In the face of White House opposition, the House on Monday kicked off floor action on its fiscal 2015 spending bill for transportation and housing programs, with Republican leaders anticipating its passage as early as Tuesday.
The legislation includes funding for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, along with other related agencies, and overall it would provide $52 billion in discretionary spending.
Last year, the so-called THUD appropriations bill for fiscal 2014 was dramatically pulled from the floor before a vote when it became clear support had collapsed among Republicans as well as Democrats, partly because of steep cuts proposed in the popular Community Development Block Grant program at HUD.
But no such major GOP fissures are anticipated to create last-second hiccups this year. The measure would be the fourth appropriations bill passed by the House out of 12 due by the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.
Still, against the backdrop of this Republican confidence, the White House Office of Management and Budget on Monday issued a statement underscoring the administration’s strong opposition to the House’s THUD bill.
The statement said the bill “fails to make needed investments in our Nation’s infrastructure, provides insufficient support for critical housing programs for low-income Americans and the homeless, and includes objectionable language provisions.”
Among the administration’s objections are proposed cuts to passenger rail programs, Homeless Assistance Grants, and other public housing programs and grants. The administration said it also opposed provisions altering the permissible size and weight of trucks operating over federal highways in some states.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."