John Garamendi

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Echoes of the AUMF in Trump’s national emergency declaration
End run around Congress on domestic spending could diminish yet another power of the legislative branch

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said both constitute an "unconstitutional power grab." (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency last week to get his way on funding for his border wall, legal scholars warned the move dramatically tilted the balance of power in favor of the White House.

In some ways it parallels the hobbling of Congress’ war authority 18 years ago.

House may vote on resolution to disapprove of Trump’s national emergency
Velázquez says chamber will vote on Castro disapproval resolution, but leadership says no decision made

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said the House will vote on a resolution to disapprove of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to build the wall. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:34 p.m. | The House will vote on a resolution of disapproval that would push back on President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to free up more funds for a wall along the southern border, according to New York Democrat Nydia M. Velázquez. But a leadership aide said no such decision about a vote has been made. 

Velázquez said the timing of the vote had not yet been settled on but added that the disapproval resolution sponsored by Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro would be the first vote taken. Castro, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement that he was “prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration under 50 U.S.C. 1622. (National Emergencies Act)” if Trump made such a move.

Bill would honor Rep. Walter Jones by repealing AUMF
Late North Carolina Republican was among the fiercest critics of 2001 military force authorization

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., motions to an aide during a news conference in 2011 to announce legislation he co-sponsored calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

A new bill named after the late Rep. Walter B. Jones, who left behind a legacy of dogged opposition to war, would repeal the military force authorization passed in the days after the 9/11 attacks.

Colleagues and constituents have heaped praise on the longtime North Carolina Republican, who died Sunday on his 76th birthday and whose funeral will be held Thursday at his parish church in Greenville.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

2018 in 5 Minutes: The Best of Congressional Hits and Misses
 

As the 115th Congress limps across the finish line with several unfinished spending bills and a partially shutdown federal government, Hits and Misses takes a look back at our favorite funny, awkward and downright bizarre moments from the House and Senate in 2018.

House Democrats Elect 4 Members to Run Messaging Arm
Cicilline will chair DPCC, and Lieu, Dingell and Cartwright will serve as co-chairs

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., will lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next Congress as chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline will again lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next year, after being elected Thursday by acclamation to a newly created top position at the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. 

Cicilline will be the new DPCC chair, ranking higher than three DPCC co-chairs the Democratic Caucus also elected Thursday. He had served as one of the three co-chairs for the 2018 cycle. 

House Democrats’ New Leadership Team Will Be Mostly Same People
Five to seven current leaders expected to be elected again Wednesday, some in new roles

When House Democrats select their new leaders this week, the faces at the top of the ticket will likely be unchanged from the last 12 years: From left, Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All the talk of a new generation of House Democratic leaders looks like it won’t materialize into any significant changes, as five to seven members of the current leadership team are likely to be elected to the new one. 

The Democratic Caucus will meet Wednesday — and possibly into Thursday — to nominate a speaker candidate for the Jan. 3 floor vote and to elect its other leaders for the 116th Congress. 

The Lone Leadership Hopeful Not Yet Backing Pelosi for Speaker
Most leadership candidates have made sure to let the press know they support Pelosi

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., who is running for one of the three Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair slots, is the only leadership candidate who has not yet committed to supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All but one House Democrat running for an elected leadership position is supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker. 

The lone candidate who hasn’t yet backed the California Democrat in her quest to retake the gavel is Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright

These Planes Will Fight Fires, If You Can Wait 10 Years
Stalled Air Force conversions show how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spearheaded the recent legislative mandates to convert the transport planes into fire tankers. It’s taking too long, she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In 2013, Congress ordered the Air Force to convert seven Coast Guard transport planes into firefighting tanker aircraft, but now the first of the planes may not be ready to fight fires for several more years, nearly a decade after the initial plan was launched. 

The story of the seven planes illustrates how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system, even when the equipment is a matter of life and death.