Energy, Interior Nominees Caught in Budget Crossfire
Energy and Natural Resources hearing becomes forum on Trump budget cuts

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., expressed home that one Energy Department nominee would be "a voice of reason and experience." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee used a Thursday confirmation hearing for a deputy Energy secretary and two other regulators to question elements of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

The confirmation hearing for Dan Brouillette to be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s deputy included questions from senators seeking clarity from the nominee about his views of some of the more controversial proposals in the Trump budget, including the plan to draw down by half the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Word on the Hill: National Wine Day
Dusty Baker on the Hill and Dana Rohrabacher in a sling

Celebrate National Wine Day before the weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may be pleasantly surprised to hear about a very special, perhaps unknown, holiday. Today is National Wine Day.

It’s nearly Friday, which means it’s almost recess, so pick up a bottle of wine on your way home from work to celebrate.

Trump Budget Would Allow ANWR Drilling, End Oil Revenue Sharing
Fault lines are clear on contentious energy policy proposals

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is likely to push hard for ANWR drilling, but there are just as many opponents who will fight it tooth and nail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal pitches a variety of legislative changes to boost federal revenue from the oil and gas industry, including the sale of oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ending a revenue sharing program with states that allow offshore drilling.

Word on the Hill: Calm Before the Recess
Your social calendar for the week

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, center, GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks, left, and other officials review production of the fiscal 2018 budget at the Government Publishing Office's plant on North Capitol Street on Friday. The budget will be released this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the last week before the Memorial Day recess.

There are a few things going on to get you through until the long weekend and four-day break.

Lawmakers Greet Mueller Appointment With Relief
Rank and file smile, although GOP leaders remain reticent

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate alleged Russian interference in last year’s election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)


Even as House and Senate Republicans turned up the heat on the Trump White House for answers about the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, Democrats got a big win when the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including any connections to the Trump presidential campaign.

Energy Grant Freeze Worries Senators, Including Murkowski
’We are deeply troubled by reports that the Department of Energy has delayed awarding funds’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, talks with reporters before the Senate Policy Luncheons in the Capitol on May 9, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators are seeking assurances that a Trump administration freeze on certain grants by the Department of Energy does not become permanent.

Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Wednesday that she sought “assurances” from DOE about the future of DOE research funding — currently on hold for a department-wide review — and indicated she endorsed inquiries to ensure those assurances are met.

Republican Senators Seek Answers After Chaotic Week
Two key panels pressure FBI, White House for documents

Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., conduct a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled “World Wide Threats” on May 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are taking a more aggressive stance against the embattled Trump administration following a series of damning reports that have sent the White House and Congress into a tizzy.

But by and large, Republican leaders say they remain focused on their ambitious legislative agenda.

Word on the Hill: Ready, Set, Run
Parisian pastries now only steps away

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has been the fastest member of Congress in the ACLI Capital Challenge for the past four years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As you read this, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is probably crossing the finish line.

The ACLI Capital Challenge, a three-mile team race which raises money for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation., takes place today at 8 a.m. in Anacostia Park

Could the Energy Bill Make a Comeback?
Murkowski, Cantwell hold out hope for resurgence

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, left, and Maria Cantwell, the leaders of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, think there is a chance their energy bill can make a comeback. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The broad energy bill that stalled at the end of the last Congress may have new life, according to comments by the two leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during an recent event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Washington’s Maria Cantwell, said on May 3 they again aim to update the nation’s energy policies for the first time in nearly a decade.

Congressional Review Act Gets a Workout
Window for expedited nixing of regulations closes, maybe

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is among lawmakers who would be interested in expanding the scope of the Congressional Review Act beyond its generally understood reach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On May 11, Republicans in Congress had a little celebration for the end of more than a dozen Obama-era regulations, with member after member coming to the Senate floor heaping praise on a once-obscure law known as the Congressional Review Act.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma could barely contain himself: “I’m almost speechless when I think about the success. You know, we went 20 years taking up one CRA and then we end up passing 14 of them — all but one. It’s a huge success record.”