David B McKinley

Bipartisan task force to ‘save minor league baseball’ unveiled in House
Group held first meeting about Major League Baseball plan to cut 42 teams

Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., seen here in the congressional baseball game, is among the members concerned about reducing the number of minor league teams. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. John Moolenaar has fond memories of the opening of Dow Diamond, the ballpark that is home to the Class A Great Lakes Loons.

“I can still remember when the field was built, and they had the opening day. I asked the general manager, you know, are any of these players that are on the team going to make it to the big leagues,” the Republican from Michigan said Tuesday. “I remember him saying, well, watch this pitcher. He’s only going to be with us for a little while.”

Congress boos plan to cut Minor League Baseball teams
Sen. Bernie Sanders raises questions about MLB antitrust protections

Baseball has been a staple in Hagerstown, Md., for the better part of the past century but would be eliminated from the minor leagues if Major League Baseball gets its way. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A proposal from Major League Baseball to slash the number of affiliated minor league clubs is generating outrage on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail.

Sen. Bernie Sanders took those complaints to the next level Monday afternoon, with the independent from Vermont writing in a letter sent through his presidential campaign to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred that the league’s exemption from antitrust laws could be at stake.

Bipartisan bills push carbon tax, as GOP pollster offers Democrats help on climate
Frank Luntz pledged to help Democrats with their climate messaging

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, pledged to help Democrats address climate change in a nonpartisan, dispassionate way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Climate change policy may be in for a softer, less polarized atmosphere with Republicans and Democrats teaming up on a flotilla of legislation to tax carbon emissions and decarbonize American industries, and a longtime Republican spin guru pledging to help Democrats with their climate messaging.

For instance, in the Senate, Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey joined with Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Mike Braun of Indiana on Thursday to introduce a bill targeting emissions from the industrial sector.

Flatware gets its day in NDAA
House amendment would require Defense Department to buy from domestic manufacturers

Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s amendment is aimed at a flatware manufacturer in his upstate New York district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House slogs through more than 400 amendments to the annual Pentagon policy bill, debate has centered on the deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border, a potential ban on some lower-yield nuclear weapons, war authorizations and … flatware.

Yes, flatware. Cutlery. Knives and forks and spoons. One of the 439 amendments put forth would require the Defense Department to buy “stainless steel flatware” and “dinner ware” from domestic, rather than foreign, manufacturers.

Lawmakers push new bills to deter call centers from leaving the US
Measures adds to ongoing legislative efforts at the state level

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey has reintroduced a bill to protect U.S. call center workers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anyone who’s had to call customer service in recent years knows the current reality: A vast majority of companies have moved their call centers overseas to save money.

But states, urged on by advocates for U.S. workers, have been fighting back. Two dozen have considered or are considering legislation to deter the moves, and a few have passed bills.

Democratic Candidates Walk Political Tightrope on Drug Prices
Pharmaceutical industry employs many potential voters in some districts

Making the cost of prescription drugs an issue may be complicated for Democrats running in areas that are big pharmaceutical hubs. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats working to regain control in Congress this fall are making the cost of prescription drugs a centerpiece of the party’s message. The path to a majority, however, runs through some places where the pharmaceutical industry employs a lot of potential voters.

Southern California, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia suburbs are among the areas where Democrats have the strongest chances to turn red House seats blue. Yet since these states are some of the biggest pharmaceutical hubs in the United States — the industry estimates it directly employs 44,000 people in Pennsylvania, 65,000 people in New Jersey, and 131,000 in California — candidates there tread a little more cautiously on the issue of drug prices.

Hospital Drug Discount Program Under Lawmakers’ Microscope
House panel to examine legislation Wednesday

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to address a conference of hospitals participating in a drug discount program facing Congressional scrutiny. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House panel that has been scrutinizing hospitals’ use of a drug discount program will examine on Wednesday pieces of legislation that stem from members’ concerns over the discounts.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel has had two hearings in the past year on the program, known as 340B. The committee has requested information from hospitals that participate and in January published a report outlining ways the drug discount program could be better run.

As Trump Doubles Down on Coal, West Virginia Lawmakers Are Eyeing Natural Gas
Massive storage and trading hub could be on state’s horizon if Manchin and Capito get their way

Democrat Joe Manchin III and Republican Shelley Moore Capito say their state is in a prime position to host a processing facility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump readies a strategy to bail out coal and nuclear power plants in part to help reinvigorate Appalachia’s struggling coal industry, West Virginia lawmakers are working to up the state’s participation in the natural gas business.

Their effort to clear a path for the federal government’s financial participation in a massive storage and trading hub for liquids extracted from natural gas could bring more than 100,000 jobs to the state, advocates say. Those liquids are used as feedstock for plastic manufacturing, so it could also turn the state into a major chemical and industrial center as manufacturers look for a steady supply of low-cost raw materials.

Way Out in West Virginia, the Political Vortex
The Mountain State keeps taking the stage for U.S. politics

.

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

West Virginia occupies a unique place in the political universe. A small state, it hosts one of the most tightly contested Senate races of the midterms. But it also finds itself in the political conversation again and again. 

GOP Senate Hopefuls in House Nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize
Move comes ahead of key primary battles in Indiana, West Virginia

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., is among the House Republicans who’ve nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five incumbent House Republicans running for Senate have co-signed a letter nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s a move that could curry favor with the president and his supporters just a week before pivotal primaries in states such as West Virginia and Indiana, two Trump states where GOP candidates are trying to align themselves with the White House.