infrastructure

Trump Again Defends Puerto Rico Response as Hurricane Florence Nears
President blames ‘totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan’ for problems after Maria

Hurricane Florence rainfall predictions as the storm heads for the Carolinas and Virginia, according to the National Hurricane Center. (NOAA)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned Hurricane Florence could prove “bigger than anticipated” as it barrels toward the Carolinas and sharply blamed a Puerto Rican mayor for the widely panned federal response to a storm there last year.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long on Tuesday warned Florence has “an opportunity of being a very devastating storm,” adding “the power is going to be off for weeks.” He predicts the storm will be a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall this weekend. And Trump told reporters after being briefed by Long and Homeland Security officials that Florence will be “tremendously big and tremendously wet” with “tremendous amounts of water.”

What Congress Wants to Study and ‘Explore’ About Itself
Dunkin’ Donuts, horse mounted police and leaky Cannon tunnel all will get consideration

Congress wants studies on police horses, flooding in the Cannon Tunnel, Senate child care and more. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What to do with some basement ambience, Horse-mounted police and Dunkin’ Donuts are but a few questions appropriators want answered as they look to fund Congress and its agencies to the tune of $4.8 billion.The fiscal year 2019 appropriations conference committee report released Monday includes reporting requirements and requests for studies and explorations. Here are just a few: 

Conferees had some real talk about the tunnel that connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol:“The current condition of the Cannon tunnel is that of a basement ambience,” said the report, “Furthermore the tunnel is subject to leaks which have recently caused the tunnel to be closed.”The report directs the Architect of the Capitol and the  Clerk of the House to develop a comprehensive plan to “enhance the tunnel,” including cost estimates, timeline, and renderings.

Cybersecurity Background Key for New Information Officer at GPO
Sam Musa comes at a time of heightened scrutiny across government for cybersecurity

Sam Musa will take the helm at the Government Publishing Office as chief information officer. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Government Publishing Office, the agency that processes and publishes information from the federal government, has named a new chief information officer. Sam Musa, a longtime federal IT and cybersecurity expert, will be the new CIO for the agency.

“Sam brings a wealth of experience working in Federal Government IT and cybersecurity to GPO,” said acting GPO Deputy Director Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. “I look forward to his ideas of strengthening the agency’s IT operations, which will enhance our service to Congress, Federal agencies and the public.”

Trump Says He Will Delay Border Fight Until After Midterms
President’s comments on op-ed don’t align with treason provision of U.S. Code

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on October 5, 2017, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump have been built just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 6:17 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Thursday said he and lawmakers will delay a border security fight until after November’s midterms. He also accused the author of an sharply critical anonymous op-ed and newspaper that published it of treason.

Trump told Fox News in an interview taped before a rally in Billings, Montana, set to air Friday morning that he is inclined to shut the government down after Sept. 30 if he doesn’t get his way, but “I don’t want to do anything that will hurt us, or potentially hurt us.”

Here Are All the Republicans Jockeying for Committee Leadership Positions (So Far)
Roughly half of the House committees will have new GOP leadership next year

Dozens of House Republicans are running for committee chairmanships that will be open in the next Congress, hoping to obtain gavels like the one pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Roughly half of the House’s 21 committees will have new Republican leadership next year, creating several competitive races among colleagues looking to move up the ranks.

The majority of the openings come from retiring GOP chairmen, most of whom have reached the six-year limit Republicans place on their committee leaders.

Bill Nelson Says Florida Election Systems Compromised by Russians
Senate Intelligence Committee avoids confirming or denying Democratic senator’s statement

Sen. Bill Nelson, right said he and fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were made aware of Russian penetration of Florida election systems. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee told Sen. Bill Nelson to alert Florida election officials about Russian interference in their systems, they aren’t saying.

Nelson, a Florida Democrat on the ballot in 2018, was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times Wednesday saying that, “We were requested by the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee to let the supervisors of election in Florida know that the Russians are in their records.”

Jeff Denham Claims He’ll Be Transportation Chair — But What About Sam Graves?
Both GOP lawmakers want to lead panel; Steering Committee will decide

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., said at an event Friday that he’s going to be the next Transportation Committee chairman, ignoring the other member running to head the Transportation and Infrastructure panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Rep. Jeff Denham told a local GOP women’s group Friday that he will be the next House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, ignoring the fact that he is not the only member running for the position, the Republicans are far from a lock to hold their majority and Denham himself faces a potentially competitive race. 

The panel’s current chair, Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, is retiring. Missouri Rep. Sam Graves and Denham are both running to replace him. The Republican Steering Committee, a panel of 30-some members primarily comprised of GOP leadership and regional representatives, selects committee leaders.

Trump Reiterates Falsehood About California Water Diversions
California officials not sure what to make of presidential claims

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn to Marine One on their way to Joint Base Andrews on July 27. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Monday again falsely stated that the California government is diverting river water into the Pacific Ocean that could be used to fight forest fires, but he also signaled he will fast-track federal help.

For the second consecutive day, the president took to Twitter to contend Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is sending water from “the North” into the Pacific Ocean. Trump contended Monday that water could be used for “fires, farming and everything else.”

Trump to Dems: I’ll ‘Shut Down’ Government Over Immigration
Shelby has told president new wall funding likely capped at $1.6B

President Trump on Sunday threatened to “shut down” the government if he doesn’t get his way on immigration. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to shut down the federal government this fall unless Democrats give in to his border security demands, including by giving him billions more for his proposed southern border wall.

Should Democrats continue denying Trump his border barrier and other demands and the president make good on his high-stakes threat, it would be the third funding lapse of his tenure. It also would shutter the government just weeks before voters will decide which party controls the House and Senate — and the Trump-GOP agenda — come January.

Burr to Hold Up Water Bill, Slow Others, for Conservation Fund
North Carolina senator: ‘We’re going to vote on it on every vehicle leaving the United States Senate’

A move by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., could become a major hurdle for his Republican colleagues as they try to pass a water infrastructure bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Richard M. Burr will not allow a vote on a key water infrastructure bill unless he receives a commitment for a vote on his legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, senators said.

The North Carolina Republican is also threatening to force senators to vote on his bill as a prelude to action on any other measure that reaches the Senate floor, potentially including the appropriations bill receiving floor consideration this week.