Garret Graves

Climate panel‘s Casten holds stake in wood-burning energy firm
Renewable biomass energy company cited for water violations

Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., is a member of a House committee created to address climate change. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sean Casten, a member of a House committee created to address climate change, has a financial stake in a California energy company that burns wood to generate electricity and operates a power plant that repeatedly violated federal water laws.

The first-term Illinois Democrat disclosed a $250,001 to $500,000 stake in Greenleaf Power LLC, a privately held Sacramento, Calif.-headquartered, biomass company, in June, according to his most recent financial disclosure.

Some climate change panel members are literally invested in the issue
Panel members have investments in fossil fuel companies, and at least two have ties to clean-energy industries

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee business meeting in the Rayburn Building in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One member of the House committee created to address climate change stands out for what he owns: hundreds of oil and gas wells in North Dakota oil fields worth millions of dollars.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota, received at least $400,000 from those wells and as much as $1.1 million in the previous year, as well as $75,000 in salary from Armstrong Corp., his family’s oil and gas business. He also owns at least 289 wells, worth between $2.9 million and $11.5 million, though in a recent interview Armstrong said he owns more than 300 wells.

Graves sees a positive role for GOP in new select climate committee
Louisiana Republican is optimistic some bipartisan ideas can come out of the panel

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., right, here in May 2018 with Reps. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., is the ranking member on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Garret Graves says he wasn’t keen on joining the select committee to address climate change formed by the new Democratic House majority in January.

But on Feb. 28, weeks after the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis had been formed and long after the Democrats had announced their roster, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed the Louisiana Republican as co-chairman.

Gritty on the Hill, a Louisiana greeting and tributes to the legendary John Dingell: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Feb. 4, 2019

President Donald Trump wasn’t the only big name to stop by the Capitol this week. Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty graced the Hill with his presence ahead of the congressional hockey game. This week also saw discussions of a tangled-up FAFSA prop, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer struggling with arithmetic and heartfelt tributes to the longest-serving member Rep. John Dingell, who died Thursday.

Thumbnail photo: A lighting crew sets up TV lights in Statuary Hall in preparation for the State of the Union on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Lawmakers introduce bills to crack down on robocalls
Nuisance calls and scams went unmonitored during the shutdown, but harsher penalties could be coming

Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission, said earlier this week “We are not overseeing so many of the things that we do on a day to day basis” during the partial government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal regulators who typically track and alert the public to new robocall schemes were furloughed for more than a month during the partial government shutdown, exacerbating what some lawmakers call a “scourge” of phone scams.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in both chambers have introduced bills to strengthen the authority of federal agencies to crack down on pesky and sometimes illegal robocalls amid a surge of consumer complaints in recent years.

Disaster aid bill could grow, block diversion of funds to wall
Measure unlikely to go far in Senate

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., (left), is pushing for a disaster aid package. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., opposes an amendment Democrats are preparing that he describes as an “exercise in futility. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is scheduled to take up a $12.1 billion disaster aid package Wednesday that would reopen the nine closed Cabinet agencies for three weeks and, if approved during floor debate, prevent President Donald Trump from tapping the bill’s emergency funds for building a border wall.

The underlying bill would direct aid to victims of recent calamities such as hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas, wildfires that ravaged California and typhoons that struck island territories in the Pacific, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., told the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Voters Send Mixed Signals About Trump with Split Decision
Uncertain how president governs with Dem House, GOP Senate

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Voters sent mixed messages Tuesday about Donald Trump’s chaotic and self-described “nationalist” presidency, handing Democrats control of the House while expanding Republicans’ Senate majority.

Democratic control of the House and Republican control of the Senate likely ends the latter’s push for additional tax cuts and opens a several months-long window for some kind of sweeping bipartisan deal on infrastructure or immigration somewhat possible.

The ‘Hell’ in Helsinki, Fist Bumps and Chickens in Alaska: Congressional Hits and Misses
 

“That was strange,” President Donald Trump said after the lights went out during his statement to a group of reporters and lawmakers that he had full faith in U.S. intelligence agencies. This was a day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, which Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said “put the hell back in Helsinki.” See that and more from members of Congress in this week’s Hits and Misses.

Lawmakers Scramble to Extend Flood Insurance Before Hurricane Season Peaks
Unless they act by July 31, parts of the program will lapse

Rep. Ed Royce, shown here in May, introduced a bill Tuesday with Earl Blumenauer that would extend flood insurance coverage for four additional months. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House, facing a July 31 deadline to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, is considering legislation to extend it through Nov. 30 as the House and Senate try to resolve big differences in their proposals for the program.

Reps. Ed Royce, a California Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would extend flood insurance coverage for the program’s 5 million policyholders for four additional months.

CBO: Harbor Tax Provision in House Water Bill Widens Deficit
Change could increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., included a provision in the water infrastructure bill that would allow spending directly from the fund without approval by appropriators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contested provision that could be in the water infrastructure bill scheduled for House floor debate this week would increase on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over a 10-year period, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The provision in the water resources development bill as it was introduced would allow for spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund without appropriations starting in fiscal 2029 and would increase direct spending by more than $2.5 billion and on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in at least one 10-year window following its effect date in 2029, the CBO said.