On the Hill with Doug Christian
(Audio: McConnell encouraging meating)
Capitol Hill – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says that the kickoff of bipartisan talks with the “Big 4” congressional leaders on a major budget deal looks promising. The “Big 4” are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McConnell’s reference to a ‘caps deal’ refers to spending caps, or limits imposed on the amount of Congressional budget authority in annual appropriations bills.
Negotiators representing the White House include Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Multiple sources say that Republican congressional leaders McConnell and McCarthy, are warning President Donald Trump not to backtrack from a spending agreement as he did in December, which led to a month’s long government shutdown.
A failed agreement would halt Pentagon spending increases sought by Republicans and would slash the military’s budget by $71 billion.
In other news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) meets with her fractious democratic caucus today to mollify members who insist on pushing forward on impeachment hearings of President Trump, as the Trump administration defies multiple subpoenas. Pelosi counsels her members that impeachment hearings are a political trap that could endanger democratic chances for success at the ballot box in 2020.
Doug Christian, Capitol Hill