Energy & Environment

Green New Deal: Some Democrats on the fence
Top Democrats who would oversee legislation in the House are reluctant to endorse plan that would remake economy

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal capped off its first week of a somewhat messy rollout with mixed reviews, even from typically Democratic strongholds like labor unions.

In the House, the top two Democrats who would oversee any legislation that comes out of the plan have remained reluctant to fully endorse it, stopping at lauding the goals and the enthusiasm behind them. And Republicans quickly branded the Green New Deal as an extreme, socialist plan with unrealistic proposals to eliminate air travel and cows.

Republicans have concerns about Trump’s emergency declaration, too
Congressional Republicans raised concerns, but didn't denounce Trump's radical maneuver

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday that the president's national emergency declaration defies the Founders. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some in the president’s party are wringing their hands about how the emergency declaration for a border wall might set a reckless precedent.

While Congressional Republicans have raised concerns, most held off on denouncing the president’s radical maneuver to circumvent Article I of the Constitution and devote federal funds to a border wall without their approval.

The dead earmarks society
Congress gave up pork years ago. Now it could be making a comeback

Steny Hoyer says he’s working to restore congressionally directed spending, with “reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From the outside, they looked like a collection of political misfits akin to the characters from “The Breakfast Club.” This peculiar little crew of lobbyists, ethics watchdogs and government spending hawks included the likes of Public Citizen’s Craig Holman and former House member-turned-lobbyist Jim Walsh.

Instead of serving Saturday detention, like the high schoolers of the 1985 hit movie, they spent their meetings nearly a decade ago seeking compromise on one of Congress’ most politically fraught but powerful tools: earmarks. “It was a strange group, an eclectic group,” concedes Holman, whose liberal Public Citizen is best known for taking on K Street, not working with the lobbyists and lawyers in the sector. “We identified what the real problem with earmarks is — and earmarks do pose a serious problem with corruption.”

Two protests in Hart end in Valentine’s Day arrests

Demonstrations for gun control and against a West Virginia factory project resulted in 19 arrests Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Passion was in the air in the Hart Senate Office building on Valentine’s Day. Demonstrations for gun control and against a West Virginia factory project  resulted in 19 arrests Thursday.

A group called Gays Against Guns staged a demonstration in the Hart Atrium in the afternoon. They chanted “Guns are breaking America’s heart,” and “Stronger background checks now” as they lay on the floor enveloped in a massive swath of shiny red fabric.

House progressives work on ‘Medicare-for-all’ as debate heats up
The House bill from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will have at least 100 initial co-sponsors

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., arrives for a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Nov. 15, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House progressives are set to introduce a revised single-payer “Medicare-for-all” bill during the last week of this month, as Republicans sharpen their criticism of the policy and Democratic presidential hopefuls face questions about whether they support it.

The House bill from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will have at least 100 initial co-sponsors. It comes as Democrats are offering a range of bills to expand health insurance coverage, such as a proposal to allow adults between 50 and 64 to buy into Medicare that was unveiled Wednesday, and presidential candidates refine their positions on what “Medicare-for-all” should mean and the role private insurers would play.

Congress pauses to remember its longest serving member, John Dingell
Dingell eulogized by his former House colleagues: Hoyer, Boehner, Upton and Lewis

Rep. John Lewis attends the funeral mass for former Rep. John Dingell at Holy Trinity Church Feb. 14, 2019, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the last 24 hours of his long life, John D. Dingell, 92, was visited by a few old friends and House colleagues. One of them was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who eulogized Congress’ longest-serving member Thursday, and recalled that even in his final hours, Dingell “was in command.”

“We talked for an hour about what was, what had been and what should be,” Hoyer said at Dingell’s second funeral Thursday.

Some GOP lawmakers are thawing on climate change
‘There are some things I’m willing to look at,’ said House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows

“There are some things I’m willing to look at,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows said of climate solutions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans seem to be thawing on climate.

Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who has denied the science behind climate change, told reporters Wednesday he was open to confront the peril of the warming planet.

Asbestos removal set to begin in Russell, Dirksen buildings
Work will take place overnight and not during normal work hours

Asbestos removal set to begin in the Russell and Dirksen Senate office buildings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Architect of the Capitol will begin removing materials containing asbestos from two Senate office buildings on Saturday, with some of the work expected to continue through April.

