Dan Kildee

Shelby skeptical of nascent House discussions on earmarks
‘The Republican Caucus is on record against that,’ Senate Appropriations chairman says

Chairman Richard C. Shelby, center, and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, attend the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement implementation bill on Jan. 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said it’s unlikely Republicans in his chamber will bring back spending bill earmarks, regardless of what the House decides.

“The Republican Caucus is on record against that, so that’s not going to go anywhere right now,” the Alabama Republican said Tuesday. Himself a prolific earmarker before the practice stopped in 2011, Shelby declined to discuss his personal views on the topic at this point. “I’m part of the [GOP] caucus and the caucus is not going to support that. So unless the caucus is involved it won’t happen,” he said.

Impeachment chicken: Pelosi, McConnell and the battle for leverage over a Senate trial
Democrats line up behind speaker’s power play as contours of process start to take shape

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., departs from a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday Dec. 19, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are backing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s power move to hold articles of impeachment in the House until the Senate agrees to what Democrats say will be fair procedures for a trial, but it’s unclear how long their patience for this game of chicken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will last.

Pelosi announced the move at a news conference late Wednesday night after the House impeached President Donald Trump, and then briefly explained her thinking with Democrats at a meeting Thursday morning.

House members feel the weight of history in impeachment votes

Tourists walk past a plaque marking Andrew Johnson's congressional seat in Statuary Hall as the House takes up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Johnson was the first U.S. president to be impeached. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Virginia Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman stopped for a split second as he walked into the House chamber Wednesday afternoon, held up a copy of the two-minute speech he was about to give on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and posed as a staffer took his photo for Twitter.

On a day when Democrats and Republicans divided sharply over whether Trump’s behavior in office should make him just the third president to face impeachment in the House, Riggleman’s move was among the many small signs that members of Congress could agree on one thing.

Impeachment: It’s for the kids!
Members address kids, grandkids, grandkids’ grandkids, and grandkids’ grandkids’ grandkids

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., buttons his jacket after he was interviewed on camera in the Cannon rotunda as the House of Representatives takes up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the Capitol on Dec. 18. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Absolutely no day is too busy to remind your kids to “listen to mom” and dad, apparently — even if you are a member of Congress voting to impeach the president of the United States. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III did just that Wednesday in his floor speech.

“Dear Ellie and James,” the dad began his speech, as if penning a letter. (Not that they would know what a “letter” is).

Dropped from NDAA, 'forever chemicals' fight to linger into 2020
Getting the EPA to regulate the chemicals could emerge as an issue in next year's elections

Kildee spoke at a Fight Forever Chemicals Campaign kick off event on Capitol Hill on Nov. 19ember 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

House and Senate negotiators dropped from the final defense policy bill language to force the federal government to regulate so-called forever chemicals, pushing into 2020 a partisan debate over how to regulate the toxic legacy of products such as Teflon and fire-resistant clothing.

In a bipartisan summary released Monday night, lawmakers included a provision that would ban the Pentagon from using firefighting foam made with the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS,  after Oct. 1, 2024, except aboard military ships, and would immediately prohibit its use in training exercises at military bases. 

Senators renew drug price push ahead of House Democrats' vote
Congress “needs to show courage and finally act,” Grassley says

The renewed push on drug pricing legislation by Senate HELP leaders Charles E. Grassley, right, and Ron Wyden comes ahead of a planned House vote on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee on Friday unveiled an updated version of their bipartisan drug pricing bill, though it’s unclear if the changes will appease skeptical Republican senators.

The renewed push for Republican support by Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, comes ahead of a planned House vote next week on Democrats’ signature drug price negotiation bill.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 21
Some Democrats want to subpoena Pompeo, Mulvaney and Bolton after Sondland testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., listens as ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., holds a copy of the “Report on Russian Active Measures” during his opening statement in the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony on Wednesday, some Democrats feel the Intelligence Committee should subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, according to Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee.

Sondland testified that the three senior officials were aware of and signed off on the pressure campaign on Ukraine.

House Democrats feeling the heat on ‘SALT’ cap rollback
Democrats still haven’t touched the cap on state and local tax deductions

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., D-Va., says Democrats “have to have a SALT vote.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s been almost a year since Democrats assumed control of the House, and they still haven’t touched the cap on state and local tax deductions imposed by the GOP Congress and President Donald Trump that disproportionately affect blue state districts.

That’s starting to become a problem for the dozen or so freshman Democrats who flipped GOP seats after campaigning in part on getting rid of that $10,000 “SALT” limit, which was included as an offset for the 2017 tax code overhaul.

Democrats prepare to duel McConnell over year-end wish list
Amid push for legislation benefiting Kentucky constituents, Dems seek their own concessions

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing several initiatives to benefit his constituents, including renewal of tax breaks for bourbon distillers, aid for retired coal miners and appropriations to bolster Kentucky’s hemp industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As former Sen. Wendell Ford often said, with small variations: “Kentucky is beautiful women, fast horses, bourbon whiskey, cigarettes and coal. I represent Kentucky, and that’s what I represent.”

The colorful Ford, a Democrat who died in 2015, had little else in common with Mitch McConnell, the stoic Kentucky Republican who served as the junior senator from the Bluegrass State alongside Ford for 15 years until the latter’s 1999 retirement. But the Senate majority leader is clearly taking a few pages from Ford’s playbook in the year-end legislative scramble as he heads into a potentially difficult reelection campaign in 2020.

Mark Ruffalo hopes his ‘Dark Waters’ film leads to environmental ‘revolution’
The actor's new legal thriller is already generating Oscar buzz

Actor and producer Mark Ruffalo speaks during a press conference to discuss the ‘Fight Forever Chemicals’ campaign on Nov. 19. The campaign coincides with the release of his film “Dark Waters,” inspired by the story of Robert Bilott, a corporate defense attorney who discovers a community has been dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Ruffalo wants a revolution.

“Are we a country that is going to be responsive to people and make sure that our people remain healthy?” star of the upcoming film “Dark Waters,” asked a crowd gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “Or are we going to be responsible only to the bottom line of corporations and their greed? Because right now the people are losing.”