 2019 Awaits Congress After Spending Fight

Congress could tackle a host of policy issues this year, once the spending fight is resolved, including infrastructure, tax, health care, climate, and more.

Federal Government Reopens, Lawmakers Eye Drug Prices

Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump reached agreement to reopen the government until Feb. 15.  House and Senate committees will hold hearings this week on drug pricing, renewing a push to address the high costs Americans pay for medicine.

Senate GOP Preps First Spending Vote With Wall Funds

The Senate will act on legislation to open the government, fund the border wall, and make changes to asylum and other immigration programs. Democrats have rejected that proposal and the House is planning votes on a separate funding package this week.  In the second segment, Bloomberg Law labor policy reporter Tyrone Richardson and BGOV legislative analyst Danielle Parnass discuss Democrats’ recent proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the outlook for the legislation in Congress.

Ranking Transportation Republican Lays Out 2019 Agenda

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) is the new top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, assuming the mantle as his party moves into the minority. In this special episode of Bloomberg Government’s “Suspending the Rules,” transportation policy reporter Shaun Courtney sits down with Graves to break down his goals for the next two years and plans to work with new chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and the White House.

Shutdown Enters Fourth Week With No End In Sight

The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 is now the longest in U.S. history.  In the second segment, Fitzpatrick breaks down the reasons why the Senate hasn’t taken up the House-passed spending bills, which are nearly identical to Senate bills from last year, and how the dynamic has led to a standstill in the chamber.

House Transportation Chair Sets New Course for 2019

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has been elevated to chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee under the Democrats’ new House majority.

Ethics, Health Care, Syria Top Hill Agenda This Week

House Democrats unveiled their first signature piece of legislation in the majority: H.R. 1, which would impose new ethics rules on federal officials, expand access to voting, and make changes to the campaign finance system. The House plans to take up two health-related bills this week, and the new House rules package allows the chamber to intervene in a lawsuit that could strike down the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the Senate has teed up a bill focused on security in the Middle East.

House Democrats Pitch End to Shutdown, New Rules

House Democrats unveiled a spending package that will be considered this week to end the partial government shutdown. The spending fight could offer a preview of the forthcoming debate over federal debt limit, which is scheduled to come back into effect on March 19, and discretionary spending caps. Those issues and the new rules for the House under the Democratic majority are discussed in the second segment.

Shutdown Deadline Looms, Court Targets Obamacare

Funding for about one-quarter of the federal government — including the Homeland Security, Treasury, and State departments, and the EPA — will run out at midnight Friday unless a new spending deal is enacted before then. Last Friday, a federal court judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

Self-Driving Cars Deal Stalls, Health-Care Bills Move

Last week, lawmakers announced a deal to advance legislation to establish a national safety framework for self-driving cars. Almost immediately, one prominent group withdrew its support, causing its chances for passage to crash. The House is scheduled to take up a handful of health-care bills this week under a procedure reserved for noncontroversial measures.

Congress Staring Down Deadlines on Spending, Farm Bill

After cancelling votes following the death of former President George H.W. Bush, Congress likely won’t resume legislative business until Dec. 10. Topping the hefty to-do list will be finalizing the seven full-year spending bills that weren’t completed before the fiscal year began on Oct. 1. Lawmakers are also working to finalize the farm bill, which would set agriculture and food support program policy for the next five years.

Democrats to Choose Leaders, Flood Insurance May Lapse

House Democrats will select their leaders for the 116th Congress in closed-door caucus elections on Wednesday.  The National Flood Insurance Program is scheduled to lapse on Friday, potentially roiling coastal real estate markets.

Senate Looks at Criminal Justice, Coast Guard Bills

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a compromise criminal justice measure last week that would ease mandatory minimum sentencing rules and expand programs to curb recidivism.  Last week the Senate passed a Coast Guard reauthorization measure after reaching a compromise on environmental provisions that had stalled the bill’s progress.

House Returns to Leadership Races, Lame Duck Session

Congress returns to Washington this week following the midterm elections where Democrats won control of the House. The House has 15 noncontroversial bills on its agenda this week, as well as a more divisive measure that would end protections for the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act.

New Congress Will Bring Oversight, Policy Changes

Congress will look very different when it gavels in next year with a new House Democratic Majority and an expanded Republican Senate. On this special post-election episode of “Suspending the Rules,” our reporters and legislative analysts break down the implications of a divided Congress for a variety of key issues.

Final Midterm Election Preview, Looking Ahead to 2019

Democrats are favored to take control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans are projected to retain their Senate majority.

Iran Sanctions Coming Back, Dark Money Floods Election

Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector are slated to come back into effect on Nov. 5 after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.  As Election Day approaches super PACs and outside groups are pouring money into tight races across the country.

Republicans Eye Tax Cuts, Health Rules After Election

President Donald Trump last week promised that House leaders were working on tax legislation to unveil before the Nov. 6 midterm election.  On the campaign trail, Democrats are using Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act against them, highlighting the protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions that could be lost if the law is undone.

Border Wall Money, Election Results Muddy Lame Duck

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) proposal to spend $23.4 billion on a wall along the southern border represents a harder line for Republicans as midterm election campaigns go into overdrive. While Democrats are poised to gain seats, and possibly the majority, in the House, their prospects for the Senate are less clear.

Trade Deal and Farm Bill Await Congress

The new trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will be signed by the end of November. Agriculture policy leaders in Congress are working to reauthorize farm aid and food assistance in a new Farm Bill.

Senator Calls for More College Student Data Collection

A measure to allow the federal government to collect more data on college students is being discussed as Congress could reauthorize the Higher Education Act this year.

Immigration Stalls Spending Bills, FAA Deal Takes Flight

Immigration debates related to the 2020 census, immigration courts, and the border wall are major hurdles as Congress faces a new Dec. 7 deadline to fully fund the government. Last week, the House passed a bill that would be the first long-term reauthorization for the Federal Aviation Administration since 2012.