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House GOP Still Bickering Over Budget
Defense increase, mandatory spending cuts primary areas of disagreement

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent says Republicans should not waste time arguing over topline levels for nondefense discretionary spending since those will likely be raised in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican squabbling over a defense spending increase and mandatory spending cuts continues to put in danger a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, and subsequently, plans to overhaul the tax code.

After a Friday conference meeting to discuss the budget and appropriations process, their second “family conversation” of the week on the topic, the House GOP appeared no closer to consensus on a budget resolution that could get the 218 needed votes on the floor.

Trump Says He Hopes Dems Don’t Force Pelosi Out
‘That would be very bad for the Republican Party,’ president tweets

President Donald Trump wants Nancy Pelosi to stay on as House Democratic leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he hopes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stays as leader of the Democrats.

But the presidential tweet was not well-wishing. Rather, Trump said, “That would be very bad for the Republican Party” if Pelosi were forced out.

Karen Handel Proves Third Time’s the Charm
Georgia Republican heads to Congress after 2 losing bids for higher office

Karen Handel gives her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, as her husband Steve Handel looks on. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Republican Karen Handel comes to Congress after a 28-year career with a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector jobs ranging from overseeing elections as Georgia’s secretary of state to heading the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to serving as the vice president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent in Tuesday’s 6th District special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

Opinion: A Don’t-Blame-Us Congress Ducks on Syria
Be bipartisan and authorize a war

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban on May 25, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is, of course, not nearly as important as the struggle in GA-6 that is testing what happens when you inject more than $50 million into a single House race and batter the voters into submission with attack ads.

And the topic could not possibly compete with the learned analyses of Megyn Kelly’s NBC interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — a TV show that was probably the biggest broadcast since King Edward VIII went on British radio to announce his abdication to marry “the woman I love.”

Prospect of Repeat Budget Failure Puts Pressure on Republicans
Budget needed for GOP to get to tax overhaul, possibly mandatory spending cuts

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, seen here at a committee hearing last month with ranking Democrat John Yarmuth, is confident Republicans will pass a budget this year, despite GOP divisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans face the possibility of failing to pass a full budget resolution for the second year in a row, despite making progress on their goals for a fiscal 2018 budget resolution.

The stakes are much higher than last year as the budget, through the reconciliation process, has become a tool for Republicans to advance legislation without Democratic support, something they lack on nearly all of their top priorities.

Senate Democrats Can’t Slow GOP Health Care Bill Once It’s Written
But minority party will try to slow down proceedings until then

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and his Democratic colleagues want to draw attention to the closed-door nature of the GOP health care talks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had a warning for his Republican colleagues on Monday.

“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate,” the New York Democrat said.

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Corn State Lawmakers Get Ethanol Hearing

Sen. Deb Fischer’s legislation would ease restrictions on the sale of ethanol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowing to pressure from corn state lawmakers, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso allowed a hearing on legislation that would ease restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with at least 15 percent ethanol, a measure he opposes.

The bill (S 517) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would order the EPA to waive its rule prohibiting the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn-based ethanol, also known as E15, during the summer months. The prohibition was based on findings that tied the mixture to smog-causing emissions during warm weather.

At AFI Docs, Timely Topics

AFI Docs will screen the climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel,” starring former Vice President Al Gore. (Photo courtesy of “An Inconvenient Sequel”).

AFI Docs, the annual documentary film festival put on by the American Film Institute in Washington, has to plan months ahead to get its slate of nonfiction movies.

Nevertheless, festival organizers seem to have a knack for finding films that have political currency.

Tillerson Says He Still Believes in Paris Pact, But Backs Trump
‘My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views.’

Secretary of State nominee Rex Wayne Tillerson testifies during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has previously backed the U.S. staying in the Paris climate agreement, told lawmakers on Tuesday that his views have “never changed” but that he respects President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international accord aimed at slowing global warming.

Tillerson was speaking at a budget hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where the panel’s top Democrat, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, asked if he had changed his position on the agreement ahead of the president’s decision or whether the move was “just a political decision” by the administration.