Energy & Environment

Senate Adopts Budget With House-Backed Changes
Late amendment expected to help speed up consideration of a tax overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday night that was amended at the 11th hour with the aim of making it acceptable enough to House Republicans to avoid a conference committee and speed the consideration of a tax overhaul.

The budget was adopted 51-49.

Meet the Challengers Who Outraised House Incumbents
Some Democrats raised two to three times more than GOP lawmakers in third quarter

Democrat Anthony Brindisi raised more money during the third quarter than GOP freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Nearly one year out from the 2018 midterms, challengers outraised nearly 30 percent of the incumbents in competitive races during the third quarter.

Sixteen Republican incumbents in competitive races raised less than their Democratic challengers during the third quarter. One Democratic incumbent was outraised by a GOP challenger.

On Climate Issues, House GOP Warms Gradually
As more Republicans sign on, the Climate Solutions Caucus is gaining steam

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo has joined 20 Republican colleagues on a resolution that calls conservation a “conservative principle.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA

When a Republican congressman in July tried to strip the 2018 defense spending bill of its requirement to plan for global warming and rising sea level threats, a group of House GOP lawmakers joined Democrats to kill the effort.

Word on the Hill: Schneider Rides the Bus
McCain’s award, Conaway’s life in D.C., McSally on sexism

Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider is getting on a commuter bus around 8 a.m. Tuesday to meet with constituents. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is taking his town hall on the road today.

He will use his “Commuter Town Hall” on the PACE bus in his suburban Chicago district to meet constituents during their work commutes.

Photos of the Week: House in While Senate's Out, Congressional Football and a Wharf
The week of Oct. 10 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., holds up bunny ear fingers behind a a technician testing the microphones before the start of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The House was the only chamber in session this week in Washington. The lawmakers headed out of town Thursday for their own recess. The Senate returns next week. 

The congressional football team played a game against Capitol police officers this week while D.C. leaders christened a new wharf in town. 

Rick Perry Defends Private Travel Costs at House Energy Hearing
Some sites are too remote to be accessed by commercial airlines, secretary says

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee on Thursday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers Thursday that his use of private aircraft for work travel is sometimes justified because his department’s national laboratories and some sites he has to visit are too remote to be accessed by commercial airlines.

House Appoints Defense Bill Negotiators As Space Corps Fight Looms
F-35 fighter jets will be another point of contention as the chambers confer

The Senate so vigorously opposes the Space Corps proposal that it adopted by unanimous consent an amendment — offered by Sens. Bill Nelson and Tom Cotton, shown here in 2016 — to the Senate NDAA that would block it. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The House on Thursday agreed by unanimous consent to begin negotiations with the Senate on the fiscal 2018 Defense authorization bill. Throughout the coming weeks, a panel of conferees from each chamber will negotiate a final version of the legislation before Congress votes to send the bill to the president.

The House will send to the conference 46 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Eighteen Republicans and 13 Democrats will represent the Armed Services Committee in the negotiations.

GOP Hopes to Undercut Offshore Regulator, Say House Democrats
Republicans are taking aim at an agency created by President Obama after BP oil spill

The site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen from the back of a U.S. Coast Guard cargo plane in 2010. Republicans are re-evaluating a regulatory agency established by Obama in the aftermath of the spill. (Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers are trying to undermine the federal regulatory agency responsible for overseeing the safety and environmental concerns of offshore oil and gas operations, said Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee at a Wednesday hearing.

The complaints stem from a provision in the committee Republicans’ recently released draft bill that would direct the Interior secretary to look for potential “inefficiencies or duplication between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,” which both regulate aspects of offshore drilling.

Opinion: In a Culture War, American Values Lose
Nation’s top leaders have already picked a side

Vice President Mike Pence’s staged walkout at a Colts-49ers NFL game in Indianapolis was a political stunt that disrespected several players’ support of equality, justice and police accountability, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Over the weekend, a group of white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, faces proudly uncovered and tiki torches in hand, with a message of division.

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said to applause, “You are going to have to get used to white identity” — and warned of more to come.

