Marcy Kaptur

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announces retirement
New York Democrat has served in the House for three decades

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, is retiring after 16 terms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey announced Thursday that she is not running for reelection. The New York Democrat was the first woman to lead the powerful committee.

“After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is my deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country, and I will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.”

Ukraine Caucus Democrats call for release of full Zelenskiy transcript, reiterate support for Kiev

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, speaks during a press conference to discuss the implications of President Donald Trump's recent phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers spar big-time on behalf of rocket companies
Billions of dollars in business, and the future of national security, are at stake in fight over developing a new generation of rockets

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on February 6, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world and is carrying a Tesla Roadster into orbit. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

More than two-dozen House members have thrown the latest punch in a bare-knuckled fight that pits competing U.S. rocket manufacturers and their allies on Capitol Hill against one another.

A bipartisan group of 28 House members urged Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson in an April 12 letter not to alter the service’s blueprint for developing a new generation of rockets to lift U.S. military and spy satellites into orbit. But plenty of other lawmakers have pushed for several changes.

Trump contradicts his own plan to slash Great Lakes preservation funds
His budget proposed a 90 percent cut to the initiative’s budget, but Trump told supporters he would fund the program

President Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally at the Van Andel Arena on March 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids was the final city Trump visited during his 2016 campaign. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump has proposed nearly wiping out funding for the Great Lakes preservation program. And yet on Thursday night, less than a month after proposing to slash 90 percent the initiative’s budget, Trump told supporters at a rally in Michigan that he would fund the program.

The reality is, Congress controls the federal purse strings and has in the past disregarded his calls for those sharp cuts, instead continuing to approve the funding at higher levels. A key appropriator called Trump’s assertions that he supports the program “phony.”

Anti-corruption, campaign finance overhaul bills preview likely 2020 campaign theme
Issue is likely to remain a signature theme for Democrats running for the White House and Congress

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as House Democrats have made a political overhaul a top priority, numerous lawmakers, including freshman members, have filed their own campaign finance and anti-corruption bills, a sign the topic will dominate into the 2020 campaigns.

Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat who unseated Republican Mike Coffman last November, introduced his first bill last week: a measure that could lead to disclosures of donors to 501(c)(4) “social welfare” tax-exempt groups that play in politics.

Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy outlasts Ryan; continues his role in new Congress
Former speaker sought to remove Jesuit priest

Father Patrick J. Conroy will remain in his role of House chaplain for the 116th Congress, after a year of that was full of turmoil surrounding the role. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Father Patrick J. Conroy will remain in his role as House chaplain for the 116th Congress, after a year full of turmoil surrounding the role.

The House voice voted Thursday afternoon to install the House officers —   but not without an extra hurdle for the chaplain.

Democrats Look for New DCCC Chair to Protect Majority
For the first time, competitive race will decide next head of campaign arm

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is one of four candidates competing to lead the DCCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time, House Democrats are competing in an open race to lead the party’s campaign arm next cycle. And the new leader’s responsibilities will include something no predecessor has faced in a decade: protecting their chamber majority.

The race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently a four-way contest between Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene of Washington. The DCCC chairmanship was an appointed position until 2016, after Democratic losses led to demands for changes at the committee. Current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Yucca Mountain Halted Again as GOP Aims to Retain Senate
Nevada’s Dean Heller among blockers this time

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., speaks with veterans before the start of this year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Supporters of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada face a familiar fate despite bipartisan momentum to restart progress on the site: Once again, their hopes appear dashed by a Silver State senator.

For years the Senate spoiler was the chamber’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, who departed in 2017. This year Republican Dean Heller played the role, a vocal opponent of the project who faces an uphill re-election bid in a state that went for Hillary Clinton and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in 2016.

Foreign Lobbying Overhauls Stall as Manafort Goes to Trial
Critics say no measure gets to the root of 1938 law’s problems

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 6: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a court hearing on the terms of his bail and house arrest on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This Congress has a crush on the idea of overhauling the nation’s foreign lobbying regulations, but lawmakers apparently can’t seem to find the one bill they want to commit to.