Science

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon resigned, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

See the Iowa Caucuses early on Aug. 30!
Iowa Cubs baseball team renames itself after home-state political process

The Iowa Cubs will rename themselves the Iowa Caucuses for their Aug. 30 game against the Memphis Redbirds. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — If you just cannot wait until Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020, then consider visiting here on Aug. 30, when Minor League Baseball’s Iowa Cubs rebrand themselves for the night as, yes, the Iowa Caucuses. 

“I absolutely love it,” said David Redlawsk, chairman of the political science department at the University of Delaware and author of “Why Iowa?: How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process.”

New FDA cigarette labels include realistic images of smoking-related health problems
The long-delayed warnings, now subject to public comment, would update textual statements already on cigarette packs

Examples of the new Food and Drug Administration warnings on packs of cigarettes. The warnings would update the textual statements already on cigarette packages, and for the first time include photorealistic images that depict smoking-related health problems. (Courtesy/FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed long-delayed graphic health warnings for cigarette packages, taking a step toward fulfilling a requirement of a decade-old smoking prevention law.

The new warning label proposal will now be subject to a public comment period, and is under a court-ordered deadline to be finalized by March 15, 2020.

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

Gun control legislation again faces political headwinds following three deadly shootings
Trump addressed nation Monday calling for 'real bipartisan solutions' to stop the attacks

A demonstrator holds a sign on the East Front of the Capitol during the student-led March for Our Lives rally on Pennsylvania Avenue to call for action to prevent gun violence on March 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Once again, Congress faces the question of whether it will pass any substantive gun control measures to curb mass shootings, this time in the wake of three events in less than a week where gunmen opened fire on crowds in public settings, killing at least 34 people.

And once again, any effort to change the nation’s gun laws must shake free from years of stalled legislation, lately caused by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican lawmakers, and potentially a conservative Supreme Court that could be poised to stop such measures.

The Detroit Trump diss track: Debating Democrats blister the president
Trump campaign responds that Democrats showed ‘plenty of socialist stupidity’

Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), former housing secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) , former tech executive Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio at the Democratic Presidential Debate Wednesday in Detroit (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

From “authoritarian” and “predator” to “socialist” and “white nationalist” — with a whole lot of “racist” thrown in — the leading Democratic presidential candidates debating in Detroit this week lobbed dozens of rhetorical bombs at President Donald Trump as they battled for the nomination to take him on next November.

Trump did not seem impressed by the Democrats’ attempts to paint him as morally and Constitutionally corrupt during debates fearing 10 candidates each on Tuesday and Wednesday. He tweeted during the second debate that the “people on the stage tonight, and last, were not those that will either Make America Great Again or Keep America Great.”

Gerrymandering in mind, parties target state legislative races
Redistricting fears spur 2020 urgency

A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled in June that federal courts can’t interfere with state lawmakers who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage — a decision that’s driving priorities in both parties ahead of 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling green-lighting partisan gerrymandering, groups on both sides of the aisle are looking at the 2020 elections as crucial to drawing what they describe as fair maps.

Democratic groups learned lessons from the last decennial cycle, when the 2010 GOP wave allowed Republicans in statehouses across the country to redraw congressional and state legislative lines in their favor, and they are paying attention to down-ballot races this time in an attempt to counteract it.

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.

Bipartisan bills push carbon tax, as GOP pollster offers Democrats help on climate
Frank Luntz pledged to help Democrats with their climate messaging

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, pledged to help Democrats address climate change in a nonpartisan, dispassionate way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Climate change policy may be in for a softer, less polarized atmosphere with Republicans and Democrats teaming up on a flotilla of legislation to tax carbon emissions and decarbonize American industries, and a longtime Republican spin guru pledging to help Democrats with their climate messaging.

For instance, in the Senate, Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey joined with Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Mike Braun of Indiana on Thursday to introduce a bill targeting emissions from the industrial sector.

Road bill would hike spending by 25 percent, speed permits and add climate title
The bill would reauthorize funding for surface transportation programs, starting when current law lapses at end of September 2020

Senate Environment and Public Works chairman John Barrasso, in light of a new bill that aims to increase funding for repair of roads and bridges and that this can 'make the roads safer for every family driving on them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill that aims to increase funding by more than 25 percent for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges, and expedite federal approvals of large infrastructure projects was released Monday by the Senate public works panel, which set a Tuesday markup for the legislation.

The still unnumbered bill by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee would reauthorize funding for surface transportation programs for five years, starting when the current law lapses at the end of September 2020.