Kathy Castor

Democrats appear stymied on a top priority: climate legislation
Outside of passing Paris accord bill, new House majority has little to show

Democrats, led by Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, introduce the Green New Deal in February. The resolution still hasn’t received a committee vote and hasn’t resulted in legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s been more than six months since Democrats assumed control of the House promising to take bold action on climate change. And what do they have to show for it?

Just one major bill directly addressing the issue has passed on the floor, a measure that would force the U.S. to honor its commitments in the Paris climate accord. A comprehensive climate change package has yet to emerge, and a bill reintroduced by the chairman of the main committee of jurisdiction over Clean Air Act issues hasn’t had a committee vote.

Bend it like Bacon
Members face off in the 7th annual soccer match

Democrats have owned the pitch in recent years, but Don Bacon has been practicing hard.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m no soccer expert (believe it or not), but I know enough to know that when someone in the United States gets excited about “football,” it’s rarely over a little leather black-and-white ball getting kicked around.

So when I saw the announcement for this year’s Congressional Soccer Match, I felt bad. Bad because I had forgotten there was a congressional “soccer” game — which, by the way, has its very own Wikipedia page.

Republican players are low, but camaraderie is high ahead of Congressional Softball Game
Lawmakers and press corps unite to fight against breast cancer

Florida Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor waits for her pitch at last year’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game. This year’s game is scheduled for June 19. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The official list of players in this year’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game is OUT! (to be read in an umpire’s voice) and we have just over a month before members of Congress and the D.C. press corps face each other on the field again.

The members team, which is historically composed of a bipartisan bunch of female lawmakers, has seen a decreasing number of Republican players over the years, one of them being last year’s MVP, former Rep. Mia Love. This year Sens. Joni Ernst and Shelley Moore Capito, Res. Cmmsr. Jenniffer González-Colón and Rep. Martha Roby make up less than a third of the team.

Sexual assaults in the military are on the rise. This bill would authorize Congress to intervene
The bill would allow Congress to intervene in some cases, but would not eliminate a 5-year statute of limitations.

Soldiers, officers and civilian employees attend the commencement ceremony for the U.S. Army’s annual observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in the Pentagon Center Courtyard March 31, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congress could intervene in legal cases on behalf of military members who have been sexually assaulted under a new bill co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Brian Mast.

The Florida Republican in late April introduced “Harmony’s Law,” named after his constituent Harmony Allen, who was violently raped by an instructor just three months after joining in the U.S. Air Force in 2000.

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.

‘Zombie’ spending marches on as HR 1 faces Senate death, complaint says
Measure would address alleged misuse of campaign accounts after lawmakers leave office

Allegations of using campaign money for personal expenses after leaving office is the subject of a Federal Elections complaint against former Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Senate prepares to face off in the coming weeks over House Democrats’ sweeping political ethics overhaul bill, a provision aimed to curtail so-called “Zombie” campaign spending is getting renewed attention. 

That’s the use of campaign money to pay for personal expenses after a lawmaker has left office. And it’s the subject of two Federal Elections Commission complaints filed this week involving former Republican lawmakers, Florida’s Ander Crenshaw and Georgia’s John Linder

Congress tries to walk the climate crisis talk
Amid debate on Green New Deal, Democrats are treading lightly in their daily lives

Staffers are aiming to lead by example, by creating workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers working for environmentally minded lawmakers are trying to walk the talk on climate change by taking small personal actions while their bosses call for big-picture policy shifts.

Around Capitol Hill, several aides are aiming to create workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority and holding colleagues accountable is the norm.

The lobbyists: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
Are they worried the new Congress will make war on K Street? Do they look worried?

Michael Williams, a longtime banking and finance policy lobbyist, aims to bridge the divide between progressives and his clients. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump looms large on almost every important issue, but it won’t be all about him for some individuals on Roll Call’s list of People to Watch in 2019. 

The financial sector will be learning to survive a less business-friendly environment in the House, and a longtime Democratic lobbyist is well-positioned to lend a hand.

The change-makers: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
A surge of energy from activists has defined the Trump era. What’s the end game?

Varshini Prakash co-founded the Sunrise Movement, an environmental group, in 2017. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images file photo)

Several activists who will be on the front lines of some of the biggest policy battles in the year ahead rank among Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019. 

They include the leader of a fledgling environmental group pushing for aggressive action on climate change; the new president of Planned Parenthood, the lightning rod in the raging debate over abortion; and an expert on transportation safety who will be insisting on strong regulations to prevent deaths and injuries from driver-less vehicles.