Word on the Hill: Welcome, Wharf
Sensenbrenner’s town halls, Boyle on soccer, and Hatch is Cosmo

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton will help open up the newly renovated area in Southwest D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

$2.5 billion later, the mile-long stretch on the Southwest D.C. waterfront — The Wharf — will officially open today. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Mayor Muriel Bowser will participate in the opening ceremony at 11 a.m.

That’s followed by a day of live music, including a Bacon Brothers concert at 5 p.m., muralists, magicians, face painters, stilt walkers and daytime fireworks. Watch for HOH’s coverage of the opening.

EPA Moves to Repeal Climate Rule; Lawsuits to Follow
With Clean Power Plan on the chopping block, environmental groups gear up to sue

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, left, said this week that unraveling the Clean Power Plan would right “the wrongs of the Obama administration.” (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

The EPA’s move on Tuesday to undo the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule will almost certainly trigger an onslaught of lawsuits from environmental groups and many blue states that have been bracing for that action since President Donald Trump took office.

The agency said it had filed a notice with the Federal Register proposing to unravel the 2015 Clean Power Plan and will seek public input into that proposal over a 60-day period. But the EPA did not commit to promulgating a replacement policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which environmentalists have said would lead them to sue to stop the repeal or force the agency to write a new policy.

Opinion: Bob Corker and the Chairmen Who Hold Trump’s Fate in Their Hands
Alienating key GOP senators unwise for the president

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is among the key Senate chairmen that President Donald Trump has lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

We all know that Washington is about relationships. I’ve gotten some of my best scoops (so to to speak) at the dog park and met some of my best sources on “Wing Night” at the Capitol Lounge years ago. On Capitol Hill, good bills have died over years-long grudges, while mediocre bills have gotten by on, “Well, I just like the guy (or lady).”

With a huge legislative agenda to pass and a major international incident looming in North Korea, you’d think that President Donald Trump would be rallying his fellow Republicans to his side, especially the most senior leaders who could shepherd his agenda through the Hill. Instead, he has attacked, lied about, demeaned, ignored or otherwise alienated a host of GOP senators, including the ones crucial to his efforts to build a wall, pass tax reform, reform health care and, if it came to it, escape impeachment.

Diane Black, Prepping Gubernatorial Bid, Takes Victory Lap
Tennessee Republican finally shepherded budget resolution through House last week

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black has had an undeniable impact on this year’s budget process, thanks to her efforts to forge a compromise package. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

The first woman to chair the House Budget Committee finally shepherded the fiscal 2018 resolution through her chamber Oct. 5, a traditionally thankless task that she took on after President Donald Trump tapped the former chairman, Tom Price, to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Diane Black is now preparing to hand in her gavel after 10 months on the job, so she can focus on her campaign to become Tennessee’s next Republican governor, she announced in early August.

Uncertain Costs for Renewed Nuclear Waste Push in Nevada
The controversial Yucca Mountain plan would spur a $260 million spending increase, but the math is muddled

Nevada lawmakers — from left, Reps. Dina Titus, Dean Heller, Ruben Kihuen, and Jacky Rosen — confer in April after making statements in opposition to using Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste disposal site. On Friday, Titus said a CBO report on the latest Yucca bill was “seriously flawed.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A House bill to restart the process of making Nevada’s Yucca Mountain a permanent repository for nuclear waste would increase spending by $260 million over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday in a report that acknowledges some uncertain numbers.

The CBO’s score could be a hurdle for the Yucca bill by forcing its backers to offset the cost by cutting other federal spending under pay-as-you-go budget mandates. The bill moved out of the Energy and Commerce Committee with surprisingly bipartisan support considering how the issue had divided Capitol Hill while Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was majority leader. Reid didn’t seek reelection in 2016.

What Happens When Corker Lays Down His Foreign Relations Gavel?
Tennessee Republican leaves a committee far from what it used to be

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is the first senator to announce his retirement this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Neither Peyton Manning nor Reese Witherspoon is going to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year. Not Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton or Samuel L. Jackson, either.

The most clear-cut reason is that none of those celebrity Tennesseans is likely to end up running to become a senator, much to the disappointment of Beltway insiders starved for glitzy, if harmless, political distractions in the Trump era and already enthralled by Kid Rock’s flirtation with a Senate run in Michigan.