Energy & Environment

Time Running Out in Ryan’s Quest to Overhaul Welfare Programs
Speaker returns to Jack Kemp roots as he targets SNAP and TANF

In his remaining months as speaker, Paul D. Ryan is making one last push on poverty. Above, Bishop Shirley Holloway helps Ryan unveil his plan for “A Better Way” in Anacostia in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has spent his 20-year congressional career primarily focused on two issues, taxes and poverty. The Wisconsin Republican led a major rewrite of the tax code last year, but when he retires at the end of this term he won’t have many accomplishments to tout on poverty.

The last big win for conservatives in the so-called War on Poverty was the 1996 welfare overhaul, Ryan acknowledged on PBS’ “Firing Line” earlier this month.

Opinion: My ‘Family Leave’ Was a Well-Timed Government Shutdown
Yes, I worked at the White House. But before all that, I am a father

Mothers protest at the Capitol during the government shutdown of 2013. For some new parents, the shutdown brought an unexpected chance to spend time with their children — but luck isn’t much of a family leave policy, Jenkins writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Father’s Day, I thought a lot about what it means to be a good father. You see, in my mind, I am a father first.

Yes, I worked at the White House. Yes, I now work for Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die. Yes, I am a sad New York Mets fan. But before all of these things, I am a father. It’s the most important job I will ever have. Unfortunately, in today’s America, considering yourself a “father first” is not always expected by employers or society at large.

Opinion: Higher Education in America Finds Itself on a Slippery Slope
Our great research universities risk getting left behind

As support for our educational system becomes increasingly politicized, a significant number of people are now questioning the very worth of a higher education, Augustine writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A decade ago I chaired a committee that was established on a bipartisan basis by members of the House and Senate to assess America’s future economic competitiveness. The committee’s 20 members included CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, former presidential appointees, presidents of major public and private universities and three Nobel laureates. Upon completion of our work, two of our members joined the then-president’s Cabinet, one as secretary of Energy and the other as secretary of Defense.

The document we produced, which became known as the “Gathering Storm Report,” concluded that the top two priorities for America to remain competitive in the global marketplace were to strengthen education and to double our investment in basic research.

Illustrations Help Tell the Story of Early Capitol Hill in New Book
Pamela Scott started working on ‘Creating Capitol Hill: Place, Proprietors, and People’ a decade ago

The book is available on the U.S. Capitol Historical Society's website. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Pamela Scott, an author of “Creating Capitol Hill: Place, Proprietors and People,” is worried the book may not be seen as a serious historical project. 

She uses a number of photographs in the book — maybe too many — and is concerned that some historians will “think it’s a coffee table book,” she said.

At the Races: He’s Off the Trail
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Defense Bills Seek to Protect U.S. Energy at Base in Germany
Critics slam return of ‘zombie earmark’ as Bacon says proposal will reduce reliance on Russian gas

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., says he wants to limit American dependence on Russian gas, but critics call his coal proposal a wasteful earmark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hatch Seeks Quick House Action to Improve Suicide Prevention Hotline
Legislation passed Senate last November

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has renewed his push to improve a hotline designed to help prevent suicides. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After recent high-profile suicides, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is pushing for the House to expedite work on a bipartisan bill to improve the national suicide prevention hotline.

“Our bill requires the FCC to recommend an easy-to-remember, three-digit number for the national suicide prevention hotline. I believe that by making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system more user-friendly and accessible, we can save thousands of lives by helping people find the help they need when they need it most,” the Utah Republican said in a floor speech. “The Senate passed our bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in November. Now it’s time for the House to do its part.”

How Mark Sanford Proudly Failed His Loyalty Test
No regrets from second House Republican ousted by someone claiming stronger Trump allegiance

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., spent heavily but lost narrowly Tuesday in the Republican primary in South Carolina’s coastal low country to a state legislator who aligned closely with President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today’s Congress deserves its reputation for uniformity in the ranks. Gender and ethnicity aside, the place is overrun with members priding themselves on their message discipline, policymaking tunnel vision and personal lives scrubbed and shielded from public view. And for the Republicans, of course, unflinching loyalty to President Donald Trump is now the core of the homogenized brand.

So is Hill survival even possible anymore for a member capable of thoughtful departures from his partisan talking points, open to ideological subtlety, with a home life that’s been a national melodrama — and who on top of all that has called out the president on more than one occasion?

Authorized Flood Projects Left High and Dry on Funding
Desperate cities fear the next floods as Congress dawdles

Residents look down a flooded street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 2008. The city is still recovering from some of its worst flooding on record. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Ten years ago this month, the Cedar River overflowed into Cedar Rapids, Iowa, destroying a wide swath of the city’s downtown and residential neighborhoods.

The flooding caused $5.4 billion in property damage, according to the city. It affected more than 1,000 blocks of homes and businesses, City Hall, the county courthouse and hundreds of other buildings.

Nevada Primaries Set Up GOP House Targets
Horsford, Hardy set up rematch in 4th District

Former Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford won the Democratic primary for the 4th District on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans are largely on defense this election cycle, but they’re targeting two open seats in Nevada, where voters selected their general election candidates Tuesday night.

In the 4th District, two former one-term seat holders — Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy — easily won their respective primaries. In the 3rd District, perennial GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian and Democrat Susie Lee advanced to what is also expected to be a competitive fall race.

Wexton Wins Democratic Nod to Take On Comstock in Virginia’s 10th
Democrat Abigail Spanberger will face off against Rep. Brat in 7th District

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton, flanked by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, left, and Sen. Tim Kaine, speaks at her 10th District primary night party at O'Faolin’s Irish Pub in Sterling, Va., on Tuesday. She will next face Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The fall matchup in one of this year’s most competitive House races is now set with state Sen. Jennifer Wexton clinching the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 10th District on Tuesday night.

Wexton will face Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, who’s running for a third term in a Toss-up race.

House Prepares for Week of Action on Opioid Bills
‘Collectively these bills do not go far enough’

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., participates in the House Democrats’ news conference on health care reform in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will begin a voting marathon Tuesday on 34 bills designed to address the opioid epidemic. While most are not likely to be contentious, two have previously stirred controversy.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reserved about a week and a half of floor time to discuss opioid legislation. Additional bills are likely to be considered next week, such as four bill packages the House Ways and Means Committee approved with bipartisan support.

Races to Watch in This Tuesday’s Primaries
Voters in five states head to the polls

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford faces a GOP primary challenge that’s prompted him to spend money this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voters in five states head to the polls Tuesday, with most of the action in House primaries.

Republican Rep. Mark Sanford is facing a party challenge for his South Carolina seat. Nominees will be chosen in a half-dozen other competitive House races. And a new voting process will be tested in Maine.

Senators Could Use Defense Bill to Push Back on Russia
Bipartisan group files amendments seeking to counter Kremlin election interference

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among the senators preparing amendments to the defense authorization bill that seek to push back on Russian election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators could find themselves debating election security this week, including how to counter potential efforts by Russia to mess with this year’s midterms.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to use the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill as a venue for amendments related to both protection and response.

Two Former Lawmakers Aim for Rematch in Nevada’s 4th District
First hurdle will be Tuesday’s primaries

Former GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy is running again in Nevada’s 4th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Nevada’s 4th District could host a rematch between two former one-term members of Congress. And both know what it’s like to lose.

Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy are considered the front-runners in their respective primary races Tuesday. Should they win, the general election would be a rematch of 2014, when Hardy ousted Horsford in a surprise only to lose the seat two years later.