policy

Agriculture Secretary Says He’ll Push for More Wildfire Funding
Lawmakers dismayed at proposed U.S. Forest Service cuts

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has told lawmakers  concerned about proposed U.S. Forest Service cuts that he would push for more funding for wildfires. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has assured House appropriators that he would press the White House for more funding and flexibility to address wildfires across the nation as lawmakers from both parties expressed dismay at proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Forest Service.

President Donald Trump’s proposal for fiscal 2018 released on Tuesday suggests cutting the Forest Service’s budget to $5.2 billion from the $5.6 billion allocated in the fiscal 2017 omnibus. Trump’s budget would direct $2.5 billion of that toward the Forest Service’s wildland fire management budget, compared to the $3.2 billion in the omnibus.

Senate Strategy on House Health Care Bill: That’s Not Ours
Republican members sidestep commenting on CBO report

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrive for a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have a plan to avoid answering questions on the House legislation to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law: to say it’s not their bill.

The chamber on Friday begins a 10-day recess and lawmakers could face questions from constituents about a recent analysis on the House bill by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report, released on Wednesday, said that the legislation would result in 23 million more uninsured individuals over the next decade compared to the current law’s trajectory.

Trump’s Germany Criticism Denied — Then Confirmed — By Aides
Report: U.S. president called Germans ‘bad, very bad’ on trade tactics

President Donald Trump approaches German Chancellor Angela Merkel as world leaders arrive for their group photo at the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, on Friday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The White House is sending mixed signals about a report that President Donald Trump blasted Germany over its auto exports to the United States, the first major dustup during his inaugural foreign trip.

The Germans are bad, very bad,” President Trump allegedly said, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, citing sources who were in the room. “See the millions of cars they sell in the U.S., terrible. We will stop this.”

Opinion: A GOP Guide to Running for Cover on Health Care
Three ways to overcome troubling diagnosis from the CBO

Cheered on by President Donald Trump, it was easy for House Republicans to believe that the CBO would find that their health care bill provided quality affordable health insurance for every single American while saving the Treasury trillions of dollars,  Walter Shapiro writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Long ago (that is, back in the days when James Comey was still FBI director), House Republicans rushed their health care bill through by a two-vote margin without waiting for the verdict of the Congressional Budget Office. That early May, haste was understandable since the victorious House Republicans were due at the White House for an Oval Office celebration of a bill that (“Whoops, we forgot about the Senate”) had not actually become a law.

There appeared to be no need for House Republicans to fret about the CBO score since, after all, Donald Trump had already promised in a tweet that “healthcare is coming along great … and it will end in a beautiful picture!” So it was easy for GOP legislators to imagine that the nonpartisan experts at the CBO would find that their bill provided quality affordable health insurance for every single American while saving the Treasury trillions of dollars.

Photos of the Week: Congress Scurries to Memorial Day Recess
The week of May 22 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Eric Ueland, Republican staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 budget in the Dirksen Building on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers Seek to Restore Internet Privacy After Repealing It
Move comes after waves of consumer concerns

Legislation by Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn would restore some of the internet regulations Republicans in Congress just repealed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House and Senate lawmakers are hoping to push legislation to replace recently repealed Obama-era internet privacy regulations, a move by the Federal Communications Commission that has led to a tide of consumer complaints.

At least two Senate bills are being drafted to address the regulatory void and public outcry created last month when congressional Republicans repealed internet privacy rules issued by the FCC last year, using the Congressional Review Act. With the repeal, internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon can use and sell their customers’ online internet activity for marketing purposes unless consumers specifically request to opt out.

NIH Probe by House Panel Expands
Energy and Commerce asks for documents related to 2015 scandal

Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, is under fire from House Republicans, upset over a scandal at the agency, as well as Collins’ views on research issues. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Institutes of Health is in hot water again with the House Energy and Commerce Committee over a scandal that occurred nearly two years ago at one of the agency’s main research institutions.

On Thursday, the panel broadened its probe into safety and compliance issues at the NIH Clinical Center, a research hospital located on the agency’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland. In a letter sent to Director Francis Collins and obtained by Roll Call, the committee requested a larger swath of documents not yet provided by the agency.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Foster Youth Rub Shoulders With Lawmakers, Bring Change
More than 100 come to the Hill for annual congressional shadow day

California Rep. Karen Bass talks with Doniesha Thomas from Los Angeles on the Rayburn subway on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Michael Rogalski spent five years living in foster care. Rep. Karen Bass has been trying to improve the system longer than he has been alive.

So when Rogalski, 27, arrived at Bass’s office Wednesday morning — among more than 100 former foster youth to shadow members of Congress that day — he told her he just wanted to watch and learn.

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.