Energy & Environment

Democrats See New Opportunity in McSally’s Old House Seat
Democrats see Arizona’s 2nd District as a top pickup opportunity

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running in Arizona’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Martha McSally’s decision to enter the Arizona Senate race has opened up her hotly contested House seat, giving Democrats even more hope that they can win back the seat in 2018.

Republicans say they still have a chance at holding the 2nd District seat in southern Arizona, especially with the right candidate. But Democrats see energy on their side, fueled in part by a backlash to President Donald Trump. And they are hopeful the race will be an example of a Democrat flipping a seat that Hillary Clinton carried in November.

House Bill Would Create More Oversight on Efforts to Disclose Cyber Vulnerabilities
Department of Homeland Security would be required to file annual report

A bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, would expand oversight over how federal authorities work with the private sector to disclose cyber vulnerabilities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill to expand congressional oversight over how the Department of Homeland Security works with the private sector to disclose cyber vulnerabilities is now before the Senate after it passed the House by voice vote last week.

The bill, introduced by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, would require DHS to submit an annual report to Congress describing the process the federal government uses to disclose cybersecurity flaws it discovers to the private sector and other affected organizations. The bill would include information about how DHS is working with other federal agencies and managers of private cyber infrastructure to mitigate susceptibility to cyberattacks.

Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats
Democrats have several pickup opportunities, but they need viable candidates first

Democrats are confident they’ll have a general election nominee who can take on Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam. The primary is on March 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With early voting starting in less than a month, Illinois will be a testing ground for Democrats’ ability to nominate general election candidates they think can win out of crowded primaries. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting four Republican-held districts, but the committee is not explicitly picking favorites in all those primaries. 

House Republicans Discuss FISA — Spending, Not So Much
Fiscal deal is primarily at the leadership level-BR

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said the GOP conference focused on the FISA legislation, not spending issues.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | House Republicans spent their Thursday morning planning conference discussing a surveillance measure that would be on the floor later the same day instead of a plan to fund the government beyond Jan. 19.

The week-end GOP conference meeting is typically reserved for legislative issues the House will tackle in weeks ahead. Conferences held the morning after fly-in day are when House Republicans normally discuss measures on the floor that week.

Opinion: The Women Who Could Take Back the House for Democrats
Trump presidency a catalyst for action

Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran is vying to replace Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is not seeking re-election. (Courtesy Dr. Tran for Congress)

In a typical election cycle, EMILY’S List hears from 900 or so women who are interested in running for political office. As of this week, less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, more than 25,000 women have reached out to the group, whose goal is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

That unprecedented number tracks with what I’ve seen covering special elections for the House and Senate in 2017. Particularly in Alabama and Georgia, I kept seeing female voters showing up in huge numbers to work for Democratic candidates, even when the women themselves weren’t Democrats, or had never been particularly political at all.

Women’s Congressional Staff Association Looks Back at 10 Years
WCSA is holding a conversation with members on sexual harassment to kick off 2018

Colleen Carlos, president of the Women’s Congressional Staff Association, is a legislative assistant for Rep. Robert A. Brady, D-Pa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the Women’s Congressional Staff Association passes the 10-year mark, it is emerging as a resource for sexual harassment issues.

It’s a “hallmark year” for the group, which was founded by four female staffers a decade ago, new president Colleen Carlos said. 

Analysis: Defiant Trump Returns After ‘Performance’ for Members
With arms crossed, president says Mueller interview ‘seems unlikely’

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway in the East Room at the White House, on January 10, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump was back Wednesday to his defiant manner after playing the role of accommodating host and facilitator-in-chief on Tuesday when he told lawmakers he would sign just about any immigration bill that funds a border wall.

Trump crossed his arms behind the presidential podium when asked during a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart if he is willing to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Justice Department’s Russia probe. The president several times reiterated his long-held stance that his 2016 presidential campaign did not collude with any Russians.

Florida Offshore Decision Unleashes Opposition Tidal Wave
Other states want similar treatment

The Interior Department wants to expand offshore drilling but has decided to remove Florida’s coasts from its plan.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Interior Department’s decision to remove Florida’s coasts from its draft five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan because of staunch opposition from the state has opened a floodgate of coastal state governments demanding similar treatment.

[Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says]

The Democrats’ Savior
Donald Trump gave Democrats what they could not give themselves: unity

Protesters walk down Independence Avenue in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, during the Women’s March. President Donald Trump has energized and united Democratic voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to take the oath of office, Democrats were in disarray. Supporters of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were pointing fingers at each other, the Democratic National Committee was in disgrace, and Democratic voters were demoralized.

Now, Trump has succeeded in doing something extraordinary, something neither Clinton nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could do — he has united and energized Democrats.

Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says
Sen. Bill Nelson alleges move was aimed at helping rival score political points

The Interior Department has backed away from a proposal to expand offshore drilling on Florida’s two coasts. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

A plan to open Florida’s tourism-dependent Atlantic and Gulf coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling was dropped by the Trump administration on Tuesday after a bipartisan backlash that also threatened to complicate a must-pass fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department on Jan. 4 revealed a draft five-year plan for expanding the sale of federal offshore drilling leases to the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, announced Tuesday night on Twitter that Florida’s two coasts would not be included in the expansion.

Senate Leaders Announce New Committee Rosters
Ratio change gives GOP a one-seat advantage at all committtees

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., received his committee assignments on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The full Senate is set to ratify revised committee rosters and ratios before adjourning Tuesday evening.

The changes add a Democrat to the Finance and Judiciary Committees, because each needed new Democrats to provide an across-the-board one-seat advantage for the GOP with their diminished majority.

Northeastern Lawmakers Unite Against Trump Offshore Drilling Plan
Republicans and Democrats from region join Florida and West Coast colleagues blasting plan

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, penned a joint letter on Monday to resist the Trump administration’s offshore drilling plans off their state’s coast. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers in the Northeast united across party lines on Monday to hazard against President Donald Trump’s offshore drilling plan to re-open more than 90 percent of the U.S. coastline to oil and gas companies.

Roughly 94 percent of the coastline, including the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts, remains off limits to oil and gas drilling. But Trump’s Interior Department revealed a five-year plan proposing 47 potential lease sales to energy companies through 2024, including two in the North Atlantic region from Maine to New Jersey.

Senate Match-Ups Yet to Take Shape Ahead of 2018 Primaries
Competitive Republican primaries begin in just four months

The first competitive GOP Senate primaries are in May (Illustration by Chris Hale).

With Ohio’s Josh Mandel ending his Senate bid last week, the one Senate race in which the matchup long looked like a foregone conclusion won’t be a rematch of 2012 after all.

The Republican challenger is still unknown in plenty of other races too, with competitive primaries beginning in just four months.

Budget Chairman Race: Three Candidates, Few Differences
Republican Steering Committee meets Tuesday to recommend Diane Black’s replacement

From left, Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Bill Johnson of Ohio, and Steve Womack of Arkansas are vying to be the next House Budget chairman. The Republican Steering Committee will meet Tuesday to make its recommendation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Three Republican congressman elected in 2010 who want Congress to overhaul mandatory spending programs and believe they have the consensus-building skills to make it happen are all competing to be the next House Budget chairman. 

The three-way race between Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio has largely been conducted behind the scenes as the candidates have reached out to colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Opinion: 2018 Could Be Oddly Productive
Who says Congress can’t get things done during an election year?

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, shown here in 2013, are throwing their weight behind legislation to promote evidence-based policymaking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As we enter 2018, the pundit class is already pushing the usual refrain that nothing important gets done in an election year. It is always safe to be cynical in uncertain times, and low expectations have an undeniable appeal. But history does not support the premise that legislative achievements occur only in odd years. Moreover, I challenge anyone to say that 2018 won’t be odd.

The theory of election year incapacitation harks back to a time when lawmaking had a strategic cadence. Members of Congress would focus on policy for 18 months and then shift their concern to re-election. Now, our democracy exists in a constant election cycle. New members of Congress hold fundraisers before taking the oath of office, and the tyranny of our digital society ensures that every vote, utterance and facial expression becomes campaign fodder. While this perpetual election has many grim implications, it also has served to diminish the distinction between “on” and “off” years.