Ryan Zinke

Capitol Ink | Plucked Eagle

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Federal Watchdog Advises HHS to Recoup Price’s Travel Expenses
20 of 21 trips failed to comply with requirements, OIG finds

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal watchdog is recommending the Department of Health and Human Services recoup $341,000 associated with former Secretary Tom Price’s travel expenses.

The HHS Office of the Inspector General released Thursday an audit that found 20 of 21 trips Price and other HHS officials took during his time in office did not comply with federal requirements. Price, a hardline fiscal conservative during his time in Congress, resigned last September after it was revealed that he regularly chartered private planes for routine business trips.

Senate Democrats: Interior Department Is Snubbing Us on Grant Delay Questions
Grant reviews are response to ‘litany‘ of abuses, senior Interior official says

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is delaying federal grants for increased scrutiny of the department’s financial assistance programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats say the Interior Department is not answering questions about delays in the issuing of federal grants, a move they contend is holding up money used to fund conservation programs.

“DOI has yet to explain why it hired a high school football teammate of Secretary Zinke’s, who seems to have no relevant experience, to oversee the grant review process instead of improving financial management controls through department experts and career officials,” said Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who led a group of 11 senators in the Democratic Conference in a June 12 letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Funding for National Parks Gaining Momentum
GOP Senators with competing bills reach a compromise

Parts of a bill from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was included in a compromise bill that would fund national park maintenance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators with competing bills to tackle the National Park Service’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog, which has been identified as a top priority for the Trump administration, reached a compromise Friday on a single measure.

The bill from Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., takes pieces from each of the senators’ previous bills to create a new trust fund to pay for national park improvements with revenue from energy production on federal lands.

Kathleen Williams Wins Democratic Nod to Challenge Gianforte in Montana
Gianforte is running for his first full term after winning special election last year

Kathleen Williams won the Democratic nod to challenge GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, above, in Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former state Rep. Kathleen Williams won the Democratic nomination for Montana’s at-large House seat Tuesday.

Williams will take on Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who’s running for his first full term in November after being elected in a May 2017 special election

Matt Rosendale Wins Montana GOP Senate Primary
Rosendale will take on Democratic incumbent Jon Tester in November

Montana state Auditor Matt Rosendale won the GOP nomination for Senate on Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State Auditor Matt Rosendale won the GOP nomination Tuesday night to take on Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in November. 

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Rosendale led a four-way field with 34 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. Former district judge Russ Fagg was in second place with 29 percent. Fagg ran with the support of many former Montana elected officials, including ex-Reps. Rick Hill and Denny Rehberg and three former governors.

Trump Uses Flags, Military Troops to Make a Political Point
Sens. Booker, Kaine among critics worried about president's recent actions

President Donald Trump speaks at a "Celebration of America" event at the White House that replaced an event with the NFL Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and returned to one of his favorite topics: the national anthem. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday brought his feud with the NFL and some of its players over national anthem protests to his backdoor — literally. And that’s when something rare happened that shows just how polarizing his presidency and the racially tinged anthem debate has been.

A sitting president of the United States, flanked by Army and Marine Corps personnel, was heckled while standing just steps from the Oval Office.

A Sleepy Senate Primary Heats Up in Montana
Outside spending intensifies battle between Rosendale and Fagg

Former judge Russ Fagg is seeking the GOP nomination for Senate in Montana. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The next big Republican Senate primary is in Montana, where voters will choose Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s opponent on Tuesday.

The GOP contest in Big Sky Country was a sleepy affair for much of this year, lacking the verbal ax throwing that animated similar contests in Indiana and West Virginia this spring.

Florida Delegation Playing Hardball to Extend Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Sunshine State Democrats and Republicans may target NDAA

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., says he doesn’t see “any light between Republicans and Democrats” on the issue of offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Emboldened by a Defense Department report that expressed worries about unfettered offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s House delegation is preparing to throw its weight around to win a multiyear extension of a moratorium off its coasts.

The bipartisan commitment from the third largest congressional delegation, reached last week, may affect the $708.1 billion defense authorization bill that is being considered by the Rules Committee Monday and Tuesday ahead of a vote as soon as Wednesday.