Adrian Smith

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Ethanol Lobbying Is Up, and It Seems to Be Paying Off
Biofuels groups are spending more this year, and they may soon have summer E15 to show for it

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, holds an ear of corn in 2008. As industry groups have lobbied the Trump administration to rethink the Renewable Fuel Standard, lawmakers in the corn belt have applied pressure too. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Biofuel groups upped their spending on lobbying this year as they pressured lawmakers and the Trump administration on issues related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets minimum volumes of biofuels to be used to power cars and trucks.

Some of those efforts appear to be paying off for now, as the Trump administration has proposed to allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, or E15, which is currently prohibited between June and September. The EPA had argued previously that E15 contributes more to summer smog than the more commonly sold gasoline with 10 percent ethanol.

House GOP Gets Closer on Dreamer Solution as Other Immigration Issues Arise
Negotiators coalescing around merit-based visa for young immigrants but path to citizenship still a sticking point

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is  among a group of slightly more than a dozen Republicans trying to negotiate an immigration deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of slightly more than a dozen House Republicans trying to negotiate a sweeping immigration bill came closer Friday to agreement on some issues, like how to deal with the “Dreamer” population, but found new obstacles on other matters like border security and interior enforcement.

Despite progress in some areas, several negotiators noted the likelihood that a discharge petition that would force a series of votes on immigration bills that lack unified GOP support would get to the required 218 signatures Tuesday.

Take Five: Don Bacon
Nebraska Republican recalls singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ to his wife from Bahrain

Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon uncovered unprofessional relationships between senior and junior married people in the Air Force. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Don Bacon, 54, a Nebraska Republican, talks about moral courage in the Air Force, interning on Capitol Hill and an infamous practical joke from college.

Q: What has surprised you so far about Congress that you didn’t expect?

Word on the Hill: Comey Time
Seersucker Thursdays begin

D.C. will be watching as former FBI director James B. Comey testifies today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former FBI director James Comey is heading to Capitol Hill this morning and D.C. is preparing in many different ways.

The Capitol will be hectic leading up to the 10 a.m. hearing. For those outside of the Capitol complex, or able to leave work for a couple of hours, there are a handful of bars in D.C. opening early, pouring cleverly titled drinks, and taking advantage of some great TV.

Word on the Hill: Happy Holidays
See you in 2017!

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, right, gives a tour of the Capitol Rotunda to friends on Tuesday. Let us know what other members are up to over the holidays. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whether you’re staying in D.C. or traveling, I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!

Word on the Hill will be on a break until Jan. 3, 2017.