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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.

Opinion: The Freewheeling John McCain — An Appreciation
Flawed, but still the embodiment of honor, civility, patriotism and bipartisanship

Arizona Sen. John McCain deserves to be ranked among the two or three leading Senate figures of the last quarter-century, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all their outward cynicism, campaign reporters tend to be closet idealists who dream of covering a candidate who will summon forth the better angels of the American people. Such a mythic candidate is not aloof like Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, but rather is a flawed figure who transforms himself in the act of running for president.

The doomed Bobby Kennedy of 1968 was that kind of uplifting candidate for an earlier generation of reporters. For a few short months during the primaries, Kennedy rose above his life of privilege and his reputation for ruthlessness to become the tribune of the poor and the dispossessed of all races.

Ralph Regula, Avuncular Appropriator from Ohio, Dies at 92
Canton-area congressman unapologetic for pushing bipartisanship

Former Rep. Ralph Regula, a long-time congressman from Northeast Ohio, has died at age 92. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Former Rep. Ralph Regula, a moderate Republican from Ohio known for his deal-cutting acumen, avuncular manner and skills as an appropriator, died July 19. He was 92.

Born in Beach City, Ohio on Dec. 3, 1924, Regula was first elected to Congress in 1972 after stints in the Ohio state House and Senate. Between then and his retirement after the 2008 elections, he embodied a middle-of-the-road Midwestern approach to politics that valued working across the aisle and taking care of the folks back home.

New FBI Director Expected to Be Confirmed Before August Recess
Approved by Judiciary Committee on Thursday

Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, is expected to win confirmation before August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want the new FBI director on the job as soon as possible, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to see Christopher Wray confirmed before August recess. That looks increasingly likely, as the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his nomination, teeing it up for floor consideration as soon as McConnell moves ahead.

But the year’s nomination process has been so fraught that McConnell’s staff sent a statement out announcing the Kentucky Republican’s intentions complete with a warning shot to Democrats. 

Four Members Sued Over Rainbow Flags
Plaintiff says flag is religious symbol for the ‘homosexual denomination’

California Rep. Susan Davis posted a photo of the gay pride flag hanging outside her office alongside U.S. and California flags. (Courtesy Davis’ office)

Four Democratic lawmakers are being sued by an opponent of LGBTQ rights for displaying a gay pride flag in front of their offices.

The lawsuit is being brought by Chris Sevier, a lawyer opposed to same-sex marriage, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Word on the Hill: Whipping Votes for Tilly
Emgage, White Ford Bronco, and hip hop

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, right, lobbies Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey on Wednesday to vote for Tilly, a Boston terrier in Tillis’ office, in a cutest dog on the Hill contest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman spotted a bipartisan pup moment Wednesday.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., brought seven-month-old Boston terrier Tilly around with him on Wednesday, whipping votes for her in a cutest dog contest, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., stopped to say hello.

Why Ted Lieu Trolls Donald Trump
California Democrat, a prolific tweeter, sees president as a “bully”

California Rep. Ted Lieu has become one of President Donald Trump's main Twitter antagonists on the Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first thing you see outside California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu’s Washington office is a piece of paper taped to his nameplate that says, “Alternative Fact Free Zone, Period.”

The sign is meant to poke fun at White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s now infamous pronouncement about the crowd size at President Donald Trump’s inauguration and it is indicative of Lieu’s approach on social media in response to Trump’s prolific and provocative tweets.

John Bush Nomination Exposes Partisan Divide
Kentucky jurist’s anonymous blog posts brings up questions of temperament

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein are not on the same page when it comes to the nomination of John Bush to the federal bench. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The nomination of John Bush to be a federal appellate court judge underscores how swiftly Senate Republicans can help President Donald Trump reshape the nation’s courts in a conservative direction.

Bush, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday on a 51-48 vote. Democrats now have an opportunity to air their concerns on the floor ahead of a final confirmation vote later this week.

House GOP to Stick With Partisan Strategy on Taxes
Rep. Mark Walker: ‘I feel like it’s our only option’

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker thinks a partisan approach on a tax overhaul is the only way forward for the GOP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans’ partisan push to overhaul the health care system failed in the Senate, but House GOP lawmakers say they plan to stick to that approach in rewriting the tax code.

Since the start of the year, Republicans have said the health care and tax overhauls, the top two items on their legislative agenda, would likely be partisan efforts given wide policy gaps with Democrats on both issues.

Hurd Defends District Lines in Court
Congressman says more districts should be like his

Rep. Will Hurd's district could be redrawn if federal judges rule its boundary lines violate the Voting Rights Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. William Hurd said more districts should be drawn like his, defending Texas’ 23rd Congressional District ahead of a federal court decision on alleged racial gerrymandering that could impact the 2018 midterm elections.

“My district is competitive, and that’s a good thing...because it forces people to talk to a broader sense of the community,” Hurd said Saturday as the closing witness in a trial over whether the district lines should be redrawn.