Sherrod Brown

Former EPA advisers say agency’s mercury proposal is flawed
Process for devising proposal to weaken Obama-era pollution rule was ‘fatally flawed,’ they say

The EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard targeted emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the EPA gets closer to finalizing changes to an Obama-era air pollution rule, a group of former agency advisers says the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken the mercury emissions regulations is based on faulty and outdated data.

The Trump administration a year ago proposed a rule that would revoke the EPA’s legal justification for issuing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule that aimed to curb hazardous air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Banks see Fed payments proposal opening door to fintech rivals
Banking industry pushes for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services

Prompted by the Federal Reserve’s plan to build an instant payment system, banks are pushing for tight rules on tech firms moving into banking-like services. (iStock)

A plan by the Federal Reserve to build its own network to transfer funds quickly has pitted technology firms seeking a foothold in the financial sector against banks that have traditionally dominated the payments business. 

Tech firms see the new payment system as an opportunity to get into the payments business, and banks, facing a new rival, are pushing for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services, according to advocates on both sides of the issue.

Senate Democrats skeptical of Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ push
Hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats shows how fraught the issue is within the party

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said she was confident Medicare for All could earn support in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s colleagues aren’t exactly jumping to voice support for her plan to finance “Medicare for All.”

The hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats across the political spectrum on backing the Massachusetts Democrat’s plan shows how fraught the issue is within the party – and how challenging it would be for a Democratic White House to shepherd a plan through Congress.

Campus notebook: Digitizing Congress, a flu shot shortage and spotting an owl
Plus fall treats and process for reviewing franked mail is entering the 21st century

An owl peered into Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office in the Hart Building on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There was good news this week for serious Congress nerds everywhere, especially those without access to a massive academic library.

The Government Publishing Office and the Law Library of Congress announced a plan Tuesday to digitize the entirety of the Congressional serial set — bound volumes of legislative reports and related documents dating all the way back to 1817.

Zuckerberg to face criticism over cryptocurrency, other issues
Democrats and Republicans will interrogate the Facebook CEO on Wednesday over a number of issues

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to face bipartisan criticism Wednesday when he appears before the House Financial Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conciliatory-sounding Mark Zuckerberg will face questions Wednesday about Facebook’s world-altering ambitions from congressional critics of both parties.

Democrats and Republicans are expected to interrogate the Facebook CEO over the plan to launch Libra, a cryptocurrency pegged to a basket of global currencies and managed by a consortium of multinational corporations, as well as the company’s role in the spread of political propaganda, alleged violations of housing legislation, dominance of online advertising, monetization of users’ data and censoring of right-wing media.

Democrats seeking votes in Trump country tout miners’ benefits
As Republicans prepare a coal pension fix proposal, Democrats push for more

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, center, Sens. Joe Manchin III and Sherrod Brown, right, called for action on Democratic pension proposals this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they’re close to unveiling a plan to address a $66 billion funding shortfall affecting coal miners’ and other union pension plans, an issue Democrats see as advantageous politically and as a possible bargaining chip in trade talks with the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump championed manufacturing and coal industry jobs during his 2016 campaign, including in critical swing states he won like Pennsylvania and Ohio. In the 2020 campaign, Democrats have been touting “broken promises” to workers in those states and others, including more traditional GOP bastions like Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection next year. 

Senate confirms Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary
Schumer slams nomination as a “disagrace.” Alexander sees incoming secretary as a “steady hand”

Eugene Scalia was confirmed Thursday as Labor secretary. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Corporate lawyer Eugene Scalia received Senate confirmation Thursday to be secretary of Labor in a 53-44 party-line vote.

The vote followed a similar partisan divide in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when it voted Tuesday to advance Scalia, the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Democrats question lack of flu vaccines, quarantine procedures for migrant children
Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren, also ask about medical screenings

Senate Democrats want to know more about the decision to not give flu vaccines to migrant children in U.S. custody. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, led by Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, are expressing new concerns about a decision not to provide seasonal flu vaccines to migrants in U.S. detention.

“This dangerous decision not to administer vaccinations for a disease that has already proven fatal to migrant children in CBP’s custody is immoral and irresponsible, placing entire communities at risk of the flu and its associated complications,” the senators wrote to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar.

‘American Factory’ arrives in time fraught with U.S.-China troubles
Netflix documentary humanizes international trade, labor fights in Dayton

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, makes an appearance in the Netflix documentary “American Factory,” including making comments encouraging a union movement at the facility in question in the Dayton area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Timing is everything, and the Netflix documentary “American Factory” comes out in times tailor-made for its story of the rebirth of a former U.S. truck-making facility as a Chinese glass manufacturer in the heart of the Rust Belt. 

Dayton, Ohio, has been in the headlines lately for the horrific mass shooting earlier this month that killed 10 and injured 27. But the Gem City has a proud history as the home of the Wright brothers, the Dayton peace accords and an industrial hub. 

After shootings, Trump again shows he prefers political brawler to consoler in chief
White House has ‘a problem’ with alleged ‘disingenuous’ comments by Sherrod Brown, Dayton mayor

President Donald Trump on Wednesday injected politics into his attempts to console those affected by mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Even on a day when he was thrust once again by gunmen into his consoler-in-chief role, President Donald Trump found new political enemies — and started throwing rhetorical elbows as the country reeled from two more gun massacres.

The president and first lady Melania Trump spent time Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, with the victims of weekend mass killings and law enforcement officers who neutralized the shooters. But before, during and after even his critics gave him points for consoling and spending time with those affected, the president appeared more focused on political sparring than emotional healing.