Energy & Environment

Offshore drilling ban proposed by bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers
The ban would bar oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coasts and request the Coast Guard to identify areas that risk oil spills

Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee business meeting in Rayburn Building on January 29, 2019. Wasserman Schultz and a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers are pushing to ban drilling off their coast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers introduced a measure to permanently ban drilling off their coast, the latest sign resistance may be swift among coastal Republicans if the administration tries to open their states’ waters to oil and gas exploration.

The legislation introduced Monday by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., would bar oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coasts and call on the Coast Guard to determine what areas face heightened risk from oil spills. It was introduced with support from Republican Reps. Vern Buchanan and Matt Gaetz, a close ally of President Donald Trump.

First quarter drug lobbying outpaces other health care sectors
Big spending comes amid bipartisan support for legislation to lower drug prices

Health care trade groups and businesses increased their lobbying efforts during the first quarter of 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several health care trade groups and businesses upped their lobbying expenditures in the opening stretch of 2019, with the pharmaceutical industry reporting the highest expenditures as lawmakers focus on rising drug prices.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents the pharmacy benefit managers that have emerged as a bogeyman in the drug pricing debate, more than doubled its lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of the year compared to the equivalent period in 2018. So far this year, the group has spent $1.49 million on lobbying, compared to last year’s first quarter sum of $741,557.

Sarah Sanders lashes out at Democrats, April Ryan over calls for her firing
Embattled Trump spokeswoman calls Dems' reaction to Mueller report ‘sad,’ wants to ‘move on’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday criticized author and journalist April Ryan, seen here at a book-launch event in September in New York, for calling for her ouster. The Mueller report detailed times in which Sanders lied to reporters, prompting Ryan's call. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images file photo)

Newly embattled White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday lashed out at congressional Democrats and reporter April Ryan as President Donald Trump and his team began their first week following release of Robert S. Mueller III’s report.

Democratic lawmakers wasted little time Thursday calling for her ouster following the special counsel’s report that detailed several instances in which Sanders misled reporters, especially about Trump’s decision-making before he fired then-FBI Director James Comey. Ryan, an American Urban Radio Networks reporter who provides analysis for CNN, followed that night by calling for the same during an appearance on the network’s “Outfront” program.

House Republicans identify vulnerable members for 2020
NRCC announces initial eight members of Patriot Program

The NRCC has added New York Rep. Lee Zeldin to its Patriot Program for the 2020 cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans, including the three from districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s list of incumbents expected to face tough re-elections. 

Members of the Patriot Program typically benefit from fundraising and organizational assistance. The list can be a signal to donors to direct checks to members in need.

For serious primary voters, the parade of Democratic candidates is no joke
The contender clown car may be overflowing, but voters definitely aren’t laughing

There are too many Democratic presidential contenders to count, but primary voters aren’t throwing in the towel just yet, Curtis writes. When Beto O’Rourke made his Southern swing last weekend, supporters took the time to explain why he stands out from the field. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The number of Democratic hopefuls declaring, thinking about declaring or being pushed to declare their interest in the 2020 race is increasing so rapidly, it has already become a reliable punchline. But for voters looking to discover the person who offers sensible policies on the issues they care about while exuding the intangible “it” quality that could beat Donald Trump, it is serious business.

Forget about what magic the letter “B” might hold — think Bernie, Biden, Beto, Booker, Buttigieg and I know I’m forgetting someone, oh yes, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet — these voters are digging deeper on the candidates who will crowd a debate stage in Miami two nights in a row in June.

Trump weighs tariffs or quotas on uranium imports
The nuclear power industry argues import limits would bring higher costs for electricity producers and force some out of business

U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is considering a Commerce Department report on whether imported uranium ore poses a threat to U.S. national security and the domestic production of nuclear power.

The president will weigh whether to impose tariffs or quotas on imported uranium following claims by the uranium mining industry that limits on foreign uranium imports are necessary to aid a shrinking industry. The nuclear power industry, meanwhile, argues import limits would bring higher costs for electricity producers and force some out of business.

