Mississippi

Supreme Court Hops Into Case About a Frog and Property Rights
But the justices will leave bearded seals alone

The dusky gopher frog has emerged as a touchstone for environmentalists and business groups feuding over property rights and government power. (Courtesy The Wildlife Society)

The Supreme Court jumped into a case about the government’s power to designate private land as critical habitat for an endangered frog species, but is staying out of another case seeking to protect the bearded seal from future threats of climate change. 

The justices announced Monday they will hear oral arguments about the dusky gopher frog and a 1,500-acre tract of Louisiana forestry land that could lose $34 million in development value because of the Fish and Wildlife Service designation under the 1973 endangered species law. The arguments will likely be scheduled for the next Supreme Court term that starts in October.

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said in December that a bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on the Hill would put victims on “a level playing field.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

Inside the House Republican Brain Drain
Record exodus by members who’ve wielded gavels will complicate next year

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce isn’t seeking re-election. He’s part of a record wave of departures by House chairmen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This has already become a wave election year, because a record wave of departures by House chairmen already guarantees a sea change in the Republican power structure next January.

Even if the GOP manages to hold on to its majority this fall, its policymaking muscle for the second half of President Donald Trump’s term will need some prolonged rehabilitation. And if the party gets swept back into the minority, its aptitude for stopping or co-opting the newly ascendant Democrats’ agenda will require some serious retraining.

House Sexual Harassment Legislation Still Being Developed
Goal is to release bill next week, says House Administration Committee chairman

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman on the House Administration Committee, says legislation to update sexual harassment procedures is still in development. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper said Wednesday that a measure updating sexual harassment procedures he had planned to introduce this week is still being fine-tuned but that he’s hopeful it will be ready for release early next week.

If he can meet that new due date, a markup on the measure could be held later that week, the Mississippi Republican said.

White House Reiterates Wall Demand Ahead of Key Meeting
Sen. Graham, other lawmakers look to pair DACA with border security upgrades

Aurelia Lopez and her daughter Antonia overlook construction of border wall prototypes on Oct. 5, in Tijuana, Mexico. Prototypes of the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump are being built just north of the U.S-Mexico border. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images file photo)

Just hours before a high-stakes White House meeting with Republicans and Democrats, the Trump administration continued to hold tight to its demand that funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall be included in a possible immigration overhaul bill.

“President Trump looks forward to meeting with bipartisan members of the House and Senate today to discuss the next steps toward achieving responsible immigration reform,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

Mississippi’s Gregg Harper Not Running for Re-Election
Harper will leave behind Solid Republican seat

Mississippi Rep. Rep. Gregg Harper is not running for a sixth term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi GOP Rep. Gregg Harper, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, will not run for re-election in 2018. 

“I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us,” Harper said in a statement.

It’s Not Just Romney: Hatch Retirement Could Lead to Decisions for Grassley, Crapo
Judiciary chairman appears to have time left as leader of Finance panel

Sens Charles E. Grassley and Orrin G. Hatch have served alongside each other at the Finance and Judiciary committees. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday that he will retire from the Senate after serving Utah for more than four decades, talk quickly turned to whether Mitt Romney will seek to succeed him.

But on Capitol Hill, the pending departure of the Finance Committee chairman — who could have wielded the tax writing gavel for two more years under conference rules — also raises questions about which senator will lead the GOP on taxes, trade, health care and entitlements.

Lessons From Saturday Night Massacre for Trump and Democrats
Nixon held on for 9 months after that fateful night, Shapiro reminds

Richard M. Nixon. January 17, 1969 (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Every flurry of rumors that Donald Trump is poised to fire Robert Mueller prompts an automatic historical memory.

The obvious parallel is Richard Nixon sacking special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the midst of the Watergate investigation. Known as the Saturday Night Massacre, it marked a key step on the road to Nixon’s forced resignation.

No Definite Sexual Harassment Settlements in Senate, Data Shows
Data from 1997 to 2017 reveals one case of sex discrimination

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., released information on settlements involving Senate offices Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:38 a.m. | The Senate appears to have kept a clean slate over the last two decades with regard to sexual harassment settlements, newly released data shows.

The Office of Compliance paid nearly $600,000 from its taxpayer-funded Awards and Settlement Fund to senator-led office employees for 13 settlements — but none of those were filed as sexual harassment cases, according to OOC data made public Thursday by the Senate Rules and Appropriations committees.