James M Inhofe

Dave McCurdy, a Retiring Optimist Pushing Back on ‘Disciples of Declinism’
Former Intelligence chairman and current head of AGA reflects on two public careers

Former Oklahoma Rep. Dave McCurdy, president of the American Gas Association, will retire in February 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After nearly four decades in Washington, former Rep. Dave McCurdy is still an optimist.

Even as the former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma and current head of the American Gas Association prepares for retirement, he says there is a lot Congress can learn from the swamp so easily derided by public officials who struggle to step out of their partisan foxholes.

Whitehouse Preps 200th Climate Speech, Hoping Senate Will Stir
“It is an indicator of the extent [to] which the fossil fuel industry owns the joint”

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks with Roll Call in his office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every week of every Senate session for the last six years, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the floor to urge his colleagues to “wake up” to the dire consequences of their inaction on climate change.

But the slumbering chamber keeps hitting the snooze button.

Even on North Korea, Trump Shifts Wildly
Pivot toward talks is latest example of an ever-shifting presidency

A congressional delegation led by Sen. James M. Inhofe visited the DMZ recently as President Trump again shifted, saying he will talk to North Korea. (Photo by Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

After months of bluster and threats toward North Korea, President Donald Trump on Saturday announced his administration will hold talks with the Kim government about its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs.

Then-President Barack Obama told Trump before he was sworn in that North Korea would be the most-pressing global problem he would need solve during his term. Since, Trump has threatened to attack the North — even at times suggesting he would unleash America’s atomic arsenal to take out the North’s. His sudden pivot toward talks is just the latest example of how the 45th president’s policy stances often change suddenly.

Cyber Command Nominee Deflects Questions on Russia
Nominee defers to current commander who warned Russia is virtually unchecked

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, nominee to be NSA director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nominee to lead U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency told lawmakers Thursday he would offer options to the president and Defense secretary to respond to Russian hacking of U.S. elections “if directed” to do so.

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the current head of the Army’s Cyber Command, said the decision whether or not to retaliate for Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 presidential election or to preempt future attempts at election interference is a policy matter for civilian leadership in the executive and legislative branches.

Inhofe Returns From Asia With Warnings About China, North Korea
Oklahoma Republican toured region during latest recess

A congressional delegation led by Sen. James M. Inhofe visited teh DMZ last week. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. James M. Inhofe returned from a recess congressional delegation to the Asia-Pacific region expressing doubts that South Korea’s leadership was adequately alarmed about North Korea’s nuclear program.

“I think it’s true that they’ve gotten soft,” Inhofe told a small group of reporters in his Capitol Hill office Wednesday. “They really didn’t feel that the threat was that great.”

Why the House Is Voting on Defense Funding a Third Time
Messaging and internal politics lead to another vote on increasing military spending

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, reached an agreement with defense hawks such as House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry to hold another vote on fiscal 2018 defense funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House vote this week on a stand-alone defense appropriations measure to boost funding for the military serves two primary purposes for Republicans: messaging and peacekeeping.

While the chamber has already twice passed legislation to fund the Pentagon above the fiscal 2018 sequestration budget cap, Tuesday’s vote allows the GOP to continue emphasizing its support for national security.

McCain Still Steering Armed Services From Arizona
Committee members say the chairman is still involved in panel business

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., boards the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain is still firmly in charge of the Armed Services Committee’s proceedings despite his physical absence from the nation’s capital.

Since December, McCain has been in his home state of Arizona undergoing physical therapy and rehabilitation as he battles brain cancer. In McCain’s absence, the committee’s number two Republican, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, has led committee hearings.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

As Crunch Time Approaches, More Rumbling About Trump Behavior
Many members taken aback by a chaotic 48 hours last week

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on Sept. 27. A recent 48-hour period last week, which was chaotic even by Trump's standards, has lawmakers newly concerned about his mindset. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Several veteran Democratic lawmakers were flabbergasted last week by 48 hours that were among the wildest so far of Donald Trump’s presidency. And in private conversations, they say many of their Republican colleagues share similar concerns.

Trump appears to embrace a certain amount of chaos. After all, it generates media coverage — and the president is a voracious consumer of cable television and print news. But the 48 hours between last Tuesday and Thursday caused a spike in concerns among longtime Democratic members about Trump’s mindset and competence.

Trump Executive Actions a ‘Disruptive’ Lot
Full effects of president’s unilateral moves still years away, experts say

President Donald Trump after signing an executive order Oct. 12 targeting the 2010 health care law. Experts and lawmakers say his executive actions are among the most “disruptive” of any president. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The executive actions President Donald Trump has signed have the potential to be among the most “aggressive” and “disruptive” ever issued by a chief executive, according to lawmakers and experts.

Trump and his top aides often describe his use of executive orders, actions and memoranda as the president using his constitutional authorities to “put America first” and plot a policy course to benefit the country’s forgotten men and women. Both were major themes of his 2016 campaign.