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Trump EPA answer to Obama Clean Power Plan ‘does virtually nothing‘ to curb CO2
The new rule combines a Clean Power Plan repeal with new, less stringent emissions reductions guidelines

A flag hangs over an entrance to the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington on April 22, 2017. The EPA finalized a rule Wednesday that would replace the Obama administration’s signature carbon emissions plan, scrapped by President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA finalized a rule Wednesday that would replace the Obama administration’s signature carbon emissions plan and give states more flexibility in emissions reduction, even as environmental advocates worry about the potential for increased pollution and threaten to sue.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule is the Trump EPA’s answer to the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which for the first time set nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants across the country.

James Inhofe and the art of the bipartisan joke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 78

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., left, and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., right, have a warm relationship that enables them to move bipartisan legislation, something Inhofe discusses in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. James M. Inhofe is one conservative guy, and he is proud of it, trumpeting vote-tracking organizations that peg him as the most right-wing in the chamber. And yet, the Oklahoma Republican has an equally proud history of working with some of his most liberal colleagues on bipartisan legislation. 

As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, the panel’s ranking Democrat, constructed the highly popular defense authorization bill the last two years. And before that, he worked quite productively with California Democrat Barbara Boxer, the yin to Inhofe’s yang on environmental issues, as leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This, despite Inhofe writing a book that claimed global warming was, as the title attested “The Greatest Hoax.” And yet, “we prided ourselves in getting things done,” he says. 

Pentagon aid to Taliban gets blocked by House vote
The House adopted an amendment that would bar the Pentagon from spending any funds to aid the Taliban

Members of the Taliban surrender themselves to the Afghan Government, on August 26, 2011 in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. The House adopted an amendment late Tuesday night barring the Pentagon from spending any of its funds to aid the Taliban insurgent group in Afghanistan. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The House adopted late Tuesday night an amendment to its fiscal 2020 Defense appropriations bill that would bar the Pentagon from spending any of its funds to aid the Taliban insurgent group in Afghanistan.

CQ Roll Call disclosed last month that the Pentagon had asked Congress earlier this year for a $30 million fund that would at least partly be used in the coming fiscal year to defray the Taliban’s expenses associated with participating in talks to end the nearly 18-year-old war.

Mitt Romney and Rand Paul speak up against ‘no budget, no pay’
Senate panel attaches proposal to government shutdown prevention measure

Sen. Mitt Romney opposes withholding member pay because of government shutdowns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Rand Paul might not see eye-to-eye on every issue, but the two former presidential candidates agree that it’s a bad idea to withhold lawmaker pay because of government shutdowns.

The senators from Utah and Kentucky spoke up against the latest “No Budget, No Pay” proposal — this one from Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida as well as a similar offering from Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona  —during a meeting of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Rubio wants to stop Huawei from filing U.S. patent lawsuits
‘We should not allow China government backed companies to improperly use our legal system against us,’ Rubio said in a tweet

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks with reporters after the Republican Senate Policy Luncheon on May 14, 2019. Rubio filed an amendment to a defense authorization bill barring Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from pursuing intellectual property claims against U.S. Companies if the administration finds the company poses an "undue risk" to telecommunication systems. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make sure that the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies can’t pursue intellectual property claims against U.S. companies if the administration finds the company poses an “undue risk” to telecommunication systems.

The Florida Republican filed the amendment to a defense authorization bill. It anticipates a finding from the Commerce Department that Huawei poses the risk and comes amid reports that the Chinese company is considering taking U.S. companies to court over patent disputes.

Trump’s military transgender ban blocked in House spending bill
The House move lines up what will surely be a battle with the Senate during conference negotiations later this year.

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. The House decision to block a Trump ban of transgender people from serving in the military in the 4-bill spending package lines up what will surely be a battle with the Senate during conference negotiations later this year. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Tuesday used a massive spending bill to block the Pentagon from enforcing President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people from serving openly in the military.

By a vote of 243-183, the House adopted an amendment to the four-bill spending package that includes the defense appropriations measure, lining up what will surely be a battle with the Senate during conference negotiations later this year.

Joe Biden, in call for political ‘civility,’ invokes segregationist senators
Biden boasted about finding common ground with Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge

Former Vice President Joe Biden recollected partnering with two segregationist senators at a fundraiser in Manhattan Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Presidential candidate Joe Biden invoked the names of two segregationist senators at a fundraiser Tuesday night in a call for greater “civility” in politics.

Speaking to donors at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, Biden recalled caucusing with late Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia — both staunch opponents of racial integration — in an appeal for greater bipartisanship.

Have the flood Gaetz been opened?
Hannity offers Florida congressman an opportunity to host his show

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night he would gladly fill in for the conservative talk show host. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If being a member of Congress wasn’t enough of a platform to voice ardent opinions and loyalties, Rep. Matt Gaetz might get an hourlong window of opportunity on America’s most-watched cable network — that is, when Sean Hannity takes a night off.

The conservative talk show host offered the congressman an invitation to “fill in” after the Florida Republican joked that he was “the only one on the show not getting paid” during an appearance on Hannity’s Tuesday show where he discussed President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign relaunch in Orlando. Hannity jabbed at the representative’s decision to appear on “fake news CNN,” where, the television host claimed, nobody watches Gaetz and is a waste of time and energy. Gaetz agreed.

Pelosi against censuring Trump: ‘If the goods are there, you must impeach’
Democrats will consider impeachment ‘when we stop finding even more information,’ Pelosi says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday made her strongest comments on impeachment to date in rejecting an idea some House Democrats have floated to censure President Donald Trump. 

“No. I think censure is just a way out,” the California Democrat said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, when asked if she would support a censure resolution against Trump. “If you want to go, you have to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach.”

Debate on e-cigarettes lights up 10 years after FDA tobacco law
Calls grow for agency, Congress to do more after spike in teen use

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress must update the 2009 law that gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A decade after Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, there is a growing sense that the law should be revisited to address a product that lawmakers barely knew about in June 2009: electronic cigarettes.

The tension lies in how to balance e-cigarettes’ potential benefits with their clear risks. While e-cigarettes may offer a less harmful alternative for adults who smoke combustible cigarettes, they can appeal to young people who never would have smoked.