Environment

Balancing the First Amendment and Students’ Safety
Senate panel discusses free speech on college campuses

UNITED STATES — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took part in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue of free speech on college campuses. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Zachary Wood arrived at Williams College his freshman year, he had high hopes for an academic environment that challenged his views. Now going into his senior year, Wood says he has faced backlash from students and administrators for inviting controversial speakers to campus.

Wood appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, part of a panel discussing free speech on college campuses.

Why House Members Aren’t Rushing to Announce for Senate
Here’s a hint: It’s about raising campaign cash

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is expected to run for Senate but has yet to make an official announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s no secret that a handful of House members are mulling bids for the Senate next year, with several of them all but running their 2018 races already.

Most are in no rush to officially announce their Senate campaigns. Sixteen months is a long time to face the barrage of attacks that comes with running statewide. And in an uncertain political environment, candidates may be taking longer to test the waters. 

EPA Budget Cuts Won't Fly, House Appropriators Tell Pruitt

House appropriators, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to the cuts to the EPA budget defended by its administrator, Scott Pruitt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s defense of the administration’s proposal to his agency’s budget by 30 percent are falling short with House appropriators, who are making clear that they’ll toss it aside when they write their Interior-Environment spending bill.

The sharp cuts proposed in the President Donald Trump’s budget are “untenable,” Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert told Pruitt at a hearing, a sharp rebuke from a key appropriator.

Opinion: Two Shootings in Less Than Seven Years Is Two Too Many
A lesson from Giffords, Scalise and Trump: tone it down

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hugs President Barack Obama at his 2012 State of the Union address as then-Rep. Jeff Flake looks on. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’ll never forget the moment when my sense of professionalism as a journalist failed me most.

It was Jan. 25, 2012. I had raced to the corridor behind the back door of the House chamber to catch a glimpse of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. A year had passed since a deranged lunatic fired a bullet into her brain and killed six others in a Tucson parking lot, and Giffords had just resigned her House seat.

Baseball Shooting Raises Lawmaker Protection Questions
Incident prompts discussion of security at practices and the Capitol

Alexandria Police line the street with police tape across the street from Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress know they could be targets of violence, but they didn’t see it coming at their early morning practice for the Congressional Baseball Game.

“It was absolutely a safe space. We get up at 5:30 in the morning, just to go play baseball,” said Rep. Mike Bishop. “It does rattle your sense of what’s safe and what isn’t.”

Corn State Lawmakers Get Ethanol Hearing

Sen. Deb Fischer’s legislation would ease restrictions on the sale of ethanol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowing to pressure from corn state lawmakers, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso allowed a hearing on legislation that would ease restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with at least 15 percent ethanol, a measure he opposes.

The bill (S 517) sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would order the EPA to waive its rule prohibiting the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn-based ethanol, also known as E15, during the summer months. The prohibition was based on findings that tied the mixture to smog-causing emissions during warm weather.

After Shooting, Members ‘Numb’ — And Defiant
Some argue game must go on

Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, center, and his sons, board the Rayburn subway in the basement of the Capitol after a shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress reacted to the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday morning with a mixture of sadness, shock and defiance. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a Capitol Police officer, a lobbyist and a staffer were shot. Another Capitol Police officer was injured, as was Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Will Need Additional Surgeries After Shooting
Four others wounded at Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game practice, gunman died from injuries

Cones, police tape and emergency medical bags are seen at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:00 p.m.House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition and will need additional surgeries beyond what he underwent Wednesday after he was shot in the early morning by a gunman who opened fire at the Republicans’ congressional baseball practice.

“Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding,” said the statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He was transported “in shock” to the hospital, a Level I trauma center, the statement continued.

McSally’s 2016 Challenger Announces House Run
Physician Matt Heinz lost to Arizona Republican by 14 points

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally is a Democratic target in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tucson physician Matt Heinz announced Tuesday he would once again challenge Rep. Martha McSally, after losing to the Arizona Republican last year.

McSally won that race by 14 points, even while Hillary Clinton was carrying the 2nd District by 5 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. In his announcement, Heinz, a former Democratic state representative, signaled that, in 2018, he could attempt to tie McSally to President Donald Trump.

Senate Backs Down on Press Restrictions
Change would have restricted camera, video use

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby says many people have complained to him that “the press gets in their way.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday attributed the confusion over a possible change to the chamber rules governing media access to a discrepancy between staff on the panel and the Senate sergeant-at-arms staff.

“I think they had a discussion, I wasn’t there, of existing rules because a lot of people have complained, not to me, [that] the press gets in their way,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby told reporters. “I told them to stand down.”