Trade

Oil refiners racing Congress to protect butane loophole
Joint Committee on Taxation now estimates 1-year extension of the alternative fuel credits would cost $7.1 billion

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says Congress should leave it to the courts to decide whether refiners should get an alternative fuel tax credit for butane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For more than a decade, oil refiners didn’t realize what a moneymaker they had in butane — at least for tax purposes.

They do now.

Papaya outbreak highlights FDA’s food safety challenge
‘Inability to track and trace foods with speed or precision’ is agency’s ‘Achilles’ heel’

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges Food and Drug Administration officials face in fighting foodborne illness. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges federal officials face in fighting foodborne illness, as a law from nearly a decade ago meant to modernize the food safety system is starting to show its age. 

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to bring its efforts to track and prevent outbreaks in line with the technology now at its disposal. But because spending for next year is uncertain, Congress could make it difficult for the agency.

9/11 aid bill passes House after emotional lobbying campaign
It was passed by the lopsided margin of 402-12

From left, comedian and advocate Jon Stewart, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., are on the Speaker's balcony after a meeting in the Capitol about funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. 9/11 responders attended the meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House voted Friday to extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

By the lopsided margin of 402-12, the House passed legislation that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first-responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims.

Acosta out as Labor secretary as Epstein child sex scandal engulfs White House
Acosta will stay on through next week, Assistant Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will fill the post in an acting capacity after that

President Donald Trump and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta talk to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday after Acosta had announced his resignation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Embattled Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned Friday amid a churning scandal over a plea deal related to billionaire financier Jeffery Epstein and sex acts with minors.

President Donald Trump told reporters that Acosta had made the decision to resign as he departed for Wisconsin and Ohio, where the president will hold fundraisers and speak about a trade deal.

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Sen. Angus King is the man who brought us the lobster emoji. But he was out of the lobster loop on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

Senators mount pressure on equal pay for World Cup champs
More lawmakers introduce measures pushing equal pay for U.S. women's soccer team

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are leading an effort in the Senate to make salaries for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitable. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the U.S. soccer women’s team embarks on a whirlwind victory lap from its recent World Cup domination, more lawmakers are joining the four-time champions in calling for pay equity.

A group of senators led by Robert Menendez, Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein introduced a resolution congratulating the team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and asking U.S. Soccer to provide the players with pay comparable to their counterparts on the men’s team.

Lummis running for Senate in Wyoming, predicts ‘barn burner’ if Cheney runs too
Once the only female member of House Freedom Caucus, Lummis chose not to seek fifth term in 2016

Former Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis is running for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:57 p.m. | Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced Thursday she is running for the open Senate seat in Wyoming, officially jumping into what could turn into a crowded Republican primary.

Longtime GOP incumbent Michael B. Enzi announced in May he would not run for re-election. Whoever wins the GOP primary would be the favorite to replace him given the state’s strong Republican lean.

As other Democratic candidates close in on Biden, Trump tries to ‘soften up the front-runner’
President calls former VP a ‘reclamation project’ after sluggish debate performance

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s sluggish performance at last month’s Democratic debate has not escaped President Donald Trump’s notice. (Getty Images file photos/Composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic White House front-runner Joe Biden has slipped in the polls, but President Donald Trump has only intensified his attempts to discredit and disqualify the former vice president.

In the last five days alone, the president has dubbed his potential 2020 rival “sleepy” and “a reclamation project,” suggesting in one tweet that “some things are just not salvageable.” He has asserted that China and other countries are “begging” for a President Biden so they can get back to trade tactics that “ripped us off for years.”

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.

Graham: tech companies should ‘earn’ liability shield
Graham said he wants to work with tech giants and others to create a list of “best business practices” for protecting minors online

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talks with reporters after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on June 25, 2019. Graham said he wants to hold big tech companies more accountable by making them “earn” liability protections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Changes may be coming to the provision in communications law that limits web platforms, like Facebook and Google, from being sued for user content, if Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has his way.

Following a hearing on protections for children from internet predators before his committee Tuesday, Graham said he wants to hold big tech companies more accountable by making them “earn” liability protections. Those “were given to make sure the industry would flourish, mission accomplished. However, the liability protections now have to be modified so that you earn them,” the South Carolina Republican said.