Aviation

Spending Bill, Tariffs Drive Lobbying as 2018 Elections Approach
Future uncertainty also plays major role

K Street sign at 15th and K Streets in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An omnibus appropriations package, steel tariffs, regulatory work on the new tax law and general uncertainty about the nation’s direction on policy and governing fueled K Street business during the first three months of this year.

The politics of the coming November midterm elections will consume the Capitol for much of the rest of 2018, as lawmakers debate a farm bill, possible new disclosures for social media companies and federal spending beyond Sept. 30.  

Fearing New Government Rules, Tech Titans Promise Security Vigilance
Lawmakers also may be likely to push for new legislation

Cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand on the East Lawn of the Capitol ahead of his testimony on the Hill on April 10. The tech industry increasingly is questioning its security practices. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SAN FRANCISCO — New European privacy rules, the spotlight on Facebook’s role in the 2016 elections, and the potential that cyberattacks targeting devices could harm consumers in their homes are propelling the tech industry to question its security practices and prompting top executives to promise to make amends.

During five days at the annual RSA Conference last week in San Francisco, top executives from the world’s largest technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, IBM, CISCO, McAfee and Symantec, said they took the scrutiny seriously and would not only step up to make their own devices and software safer but also work with thousands of vendors worldwide urging them to do the same.

FAA Authorization Headed for House Floor Vote Next Week
Changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy also being considered

The House is voting next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The House will vote next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and change disaster relief policy to focus more on mitigation than recovery.

In a statement Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said the House would vote on an aviation bill that would reauthorize the FAA through fiscal 2023 as well as include provisions of a bill previously passed by the House that makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy.

Don’t Expect a Dramatic Finish as Ryan Runs to the Tape
Retiring speaker unlikely to rock the boat during the midterms

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is not running for re-election. But that may not give him any more freedom to do what he wants. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With Speaker Paul D. Ryan retiring after this Congress ends in January, he seemingly has newfound freedom to either make a stronger push for conservative policy priorities or strike bipartisan grand bargains with Democrats.

In reality, the Wisconsin Republican has little room to do either — at least not until after November.

Big Plans for Infrastructure Fade to Business as Usual
As lawmakers return from recess, their infrastructure agenda looks a lot like any other year’s

While President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul D. Ryan seem to be on the same page when they talk about breaking up an infrastructure overhaul into several bills, many of those smaller measures would have happened anyway. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returning from a two-week recess Monday may find that the debate over infrastructure looks a lot like routine congressional discussion of transportation bills.

Congress will go to work on aviation reauthorization and waterway and port projects, setting aside a comprehensive infrastructure plan favored by the administration for more discussions.

Congress Returns, With Eyes Off the Floors
Committee activity will be headlined by Zuckerberg and Trump Cabinet picks

Senate GOP leadership likely did not anticipate reserving chunks of time ahead of the midterms this year for Cabinet-level posts that were already filled. Pictured above, from left: Sens. Cory Gardner, John Barrasso and Roy Blunt, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress returns Monday after two weeks away, but much of the focus will be on the action outside the House and Senate chambers.

The highlight of the week will be hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg amid the ongoing fallout from the social media giant’s admission that user data was improperly shared with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Opinion: The Infrastructure Plan Is Like Our Roads. Both Are Falling Apart
Lately it seems that infrastructure is always the ‘next’ item on the agenda

With Speaker Paul D. Ryan backing a fragmented approach, the door could be closing on an infrastructure overhaul, Nellenbach and Varn write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is beginning to give up on the idea of a sweeping infrastructure bill, pointing to the looming midterm elections and the funding boosts that passed in the recent omnibus package. Even President Donald Trump seems to have accepted that one of his principal campaign proposals has stalled once again, admitting recently that infrastructure will “probably have to wait until after the election.”

Lately it seems that infrastructure is always the “next” item on the agenda — the one Congress will tackle as soon as it gets beyond the latest crisis. As our roads and water systems continue to deteriorate, it is now the infrastructure plan itself that needs immediate repair.

Survivor: Inside the Beltway
Senate’s bare-bones agenda paves way for Trump’s nominees with outcome uncertain

President Donald Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, second from right, hold a listening sessions with veterans organizations in March 2017. Shulkin is the latest senior official to fall from favor with the president. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for President Donald Trump’s nominees to top federal positions.

The confirmation process for a new secretary of Veterans Affairs, secretary of State and CIA director will help fill an otherwise bare-bones legislative calendar for the remainder of the year.

Trump Will Try to Revive Stalled Infrastructure Plan in Ohio
Legislative effort to implement vision will stretch into 2019, aides say

Cars rest on a collapsed portion of a Mississippi River bridge on I-35 West in August 2007. The White House wants to spend over $1 trillion, most in private funds, on rebuilding infrastructure. (Courtesy Kevin Rofidal/United States Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump will take Air Force One to Ohio — then likely on to his South Florida resort — on Thursday to try breathing life into an infrastructure plan his senior aides now say will take multiple years to bring about.

The White House hopes to get some — but not all — of his $1.5 trillion package through Congress and signed into law this year. One senior administration official said Wednesday that White House aides expect a “strong push” to get a “big chunk” of the infrastructure plan to his desk by the end of 2018.

Senate Sends 2,232-Page Omnibus Spending Bill to Trump
Passage follows House action Thursday, the day after text was unveiled

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delayed votes on the omnibus to take time to review the legislation, but the Senate finally cleared the spending bill early Wednesday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package early Friday, less than 24 hours ahead of what would have been a government shutdown.

Following the 65-32 vote, north of the 60 votes needed for passage, the bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.