Science

Sessions Ducks Senate Questions on Trump-Related Probes
‘That calls for a speculative answer ... I’m just not able to do that’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to testify during the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2019 budget for the Justice Department on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reassured senators Wednesday the Justice Department will stay committed to the law in the face of criticism from President Donald Trump, who has openly disparaged the agency and actions of the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

But Sessions was coy during testimony about his role in the department’s high-profile investigations and the politics of Trump’s criticism.

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

White House physician Ronny Jackson, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had better hang on to his day job after lawmakers cited “serious concerns,” Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

Drug Pricing Proposal Should Revamp Medicare, GOP Experts Say
Overhauling Part B drug benefit could have “massive impact overnight”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has been outspoken in seeking to carry out the president’s push to reduce drug costs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An upcoming Trump administration proposal on lowering drug costs should ask Congress to allow private insurance companies to negotiate prices for drugs administered in a doctor’s office or hospital, two Republican policy experts said.

The administration’s proposal is a request for comment on strategies to lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. It was originally expected to be released in tandem with a speech by President Donald Trump on Thursday, but the speech was delayed as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recovers from an infection.

Motivational Speakers: Members Hit the Graduation Circuit
Harris, Booker, Flake and Warner among those sending off this spring’s graduates

Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Mark Warner, D-Va., are both speaking at graduation ceremonies in their home state next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Politicians, often blessed with the gift of the gab, are rarely shy about sharing stories about how they got to where they are.

And some of them will be sharing their wisdom and inspiration at graduation ceremonies, beginning next month. Students wrapping up their college or graduate school experiences can expect to hear about following their dreams or — considering the number of Trump critics among the speakers — what not to do. 

FAA Authorization Headed for House Floor Vote Next Week
Changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy also being considered

The House is voting next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The House will vote next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and change disaster relief policy to focus more on mitigation than recovery.

In a statement Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said the House would vote on an aviation bill that would reauthorize the FAA through fiscal 2023 as well as include provisions of a bill previously passed by the House that makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy.

Arizona’s Special Election Heads to Home Stretch
Both parties watching whether 8th District race will be close

Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko has benefited from significant outside spending in the 8th District special election. (Courtesy Debbie Lesko for Congress)

Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staffers. Next week, no matter which party wins the race to replace the Arizona Republican, a woman will be elected to succeed him.

The April 24 special election in the 8th District pits former GOP state Sen. Debbie Lesko against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer research advocate and former emergency room physician. The two could also meet again in November since both intend to file to run for a full term.

Flake Flip on NASA Nominee Followed Senate Tumult
Vote to break filibuster of Bridenstine briefly deadlocked

The nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., to lead NASA faced a brief hiccup on the Senate floor Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A confluence of events put President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead NASA on the verge of an unexpected blockade Wednesday afternoon.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona had initially voted against limiting debate on the nomination of GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, but after almost an hour, he switched his vote.

Corker Won’t Campaign Against Democratic Ex-Governor Who Wants to Succeed Him
Retiring Republican has contributed to Blackburn, but has long relationship with Bredesen

Sen. Bob Corker thinks the Democratic candidate is fairly well ahead in the race to succeed him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has significant crossover appeal, but just how much may depend on whether Tennessee voters think control of the Senate is at stake.

That is the view of the retiring senator who Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn are seeking to replace, who thinks the Democrat might be ahead by six points today.

Opinion: A Message for Midterm Poll Jumpers
It’s not that political handicapping is worthless, but a little humility will go a long way

When soothsayers read the signs in April 2010, they thought Democrats might lose only two dozen seats in the midterms. John A. Boehner knows how that turned out, Shapiro writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The conventional wisdom creeps in on little cat feet.

Over the last few months, the political community has come to assume that the Democrats will take back the House in November. And with the impatience that defines our era, the smart money is already speculating on when the newly assertive House majority will try to impeach Donald Trump.

Opinion: Who Will Spur the Next Energy Revolution? Not Private Industry
Some say the government can no longer afford to invest in energy research, but we say it can’t afford not to

Solar panels are seen from the air on approach to Indianapolis International Airport on April 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In just a decade, America’s energy landscape has been transformed. Wind and solar units have cropped up across the country, quadrupling their output. Our oil production has nearly doubled over the same period, while natural gas has swelled by a third, due in large part to drilling and seismology advances that ushered in the shale revolution.

Who developed those technologies? Researchers at America’s national labs, thanks to decades of federal funding.