Adam Smith

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

House Armed Services strikes agreement on Trump’s Space Force
Lawmakers plan to insert it as an amendment to the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill on Wednesday

A man wearing a Space Force shirt documents the scene before a campaign rally with President Donald Trump at the Bojangles Coliseum on October 26, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Trump has made the Space Force a priority, and the House Armed Services Committee has agreed to create a streamlined version of the force. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Democrats and Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have agreed to language that would create a streamlined Space Force — a top priority of President Donald Trump’s — and plan to insert it as an amendment to the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill on Wednesday.

The draft version of the bill known as the chairman’s mark did not include language on Space Force, which appeared to indicate that House Armed Services Democrats were not on board with authorizing Space Force in their version of the massive Pentagon policy bill.

Democrats want to require Pentagon to study climate change risks on military bases
It’s the latest effort by House Democrats to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, center, wants to include language in the NDAA bill that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will seek to include in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act language that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change, their latest effort to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow unveiled a summary of the measure Thursday, saying it will be included in the chairman’s mark to be offered by Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who leads the House Armed Services Committee that takes up the bill June 12.

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill
Measure aims to give news publishers a leg up in battle with big tech

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has introduced along with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a new bill that would temporarily exempt news publishers from antitrust laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The News Media Alliance is scoring some legislative points against the much bigger K Street players Google and Facebook with a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Monday evening that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws.

The measure — sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar — would free up news publishers to jointly bargain with big technology companies in a quest for a bigger slice of digital revenue. It’s the companion to a House bill that Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline and Georgia Republican Doug Collins introduced this spring.

What’s the state of play on intern pay on Capitol Hill?
Intern compensation funding is up for discussion again

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., says he expects intern compensation funding to continue in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Securing intern compensation funding last year was a huge victory for lawmakers and advocates. Now they just have to figure out how to get the word out and expand the pie. 

As interns descend on Capitol Hill for a summer of public service, more will be paid for their work than ever before. But widespread paid internships are still in their infancy in Congress. This is the first summer that House and Senate offices have dedicated funding available to cut checks.

After Iran briefings, Democrats in Congress want to know more, sooner
Republicans generally on board with Trump administration moves

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the Trump administration officials briefing lawmakers on Iran on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Intelligence briefings on U.S. relations with Iran Tuesday left Democrats in both the Senate and the House unsure of what the Trump administration’s objectives are following recent heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, briefed lawmakers on their strategic campaign to push back against what he called “Iran’s malign activity” and described the country as participating in 40 years of terrorist activity.

Space Force gets cautious OK in House defense spending bill
The House 2020 defense spending bill would provide $15 million, a fraction of Trump’s $72.5 million request

Demonstrators hold up signs protesting a possible Space Force before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 11, 2019, in Washington, DC. The House Defense Appropriations subcommittee provided $15 million in its defense spending bill, much lower than the administration’s request for $72.5 million. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has signaled that it will entertain, but constrain, President Donald Trump’s plans to create a new military service that focuses exclusively on space.

The House’s version of the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill would provide $15 million for Space Force operations and maintenance, almost $57.5 million lower than the administration’s $72.5 million request, according to the committee report released Monday.

Trump wants to renew and revise a key Russian nuclear weapons treaty. It has Democrats nervous
Dems. worry an ambitious U.S. negotiating strategy could doom the treaty effectively ending post-Cold War arms control efforts

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., speaks during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year. Markey has been one of Capitol Hill’s longest-serving advocates for nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s announcement that it wants to renew a key nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, with some hefty revisions, has Democrats nervous that an overly ambitions U.S. negotiating strategy could doom the treaty and effectively end post-Cold War arms control efforts.

Keen to keep that from happening, Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to do a simple five-year extension of the 2010 New START accord, which is set to expire in 2021, and to scrap plans to get China to join the treaty and include more types of nuclear weapons not now covered, like Russia’s new nuclear-armed underwater drone.

Legislative Branch spending bill opens door for employing Dreamers on Capitol Hill
$3.9 billion measure would boost funding for interns, revive defunct technology office

House appropriators released a $3.9 billion House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill Tuesday ahead of subcommittee action set for Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats touted the revival of the defunct Office of Technology Assessment and the legal employment of so-called Dreamers in the $3.94 billion House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill they released Tuesday.

The fiscal 2020 proposal includes an overall proposed increase of $135 million, or 3.6 percent more than the current funding level, according to a summary. The Legislative Branch subcommittee is set to take up the bill at a markup on Wednesday.

$15 an hour ‘living wage’ for interns in district offices and Capitol Hill introduced in House
The bill would permanently authorize funding, which could also be used in district offices

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., introduced a proposal to pay House interns $15 per hour. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Forty House lawmakers are calling for a “living wage” for House interns, and an expansion of where funds set aside to pay interns can be used — including in district offices.

The proposal was introduced last week by Washington Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith. It would permanently authorize funding to pay interns an allowance, and it would permit offices to use intern compensation funds to pay them in district offices.