Rick Larsen

FAA Authorization Still Grounded in Senate
Congress could be looking at sixth straight extension as Sept. 30 deadline approaches

Los Angeles International Airport in March. Congress could be headed toward its sixth straight extension of FAA authorization if it fails to meet a Sept. 30 deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration in June of last year. But the measure’s proponents have struggled ever since to get it to the floor, even as another deadline approaches at the end of this month.

Congress could be headed toward its sixth straight extension of FAA authorization if both chambers can’t pass a yet-unfinished conference bill before Sept. 30. House leaders on the issue, who steered easy passage of their measure earlier this year, have blamed the other chamber, which hasn’t passed its own bill.

Key Players in FAA Conference Negotiations
Committee leaders come with their own priorities for FAA reauthorization

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., left, and ranking member Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., both want to do a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Sept. 30 deadline to renew Federal Aviation Administration programs approaches, members of both parties are working to reach a deal on a consensus bill that could be acceptable to both chambers.

The process has been slowed because the Senate did not pass its committee-approved bill. Negotiators in an informal conference committee don’t know how many of up to 90 amendments offered to the Senate measure could be in play or whether any senator will object to a final bill that doesn’t include his or her priorities.

Senators Get Informal as FAA Deadline Nears
Reauthorization didn’t make the summer cut. Now senators are looking for a pre-conference shortcut

Sen. John Thune says negotiating with the House before Senate passage is the best option to avoid a lapse of authorization Sept. 30, even if process questions remain. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Staff members on both sides of the Capitol are trying to work around obstacles in the Senate by negotiating “pre-conference” versions of Federal Aviation Administration authorization and water infrastructure bills, according to lawmakers.

Despite the stated goals of the bills’ sponsors, the Senate did not consider either the FAA or water infrastructure measure over the summer, preventing a true conference committee from hashing out differences with the House-passed versions of the FAA and water infrastructure bills.

Defense Officials: US Needs Coordinated China Tech Strategy
“China is the embodiment of the military technology transfer challenge”

Michael Griffin, under secretary of Defense for research and engineering, says it’s time to look at China’s efforts as a whole, not as a series of individual actions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. intellectual property and technology are pervasive and not limited to cyber theft, defense and intelligence officials told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Beijing is also investing in U.S. companies, sending students to American universities, embarking on joint business ventures and cheating on trade agreements, said Anthony Schinella, national intelligence officer for military issues at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Congress Warns North Korea — and Trump — on Nuke Talks
Messer says Trump deserves a Nobel Prize

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said President Donald Trump's position on North Korea gave an opportunity for diplomacy with North Korea. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress were cautious in response to the news that President Donald Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican who went from being a major Trump critic to ally, said Trump’s “strong stand” against the regime gives the United States the best opportunity for peace.

House Democrats Pick Nadler Over Lofgren for Judiciary Post
Caucus sticks with seniority tradition

House Democrats picked Jerrold Nadler, right, over Zoe Lofgren to be the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

House Democrats voted Wednesday to elect New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee over California Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

The vote was 118-72, according to Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, who declined to say whom he voted for, citing the secret ballot process. The caucus action followed the recommendation made Tuesday by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Members, USO Make Care Packages for Hurricane Relief Troops
1,500 packages assembled for National Guard troops deployed to Texas and Florida

Reps. Suzan DelBene of Washington, second from right, and Mike Coffman of Colorado, right, assemble care packages in the Rayburn building Tuesday for members of the National Guard who are assisting in the hurricane cleanup efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The USO came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to get help from members and staffers in their efforts to send 1,500 care packages to National Guard members deployed to Florida and Texas to assist with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief.

Hundreds of staffers and several members pitched in and helped the organization reach that goal within two hours. 

Trump Threatens Shutdown, Attacks GOP Senators During Angry Rally
President on Sen. Flake: ‘Nobody knows who the hell he is’

Protesters chant and wave signs across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center as President Donald Trump holds a rally inside on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 9:40 a.m. An angry and defiant President Donald Trump used a Tuesday campaign rally to threaten a government shutdown, slam two Republican senators in their home state, and pour rhetorical gasoline on racial tensions he has twice stoked since the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist protests.

Trump stuck to his staff’s script at the start of a rally in Phoenix, reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter just as he did during a stoic speech the night before to announce his Afghanistan policy. But it didn’t last, with the president appearing to put even more distance between himself and mainstream Republicans and even some members of his own Cabinet.

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

Word on the Hill: Whipping Votes for Tilly
Emgage, White Ford Bronco, and hip hop

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, right, lobbies Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey on Wednesday to vote for Tilly, a Boston terrier in Tillis’ office, in a cutest dog on the Hill contest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman spotted a bipartisan pup moment Wednesday.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., brought seven-month-old Boston terrier Tilly around with him on Wednesday, whipping votes for her in a cutest dog contest, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., stopped to say hello.