Energy

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

DCCC Announces Vice Chairmen
Party hopes members will help make inroads to majority

California Rep. Ted Lieu is one of five new regional vice chairmen at the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday announced the election of its five new regional vice chairmen, completing a months-long process of the House Democrats’ expansion of their leadership circle to include more perspectives after the 2016 election disappointment.

Some Democrats have pointed to the DCCC as one of the reasons the party’s messaging last year failed to win them as many House seats as they had been projecting. They’ve said the campaign arm did not do enough to reach voters in middle America, particularly Rust Belt areas where jobs are a primary concern. 

Emerging GOP Plan Would Replace Parts of Obamacare as It’s Repealed
Ryan, Walden, Brady present plan that includes provisions that are controversial among some Republicans

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday that legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would be announced after the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among the GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday presented to the House Republican Conference their vision for a “repeal plus” bill that would undo most of the health care law and set up some pieces of a yet undeveloped Republican replacement. 

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?
Hard work is vital but results are not always easy to see

North Carolina NAACP President William J. Barber II is playing a prominent role in what has been called the ‘Moral Movement’ there, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted. 

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

Like Democrats Before Them, GOP Dismisses Town Hall Threat
There’s little data to gauge electoral threat protests pose for 2018

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen says he’ll be sticking with tele-town halls for the near future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ask Republican lawmakers about the specter of protests in their districts next week, and they’ll likely shrug off constituent outbursts as “manufactured” or “scripted.” 

The GOP is largely adopting the Democratic posture from the summer of 2009 that angry voices at town halls don’t represent a political threat. That may be true. The question is how Republicans now, and Democrats back then, arrived at that conclusion. 

Conservatives Rally Around Their Own Health Care Plan
Obamacare replacement plan might make GOP consensus more difficult

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows speaks as South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford listens during the caucus’ news conference on Wednesday on health care law replacement legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conservative Republicans on Wednesday staked out their position on a proposed replacement to the 2010 health care law. But their views are likely to muddle the path toward GOP consensus.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsed legislation authored by one of its members, Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Ambitious House Agenda on Medicaid Could Stall in Senate
GOP senators doubt changes could gain traction in upper chamber

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he thinks there might not be enough “political will” for a major Medicaid overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are warning that major changes to the Medicaid program may not survive the upper chamber, despite an aggressive push from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to include a substantial overhaul of the program in the Republican measure to repeal the health care law.

In the House, Ryan and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden are pushing their colleagues to consider major Medicaid changes on a repeal bill this spring. Those include funding mechanisms like so-called block grants and per capita caps or a cap on Medicaid enrollment for states that expanded the program under the health care law, according to House aides.

NRA: Confirmation of Ryan Zinke a Sound Move
Gun rights group predicts an ‘end of an era of hostility’ towards hunters

Secretary of the Interior nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., returns to his seat after greeting chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, before the start of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 17, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The five million men and women of the National Rifle Association are eager to see Rep. Ryan Zinke confirmed as the 52nd secretary of the Interior. His confirmation will mark the end of an era of hostility toward hunters and sportsmen at the Interior Department.

As a native Montanan, Zinke has a deep appreciation for wildlife and conservation. In addition, he understands the importance of public land access for all hunters and outdoorsmen.

McConnell Lines Up Slew of Cabinet Nominee Votes
Mick Mulvaney will be first of half-dozen nominations to get vote

South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney is expected to receive a vote on his nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid the groundwork for another procedural slog on the Senate floor that could stretch into the early part of March.

First up after a previously scheduled vote Tuesday morning on Linda McMahon’s nomination to helm the Small Business Administration will be the Office of Management and Budget director nominee, Rep. Mick Mulvaney. The South Carolina Republican will receive a vote this week after what’s expected to be a blistering debate likely focused on his tea party past, including his past opposition to increased defense spending.

Report Shows ‘Untapped Power’ of Constituent Advocacy
Showing the local effects of legislation can better influence lawmakers

People react to Rep. Jason Chaffetz as he speaks during a town hall meeting at Brighton High School, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Hundreds of people lined up early for the town hall with Chaffetz on Thursday evening, many holding signs criticizing the congressman's push to repeal the newly-named Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)