Energy & Environment

Without Clinton or Obama, Pelosi Becomes GOP’s Top Target
Democrats divided after continued election losses

Nancy Pelosi has blown off calls for her to step down as House Democratic leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Nancy Pelosi boasted last week she was “worth the trouble,” even when congressional candidates were negatively tied to her, the National Republican Congressional Committee ironically sang its own praises for the House minority leader.

“We couldn’t agree more!” was all an email blast read that included a clip of Pelosi’s point of view.

House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

GOP Frets About Fiscal Restraint Progress
Conservatives pushing cuts to mandatory spending

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans are still discussing options for the budget and appropriations process, even as conservatives are pushing for steep cuts to mandatory spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fiscal restraint has long been part of the Republican Party’s brand, but GOP lawmakers have made little progress on reducing the amount of money the federal government spends. And frankly, they’re sick of it.

That’s the impetus for what has become a serious push by rank-and-file House Republicans to use the budget reconciliation process to enact mandatory spending cuts.

Bipartisanship Continues to Show Strength in Congressional Softball Game
Members’ team lost but the focus was on camaraderie and charity

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., greets members of the press team at the Congressional Women's Softball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The positive energy and sense of community spilled over to the Congressional Women’s Softball Game from the previous week’s Congressional Baseball Game. With a record number of tickets sold and money raised for young women with breast cancer, the members losing 2-1 to the media team didn’t seem so bad.

“We tried hard and we’ll try hard next year, but it was a great night and I felt like not only did we come together as a Congress, both Dems and Republicans, but as a community,” New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. “I think it showed our strength.”

Navajo Candidate Drops Out of Race Against Hatch
James Singer said he couldn’t raise the kind of money it would take to unseat seven-term Republican

James Singer is the first Utah Navajo to run for the Senate. (James Courage Singer for Senate via Facebook)

James Singer, the Democrat who launched a bid to unseat seven-term Sen. Orrin Hatch in April, has ended his campaign for Senate, citing fundraising as his campaign’s primary shortcoming.

While Singer said it would have been possible to continue his campaign as a “‘principled protest’ rather than a winning campaign,” since he wasn’t able to raise “the millions of dollars needed to challenge an established politician like Orrin Hatch,” he did not want to “waste the time, money, and energy of my friends and supporters in this matter.”

House GOP Undecided on Spending Path
Speaker says Republicans still having ‘family conversation’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., says Republicans are still at the 'family conversation' level of figuring out the appropriations process. Also appearing are, from left, Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With a little more than seven legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, House Republicans still do not have a consensus on the process for funding the government, fueling some discontent in the conference. 

“We haven’t decided exactly how we’re going to go about our appropriations process in this first year, but we’re going to move together on consensus,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters after the Republican conference met Wednesday morning.

GOP Might Buck Senate Rules to Pass Health Care Overhaul
Parliamentarian decision still pending on House bill compliance with reconciliation

Senate Budget ranking member Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi preside over the panel that finds itself overlooking many of the questions concerning the reconciliation process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans appear ready to make a small, but significant change to historic Senate procedure in order to advance their legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system, a move that could have notable impact on the future of the chamber’s operations.

GOP leaders are sending signals that, if necessary, they plan to invoke a seldom-used rule included in the Congressional Budget Act that would allow Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi to skirt a decision from the chamber’s parliamentarian, a key gate-keeper for the budget maneuver known as reconciliation that Republicans are using to advance their health insurance measure.

11 Things I Think I Think After the Special Elections
Lessons from the Georgia and South Carolina races

Jon Ossoff supporters at the Georgia Democrat’s election night watch party are stunned as CNN calls the state’s 6th District race for Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is a final result. What seems like an endless stream of campaigning and ads and analysis finally comes to an end every time with vote tallies to digest until the next round.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans continue to play with electoral fire, but the GOP pulled off two more special election victories; this time in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. As with the previous results in Kansas and Montana, there are enough tidbits in each result to formulate whatever conclusion helps you sleep better at night.

Why House Members Aren’t Rushing to Announce for Senate
Here’s a hint: It’s about raising campaign cash

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is expected to run for Senate but has yet to make an official announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s no secret that a handful of House members are mulling bids for the Senate next year, with several of them all but running their 2018 races already.

Most are in no rush to officially announce their Senate campaigns. Sixteen months is a long time to face the barrage of attacks that comes with running statewide. And in an uncertain political environment, candidates may be taking longer to test the waters. 

DCCC Hits Record-Breaking Fundraising Number for May
Bulk of funds came from grassroots programs

Health care has energized Democratic voters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised a record amount of money for the month of May, according to fundraising figures provided exclusively to Roll Call.

The campaign arm for House Democrats raised more than $9.3 million last month, with more than two-thirds of the funds raised through grassroots online, phone and mail donations. The boost in funds comes after the House passed the GOP health care bill, and amid a closely watched special election in Georgia’s 6th District.

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Corn State Lawmakers Get Ethanol Hearing

Sen. Deb Fischer’s legislation would ease restrictions on the sale of ethanol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowing to pressure from corn state lawmakers, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso allowed a hearing on legislation that would ease restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with at least 15 percent ethanol, a measure he opposes.

The bill (S 517) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would order the EPA to waive its rule prohibiting the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn-based ethanol, also known as E15, during the summer months. The prohibition was based on findings that tied the mixture to smog-causing emissions during warm weather.

Report: Walden Expects Health Care Bill on Trump’s Desk by August
Energy and Commerce chairman says there are plenty of challenges ahead

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden said he believes health care legislation will be ready for President Donald Trump to sign by August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden predicted Tuesday that a bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law would be on President Donald Trump’s desk by August.

But the Oregon Republican told The Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network meeting in Washington that this didn’t mean there were no challenges ahead.

House Cancels Votes in Wake of Shooting
Hearings, events across Capitol also postponed

The shooting at the GOP practice in Alexandria prompted House leaders to cancel votes. (CQ Roll Call)

The House canceled floor votes on Wednesday in the wake of the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. 

Several hearings across the Capitol, including an Appropriations subcommittee that was due to examine the budget of the Capitol Police, were canceled or postponed. 

US Cybersecurity in Need of Rapid Repair, Senators Told
Ex-Pentagon aide warns of large-scale attack by North Korea

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey is concerned about cybersecurity deficiencies in the private sector, particularly in utility companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cybersecurity in the United States is in a severe state of disrepair, leaving the country vulnerable to attack from hacking groups backed by its opponents, two witnesses testified in a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

The witnesses told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy that they believe a massive cyberattack is imminent unless the U.S. ratchets up its efforts to protect against and deter offensives from countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea.