David B McKinley

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

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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.

McKinley ‘on a Mission’ to Help Veterans Hear
Hearing-impaired congressman wants to make it easier for vets to get cochlear implants

Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., has a visible hearing aid on his right ear. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. David B. McKinley is thankful to hear birds chirping in the morning and wants others to have that opportunity.

The West Virginia Republican, who has a cochlear implant in his left ear, has made improving the lives of people like him a personal goal.

Bipartisan Efforts Behind Coal Miner Pension Push
Manchin and Capito lead Senate effort, as miners return to Capitol Hill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, center, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, center left, and coal miners arrive for a Tuesday press conference on the introduction of legislation to protect miner pension benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The coal miners are back.

Last fall, you couldn’t walk through the Capitol’s hallways without running into mine workers wearing camouflage T-shirts.

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins Running for Senate
GOP lawmaker will likely face primary to take on Joe Manchin

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two-term West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins announced on Monday he’s running for Senate against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in 2018. 

The 3rd District Republican will likely face a primary, with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also expected to join the GOP field soon.