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EPA expected to finalize clean water rollback amid science challenges
New rule would remove federal authority over smaller bodies of water that feed larger water supplies. Opponents said states should handle such local regulation

President Donald Trump showed a hat that says "Make Counties Great Again" before signing an Executive Order in February 2017 to  roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is expected Thursday to finalize a rule that would significantly reduce the federal government’s role in regulating waterways, fulfilling a campaign promise to farmers and energy interests and handing a win to conservatives who have pushed for changes to the Clean Water Act regulations.

The rule, which redefines what constitutes “waters of the United States,” would revise decades-old standards for regulating waterways, a move environmentalists warn could lead to pollution of water that wildlife and people depend on, especially in low-income areas and communities of color. Several current and former EPA and Army Corps of Engineers employees and scientific advisers oppose the move, charging that political appointees blocked the use of scientific information in writing the rule.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 23
Democrats to continue ‘extensive detail’ of evidence against Trump, GOP senator gives Schiff high marks

Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, speaks to the media during a break in the Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 11:16 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, in what has become a regular morning pretrial news conference, said Thursday the House managers in their first day of arguments the day before laid out the facts in “precise and devastating detail.”

View from the gallery: Senators seek comfort and novelty during Trump trial
Senators decamp to cloakrooms, bring blankets, and sip on milk and water

Republican Sens. James M. Inhofe and Lamar Alexander enter the Senate chamber before the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate on Jan. 22. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton was among the first senators spotted ordering milk to the Senate chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, and he took small sips to wash down what looked like a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

This was the second day of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators began to search in earnest for comfort and novelty during eight hours of opening statements from House managers.

House managers stick to script on first day of Trump trial arguments
Democrats lean heavily on witness testimony over eight hours on the Senate floor

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff speaks during a news conference Wednesday with the other House impeachment managers before the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumes at the Capitol. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House impeachment managers on Wednesday dutifully stayed on message throughout the second full day of the Senate impeachment trial, arguing that the findings of the House’s impeachment inquiry provide ample evidence to warrant the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

The team of seven managers took turns presenting their case, starting with House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, who led the impeachment inquiry.

Impeachment cellphone ban gives Senate pages a workout
Teens stay busy relaying messages, fetching water, even pouring glasses of milk

Senate pages are getting in their steps this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump’s impeachment trial may be requiring senators to stay seated hour after agonizing hour, but there’s one group getting lots of exercise: Senate pages.

The blue-jacket-clad teens have been running all over the Senate floor, relaying messages between senators and staff, fetching water and even pouring the occasional glass of milk.

Hakeem Jeffries responds to protester disrupting Senate impeachment trial

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., at a press conference in April 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A protester in the Senate gallery interrupted Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., shortly before the Senate Court of Impeachment’s dinner break at 6:30 p.m., by yelling comments at the senators seated a floor below.

The comments were not audible in their in entirety, but the protester could be heard yelling “Jesus Christ” and “Schumer is the devil” before being removed.

Trump undercuts military messages on brain injuries
President describes injuries from Iranian strikes as ‘headaches’

President Donald Trump’s description of potential military brain injuries as “not very serious” stands in contrast to the military’s call for such injuries not to be minimized. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday that U.S. troops suffering concussion-like symptoms had “not very serious” injuries clashed with a yearslong, hard-fought U.S. military campaign to spread the message that a brain injury is not something to be minimized.

Trump was referring to at least 11 cases of troops in Iraq reporting symptoms that officials said may or may not turn out to be so-called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

Impeachment an ‘erosion of rule of law,’ claim state attorneys general

Five state attorneys general and Rep. Mark Meadows addressed the press Wednesday, urging the Senate to acquit President Donald Trump. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Five state attorneys general addressed the media Wednesday, flanked by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., to issue a “friend of the Senate brief,” asking the Senate to reject the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Schiff, Nadler impeachment tension spills out during trial
The committee chairmen’s stylistic and rhetorical differences on display

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a press conference with the other House impeachment managers before the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumes at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The first question at Wednesday’s news conference with House impeachment managers was directed at Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat whose Senate presentation helped prompt a rebuke from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and a flood of criticism from Republican senators.

Nadler appeared to take a half step toward the podium as Rep. Adam B. Schiff cut off the CNN reporter. “I’m going to respond to the questions,” the California Democrat and lead impeachment manager said, then turned to call on another reporter for a question on a different topic. Nadler was silent.

Big business, tech, health care lead K Street spending in 2019
Spending was highest in fourth quarter as Congress passed budget bills and updated NAFTA

Lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major legislative priorities this year before the elections consume lawmakers’ attentions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big business, big tech and medical interests were K Street’s top players last year as those industries spent millions of dollars on federal lobbying in the final months of 2019, while lawmakers and the administration wrapped up spending and trade measures.

With the 2020 elections expected to consume lawmakers’ attention this summer and fall, lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major 2020 priorities. Some clients already are gaming out a possible lame-duck session as well as a potentially revamped federal government in 2021.