North Dakota

Campus Notebook: Lawmakers to Prague, staff to Fargo, plus million-dollar trades
Lawmaker travel, stock trades, ethics complaints and other updates

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Campus notebook this week highlights where a former top law enforcement official went after he retired from the Capitol Police, international travel by members, domestic travel of staffers and substantial stock trades.

Air ambulance services face scrutiny over surprise billing issues
Outrage over surprise medical bills has pushed issue near top of political health care agenda

More than two-thirds of air ambulance rides in 2017 were out of the patient’s insurance network, according to a March General Accounting Office report. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images file photo)

Patients whisked or transferred to hospitals by air ambulances face time-sensitive emergencies — from strokes to traumatic accidents — so whether the helicopter carrying them is in their insurance network isn’t usually a top-priority question.

Weeks later, many of these patients receive an unpleasant surprise: a bill demanding tens of thousands of dollars.

Where Is Amelia Earhart? Not at the US Capitol
The famed aviator was supposed to arrive in Washington years ago. What happened?

So far, Amelia Earhart is a no-show on Capitol Hill. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Explorer Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic back in the day, but he can’t find Amelia Earhart. His search this month turned up nothing, unless you count some seaweed and a stray piece of metal. That means it’s back to the drawing board for fans of the missing pilot.

One place they won’t have to look is the U.S. Capitol, even though a statue of Earhart was supposed to be installed in the building two decades ago.

Former Sen. Al Franken giving speech in Oregon in latest move to revamp public image
Minnesota Democrat has said he regrets resigning in 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is hosting a speaking event in Portland, Oregon, in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Al Franken is hosting a speaking event in Portland, Oregon, in October where he will share stories of his time in the Senate and as a cast member of  “Saturday Night Live.”

The former Democratic-Farmer-Labor senator from Minnesota has undertaken a series of moves in recent months to reenter the public eye, including launching a podcast and corresponding YouTube channel, creating a website with a collection of his writings and thoughts on the political landscape and now hosting paid speaking events.

GOP senators uneasy with Fed pick on gold, deposit insurance
Questioning a return to the gold standard and eliminating federal deposit insurance

“I'm not convinced we should switch to a gold standard anytime soon,” said Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators have expressed concerns about Judy Shelton, one of President Donald Trump’s picks for the Federal Reserve Board, over her support for a return to the gold standard and eliminating federal deposit insurance, but, so far, are holding back from publicly opposing her nomination.

Trump tweeted his intention in early July to nominate Shelton and Christopher Waller to the two vacant seats on the seven-member Fed board. Waller, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is seen by most observers as a conventional pick, but Shelton’s decades-long advocacy for resurrecting the Bretton Woods monetary system has put her at odds with most economists and some Republican senators. The system pegged the dollar to the price of gold and other currencies to the dollar.

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.

Urgency of marijuana policy was on full display Tuesday
Senate Banking hearing and bills unveiled give an early look at key 2020 issue

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., testified before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on marijuana and banking. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”

That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday morning, where he was advocating legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money launderers under federal law for handling their money.

Kentucky Senate: Seriously, are we doing this again?
Amy McGrath is giving Democrats hope. They should know better

Amy McGrath is running for Senate in Kentucky, hoping to topple Mitch McConnell. But the fundamentals of the state make it a difficult task for her. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — I understand Democrats’ frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as their desire to send him into retirement in the 2020 elections. But once again Democrats have gotten ahead of themselves in their optimism that they can defeat the Kentucky Republican.

Six years ago, Democrats and many in the national media gushed about the prospects of Alison Lundergan Grimes against McConnell. Grimes was young, articulate and personable, and she was the state’s sitting secretary of state.

Mueller hearing format gets complaints from junior Judiciary members
GOP members aired complaints that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to 2 hours

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., conduct a House Judiciary Committee markup May 8, 2019. Collins and other Republicans expressed concern that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to two hours next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee aired complaints Thursday that testimony from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be limited to two hours next week — meaning some members from both parties won’t get an opportunity to ask questions.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the committee’s top Republican, was among the members who described a format that would have Mueller leave to appear before the House Intelligence Committee, a smaller panel where all members are expected to have time to ask questions.

GOP senators sound optimistic about Trump’s new Fed picks
They’re at least faring better than the president’s last two picks

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke highly of Federal Reserve nominee Christopher Waller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A week after President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board, GOP senators are expressing cautious optimism about both picks, despite Shelton’s unorthodox views on monetary policy.

They’re at least better than the president’s previous two picks — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain dropped out before they were officially nominated — said Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Alabama. “Well, we haven’t evaluated them yet, but the previous two were lacking in a lot of things,” he said.