Thomas R Carper

Infrastructure talks run off the road by latest Trump, Dem fracas

From left, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., and Sen. Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conclude a news conference in Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting on infrastructure at White House was canceled by President Donald Trump on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A White House meeting Wednesday on infrastructure between President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats ended almost as soon as it began after the president pledged not to work with Democrats on any policy priorities until they ended investigations into his administration and campaign.

Trump left the meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer after just a few minutes, a move that the two Democrats said was staged ahead of time.

Trump to Democrats: OK new NAFTA before public works bill
‘Once Congress has passed USMCA, we should turn our attention to a bipartisan infrastructure package,’ the president said

From left, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., President Donald Trump, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., exit the Capitol after the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on March 14, 2019. As Democrats head to the White House to meet with Trump over a massive public works bill, the president told them such legislation should take a back seat to his new NAFTA deal, the USMCA. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On the eve of his second meeting with congressional Democrats about a potential $2 trillion public works bill, President Donald Trump told them such legislation should take a back seat to his trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

“Before we get to infrastructure, it is my strong view that Congress should first pass the important and popular USMCA trade deal,” Trump wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Once Congress has passed USMCA, we should turn our attention to a bipartisan infrastructure package,” the president continued.

Still no public timeline for Jared Kushner immigration plan
Presidential son-in-law briefed Senate GOP on details Tuesday

Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, stepped out of the Vice President’s office in the Senate Reception Room for a phone call Tuesday after attending the Senate Republicans’ weekly policy lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When White House senior adviser Jared Kushner came to visit Senate Republicans on Tuesday to reportedly discuss an immigration overhaul he is developing, he did not have a full plan ready to go for solving what his own party says is a crisis.

Multiple Republican senators said there was no evidence that the Trump administration has set a timeline for a public rollout, but Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, did present some ideas that were new to many members of the conference.

Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happy
As Kigali Amendment languishes, Sens. Kennedy, Carper point fingers at the administration

Hydrofluorocarbons — found in air conditioners — are worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. A plan to limit them has bipartisan support, but the Trump administration is standing in the way, Republican senators say. (iStock/Composite by Jason Mann)

It has the support of industry heavy-hitters, environmental advocates and a bipartisan cushion of votes in the Senate.

But the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty to limit hydrofluorocarbons — highly potent greenhouse gases found in air conditioners, refrigerators, insulation and foam — is stuck.

In bashing Biden, did Kellyanne Conway break the law again?
Sen. Tom Carper seeks Hatch Act view of White House adviser's public statements about Biden

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is being accused of violating the Hatch Act, again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Thomas R. Carper is requesting a formal review of whether senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has again violated the federal law that’s intended “to prevent pernicious political activities.”

In question this time is whether Conway’s public statements, including from the White House lawn, about a potential 2020 foe of President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., ran afoul of the Hatch Act — which limits political speech by federal employees, especially while on official time.

White House stalls on endorsing $2 trillion for public works
Two sides will meet again in three weeks to discuss ways to pay for massive plan

Congressional Democrats talk to reporters following a Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on infrastructure. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 7:13 p.m. | Congressional Democrats said President Donald Trump agreed to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package after a Tuesday morning meeting, but White House officials later said the administration is not ready to endorse a specific spending amount.

“We agreed on a number, which was very, very good,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said outside the White House following the meeting. “Originally, we had started a little lower but even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. There was goodwill in this meeting and that was different from other meetings that we have had.”

Biden leads 2020 candidates, but Democrats want to hear more about the field
Only 36 percent say their choice is firm, as most want to know more about Harris, Warren and others

Potential Democratic voters want to hear more about Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a new poll from CNN released Tuesday found. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden would be the choice of 39 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters if the party's primaries were held today, a new CNN poll released Tuesday found.

That put him far ahead of the crowded field of candidates, and support for Biden appears to have increased after his official announcement last week. 

Schumer: Gas tax hike should be tied to 2017 tax cut rollback
Democrats seek a plan going beyond highways, tackling clean energy and making infrastructure resilient to climate change

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrive for a new conference in the Capitol about a continuing resolution to re-open the government on January 25, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:50 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants President Donald Trump to consider rolling back parts of his signature 2017 tax cuts as a condition for advancing legislation to raise the federal fuel tax, according to a person close to the New York Democrat, a demand that will complicate efforts to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill before the 2020 elections.

“Unless President Trump considers undoing some of the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy,” the person said, “Schumer won’t even consider a proposal from the president to raise the gas tax, of which the poor and working people would bear the brunt.”

Pelosi, Schumer head to the White House for infrastructure talks
Pelosi said in a letter the meeting will focus on advancing bipartisan action on a bill to grow the economy and create jobs

The Washington Monument can be seen as traffic travels over the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge also known as the South Capitol Street bridge April 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. The bridge is one of 61,000 bridges across America that the Department of Transportation said were structurally deficient and in need of repair. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are expected to meet with the president at the White House on Tuesday to try to set a path to passage of a public works package as the 2020 elections draw nearer.

In a Friday letter to fellow lawmakers, Pelosi said the meeting will focus on advancing “bipartisan action on a bold infrastructure bill to create jobs and grow our economy in a green and modern way.”

EPA draft groundwater rules disappoint clean water advocates
The proposed draft cleanup standards released Thursday were criticized as too weak by advocates

A flag with the EPA logo flies in front of the Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 1, 2019. The agency’s proposed draft cleanup standards released Thursday were criticized as too weak by advocates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed draft cleanup standards Thursday for groundwater contaminated by so-called forever chemicals, but advocates who urged the adoption of such standards said they were too weak.

The proposal addresses PFAS compounds, which are so slow to degrade they’ve been nicknamed forever chemicals.