Energy & Environment

2020 Democrats may dream big now, but reality will bite them later
Maybe it’s time Warren, Sanders et al admit their plans are aspirational rather than legislative blueprints

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential hopefuls are running on ambitious legislative agendas that would offer high drama on Capitol Hill in 2021 with little chance of success, Shapiro writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The bidding war that has defined the Democratic presidential race reached its apogee of absurdity earlier this month when Bernie Sanders had to explain that, no, he had no plans to erase voters’ credit card bills.

Questioned about his proposal to wipe away $81 billion in personal medical debt in a New Hampshire interview, the Vermont socialist told the Concord Monitor and NHTalkRadio.com: “I don’t believe we wipe out credit card debt. You want to buy… a yacht, and you go in debt, hey, that’s your decision.”

Trump stops short of saying Iran orchestrated attack on Saudi oil facilities
Bipartisan group wants to prohibit 'unconstitutional' U.S. war with Iran

President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in July. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump wants the world to believe Iran was behind a weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities that took 6 percent of the world’s supply offline — but he’s just not ready to say it out loud.

The U.S. commander in chief on two occasions Monday sent strong signals his national security team and Saudi officials are increasingly confident the Iranian government is responsible for the armed drone and missile strikes.

Democrats object to Trump’s threatening Iran over Saudi oil attack
U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’ if Tehran believed to be behind strikes, president warns

President Donald Trump leaves after chairing a U.N. Security Council meeting last September. He will be back there, along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, next week. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The United States should not take orders about using military force against Iran even if Saudi Arabia’s government declares Tehran was behind an attack on its oil facilities, congressional Democrats are telling President Donald Trump.

Trump signaled on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning that he is standing by for Saudi officials to sort out just what happened and who launched what U.S. officials said appeared to be armed drone and cruise missile strikes on the Saudi facilities. The attacks are expected to pare Saudi production and drive up oil and gas prices — but Democrats are concerned the incident might compel Trump to launch retaliatory strikes on Iran, which they say would be contrary to American interests.

As states legalize marijuana, pesticides may be a blind spot
Without EPA guidance for states to follow, pot users may be exposed to unknown harms

The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety, but it has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

People who consume marijuana medically or recreationally may be exposing themselves to unknown health risks from toxic pesticides.

The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety but has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. So, states with legalized marijuana industries have been tasking newly created cannabis regulators, health officials and others with setting testing standards for pesticide residues present on the plant.

House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

President Donald Trump greets House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.

Road Ahead: House to consider stopgap measure to fund government, Senate plays catch-up
Appropriations could be a focal point this week

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer touted his chamber passing 10 of its annual spending bills, but final House-Senate products are nowhere in sight. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Senate rushes to move fiscal 2020 spending bills, the House will consider a continuing resolution to keep the government running before the Oct. 1 fiscal year deadline hits.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said the chamber would consider a stopgap measure to fund the federal government this week.

Youth climate strike draws crowd in Trump’s backyard

Organizers from Zero Hour, Fridays for Future DC, Youth Climate Strike DC and other environmental groups rally at the Ellipse on Friday. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

One week before the Global Climate Strike descends on Washington, several groups including Fridays for Future DC, Youth Climate Strike DC and Zero Hour gathered for a strike of their own. 

McCarthy ‘not concerned about any retirement’ except Hurd’s
Minority leader predicts Trump will carry more districts held by Democrats than he did in 2016

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to the media at the U.S. House Republican Member Retreat in Baltimore on Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only Republican seat that will be open in 2020 due to a member of his conference retiring that he’s worried about losing is Rep. Will Hurd’s in Texas’ 23rd District. 

“That’s a tough seat. Will Hurd is an exceptional person,” the California Republican told reporters Friday morning as House Republicans kicked off the second day of their conference retreat here. 

As House passes Arctic drilling ban, Interior goes the other way
Trump administration moves to open part of sensitive area to drilling, a win for Alaska Republicans

A pair of moose are seen near the Sheenjek River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Alexis Bonogofsky/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Interior Department and the House are moving in different directions on Arctic drilling.

Hours after the House voted 225-193 to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the agency said it was moving to open a portion of the area to drilling.

K Street’s CGCN Group picks up big names from Definers
Matt Rhodes and Antonia Ferrier join growing GOP lobbying firm

CGCN has cultivated a reputation as a scrappy, profitable K Street player with big-name clients. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The CGCN Group, a K Street shop known for its deep Republican connections, is scooping up Matt Rhoades and Antonia Ferrier from the communications and opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs.

Rhoades, who managed the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, will serve as co-CEO, along with GOP lobbyist Sam Geduldig, of CGCN. Ferrier is a former Republican congressional aide, most recently working for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Winter athletes warn Senate Democrats: Climate change is ‘melting away’ our sports
Former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter among participants at Democratic panel’s hearing

Professional climber Tommy Caldwell greets Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet before a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats heard Thursday from winter sports athletes and adventurers about the consequences of a warming climate on their careers and lives.

“I climb a great deal of glaciers and ice, and there is no doubt increased temperatures are melting away both my sport and my livelihood,” Caroline Gleich, a ski mountaineer and adventurer, told a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Trump administration expected to roll back clean water rule
New rule would reduce the number of waterways the federal government can protect from pollution

Wetlands and waterways such as those in the Florida Everglades, shown here, and the wildlife they sustain could be affected by the EPA's rollback of clean water protections. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Trump administration is expected to complete on Thursday a new rule that rolls back parts of the 2015 clean water rule that expanded federal authority over the nation’s streams, rivers and wetlands.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler scheduled a “major water policy announcement” at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that has lobbied hard for the repeal of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS.

Even Joe Biden was once the upstart
Former vice president’s 1972 Senate race was long-shot campaign that paid off

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Ruth Burrows at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday August 8, 2019. Biden is making his third run for president. But his first run for the Senate provide clues to how far he has come in politics. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the sixth installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden was an unknown lawyer in his first term on the New Castle County Council when he started talking to people about his next move.

House Republicans to discuss path back to majority at Baltimore retreat
GOP members to talk politics and policy Thursday through Saturday at their delayed annual retreat

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks, the House Republicans’ campaign recruitment chair, said she’s excited to discuss politics at the GOP retreat in Baltimore that starts Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off two crucial special election wins in North Carolina, House Republicans head to Baltimore on Thursday for their delayed annual retreat, prepared to spend some quality time discussing how they plan to win back the majority in 2020.

Some of that planning will most certainly involve policy discussions about contrasting their proposals on jobs and the economy, health care, technology, energy and the environment, and other issues with what they often refer to as the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas. But a good chunk of the gathering, which will run from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, will be about assessing the political landscape. 

North Carolina’s 9th District highlights trouble spots for both parties
McCready’s strength in Mecklenburg County underscores GOP’s suburban weakness

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Within eight minutes of each other Wednesday morning, the two House campaign committees blasted out dueling memos about what Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s 2-point victory in North Carolina’s 9th District means for the country’s political future.

The posturing was typical of reactions to special elections in the era of President Donald Trump. Publicly, at least, Republicans say everything is fine, while Democrats celebrate a narrow loss in a district that shouldn’t have been competitive.