Frank Pallone Jr

Democrats appear stymied on a top priority: climate legislation
Outside of passing Paris accord bill, new House majority has little to show

Democrats, led by Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, introduce the Green New Deal in February. The resolution still hasn’t received a committee vote and hasn’t resulted in legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s been more than six months since Democrats assumed control of the House promising to take bold action on climate change. And what do they have to show for it?

Just one major bill directly addressing the issue has passed on the floor, a measure that would force the U.S. to honor its commitments in the Paris climate accord. A comprehensive climate change package has yet to emerge, and a bill reintroduced by the chairman of the main committee of jurisdiction over Clean Air Act issues hasn’t had a committee vote.

Photos of the Week: They’re back from recess
The week of July 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Ominous storm clouds pass over the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Progress on federal data privacy bill slows in both chambers
Consensus is elusive, say congressional aides, industry sources and lobbyists

Senate Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker says “there has been no timetable” for a data privacy bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and industry groups want to pass a federal data privacy law this year, but progress on the measure has slowed. It’s now unclear whether legislation resembling California’s tough requirements on the tech industry can clear hurdles in Congress and be signed into law before the end of the year. 

Small bipartisan groups of lawmakers in both chambers are working on draft legislation that was supposed to have been unveiled in May but has been delayed and is now expected to be released sometime before the August congressional recess. 

Democrats weave climate messages into spending bills
Aggressive action on climate change and halting rollback of environmental regulations

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., shepherds action on the House’s environmental spending measure. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are using the budget process to offer a clear contrast ahead of an election year between their embrace of aggressive action on climate change and the rollbacks of environmental regulation championed by Republicans when they controlled the chamber in the 115th Congress.

Many of the provisions they’ve included in the fiscal 2020 spending bills may not survive the GOP-led Senate, but Democrats are aware of national polls showing growing voter concern about the climate crisis.

Debate on e-cigarettes lights up 10 years after FDA tobacco law
Calls grow for agency, Congress to do more after spike in teen use

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress must update the 2009 law that gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A decade after Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, there is a growing sense that the law should be revisited to address a product that lawmakers barely knew about in June 2009: electronic cigarettes.

The tension lies in how to balance e-cigarettes’ potential benefits with their clear risks. While e-cigarettes may offer a less harmful alternative for adults who smoke combustible cigarettes, they can appeal to young people who never would have smoked.

Even Thomas Edison’s great-grandson wants inefficient incandescent bulbs phased out
Inventor’s descendant joining Democratic chairman in opposing planned Trump administration rollback

The Trump administration announced in February it would rescind long-planned regulations requiring that all lightbulbs be at least three times as efficient as the classic incandescents of Thomas Edison's day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even the great-grandson of Thomas Edison, popularly recognized as the inventor of the lightbulb, supports a government regulation that would lead to his ancestor’s creation being phased out.

Barry Edison Sloane, a descendent of the famous American entrepreneur, will join New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. Thursday to chide the Trump administration for rolling back lightbulb efficiency standards.

House vote combining drug, health law bills irks Republicans
Combining the two bills sets up a political minefield for Republicans who are torn between the two issues

Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., center, Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building. The House is set to vote Thursday on legislation meant to lower prescription drug prices and strengthen “Obamacare” health insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House is set to vote Thursday on legislation meant to lower prescription drug prices and strengthen the individual health insurance exchanges, setting up a political minefield for Republicans who are torn between the two issues.

Democratic leaders’ decision to combine legislation that would make it easier to bring generic drugs to market with bills that would bolster the 2010 health care law does not damage the prospects of passage for the package of bills. But that does make it certain that most Republicans will vote against the bipartisan drug pricing legislation.

House health care bill puts generic drug industry in bind
Low-cost generic drug makers expected a floor vote on a signature bill, but the law is being packaged with two measures industry opposes

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., attends a House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building. Carter is a sponsor of a bill that would make it harder to stretch out a six-month exclusivity period awarded to the first generic version of a brand-name drug. Generic drug pricing bills will be taken up by the House Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This was supposed to be a good week for the makers of low-cost generic drugs, as a bill that is one of their top priorities gets a House floor vote. Instead, the industry finds itself clouded by allegations of price fixing, and its signature bill is being packaged with two measures they oppose.

The bill that the House will take up Thursday combines three drug pricing measures with bills to strengthen the individual health insurance market.

Trump calls for end to surprise out-of-network medical bills

The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore.,  left, and Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., support the push to clamp down on surprise medical bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday called on Congress to pass legislation intended to curb surprise medical bills, an issue with bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill but one that has stalled under intense industry lobbying.

Trump laid out core principles the White House wants in legislation, which officials hope Congress will send to the president later this year. Trump’s remarks came after lawmakers focused on the issue asked the White House to get involved to secure more support, a senior White House official said.

More Chinese fentanyl may stay out of the US under a new bipartisan bill
Another bipartisan proposal would help physicians learn more about a patient’s substance abuse history.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., arrives in the Capitol for the weekly Senate luncheons on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Calls to address the opioid crisis resumed Thursday as lawmakers released a bill that aims to curb the flow of illegal opioids into the United States and another to help physicians learn more about a patient’s substance abuse history.

The separate actions by a bipartisan group of senators and another of House members are drawing fresh attention to the overdose crisis, which is a concern for both parties even though Congress cleared an opioids law just last year. One of the bills, a Senate measure, stands a good chance of becoming law, said co-sponsor Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.