Charles E Grassley

Buffeted by trade winds, soybean farmers seek tax credit renewal
Industry ‘would be wiped out‘ if tariffs on Argentine competitors were lifted, Rep. Kind says

Freshman Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, center, is seeking to restore the biodiesel credit (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One bright spot in an otherwise dreary outlook for U.S. soybean farmers, caught in the ongoing China trade war crossfire, has been the 1.5 gallons of biodiesel — a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional diesel motor fuel — that each bushel of soybeans yields.

Protected on one side by the EPA’s renewable fuels mandate and by steep import tariffs on the other, some biodiesel producers were able to post profits last year despite the lapse of the industry’s coveted $1 per gallon tax credit for the sale or use of the fuel.

Senate honors late chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie

Lloyd Ogilvie, right, served for eight years as Senate chaplain. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Monday memorialized former Senate Chaplain Lloyd John Ogilvie, who died on June 5 at age 88.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke fondly of the way Ogilvie provided spiritual guidance to senators during the chaplain’s tenure from 1995 through 2003. McConnell noted those times featured the challenges of lawmakers dealing with 9/11, the anthrax scare and a host of their own personal challenges.

Republican rebellion over Mexico tariffs overshadows Trump’s European visit
As D-Day ceremonies begin, GOP members send a rare warning to the president

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady and other Republicans broke Tuesday with President Donald Trump on his planned tariffs on goods entering the country from Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s latest tariff war sparked a rare rebellion by Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, stealing the spotlight from his state visit to the United Kingdom and threatening to intrude on the ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.

“On the proposed Mexico tariffs, look, there is a window here,” House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady said Tuesday of escalating tensions over the tariff threat. “Negotiations, and what I’ve heard constructive negotiations, are occurring as we speak with Mexico representatives in Washington right now.”

Retirement bill remains stalled amid Republican holds in Senate
Finance Committee chairman says as many as six GOP senators have issues with the bill ‘for different reasons’

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said the retirement savings bill, which has been worked on over the past three Congresses, “should have passed eons ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican senators are holding up what could be the biggest retirement savings bill in more than a decade.

After sailing through the House on a 417-3 vote May 23 before the weeklong Memorial Day recess, supporters hoped the legislation would garner unanimous consent for quick passage in the Senate the following day. But senatorial holds accumulated and continue to stall the measure.

Road ahead: Plenty of legislating to be done around Trump impeachment chatter
Disaster relief bill and defense authorization among upcoming priorities

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., left, blasted House Republicans who objected to the disaster supplemental during the break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The increasing talk of the House launching impeachment proceedings is not yet crippling the legislative agenda that does exist, but that could change if President Donald Trump refuses to negotiate.

As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week, the first order of business will be for the House to finish the long-stalled emergency spending package for disaster relief. The Senate passed the compromise bill May 16, but the floor votes came after House members had already left town for the Memorial Day break.

Trump administration lifts summer restrictions on higher-ethanol gasoline
Lifting the rule delivers a lifeline to soybean farmers hit hard by the president’s tariff war with China and by recent flooding in the Midwest

The EPA on Friday announced a proposal to ease an annual requirement for ethanol in gasoline. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration on Friday finalized at the 11th hour a rule that would allow expanded sales of higher ethanol gasoline, even as the oil industry prepares to challenge the change in court.

The rule opening up year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, or E15, would deliver a lifeline to soybean farmers hit hard by the president’s tariff war with China and by recent flooding in the Midwest that deluged farms.

White House brushes off Grassley, GOP concern over Mexico tariffs
'Trade policy and border security are separate issues,' Senate Finance chair warns

Then-Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., second from right, before his Senate Budget Committee confirmation hearing in  January 2017. He's now acting White House chief of staff and leading a new tariff spat with Mexico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After abruptly announcing tariffs on imports coming from Mexico over a migrant dispute, the White House is brushing aside the concerns of powerful Republican lawmakers - including Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley.

President Donald Trump green-lighted the import fees in an attempt to push the Mexican government to clamp down on the flow of Central and South American migrants moving through its territory toward the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump sets tariffs on imports from Mexico to deter migration
Administration says rise in border crossings now represent a national security threat

Migrants wait at the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, in November 2018. The Trump administration says the thousands of people crossing the border has reached a crisis point and now constitutes a national security threat. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration has turned to tariffs on imports of all Mexican goods as a prod to the Mexican government to step up its efforts to stem the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S. southern border.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told reporters in a conference call Thursday night that the thousands of people crossing the border had reached a crisis point and now constitute a national security threat. They said an average of 4,500 people per day for the past 21 days have come across the border from Mexico.

A House Republican may block the disaster aid bill for a third time this week
Rep. Thomas Massie lodged the objection Tuesday, following Rep. Chip Roy who did so on Friday

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters after objecting to the unanimous consent for passage of the disaster aid bill in the House on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A second Republican lawmaker blocked Congress from clearing a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill — a tactic that will likely be repeated for a third time later this week during another round of political theater.

The GOP maneuvers are likely to be for naught, however, as it’s a matter of time before the House clears the package for President Donald Trump’s signature. The chamber reconvenes on June 3 after the weeklong Memorial Day recess, and a roll call vote could be held as soon as that evening, if another unanimous consent request expected Thursday is blocked.

Rep. Chip Roy won’t object to disaster aid package today, but others may
Texas freshman's objection who held up passage last week

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objected last week when the House tried to pass a disaster aid bill using unanimous consent during a pro forma session when most members were out of town. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas GOP lawmaker who blocked passage of a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill on Friday won’t be in the chamber Tuesday afternoon when the House reconvenes for another pro forma session. 

But with any lawmaker able to object to a new unanimous consent request, the odds of ramming the relief bill through the chamber without a recorded vote during this recess week remain shaky.