Bill Johnson

It’s Not Personal, It’s Baseball
Republicans and Democrats take the field Thursday for the annual Congressional Baseball Game

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, left, leads the Republican and Democratic teams in a moment of prayer before the start of last year’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s time to play ball.

The 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, pitting Republican lawmakers against the Democrats, starts at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Nationals Park.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

New Faces on the Field for Congressional Baseball Game
Some veterans will be playing in the final game on June 14

Republican manager Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, right, talks with Democratic team manager Mike Doyle, D-Pa., before the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in July 2011 (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Both Democratic and Republican teams have new faces on their rosters for the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, while a few familiar stalwarts are getting ready to say goodbye.

The Democrats, reigning champions after their 8-2 win last year, have just one new addition — Freshman California Rep. Jimmy Gomez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium.

Nashville Hot Chicken Flies Off Table at Hill Charity Cook-Off
Winners included Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Angus King

People were lining up to try Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Nashville-style hot chicken Tuesday evening.

The Tennessee Republican won the People’s Choice award at the March of Dimes Gourmet Gala, an annual fundraiser where lawmakers become celebrity chefs to the delight of attendees’ tastebuds. This year’s gala included 50 members of Congress — from both chambers and both sides of the aisle — sharing samples of their favorite recipe. Many took the opportunity to showcase delicacies specific to their hometowns.

Grid Cybersecurity Bills Advanced by House Energy Subcommittee
Bipartisanship crumbles for export bill

The committee advanced bills to protect the electric grid and pipeline control systems from cyber attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bipartisan bills that aim to improve the government’s response to cybersecurity attacks on the electric grid advanced out of a House Energy and Commerce panel Wednesday. The action was the latest sign of heightened awareness on Capitol Hill that malicious hackers might be able to turn out the lights.

Four pieces of legislation — all focused on putting into statute coordination within the Department of Energy to prevent cyber attacks on the grid and other energy infrastructure — were advanced by the Energy Subcommittee by voice votes. The votes showed unusual unity on the often-partisan panel.

Interns Get a Boost From College to Congress
‘These people belong here, they just can’t afford to be here,’ founder Audrey Henson says

Audrey Henson with last summer’s College to Congress interns. (Courtesy College to Congress)

This summer, 12 students will have their cost of living covered as they intern on Capitol Hill, so they can focus on their work.

College to Congress, a program that strives to level the playing field for congressional interns, selects students to invest in and places them in Hill offices.

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed to those topline numbers if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions.

Steve Womack Poised to Become House Budget Chairman
Republican Steering Committee chooses Arkansas lawmaker for post

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack was recommended for Budget chairman by the Republican Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas Republican Steve Womack is poised to be the next House Budget Committee chairman after the Republican Steering Committee Tuesday evening recommended him over two other candidates for the post.

The Steering Committee’s choice of Womack over Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Bill Johnson of Ohio still needs to be ratified by the full House Republican Conference before it becomes official, but the conference traditionally accepts the Steering panel’s recommendations. The ratification will occur during the next conference meeting, which will either be this Thursday or next Wednesday.

Budget Chairman Race: Three Candidates, Few Differences
Republican Steering Committee meets Tuesday to recommend Diane Black’s replacement

From left, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Bill Johnson of Ohio, and Steve Womack of Arkansas are vying to be the next House Budget chairman. The Republican Steering Committee will meet Tuesday to make its recommendation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Three Republican congressman elected in 2010 who want Congress to overhaul mandatory spending programs and believe they have the consensus-building skills to make it happen are all competing to be the next House Budget chairman. 

The three-way race between Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio has largely been conducted behind the scenes as the candidates have reached out to colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Steering Panel to Meet Next Week on Next House Budget Chairman
Three candidates in the running as Diane Black steps aside

The GOP Steering Committee will meet Jan. 9 to pick a successor for outgoing Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republican Steering Committee plans to meet Jan. 9 to consider three candidates for the next Budget chairman, GOP aides said.

Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio are vying to succeed Diane Black, who is stepping down from the position to concentrate on her campaign for governor in Tennessee.