Kathy Castor

The lobbyists: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
Are they worried the new Congress will make war on K Street? Do they look worried?

Michael Williams, a longtime banking and finance policy lobbyist, aims to bridge the divide between progressives and his clients. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump looms large on almost every important issue, but it won’t be all about him for some individuals on Roll Call’s list of People to Watch in 2019. 

The financial sector will be learning to survive a less business-friendly environment in the House, and a longtime Democratic lobbyist is well-positioned to lend a hand.

The change-makers: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
A surge of energy from activists has defined the Trump era. What’s the end game?

Varshini Prakash co-founded the Sunrise Movement, an environmental group, in 2017. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images file photo)

Several activists who will be on the front lines of some of the biggest policy battles in the year ahead rank among Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019. 

They include the leader of a fledgling environmental group pushing for aggressive action on climate change; the new president of Planned Parenthood, the lightning rod in the raging debate over abortion; and an expert on transportation safety who will be insisting on strong regulations to prevent deaths and injuries from driver-less vehicles. 

Ocasio-Cortez says being left off climate select committee not a snub
Freshman New York Democrat said Pelosi invited her to serve on the panel, but she opted against it

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., arrive for the press conference on the Green New Deal Resolution outside of the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited her to serve on a select committee studying climate change solutions, but she opted against it because she’s already on an Oversight and Reform subcommittee on the environment.

“She did in fact invite me to be on the committee,” the New York Democrat said. “So I don’t think this is a snub.”

House Democrats Settle on Top Leaders, but Fight Over Speakership Remains
Pelosi gets overwhelming numbers for speaker bid

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leaves the CVC Auditorium during a break in the House Democrats’ organizational caucus meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats decided on their top leaders Wednesday — all except the highest-ranking one. Nancy Pelosi overwhelmingly secured the caucus’s nomination for speaker, but a sizable group of opponents appears determined to keep the California Democrat from officially claiming the gavel on Jan. 3. 

Pelosi got 203 votes on the caucus ballot, but her allies believe that’s far lower than what she can earn on the floor. There were 32 “no” votes and three blanks. New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is supporting Pelosi, was absent. 

Pelosi Wins Democratic Caucus Nomination for Speaker
California Democrat and her allies want the caucus to unify around her for Jan. 3 floor vote

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California won her caucus’s nomination to be speaker of the House for the 116th Congress. She still needs to win a Jan. 3 floor vote to be elected speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has served 16 years as House Democratic leader, is on her way to securing another two after winning the Democratic Caucus’s nomination for speaker Wednesday. 

The outcome was never in doubt given that no one was running against Pelosi for the top leadership post and the simple-majority threshold required to win the caucus’s nomination is an easy bar to meet for the veteran vote counter. 

First-Ever Home Run Punctuates Congressional Softball Game
Rep. Mia Love, Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman were game MVPs

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand greets her interns after the Congressional Women’s Softball Game on Wednesday at the Watkins Recreation Center. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman hit the first out of the park home run in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game’s 10-year history Wednesday just as the skies opened up in the fifth inning.

The triumphant Bad News Babes and the members’ team hurried off the softball field as soon as the coaches agreed to call the game.

Beat the Press: Lawmakers Look to Break Media Team’s Softball Streak
‘We get to get a little physical and we get to do something really good’ in charity game

The media team celebrates after its 2-1 victory over female lawmakers at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After months of strong female voices challenging male-dominated institutions, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand is eager to direct that fervor onto the softball field.

“I think there’s a lot of energy on our team right now and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for women and women’s voices,” the New York Democrat said at practice for the Congressional Women’s Softball Game last week.

Ernst Only New Face on Congressional Softball Game Roster
Check out the members and media rosters ahead of the June 20 game

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pose with the members team before the 2017 Congressional Women’s Softball game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The rosters for the 10th annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game on June 20 are out and include one new face on the members team: Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.

The members team will battle it out against the women of the Washington press corps, known as the Bad News Babes, who are the reigning champs after winning, 2-1, last year.

Florida Delegation Playing Hardball to Extend Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Sunshine State Democrats and Republicans may target NDAA

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., says he doesn’t see “any light between Republicans and Democrats” on the issue of offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Emboldened by a Defense Department report that expressed worries about unfettered offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s House delegation is preparing to throw its weight around to win a multiyear extension of a moratorium off its coasts.

The bipartisan commitment from the third largest congressional delegation, reached last week, may affect the $708.1 billion defense authorization bill that is being considered by the Rules Committee Monday and Tuesday ahead of a vote as soon as Wednesday.

Plan to Boost Coal and Nuclear Could Cost Consumers
Should consumers pay more so coal and nuclear plants can survive?

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Oct. 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For years, federal regulation of the electric grid has focused on keeping prices low and competition stiff. But that could change with a recent proposal from the Trump administration to put more emphasis on what it calls resiliency.

According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the electric grid is more resilient — able to bounce back from disasters of the natural and man-made variety — when it has plenty of so-called baseload power that can run 24/7, with or without sunshine or wind and regardless of supply snags.