Keystone XL Pipeline

Rating Change: Dent Retirement Puts Seat in Play
Pennsylvania Republican says seventh term will be his last

Just days ago, it looked like Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent was preparing to fight it out for an eighth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent capped a tumultuous week for Republicans on the Hill by announcing he would not seek re-election in 2018, leaving his 15th District open and vulnerable to a Democratic takeover.

Dent’s decision is the biggest news to come out of Allentown since earlier this summer when Philadelphia Phillies rookie slugger Rhys Hoskins was called up to the major leagues and hit home runs at a faster initial pace than any player in history, after batting 29 home runs with 91 RBIs for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Why Democrats and Republicans See Opportunity in One House Race
Brian Fitzpatrick is a Democratic target, but Republicans say he is in a strong position

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., talks with guests during a town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BENSALEM, Pa. — Republicans like Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick who have bucked their party will likely have to answer the question he faced after a town hall meeting here: What do you say to President Donald Trump’s supporters who are upset with you?

“It’s very easy. You call balls and strikes individually with every issue that comes up,” Fitzpatrick said. “It shouldn’t matter whether the president supports it or opposes it, whether Nancy Pelosi supports it or opposes it.”

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Staff members rated key areas of congressional dysfunction in a survey released Tuesday, including the low level of staff experience, a lack of time for members to focus on important issues and a paucity of access to nonpartisan reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

How the Courts Could Upend Gerrymandering
Democrats and voter rights groups pin hopes on high court case

A new, mathematical approach to proving partisan gerrymandering will be tested at the Supreme Court this fall in a case about Wisconsin’s state Assembly district lines. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By RANDY LEONARD and TODD RUGER

Congressional maps in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania have shifted the political balance of Congress toward Republicans — but that could soon change.

Energy Pipeline Permitting Bills Passed by House

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., authored a bill that would transfer pipeline permit authority from states to the federal government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Republicans rush to join the Trump administration’s efforts to boost oil and gas production, the House pushed two measures on Wednesday aimed at easing the permitting process for pipelines that cross state and international lines.

Lawmakers voted, 254-175, to pass a bill by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., which would transfer authority to issue permits for pipelines and power transmission lines that cross international borders from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mullin and other Republicans argued the measure is necessary to keep politics out of the pipeline permitting process.

Climate Change Activists Flood Capitol to Lobby Lawmakers
Merkley, Whitehouse and Fitzpatrick address concerned parents

Children join in as organizers set up a play area on the Upper Senate Lawn Thursday as part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration on the Hill organized by Moms Clean Air Force. (Griffin Connolly/CQ Roll Call)

Climate change activists from all 50 states met with more than 150 lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, armed with personal anecdotes and data booklets to persuade members to take action on environmental issues such as air pollution and global warming.

The meetings were part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration, organized by the anti-pollution advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force, which brought parents and their children to the Hill.

League of Women Voters Files Pennsylvania Redistricting Lawsuit
Plaintiffs say case is about “one of the greatest threats to American democracy”

Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan’s district was named in the lawsuit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that the Keystone State’s congressional map was illegally drawn.

“This case is about one of the greatest threats to American democracy today: partisan gerrymandering,” the plaintiffs, which include the group and several voters, wrote in their complaint.

Trump Encouraging Barletta to Challenge Casey in Senate
Pennsylvania congressman was one of Trump's earliest supporters

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., is being pushed by President Donald Trump to run for Senate against Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is encouraging Rep Lou Barletta to run against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr., the Pennsylvania Republican confirmed Wednesday.

Barletta confirmed that Trump and others have encouraged him to challenge Casey, who is running for re-election in 2018. Barletta said he and Trump spoke over the phone Monday night, a conversation first reported by the The Associated Press

Former Rep. Gwen Graham Enters Florida Governor’s Race
May face criticism in primary for Keystone, refugee, Wall Street votes

Former Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., served one term in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Rep. Gwen Graham announced Tuesday she would be a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018.

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited and is looking to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next year, leaving the race wide open.

How The GOP’s Health Care Law Went Down
A play-by-play of one of the most momentous days in Trump’s presidency

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., approaches the podium to make a statement and take questions from reporters after he pulled the Republican bill to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a nail-biter of a day with a photo finish.

The Republican Party’s seven-year effort to repeal the 2010 health care law ended with a thud Friday when the GOP decided not to even subject its do-or-die alternative to a vote.