Raul M Grijalva

Interior nears a contract with a company its secretary used to lobby for
Conservation groups fear water deal will be a hazard for protected salmon and other aquatic life

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testifies in May 2019. The department he leads is close to completing a contract for a water district he represented as a lobbyist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department is close to completing a permanent water supply contract for a water district once represented by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as a lobbyist, despite concerns that doing so would imperil aquatic species including endangered salmon. 

Conservation groups say the deal between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District, which serves and is run by farmers in California’s Central Valley, promises to permanently divert more federally managed water to the district just as climate change threatens to make the state hotter and more prone to extreme drought.

Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ tradition very much alive on Capitol Hill
Offices display lively altars with vibrant colors and food for dead relatives

A Día de los Muertos altar is on display in the office of Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva on Capitol Hill on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Marilyn Zepeda may have left Mexico, but she made sure to bring along a piece of its culture to the United States: vibrant “papel picado,” loaves of “Pan de Muerto” and photos of the dead.

The legislative correspondent for Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who is himself the son of a Mexican immigrant, Zepeda has been in Washington, D.C., just over a year, and she’s already raising spirits around the office. After all, it’s almost the Day of the Dead, or “Día de Los Muertos.”

Road ahead: More impeachment depositions, plus Turkey legislation and a Boeing hearing
House will also consider a Grand Canyon protection bill

The impeachment inquiry being overseen by House committee leaders including California’s Adam B. Schiff, will again take center stage this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump will again take center stage at the Capitol this week, though there will also be legislative push-back in the House against Turkey and its incursion into Syria against the Kurds.

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have another full docket of depositions scheduled this week as part of their impeachment inquiry.

GOP members confirm Bernhardt met with group tied to ex-client
Democrats might be focusing on meetings and calls kept off Interior secretary’s official calendar

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt testifies during his Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing on March 28, 2019. (File photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on two House committees probing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt acknowledged in a report Thursday that the attorney and former energy lobbyist appeared to have met with the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, a trade group affiliated with a former Bernhardt client.

The joint report from Republican staff on the House Oversight and Reform, and Natural Resources committees also said ethics officials at the Interior Department approved the meeting with the trade group. The report, by acknowledging the meeting, may also indicate where the majority Democrats are focusing their examination into whether Bernhardt kept phone calls and meetings with industry representatives and groups off his public calendar.

Ethics panel still investigating Grijalva on hostile work environment
Committee wants additional documents pertaining to former staffer who was paid settlement

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., was caught off guard by the Ethics Committee's request for more documentation regarding its investigation of a possible hostile work environment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee has requested documents from Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva as it continues to examine allegations into whether he cultivated a hostile work environment.

The ongoing investigation, first reported by E&E News, was a surprise to Grijalva, who faced an allegation of wrongdoing concerning a $48,000 settlement paid to a female member of his staff in 2015, which was dismissed in December 2018 by the House Ethics Committee.

Bernhardt nears confirmation, but Capitol Hill isn’t finished with him
Grijalva wants acting Interior chief to testify on at least two different oversight probes

David Bernhardt appears likely to be confirmed as Interior secretary this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will likely be confirmed in the Senate by a comfortable margin this week — but that could be his easiest day on Capitol Hill for a while.

The Senate voted 56-41 Wednesday evening to end debate on the nomination after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier in the day that he expected the chamber to be “voting to confirm” Bernhardt “later this week.” And while some coastal Republicans have raised concerns about the Interior Department’s plans for opening all U.S. coasts to oil and gas drilling, there doesn’t appear to be enough GOP opposition to derail confirmation.

Rep. Paul Gosar wants to redesignate Cesar Chavez Day as ‘National Border Control Day’
The resolution reflects a priority of the Center for Immigration Studies

Rep. Paul Gosar is fighting a lawsuit from constituents he once blocked on Facebook. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal file photol)

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar introduced a resolution last week to designate the birthday of Cesar Chavez, March 31st, as “National Border Control Day.”

Many celebrate the birthday of Chavez, the iconic co-founder of the United Farm Workers union born to a Mexican American family, as a day to reflect on the dignity of agricultural workers and the contribution of Latinx immigrants to the United States.

Offshore drilling may be oily albatross for Trump’s pick to head Interior
Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of oil spills

A worker arrives at the Department of Interior on January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Interior Department, former energy lobbyist David Bernhardt, will almost certainly be advanced by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which holds his confirmation hearing Thursday morning.

However, just days after the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of similar disasters playing out in their states.

Seeking to shrink Bears Ears, uranium firm met with Interior before review
House panel plans oversight hearing on monuments next week

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a review that led to substantially reduced boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. A company tied to mineral interests there met with a senior Interior Department official nearly a month before President Donald Trump requested the review. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

A meeting between an Interior Department official and a company tied to mineral interests in the Bears Ears National Monument area — almost a month before President Donald Trump requested a review that substantially reduced its boundaries — may end up in the crosshairs of House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva.

Documents show that Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian energy firm, met with a top Interior official who would be involved with the review before Trump requested it.

Bipartisan lands bill protecting millions of acres and 650 miles of river to get House vote
The bill is expected to remain identical to what the Senate passed Feb. 12

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., left, and Del. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, I-N. Marianas on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A public lands bill that the Senate passed two weeks ago with overwhelming bipartisan support will get a vote in the House on Tuesday.

The bill is expected to remain identical to what the Senate passed Feb. 12. House Natural Resources Chairman Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona had promised Senate supporters that he would urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to quickly bring up the package in the House if the upper chamber passed it without significant changes to a deal agreed to last year.