Ryan Zinke

Rick Perry Defends Private Travel Costs at House Energy Hearing
Some sites are too remote to be accessed by commercial airlines, secretary says

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee on Thursday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers Thursday that his use of private aircraft for work travel is sometimes justified because his department’s national laboratories and some sites he has to visit are too remote to be accessed by commercial airlines.

GOP Hopes to Undercut Offshore Regulator, Say House Democrats
Republicans are taking aim at an agency created by President Obama after BP oil spill

The site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen from the back of a U.S. Coast Guard cargo plane in 2010. Republicans are re-evaluating a regulatory agency established by Obama in the aftermath of the spill. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers are trying to undermine the federal regulatory agency responsible for overseeing the safety and environmental concerns of offshore oil and gas operations, said Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee at a Wednesday hearing.

The complaints stem from a provision in the committee Republicans’ recently released draft bill that would direct the Interior secretary to look for potential “inefficiencies or duplication between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,” which both regulate aspects of offshore drilling.

Opinion: Bob Corker and the Chairmen Who Hold Trump’s Fate in Their Hands
Alienating key GOP senators unwise for the president

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is among the key Senate chairmen that President Donald Trump has lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

We all know that Washington is about relationships. I’ve gotten some of my best scoops (so to to speak) at the dog park and met some of my best sources on “Wing Night” at the Capitol Lounge years ago. On Capitol Hill, good bills have died over years-long grudges, while mediocre bills have gotten by on, “Well, I just like the guy (or lady).”

With a huge legislative agenda to pass and a major international incident looming in North Korea, you’d think that President Donald Trump would be rallying his fellow Republicans to his side, especially the most senior leaders who could shepherd his agenda through the Hill. Instead, he has attacked, lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated a host of GOP senators, including the ones crucial to his efforts to build a wall, pass tax reform, reform health care and, if it came to it, escape impeachment.

Natural Resources Chairman Has Questions About Zinke’s Travel

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

 The Republican chairman on the House Natural Resources Committee has joined Democratic lawmakers who have taken an interest in the travel expenses incurred by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

In a letter sent late Tuesday, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, whose committee has oversight of Interior, asked the agency chief to provide details about its travel policies and travel records for Interior secretaries over the last eight years. The letter, which was also signed by the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., also suggested that Bishop believes Democrats may be trying to draw attention to the issue for political purposes.

Monuments Review Spurs Call to Overhaul Antiquities Act
Interior Department does not recommend overturning any designations

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has concluded his review of national monuments, which might give Congress the impetus to review the Antiquities Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department's conclusion of a contentious review of national monuments might give Congress some impetus to revisit the Antiquities Act of 1906, which presidents of both parties have used to designate monuments through executive action. 

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop on Thursday called for Congress to overhaul the Antiquities Act to place “reasonable limits” on the way presidents use the statute. Bishop’s statements came shortly before the Interior Department submitted recommendations to the White House after an executive-ordered review of monument designations made over the last two decades.

Gianforte Gets First Challenger
John Heenan is a former consumer protection lawyer

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., shown here being sworn in in June, is being challenged by Billings attorney John Heenan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte got his first Democratic challenger for the 2018 midterm election on Monday when attorney John Heenan announced his candidacy.

Heenan said he plans to use his experience as a consumer protection lawyer and focus on access to “quality, affordable health care” in Washington, the Spokesman Review reported

Murkowski and Zinke Mend Fences Over Beers
Comes after reports that Interior secretary threatened Alaska senator over health care vote

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke takes a selfie with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski sharing a Alaskan craft beer. (Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke via Twitter)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski met to mend fences over beers to settle their feud over the senator’s vote on the Republican health care bill.

Zinke tweeted a photo of himself and the Alaska Republican holding what appears to be a local pale ale.

Gianforte to Fulfill Community Service With Montana Nonprofit
Comes as part of his sentence for assaulting a journalist

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., has until Nov. 28 to complete his court-ordered community service. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Opinion: Summertime and the Living Is Easy in Trump’s Washington
But there’s still time for a cornered chief executive to lash out

The danger with President Donald Trump is that when he feels cornered, he lashes out in irrational directions, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday was the kind of molasses-slow news day in Washington, reminiscent of the summers before air-conditioning when Congress and most of the Executive Branch fled the capital for sea breezes and temperate climes.

For the sake of historians chronicling the torpor of the Trump years, here are some of the things that happened on this forgettable Thursday:

Collins, Murkowski Set the Stage for McCain’s Dramatic Vote
Female senators came under withering criticism, threats in run-up to health care vote

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, second from left, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska flank President Donald Trump as he meets with Senate Republicans on the GOP health care bill in June. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine withstood withering criticism — including a rhetorical challenge to a duel and a threat from the White House — to set the stage for the dramatic last-minute health care vote early Friday morning. 

In the end, though, it was Arizona Sen. John McCain — returning to Washington during treatment for brain cancer diagnosis — who got the spotlight.