Workers on Saturday will be removing waterproofing that contains asbestos from the northwest terrace of the Russell Building at the corner of Delaware Avenue and C Street NE and floor tiles in the Dirksen Building, according to the Senate Superintendent’s office.

Democrats could stymie nuclear arms race after US leaves pact
2020 presidential hopefuls have already thrown support behind legislative efforts

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced legislation that would prohibit funding for the flight-testing, acquisition and deployment of U.S. ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges banned by the INF treaty. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress can do little to halt the U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, if President Donald Trump is determined to do so. But Democrats could have opportunities to shape and even block the administration’s plans to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Earlier this month, the White House announced it would leave the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in six months. The Kremlin quickly responded that it too would cease honoring its arms control commitments under the accord, though the United States and NATO have long accused Russia of already violating the treaty by deploying an intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile.

Note to Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Dealers: The economy is not the government
Like old New Deal, plan promises much and will produce little

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey, center, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others hold a press conference on the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Feb. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In the final debate of the 2010 British general election, Conservative Party leader David Cameron told his Labour Party rival, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that “Labour seem to confuse the economy with the government.” A month later, Cameron had Brown’s job. 

Given the proposals in the Democrats’ Green New Deal — whose bungled release last week made for some sorely needed comic moments in an otherwise grim Washington — their leading economist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, could learn something important from Cameron’s spot-on observation about what drives a successful economy. A hint: It isn’t government.

Ocasio-Cortez snaps back at Trump after he disparages ‘Green New Deal’
New York Democrat highlighted president’s neglect of written intelligence briefing books

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., defended her “Green New Deal” resolution from President Donald Trump's comments at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snapped back at Donald Trump on Monday after the president took a swipe at the literary merits of the “Green New Deal” House resolution she championed.

“It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark,” Trump said at a campaign-style rally in El Paso, Texas, referring to the legislation that was written in standard House format.

Drug pricing is secretive. Fix that first
If the rebate system is a complex web, consumers are the ones who get caught

By the time patients pull out their wallets at the pharmacy, their drugs have passed through an elaborate rebate system, Hoagland writes. Above, a technician grabs a bottle in Midvale, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

OPINION — Health care economist Uwe Reinhardt once described pricing in the health care sector as “chaos behind a veil of secrecy.” That description aptly applies to the opaque U.S. pharmaceutical market.

To make health care policy that works, we must lift the secret veil on drug pricing. The administration’s recent proposal to fundamentally change the drug rebate process is one step in that direction.

Corporate boardrooms need policy ‘rules of the road’
As the role of businesses in society evolves, a government rethink is critical

Corporate executives are facing decisions on topics — like immigration and gun control — that have traditionally fallen under the government’s purview, Soroushian and Doyle write. (Courtesy iStock)

OPINION — Decisions made in corporate boardrooms can have serious implications for the economy, everyday investors and Americans’ livelihoods.

And those decisions now increasingly extend to issues such as immigration, gun control, and human rights — topics that have traditionally been the domain of government — as reluctant corporate executives and directors face new pressures from their investors, employees and customers.

GOP super PAC ties 2 freshmen to Ocasio-Cortez in new digital ads
CLF knocks lawmakers over Green New Deal even though they aren’t co-sponsors

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is featured in new digital ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican super PAC is wasting no time tying vulnerable House Democrats to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as it launches digital ads in two districts Monday. 

Congressional Leadership Fund, a group aligned with House GOP leadership, is targeting two freshman lawmakers, Antonio Delgado of New York and Colin Allred of Texas, in the new ads shared first with Roll Call. The ads are part of a five-figure digital buy.

Washington mourns former Rep. John Dingell
Former presidents, colleagues in Congress share tributes to the Detroit Democrat

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., attends a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center in 2011 to recognize the 46th anniversary of Medicare. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The longest-serving member of Congress in history, Rep. John Dingell made an indelible impact on Capitol Hill, the nation’s laws and those who served with him. 

“John Dingell's life reminds us that change does not always come in a flash, but instead with a steady, determined effort,” former President Barack Obama said.