Aviation

Thune Adding TSA, NTSB Bills to FAA Authorization
‘This may be our one shot at actually moving a major piece of legislation’

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune is including additional transportation-related bills in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, he said in a Wednesday interview.

In an effort to broaden the appeal of a four-year FAA authorization bill, he was including other committee-approved bills to authorize the Transportation Security Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. The move is also an effort to clear as much of the committee’s business as possible when an opportunity for floor time arises, he said.

Opinion: As Trump Hangs Dan Coats Out to Dry, Russia Hacks On
If you really want to lose sleep at night, read a US-CERT report

President Donald Trump shows off a World Cup football given to him by Vladimir Putin. The president is fiddling as computer networks burn, Murphy writes. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

If you looked carefully at the setup for the press conference with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, there was something off. Something big.

Standing before a row of alternating Russian and American flags, Trump stood squarely in front of a Russian flag, while Putin spoke with his own Russian flag over one shoulder and America’s stars and stripes over the other. With Trump praising Putin and Putin defending the American president as someone who — trust him — stood firm for his country in their two-hour private confab, it was impossible at times to figure out who was on Russia’s side and who, if anyone, was speaking for America.

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Only Woman in Crowded Tennessee GOP Primary Touts Her Combat Experience
Ashley Nickloes, candidate in 2nd District, released her first ad Thursday

Tennessee Air National Guard Lt. Col. Ashley Nickloes, a Republican running for Tennessee’s 2nd District, is touting her experience as a combat aviator. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats aren’t the only ones with female veterans who are dipping their toes into politics for the first time year by deciding to run for Congress. 

Republican Ashley Nickloes, a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee Air National Guard, is highlighting her combat aviation experience in her first TV ad that debuted on broadcast Thursday in the Knoxville media market. The starting buy is 550 gross ratings points.

Trump Uses Charity Event to Bash Democrats Over ICE Criticism
President alleges opposition party wants to ‘abandon’ border security agents

President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he reviews border wall prototypes in California in March. On Tuesday, he used a charity event to hammer Democrats over criticism of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Evan Vucci/AP file photo)

President Donald Trump used a charity dinner honoring military troops Tuesday to deliver a campaign-style attack on Democrats, saying again that they want to “abandon” federal personnel who patrol the country’s borders.

“You have to be tough. … We need tough laws, we need fair laws,” Trump said in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. “But when these people come in … illegally, and they’re dispersed across the country, and you see nests of MS-13. … it’s like you’re liberating towns. And we send ICE in.”

Kennedy Retirement Shuffles Senate’s Legislative and Campaign Agenda
Confirmation hearings could come in August, with floor debate in the fall

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday, greets President Donald Trump in the House chamber after a joint session of Congress in February 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a two-paragraph letter, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy sent a shock to the Senate’s agenda — and perhaps the 2018 midterm elections.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the debate over President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday, will likely lead the headlines heading into November.

Government Reorg Plan Greeted Without Fanfare
Key members of Congress seemed unaware of details as White House plan was released

The Office of Management and Budget, led by Director Mick Mulvaney, released a sweeping reorganization proposal on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize the federal government won’t likely be moving to the top of the Senate agenda anytime soon.

“This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the proposals. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”

Authorized Flood Projects Left High and Dry on Funding
Desperate cities fear the next floods as Congress dawdles

Residents look down a flooded street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 2008. The city is still recovering from some of its worst flooding on record. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Ten years ago this month, the Cedar River overflowed into Cedar Rapids, Iowa, destroying a wide swath of the city’s downtown and residential neighborhoods.

The flooding caused $5.4 billion in property damage, according to the city. It affected more than 1,000 blocks of homes and businesses, City Hall, the county courthouse and hundreds of other buildings.

With Eye on Policy, and Politics, McConnell Scraps August Recess
Senate expected to be away the first week in August before returning for the rest of the summer

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in a Tuesday statement that the Senate would substantially curtail the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that the Senate will be in session throughout much of August, citing the need to move legislation and nominees. While widely viewed as a gambit to keep Democrats in competitive 2018 races off the trail, the move could have unintended and unpredictable political consequences. 

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.“Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule
Legislative to-do list grows ahead of 2018 midterms

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have a lot of bills they’re planning to bring to the floor in the coming weeks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week.

After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.