conservatives

EPA expected to finalize clean water rollback amid science challenges
New rule would remove federal authority over smaller bodies of water that feed larger water supplies. Opponents said states should handle such local regulation

President Donald Trump showed a hat that says "Make Counties Great Again" before signing an Executive Order in February 2017 to  roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is expected Thursday to finalize a rule that would significantly reduce the federal government’s role in regulating waterways, fulfilling a campaign promise to farmers and energy interests and handing a win to conservatives who have pushed for changes to the Clean Water Act regulations.

The rule, which redefines what constitutes “waters of the United States,” would revise decades-old standards for regulating waterways, a move environmentalists warn could lead to pollution of water that wildlife and people depend on, especially in low-income areas and communities of color. Several current and former EPA and Army Corps of Engineers employees and scientific advisers oppose the move, charging that political appointees blocked the use of scientific information in writing the rule.

Congress faces narrow spending increase as VA health care costs balloon
CQ Budget, Ep. 140

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 15: The U.S. flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol dome on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Impeachment comes with its own rules — or lack thereof — on standard of proof
Constitution says nothing about an impeachment evidence standard, making process political

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., and his fellow impeachment managers are seen in Statuary Hall before addressing the media on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Jan. 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What is the standard of proof senators will apply to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump? It depends on whom you ask. 

The Constitution provides only bare-bones instructions on the impeachment framework. It does not outline a “standard of proof.”

Supreme Court denies request for expedited appeal of challenge to 2010 health care law
House and several blue states had requested appeal that could have led to decision ahead of election

An expedited hearing on the 2010 health care law could have led to a ruling before the election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will not hear an expedited appeal of a legal challenge to the 2010 health care law this term, which could have led to a decision this summer on whether to overturn the entire law during the heat of the campaign season.

At least five justices declined a request from several Democratic state officials and the House to fast-track an appeal of the case, Texas v. Azar. Instead, a lower court judge will reconsider how much of the 2010 health care law should fall after Congress eliminated the law's tax penalty on most Americans who did not have health care coverage. The Supreme Court could agree to hear the case as soon as its next term, which begins in October, but a decision is not likely before the November elections.

How Ed Henry covered impeachment the first time
Roll Call alum is starting a new role at Fox News just as impeachment articles hit the Senate. That brought back some memories

Heard on the Hill alum Ed Henry gets ready for a new role at Fox News. (Courtesy Fox News)

Ed Henry had an interview scheduled with Bill Clinton. It was a relatively sleepy week in Washington, the State of the Union was approaching, and the young reporter planned to ask the president about his relationship with Congress.

Things changed. News of the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, and what was supposed to be a routine sit-down turned into a 15-minute phone call brimming with executive denials: “not sexual,” “not improper,” “not true.”

Democrats try to expand House battlefield by targeting six more districts
With legislation stalled, campaign memo recommends blaming GOP and McConnell

The DCCC has once again added Alaska Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving House Republican, to its target list. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six new targets to its 2020 battlefield, hoping to flip more Republican-held seats while protecting its House majority.

Having made historic gains in the 2018 midterms, Democrats started the year on defense. Republicans need a net gain of 18 seats to retake the House, and their first targets will be the 30 districts President Donald Trump won in 2016 that are currently represented by Democrats.

Appropriators feel the squeeze of budget caps as veterans health funding grows
Nondefense programs could soon see spending cuts unless Congress makes adjustments

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators and stakeholders have begun coming to grips with the reality of narrow funding increases under next year’s budget caps, as politically sacrosanct veterans health care spending continues to grow and eat into what’s left for all other nondefense programs.

Last summer’s two-year budget deal front-loaded its spending cap increases into the first year, allowing about 4 percent more for discretionary spending in fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2021, increases are capped at less than 0.4 percent, or $5 billion, despite fixed costs for veterans health care that are likely to require substantially more.

Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats
GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)

Updated Jan. 16 10:45 a.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Repeal of Obamacare taxes stirs questions on durability of offsets
Democrats once touted law’s fiscal soundness. That’s getting harder to do

The repeal of three taxes levied under the 2010 health care law underscores how much easier it is for lawmakers to give the public a new benefit than it is to impose ways to pay for it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The repeal last month of three taxes levied under the 2010 health care law represents one of several ways Congress has chipped away over the years at provisions paying for it, but a left-leaning budget think tank calculates the law will still save money overall.

Democratic leaders have often highlighted the law’s offsets as an example of fiscal responsibility, noting that it expanded coverage to more than 20 million people while Congressional Budget Office estimates showed it still saved the federal government money. They contrasted that with a 2003 law to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare, which was not paid for.

Brett Kavanaugh brings pizza to the Supreme Court and it is not good
Just call him the ‘pizza justice.’ No really, he doesn’t mind

Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, possibly thinking about pizza. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The crust is slightly burnt around the edges where the cheese bubbles. The pepperonis are large, oily and plentiful, so no complaints there.

Brett Kavanaugh has already left his mark on the Supreme Court, and it is pizza.