Energy & Environment

Feeling Dissed, Puerto Rico Governor May Skip House Hearing
Governor is ‘demanding’ an ‘explicit, public apology’ from Natural Resources chairman over tweet

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop is facing pushback from the governor of Puerto Rico over a tweet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The governor of Puerto Rico is threatening to withdraw from a scheduled appearance before the House Natural Resources Committee after the panel posted a tweet his office said was “shameful,” “hostile” and “condescending.”

The committee deleted a tweet from its Twitter account July 19 about its invitation for Gov. Ricardo Rossello to testify at a July 25 hearing, following a request from the governor to have it removed. Rossello is a member of both the New Progressive Party and the Democratic Party.

Republicans Announce Charlotte as 2020 Convention Site
Democrats visited the North Carolina city in 2012

The Foo Fighters performed at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which was also in Charlotte. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Republican National Committee formally announced Friday that its 2020 convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Charlotte has so much to offer, and we are excited to bring delegates to a city that has demonstrated its southern hospitality, showcased its vibrant energy, and proven that possibilities are endless. I am confident the Queen City will be the ideal backdrop as the Republican Party continues its work to Make America Great Again,“ site selection Chairman Ron Kaufman said in a statement.

Democrats Press GOP for Quick Legislative Response on Russia
Several measures in both chambers designed to push back on Putin

Protesters participate in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump in the wake of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Congress could consider several bills in response to concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming election. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats are pressuring their Republican colleagues to bring to the floor legislation introduced in response to President Donald Trump’s comments — and revisions to those comments — this week on Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Democratic House leaders released a bipartisan package that includes 17 previously introduced bills that would further restrict the White House’s foreign policy and economic options when it comes to Moscow.

Most GOP Climate Caucus Members Back Anti-Carbon Tax Measure

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., pictured here, says his vote against a carbon tax is not inconsistent with his membership in the Climate Solutions Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Only six of the more than 40 Republicans in the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus voted against a GOP resolution opposing a carbon tax policy Thursday.

The climate-conscious Republicans who voted for the resolution (H Con Res 119) had a ready reason for what might appear to be an inconsistent vote: They don’t favor the generic carbon tax that the measure frames.

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity
But Senate Republicans have not published their own statistics

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy appears in the Capitol last year. Three of the four Senate committees with the least diverse Democratic staffs this year are also the most powerful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate committees with the whitest Democratic staffs are also some of the chamber’s most powerful.

Appropriations, Finance and Armed Services are three of the four least diverse panels, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by the Senate Democrats. Just 5 percent, 6 percent and 13 percent of their respective staffs are non-Caucasian.

Lawmakers Scramble to Extend Flood Insurance Before Hurricane Season Peaks
Unless they act by July 31, parts of the program will lapse

Rep. Ed Royce, shown here in May, introduced a bill Tuesday with Earl Blumenauer that would extend flood insurance coverage for four additional months. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House, facing a July 31 deadline to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, is considering legislation to extend it through Nov. 30 as the House and Senate try to resolve big differences in their proposals for the program.

Reps. Ed Royce, a California Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would extend flood insurance coverage for the program’s 5 million policyholders for four additional months.

Democrats Keep Raking In the Cash After Costly Primaries
Challengers in key races have on average twice as much money in the bank

California Democrat Katie Porter reported a significant boost in her cash on hand since the pre-primary reporting period in her race against GOP Rep. Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The surge in Democratic candidates running for the House raised a critical question at the start of the cycle: Would crowded and costly primaries weaken the eventual nominees by draining their campaign cash? So far the answer appears to be “no.”

On average, Democrats in competitive races who faced expensive primaries have more than doubled their cash on hand from shortly before their primary elections to the end of the most recent fundraising quarter, campaign finance reports show. 

In Reversal From 2016, Carlos Curbelo to Vote Against Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution
Scalise, author of resolution, admits goal is to put members on record

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said he will oppose an anti-carbon tax resolution the House is scheduled to vote on Friday, changing his position from 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders have scheduled a Thursday vote on an anti-carbon tax resolution in hopes of putting vulnerable Democrats on record in favor of the tax, but they’re going to put some of their own members in a tough spot too.

“I’m voting against that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said of the resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that “a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

Rules Readies Financial Services, Interior-Environment Bill
McHenry files only GOP leadership amendment

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., removes his bow tie as he walks down the House steps after the final vote of the week on Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee recommended a rule Monday that would allow 87 amendments to be heard when the House turns to floor debate of the combined fiscal 2019 Interior-Environment and Financial Services spending bill this week.

Among the amendments will be a Republican provision to bar the U.S. Postal Service from expanding its offering of banking services. But an amendment to provide $380 million in grant funding to states to beef up election security, pushed repeatedly by Democrats citing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, didn’t make the cut.

Democratic House Challengers Raise More Than Senate Candidates
New Jersey’s Mikie Sherrill raised $1.9 million in second quarter

New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill raised nearly $1.9 million in the second quarter in her quest to flip a longtime GOP House seat. (Courtesy Mikie Sherrill for U.S. Congress)

It used to be normal for fundraising by Senate candidates to dwarf that of House candidates. Not this year.

New Jersey’s Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat trying to flip a longtime Republican stronghold, raised nearly $1.9 million during the second quarter of the year.

Opinion: Push to Abolish ICE Is the New ‘Repeal and Replace’
Lost in the uproar is the fact that the agency does much more than deport people

Activists call for the end of ICE at a June 29 rally in New York organized by the Democratic Socialists of America. Such demands sound a lot like the cries of “repeal and replace” that greeted the 2010 health care law, Ramón and Lapan write. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Immigrant advocates have made #AbolishICE a rallying cry against the Trump administration, and the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the New York Democratic primaries last month only turned up the volume.

As activists press Congress to defund U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement out of existence, several Senate Democrats have proposed to replace the agency or fundamentally reform it. But one key point bears repeating: Attempting to make policy by hashtag is not a recipe for success. Just as cries on the right to “repeal and replace” Obamacare failed to answer the logical next question — replace with what? —proponents of #AbolishICE haven’t done enough to grapple with what their campaign would mean in the long term.

Opinion: McCain’s Legacy of Stronger Military Reflected in Senate’s Landmark Defense Bill
This year’s NDAA could be a big win for military personnel and their families

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, hands the gavel to House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry before a National Defense Authorization Act conference meeting in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has served on the committee for over three decades, helping it draft and pass dozens of National Defense Authorization Acts — some seemingly routine, others carrying historic significance.

This year’s NDAA, the annual policy bill for the Defense Department, has the potential to rank among the latter. Many provisions in the Senate version, drafted under McCain’s leadership, would have a positive long-term effect on military readiness, servicemember satisfaction and, crucially, the well-being of military families, who are often overlooked.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is interviewed for the “CQ on Congress” podcast on June 28. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.

Texas Tough: Hensarling Hammers Trump Administration on Trade, Treatment of Allies
Comments made at opening of testimony with Treasury secretary

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, shown here at a February 2017 hearing, had strong words for the Trump Administration about trade policies and how U.S. allies are being treated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling sharply rebuked the Trump administration Thursday over its treatment of allies and the handling of trade, urging it to unite with “traditional allies to confront China.”

Hensarling, R-Texas, made his comments at the opening of testimony by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and in the wake of President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe, where the president said both that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was strong and yet criticized its members, most of which are close trading partners.