EPA

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Corn State Lawmakers Get Ethanol Hearing

Sen. Deb Fischer’s legislation would ease restrictions on the sale of ethanol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowing to pressure from corn state lawmakers, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso allowed a hearing on legislation that would ease restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with at least 15 percent ethanol, a measure he opposes.

The bill (S 517) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would order the EPA to waive its rule prohibiting the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn-based ethanol, also known as E15, during the summer months. The prohibition was based on findings that tied the mixture to smog-causing emissions during warm weather.

Tillerson Says He Still Believes in Paris Pact, But Backs Trump
‘My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views.’

Secretary of State nominee Rex Wayne Tillerson testifies during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has previously backed the U.S. staying in the Paris climate agreement, told lawmakers on Tuesday that his views have “never changed” but that he respects President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international accord aimed at slowing global warming.

Tillerson was speaking at a budget hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where the panel’s top Democrat, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, asked if he had changed his position on the agreement ahead of the president’s decision or whether the move was “just a political decision” by the administration.

Neighborhood Dispute: The D.C.-Maryland Lawsuit and Donald Trump
White House brushes aside suit, but conflict with home region is real

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, right, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh conduct a news conference on a lawsuit they filed Monday against President Donald Trump, alleging he violated the U.S. Constitution by accepting foreign payments through his businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine can see the top of the Trump International Hotel from his Penn Quarter office. Whenever he looks at it, he sees the U.S. Constitution being trampled by President Donald Trump.

Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit against Trump claiming his business ties violate the U.S. Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause.” By doing so, they fired the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between the Trump White House and the city and region it calls home.

Opinion: What Exactly Do Republicans Believe in Besides Trump?
Power may be valued more than patriotism

President Donald Trump changes positions and contradicts himself while Republicans scramble to defend him, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When my parents were good Republicans — my mother a party activist, in fact — the label meant something entirely different than it does today.

It was the party of Lincoln, imagine that, and the GOP tolerated differences with a tent that was indeed big. You could be pro-civil rights and fiscally conservative, a working-class African-American family in Maryland, then, as now, a mostly blue state, and there was someone such as Republican Sen. Charles Mathias. With his streak of independence and loyalty to principle, he could represent you, your party and even those who didn’t vote for him.

Senate Panel Advances Energy and Interior Nominees
Members wonder where the other nominees are

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said it was crucial that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission be restored to full membership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced four energy-related nominees on Tuesday as lawmakers grow increasingly impatient with President Donald Trump’s slow pace of filling key administration positions.

The panel voted 14-9, mostly along party lines, to advance the nomination of longtime energy lobbyist David Bernhardt, Trump’s pick for deputy Interior secretary. Bernhardt, also a former congressional staffer and attorney, has challenged the agency in courts on behalf of clients that critics fear would benefit from his appointment.

‘Climate Change’ a Third-Rail Phrase for Trump
President, top aides mum as U.S. exits Paris Agreement

In his address Thursday, President Donald Trump cited jobs and other countries “laughing at” America among his reasons for pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. But he never said he doesn’t think climate change is real. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump uttered nearly 3,000 words Thursday explaining why he withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord. But he never spoke the two words the global agreement was designed to combat: climate change.

While candidate Trump dubbed climate change a “hoax” and “bulls---,” senior White House officials are mum about whether President Trump still thinks that. On Friday morning, senior White House aides, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, declined to answer questions about the president’s personal beliefs on climate change during television interviews.

Trump Withdraws US From Paris Climate Agreement
President says country could re-enter accord under a ‘deal that’s fair’

President Donald Trump will announce his decision on the Paris Agreement on Thursday afternoon. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA AND JOHN T. BENNETTUpdated 4:26 p.m. | President Donald Trump said the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, fulfilling a campaign promise and handing victory to Republican lawmakers who had pushed for an exit from what they termed a bad deal that would put a drag on the U.S. economy.

Trump left open the possibility of re-entering the accord after renegotiating a “deal that’s fair.”

Bipartisan Pressure Mounts on Trump to Stay in Paris Agreement
Schumer: Leaving the deal would be a ‘historic mistake’

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney takes a break during testimony before a House Budget Committee hearing in Longworth Building titled “The President’s FY2018 Budget” on May 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House has continued to delay a decision on whether it will stay in the Paris climate agreement, but pressure is mounting on the president from both Republicans and Democrats to keep the U.S. in the deal, albeit for different reasons.

Democrats, like environmental groups, see the accord as crucial in efforts to slow global warming. And while many Republicans despise the deal, they fear leaving it would undermine U.S. global leadership and take away the opportunity to reshape, even weaken the accord.

EPA Sets Aside $12 Million for Employee Buyouts in FY 2017
Democrats have criticized plans for deep cuts to the agency

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has been critical of the Trump administration's plans for the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA is setting aside $12 million of its fiscal 2017 budget allocation for a previously announced plan to offer employee buyouts and incentives for early retirements as part of a Trump administration effort to cut the agency’s workforce, according to a memo from its chief financial officer, David A. Bloom.

The $12 million comes from a pool of $24 million in unused money from fiscal 2016, according to the memo.