Ky. Rep. says Ocasio-Cortez tweet is uncivil and puts coal mine tour in doubt
Rep. Andy Barr asked her to educate coal miners about the Green New Deal

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., addressed a letter to the office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about civility this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Kentucky congressman who invited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to tour a coal mine in his district appeared to rescind the invitation this week after she tweeted a critique of fellow Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

Ocasio-Cortez acted uncivilly when she criticized Crenshaw, Rep. Andy Barr said Monday.

Bernhardt’s office acknowledges meetings left off schedule
Interior also confirms secretary’s staff regularly overwrites his personal itinerary

House Democrats have said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt could be running afoul of federal records laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department has acknowledged that Secretary David Bernhardt’s staff intentionally left controversial meetings with representatives of fossil fuel, timber and water interests off his public calendar, citing “internal protocol” governing his schedules.

The department also confirmed that Bernhardt used a personal itinerary kept on a single Google document that was regularly overwritten by his scheduling staff and said he is still doing so as House Democrats probe whether the practice adheres to federal records laws.

Interior Secretary Bernhardt under investigation by inspector general
Democrats and watchdog groups have alleged ‘potential conflicts of interest and other violations’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate last week by a vote of 56-41. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, is under investigation by his agency’s inspector general over “potential conflicts of interest and other violations,” an agency official said Monday.

In an April 15 letter to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, Interior Department deputy inspector general Mary Kendall said her office opened an investigation into Bernhardt following at least seven complaints from Democratic lawmakers and independent watchdogs alleging the conflicts and other violations.

Rep. Donald McEachin hospitalized after developing a blood clot
His hospitalization comes as he faces pressure from voters to endorse a “Medicare for All” bill

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., suffered a blood clot last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bustos to Democrats: ‘We know our job is different this time’
DCCC chairwoman counting on energy, focus, message discipline to ‘lock down’ majority in 2020

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, D- Ill., outlined her 2020 strategy at the House Democrats’ 2019 retreat in Leesburg, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LEESBURG, Va. — It’s no coincidence that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman was the closing act at House Democrats’ annual retreat Friday.

Three days of private meetings included strategies for winning 2020 elections and expanding the majority Democrats won last fall. And that means the DCCC has to do its job of protecting vulnerable members and recruiting challengers in winnable takeover districts. 

The Senate lacks protections for LGBTQ staff. One group is demanding change
Existing laws for legislative branch workers don’t explicitly protect LGBTQ employees

A Senate staffer group is urging offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress considers expanding civil rights to encompass LGBTQ Americans, Senate staffers want their bosses to shore up such protections for the congressional workforce itself. 

In a letter sent April 8, the bipartisan Senate GLASS Caucus urged chamber offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination.

Pelosi details how Democrats hope to protect and expand House majority
President's favorability this November is key to 2020, but so is ‘fortifying’ freshmen for challenges

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats will lock down their majority by November of 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LEESBURG, Va. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi guaranteed Thursday that Democrats will maintain and expand their majority in 2020.

The California Democrat claimed at a Politico Playbook event last week that she will have House races won by this November — one year before general election voters go to the polls. Pelosi expanded on that Thursday by saying President Donald Trump’s standing in in the polls later this year will indicate whether Democrats will be successful.

Bernhardt nears confirmation, but Capitol Hill isn’t finished with him
Grijalva wants acting Interior chief to testify on at least two different oversight probes

David Bernhardt appears likely to be confirmed as Interior secretary this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will likely be confirmed in the Senate by a comfortable margin this week — but that could be his easiest day on Capitol Hill for a while.

The Senate voted 56-41 Wednesday evening to end debate on the nomination after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier in the day that he expected the chamber to be “voting to confirm” Bernhardt “later this week.” And while some coastal Republicans have raised concerns about the Interior Department’s plans for opening all U.S. coasts to oil and gas drilling, there doesn’t appear to be enough GOP opposition to derail confirmation.

Trump finally finds a Bush he likes: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush
‘This is the only Bush that likes me,’ POTUS exclaims at non-political event

President Donald Trump, here in Grand Rapids, Mich., on March 28, was in Texas for fundraisers and an energy infrastructure speech. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday found a member of the Bush family he likes: George P. Bush.

The 42-year-old son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a 2016 GOP primary rival of the president, holds one of the most powerful offices in Texas, that of land commissioner. He is the nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush. Trump during the 2016 Republican primary fight dubbed his father “Low Energy Jeb.”