Joe L Barton

Walden Won’t Give Odds on Horse Racing Bill Leaving the Gate
Barr urges colleagues not to mix betting and horse doping with amendments to his bill

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden says he’s open to advancing a proposal to regulate parts of the horse racing industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said Friday he remained open to advancing a bipartisan proposal that would establish a national authority for regulating doping and medication in horse racing.

But after a raucous Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing that revealed an industry divided over how to address the issue, the Oregon Republican was unwilling to commit to moving a proposal from GOP Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky. Barr’s bill has 125 co-sponsors, 75 of them Democrats.

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.

Democrats Score Big in 21–5 Baseball Blowout Over GOP
Steve Scalise makes the game’s first out in feel-good moment of the night

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., is tagged out by Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., to end the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Thursday. The Democrats prevailed 21-5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats continued to show their dominance on the diamond Thursday night with a massive 21–5 win over the Republicans at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game. 

“More of a football game than a baseball game, but I think both sides gave it their all,” New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley said of the score after the game. 

How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
The annual classic brings out a softer side of the legislative branch

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., escorted by U.S. Capitol Police Special Agent David Bailey, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Wednesday. Scalise was shot and injured last year at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. Bailey was also injured in the attack. Unable to play last year because of his injuries, Scalise will be on the field at Thursday’s game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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“This game is a situation of which, you’re a product of your political success, so if you have a good political year, you have a good recruiting year for this game.” So said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., many years ago about the Congressional Baseball Game and the teams each party gets to field. 

Elections, Retirements Could Ransack GOP Baseball Roster
Turnover in the Democratic lineup not expected to be as dramatic

Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Ryan A. Costello of Pennsylvania confer during the 2016 Congressional Baseball Game. Costello is retiring this year while Davis faces a competitive re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The cold reality of the midterm elections could force Republicans into a completely different roster for next year’s Congressional Baseball Game. Due to retirements and competitive re-election races, over a third of the 36-member GOP team may not be returning in 2019, including more than half of last year’s starting lineup.

Three of the Republicans’ first six batters from 2017 are playing in their last game because they aren’t seeking re-election, including leadoff hitter Ryan A. Costello of Pennsylvania.

It’s Not Personal, It’s Baseball
Republicans and Democrats take the field Thursday for the annual Congressional Baseball Game

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, left, leads the Republican and Democratic teams in a moment of prayer before the start of last year’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s time to play ball.

The 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, pitting Republican lawmakers against the Democrats, starts at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Nationals Park.

House Republicans No Closer to Immigration Deal After Pivotal Meeting
Impasse signals discharge petition will soon get final signatures needed for June 25 vote

Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., center, and Jeff Denham, R-Calif., are leading a discharge petition that is expected to soon have 218 signatures amid continued GOP disagreement on immigration. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans spent two hours Thursday morning talking through their differences on immigration but left the pivotal meeting no closer to a legislative solution.

The continued discord all but guarantees a discharge petition will get the 218 signatures by early next week, which would trigger a June 25 vote on a queen of the hill rule setting up a series of votes on existing immigration bills that also lack unified GOP support.

House GOP Immigration and Leadership Battles Entwined
Results of June attempt to pass immigration legislation will affect current GOP leaders, future candidates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks alongside Speaker Paul Ryan at the House Republican Leadership Press Conference on Tuesday morning. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are on the precipice of a major win or an embarrassing loss on immigration. Either outcome will have lasting impacts for the current leadership team and future contenders for those jobs.

But the prospect of an immediate backlash against Paul D. Ryan’s speakership over anything that could be perceived as an immigration failure appears minimal at best. The House is preparing to take up sweeping immigration legislation the third week of June for the first time since Republicans took control of the chamber eight years ago.

Democrats Get Preferred Candidates in House Races in Texas
GOP sees mixed fortunes for establishment candidates in runoffs

Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

General election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoffs, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall. 

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.