EPA Continues to Get a GOP Beating in Interior-Environment Bill
Calls for massive reductions rebuffed, but criticism continues

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., has had some harsh words for the EPA amid the debate over appropriations for the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Although Republicans appeared to have rejected the White House’s call for sharp cuts to the EPA, their disdain for the agency has reappeared as the House debated amendments to the often contentious Interior-Environment spending bill on the House floor last week.

The 80 amendments House lawmakers sifted through consisted of Democrats’ attempts to remove what they described as harmful environmental riders from the measure, and Republicans’ measures to further reduce spending on environmental programs and give the Trump administration more authority to advance its deregulatory agenda. The Democratic amendments were mostly thwarted by the GOP majority.

Trump on Hurricane Irma: ‘Get Out Of Its Way’
President: Storm is one of ‘epic proportion’

President Donald Trump is briefed on Thursday about Hurricane Irma by Homeland Security Adviser Thomas Bossert. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday urged those in the path of megastorm Hurricane Irma to “get out of its way.”

The president had used his Twitter account this week to tout his administration's response to Hurricane Harvey and its plan for Irma, which blazed a path of destruction through the Caribbean and is churning toward Florida.

Analysis: As Hurricane Irma Churns, Trump Touts His Team Again
President uses tweets to laud administration, hype storm — but not warn Floridians

A radar image shows Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, making its way through the Atlantic Ocean. Projections have it affecting Florida this weekend. (NOAA image via Wikimedia Commons)

Donald Trump’s message to Floridians likely in the path of Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful recorded Atlantic storms, is not one urging them to get to safety. Rather, the president used the hurricane Wednesday morning to laud his own team’s response to another major storm.

In short, the coming crisis is allowing the president to market his administration as disaster response experts — with him at the helm — for the second time in a few weeks.

Five Top Energy and Environment Priorities as Congress Returns
Energy bill, drinking water, Yucca, nominations and WOTUS

Washington’s Maria Cantwell, left, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are eager to advance their bipartisan energy bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

With lawmakers returning to kick off the fall working session, energy and environment policies won’t be high on their to-do list, but their champions aim to fill any floor schedule gaps with measures that could provide some legislative accomplishments.

Here are five priorities they will push this fall:

Trump Official ‘100 Percent Confident’ in Avoiding Debt Default
Treasury secretary says White House and Hill leaders ‘all on the same page’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday declared himself “100 percent confident” that lawmakers and the White House will strike a debt ceiling-hiking deal next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A senior Trump administration official guaranteed Friday a debt ceiling hike will occur next month and prevent a potentially damaging federal default.

“The debt ceiling will be raised,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, adding he has had talks with congressional leaders about how to get a bill raising America’s borrowing limit to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Monuments Review Spurs Call to Overhaul Antiquities Act
Interior Department does not recommend overturning any designations

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has concluded his review of national monuments, which might give Congress the impetus to review the Antiquities Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department's conclusion of a contentious review of national monuments might give Congress some impetus to revisit the Antiquities Act of 1906, which presidents of both parties have used to designate monuments through executive action. 

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop on Thursday called for Congress to overhaul the Antiquities Act to place “reasonable limits” on the way presidents use the statute. Bishop’s statements came shortly before the Interior Department submitted recommendations to the White House after an executive-ordered review of monument designations made over the last two decades.

Vernon Ehlers, Former Longtime Michigan Congressman, Dies at 83
Ehlers was known as champion of the Great Lakes and science education

As a congressman from Michigan, Vernon Ehlers used his physics background to advance environmental and STEM legislation for nearly two decades. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first research physicist ever elected to Congress, Vernon J. Ehlers was known for his legislative work to bolster scientific research and education, raise fuel economy standards, and protect clean air and water.

Ehlers, who represented Western Michigan in Congress for nearly two decades, died Tuesday at the age of 83. His death was confirmed by the Zaagman Memorial Chapel in Grand Rapids, which did not immediately indicate the cause of death, The Detroit News reported.

How Climate Change Impacts Congressional Districts Over Next 80 Years
A Roll Call analysis also reveals how concerned people are, by district

(Photo courtesy iStock)

Two recent studies explored the climate debate at the local level. The authors of a report by Climate Impact Lab, published in Science magazine, ran 29,000 simulations to project the economic damage that could result from climate change between 2080 and 2099 in the U.S.

Researchers at Yale and George Mason universities created a model that estimates opinions on climate change in specific communities. Roll Call combined the two in this analysis, by congressional district.

Democrats Want Probe of Interior Scientists' Reassignments

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and other Democrats are concerned the administration is reassigning scientists to try to get rid of them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats at a hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees seized on the published comments of an Interior scientist who claims that Secretary Ryan Zinke was using forced reassignments to coax experienced scientists to resign.

The top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Maria Cantwell of Washington, said at the Thursday hearing that she will ask Interior’s Inspector General to investigate the allegations raised by the scientist, Joel Clement, in an op-ed published by The Washington Post.

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