Rob Bishop

House passes plus-upped disaster aid package

Relief for Puerto Rico after deadly hurricanes is among the issues hanging up a broader disaster aid package in Congress. (Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

The House passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to help victims of recent storms and flooding rebuild, with the price tag growing by about $1.8 billion on the floor through amendments to add funds for repairing damaged military facilities, highways, levees, dams and more.

The vote was 257-150, with 34 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the bill drafted by the Democratic majority. President Donald Trump and GOP leaders tried to tamp down defections on the bill, which they oppose because it would pump more money into Puerto Rico, which hasn’t yet been able to spend much of the $20 billion previously appropriated after 2017′s Hurricane Maria.

KFC, the Grim Reaper and an epically long bill reading: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of April 29, 2019

An aide adjusts the name plate for Attorney General William Barr before a House Judiciary Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Newly disclosed meetings with industry create ethics questions for Interior secretary
Lawmakers interested interior secretary’s calendars because of former career as energy lobbyist

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules have some interesting entries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently posted versions of acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules contain at least 260 differences from his original schedules, with the newest records showing meetings previously described as “external” or “internal” were actually with representatives of fossil fuel, timber, mining and other industries, according to a review by CQ Roll Call.

Events left out of the original calendars but now disclosed or detailed further include a keynote address at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for the industry group Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, encounters with executives at Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell, and a meeting with the chairman of a conservative group Bernhardt previously represented in litigation that environmentalists believe was geared toward weakening the Endangered Species Act.

Thanks to Mueller, foreign agents come under greater scrutiny
New focus on the influence business is no ‘flash in the pan’

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn filed a retroactive foreign agent registration after leaving the White House and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file photo)

The special counsel’s nearly two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections may have let the president himself mostly off the hook, but one sector emerged positively scathed: international lobbying.

Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation resulted in the convictions of onetime lobbyists, of course, but more consequentially, it put an unprecedented glare on the sometimes shadowy foreign influence campaigns that play out on U.S. soil — and the disclosure rules of those engagements.

An overeager legal strategy may endanger Trump’s energy goals
In haste to pass its “energy dominance” agenda, the administration has suffered dozens of losses in court

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and ranking member Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are seen before a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on “electricity sector in a changing climate” on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was unhappy with an April 5 ruling by Sharon Gleason, a federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, who found that President Donald Trump had unlawfully lifted a ban prohibiting drilling in the Arctic Ocean, dealing the president’s fossil-fuel energy agenda a major blow.

“I strongly disagree with this ruling,” said Murkowski, who wants to open her state’s land and water to increased oil and gas leasing. “I expect this decision to be appealed and ultimately overturned.”

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.

After narrow victory in 2018, Rep. Rob Woodall won’t run in 2020
Woodall barely prevailed in Georgia 7th District recount last fall

Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall recently lost his father, which he said was a consideration in his decision not to run again. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall barely survived 2018, and he’s decided not to try again in 2020. 

The 7th District Republican told the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday he will not seek a sixth term.  

Grijalva’s moment arrives as he takes Natural Resources gavel
New chairman brings progressive focus to often contentious committee

The new House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., has served on the panel since he first came to Congress in 2003. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As climate change and immigration lead priorities for the new House Democratic majority, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva may just be the man for the moment.

The question however is: Did Grijalva find this moment or did the moment finally find him?

Republicans in Congress Are Coy About Whether They Would Take Interior Post
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said this week she is not interested in the job

Several senators praised outgoing Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and endorsed his capacity to take on the secretary of the Interior job. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In anticipation of the appointment of a new Department of the Interior secretary this week, one member of Congress on the reported shortlist has confirmed his interest in the post, but most rumored candidates have shied away from public statements.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter Saturday that he would nominate a replacement to outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke this week. 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers ‘Not Interested’ in Interior Post
Members in line to replace Ryan Zinke include Labrador, Denham, Heller

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Nov. 28. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite being a speculative frontrunner to lead the Department of the Interior when President Donald Trump first appointed his cabinet, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is not interested in the post.

Since Trump announced that Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will depart his administration amid corruption charges on Saturday, speculation about who will replace the former congressman has centered on a handful of Republican members or former members of Congress from western states.