Betty McCollum

GAO: Pruitt’s Pricey Privacy Booth Violated Federal Law
Monday report states funds were not legally available

A staffer exits the Senate subway on April 11 with a poster detailing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA violated federal law when it paid more than $43,000 to install a soundproof privacy booth for Administrator Scott Pruitt without first notifying congressional appropriators, the Government Accountability Office said.

The agency violated the law by using more than $5,000 of fiscal 2017 appropriated funds for an unintended purpose without giving lawmakers advance notice, GAO investigators wrote in a report released Monday.

EPA Shouldn’t Have Paid for Pruitt’s Broken-Down Condo Door, McCollum Says
Minnesota rep was there when security detail kicked in door after not being able to reach him

The security detail for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, left, kicked in his door in a Washington condo building when they couldn’t awaken him from a nap. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Betty McCollum has questions for the Environmental Protection Agency after it reimbursed the owners of a condo that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was renting for the cost of repairing a broken door.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member, who happens to sit on the House subcommittee that oversees the EPA’s budget, owns a condo downstairs from the one Pruitt was renting from the wife of energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart.

Photos of the Week: State of the Union, GOP Retreat Continues After Crash
The week of Jan. 29 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan arrives in the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans carried on with their annual retreat this week, after member-doctors sprung to action when the Amtrak locomotive pulling GOP lawmakers to their West Virginia destination collided with a garbage truck on Wednesday, killing one of its passengers.

The previous night, President Donald Trump stayed on track during his first State of the Union address in the House chamber. 

What Happens to Franken’s Seat If He Resigns?
Governor would appoint placeholder, followed by special election in November 2018

There could be two Senate elections next fall in Minnesota instead of just one. If Sen. Al Franken steps down, there would be a special election for the remainder of his term. Senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s seat is also up next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken isn’t up for re-election until 2020. But if he announces his resignation Thursday, the North Star State will be holding two Senate elections next fall.

Ahead of next November, though, not much would shift in the Senate. If Democratic-Farmer-Labor Gov. Mark Dayton appoints another Democrat immediately, the balance of power in the Senate would remain unchanged.

McCollum Says She Fought off Colleague’s Advances
Minnesota congresswoman said she used a rolled-up newspaper to reject unidentified congressman’s advances

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said she rejected a fellow member's advances with a rolled-up newspaper. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum said she used a rolled-up newspaper to  reject a fellow member of Congress’ advances in the House cloakroom.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmaker said other colleagues were watching as she batted the unidentified member of Congress away and snickered.

Eisenhower Memorial Commission Gets Digging
Dedication slotted for 75th anniversary of WWII VE-Day

An artist’s rendering of the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Sen. Pat Roberts marched to the podium to deliver final remarks at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial’s groundbreaking Thursday.

The Kansas Republican reached into his right pocket and pulled out a folded slip of white paper. Across the back, scribbled in bold black Sharpie, was one word: “PERMIT.”

Eisenhower Memorial Given the Final Go-Ahead to Begin Construction
Groundbreaking date tentatively set for early November

An artist’s rendition of the vista from the Eisenhower Memorial looking toward the Capitol. (Courtesy Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

After 17 years of bickering among lawmakers, U.S. Fine Arts commissioners, National Capital Commission planners, and a family with the last name Eisenhower, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission finally has the go-ahead to break ground on an ambitious four-acre park to enshrine the supreme allied commander in World War II and 34th United States president.

Las Vegas Shooting Reignites Gun Debate on Capitol Hill
Members offer prayers and condolences to victims and families, tributes to police and first responders

People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after a gunman opened fire, leaving at least 50 people dead and more than 2oo wounded. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers on Monday morning renewed their pleas for legislative action to restrict access to firearms after a gunman unleashed a storm of bullets on concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday night.

At least 58 people were killed, officials said. Multiple media outlets have reported that more than 500 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment in what is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

EPA Continues to Get a GOP Beating in Interior-Environment Bill
Calls for massive reductions rebuffed, but criticism continues

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., has had some harsh words for the EPA amid the debate over appropriations for the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Although Republicans appeared to have rejected the White House’s call for sharp cuts to the EPA, their disdain for the agency has reappeared as the House debated amendments to the often contentious Interior-Environment spending bill on the House floor last week.

The 80 amendments House lawmakers sifted through consisted of Democrats’ attempts to remove what they described as harmful environmental riders from the measure, and Republicans’ measures to further reduce spending on environmental programs and give the Trump administration more authority to advance its deregulatory agenda. The Democratic amendments were mostly thwarted by the GOP majority.

House Appropriators Ignore Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Arts
NEA, NEH would each receive $145 million

Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, a member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, said he was happy to see the arts funding preserved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running.

The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.