Science

Vernon Ehlers, Former Longtime Michigan Congressman, Dies at 83
Ehlers was known as champion of the Great Lakes and science education

As a congressman from Michigan, Vernon Ehlers used his physics background to advance environmental and STEM legislation for nearly two decades. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first research physicist ever elected to Congress, Vernon J. Ehlers was known for his legislative work to bolster scientific research and education, raise fuel economy standards, and protect clean air and water.

Ehlers, who represented Western Michigan in Congress for nearly two decades, died Tuesday at the age of 83. His death was confirmed by the Zaagman Memorial Chapel in Grand Rapids, which did not immediately indicate the cause of death, The Detroit News reported.

Trump Hits Lindsey Graham Over Alleged ‘Disgusting Lie’
Graham: President suggested ‘moral equivalency’ between KKK, Heyer

President Donald Trump speaks Tuesday about white supremacist groups and the violence in Virginia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Updated at 9:11 a.m. Accusing Sen. Lindsey Graham of a “disgusting lie,” Donald Trump warned the South Carolina Republican voters will punish him for criticizing the president’s response to the racially tinged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Graham in a Wednesday statement said Trump, during an impromptu press conference Tuesday, “took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. [Heather] Heyer,” referring to the young woman killed in a car attack by a Nazi sympathizer.

Will GOP Divergence From Trump Over White Supremacist Comments Last?
Fissure unlikely to lead to a larger GOP break from president

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has often disagreed with some of the things President Donald Trump has said but is expected to continue working with him in the interests of the GOP's legislative agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Each time President Donald Trump makes an inflammatory comment, on the campaign trail or in the White House, it feels like what could be a breaking point for Republicans. But it never is.

With Trump doubling down on his comments effectively defending some white supremacists on Tuesday, could this be it?

Defense to Get Historically High Share of Research Budget
Congress likely to resist cuts to nondefense R&D programs

The Pentagon and related security agencies would see big boosts in research and development funding under the proposed fiscal 2018 budget from the administration . (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Pentagon and other security agencies’ outsize consumption of federal research money would grow further under Republican plans, while nondefense research spending would drop, sometimes dramatically, a new congressional report shows.

The Defense Department’s research and development budget would consume 56 percent of the federal R&D total in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, according to the Congressional Research Service report. That’s an 18 percent increase above the fiscal 2016 enacted level. When military research at the National Nuclear Security Administration and other agencies is included, the defense share of the federal research budget is closer to 61 percent.

Congress Wants More Immigration Judges, and Fast
Appropriators want Justice Department to pick up the pace

Sen. Richard Shelby's Appropriations subcommittee wants more immigration judges on the bench.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress wants to fund more judges to tackle the growing backlog of deportation and other immigration cases, even as lawmakers are hammering the Justice Department for not hiring them fast enough.

Both House and Senate Commerce-Justice-Science spending bills would fund an additional 65 immigration judges and support staff in fiscal 2018, on top of 10 new judges provided for in the fiscal 2017 omnibus spending bill. But appropriators in both chambers included language in bill reports questioning the Justice Department’s efforts to fill those positions.

Poll: 78 Percent of Utahns Want Hatch to Retire

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, initially said after his 2012 re-election that he would not run again but is reconsidering that decision. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new poll shows an overwhelming majority of Utahns want Republican Sen. Orrin Hatchto retire after his current term ends in 2019.

The poll was conducted by the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

GOP Unified Control Still Means Divided Congress
Flameout of health care reveals dissension, but some accomplishments obscured

Neil Gorsuch's confirmation stands out as a big achievement for the GOP Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the 2010 health care law put an exclamation point on what has become obvious in Washington: The GOP, for all its enthusiasm following its election win last year, is too riven with dissension to meet ambitious goals it set out for itself.

And President Donald Trump seems to have oversold his skills as a deal-maker.

How Climate Change Impacts Congressional Districts Over Next 80 Years
A Roll Call analysis also reveals how concerned people are, by district

(Photo courtesy iStock)

Two recent studies explored the climate debate at the local level. The authors of a report by Climate Impact Lab, published in Science magazine, ran 29,000 simulations to project the economic damage that could result from climate change between 2080 and 2099 in the U.S.

Researchers at Yale and George Mason universities created a model that estimates opinions on climate change in specific communities. Roll Call combined the two in this analysis, by congressional district.

Rodney Davis Loses One Democratic Challenger, Gains Another
State legislator Carroll Ammons passed on running

Erik Jones worked as counsel for the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee before moving back to Illinois. (Erik Jones for Congress via Facebook)

One Illinois Democrat passed on running to challenge Republican Rep. Rodney Davis on Monday while another jumped into the race.

State Rep. Caroll Ammons announced she would not run to challenge the Republican congressman in Illinois 13th Congressional District.

App Challenge Brings Congress, Young Coders Closer
162 members now sponsor district winners in annual competition

Melissa Medina, left, and Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman listen to a student demo her winning app in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. (Courtesy Melissa Medina)

The third annual Congressional App Challenge, in which members feature their young constituents’ entrepreneurial work in the technology field, launches Wednesday.

Student coders have until Nov. 1 to submit entries to their participating members of Congress.