Frank Pallone Jr

House Democrats Initiate Probe into Whitaker’s Business Entanglements
Acting attorney general was on advisory board of company that FTC says scammed inventors

Then-Department of Justice Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker participates in a roundtable event with the Joint Interagency Task Force in August. On Wednesday, House Democrats said they were looking into the now acting attorney general’s involvement in a Miami company that agreed to a $26 million settlement over what the Federal Trade Commission called an “invention-promotion scam.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

House Democrats took the first steps toward launching an investigation into acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his involvement in a Miami marketing company that allegedly scammed millions of dollars from people looking to sell their inventions.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Frank Pallone Jr., the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, and Energy and Commerce Committees, sent letters to Whitaker, his former business partner and five other federal and non-federal groups requesting documents and information about the alleged scheme.

On Health Care, Dems Go From Running to Baby Steps
Incremental measures will dominate action on the health law in a largely gridlocked Congress

House Democrats plan to bring administration officials to Capitol Hill to explain what critics call “sabotage” of the law’s insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The midterm elections all but ended the Republican push to repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare, but as a defining issue for Democrats in their takeover of the House, health care will likely remain near the top of lawmakers’ policy and political agenda.

Newly emboldened Democrats are expected to not only push legislation through the House, but use their majority control of key committees to press Trump administration officials on the implementation of the health law, Medicaid work requirements, and insurance that does not have to comply with Obamacare rules.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

Rep. Chris Smith Brought Up Orphanages After Same-Sex Parenting Question
High school senior asked if her gay sister would be less of a legitimate parent

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:27 p.m. | Rep. Chris Smith’s views on gay marriage were thrust into the spotlight again Wednesday after the New Jersey Republican brought up orphanages when asked about same-sex parenting, according to an audio recording of the exchange.

But Smith told Roll Call those comments were taken out of context.

Democrats Pledge CRA to Kill EPA’s Clean Power Plan Replacement
Trump hopes to gut Obama-era regulations at the center of Paris climate agreement pledges

Donald Trump had made the rollback of Obama-era carbon emission regulations a central talking point at his rallies. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 2:35 p.m. | Democrats are already promising a Congressional Review Act challenge to the Trump administration’s proposal Tuesday to replace an Obama-era regulation curbing climate-warming carbon emissions from the electric power sector.

For President Donald Trump and Capitol Hill Republicans, the draft proposal marks the culmination of a three-year battle to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a rulemaking finalized in 2015 that required states to devise plans to cut carbon emissions from existing coal-powered electricity plants and other high carbon-emitting energy sources.

Former Coal Lobbyist Would Face a Fight if Tapped to Head EPA
Wheeler served as deputy to Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid a series of ethical scandals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off a long fought victory to rid the EPA of the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, Democrats and environmental groups have already turned their attention to the next head of the agency that is charged with protecting the nation’s air and water.

And while Pruitt’s ethical lapses provided easy fodder for their effort to oppose the Trump administration’s environmental record, the new leadership at the EPA — for the time being, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler — brings years of steady Washington experience to the position, making the upcoming battles more about policy than personality.

House Passes Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package
Bill ‘does not adequately deal with the magnitude of the crisis,’ Pallone says

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon helped put together the opioids package that passed Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Friday passed a bill that will serve as the legislative vehicle for many of the 55 other House-passed bills designed to curb opioid addiction, ending two weeks of floor votes on opioids measures.

The catchall bill, which advanced 396-14, would incorporate a number of proposals from the Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and public health. A group of 161 patient advocacy groups wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week in support of the legislation.

Energy Panel Advances Bills to Support New Nuclear Plants
Bills will help maintain nuclear in the domestic electricity mix, lawmakers say

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, says the bills will help establish a coherent and defined federal nuclear policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A quartet of bills meant to ease the path to commercialization of new nuclear reactors moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Thursday.

The bills are intended to speed up Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for so-called advanced reactors, including smaller units, and to spur a domestic fuel supply. Lawmakers have proposed the bills as a way to help nuclear retain its place in a domestic electricity mix increasingly powered by natural gas and cheap renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

House Prepares for Week of Action on Opioid Bills
‘Collectively these bills do not go far enough’

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., participates in the House Democrats’ news conference on health care reform in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will begin a voting marathon Tuesday on 34 bills designed to address the opioid epidemic. While most are not likely to be contentious, two have previously stirred controversy.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reserved about a week and a half of floor time to discuss opioid legislation. Additional bills are likely to be considered next week, such as four bill packages the House Ways and Means Committee approved with bipartisan support.

Lawmakers Want to Curb Those Pesky Robocalls to Your Phone
Democrats in both the House and Senate introduced legislation to restrict calls

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., introduced a bill in the Senate last week to curb robocalls. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

You probably receive a few of these types of calls per week.

“Hello,” an automated voice will say, often ostensibly from a number with the same area code as you. “This message is to inform you that ...”