Thomas R Carper

Biden’s nascent campaign racks up congressional endorsements
Backing from senators, House members likely to raise tensions with progressives seeking fresh leadership

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacts in front of a Stop & Shop following a speech in support of striking union workers earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Within hours of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s long-awaited announcement early Thursday that he would wage his third presidential campaign, he had already received endorsements from a raft of members of Congress.

By early afternoon, nods had come from Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama, as well as Reps. Tom Suozzi of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.  

A 25-cent gas tax hike has support, but is 5 cents a year enough?
Right now, the hike is needed to maintain current spending levels, and isn’t enough to pare down a growing project backlog

A pothole is visible on a road on April 25, 2017, in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As Congress debates how to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent, groups as disparate as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO are urging lawmakers to bite the bullet and raise the gas tax by 25 cents a gallon over five years.

But even if they bite it, a nickel increase every year for five years may not be a magic bullet. That’s because the extra money in the early years will be needed just to maintain the current level of spending, and provide nothing to attack a growing backlog of projects.

Latest fundraising numbers from Beto O’Rourke and others are ridiculous
Texas Democrat raised more in 24 hours than earlier top candidates did in an entire cycle

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke reported raising $6.1 million within 24 hours after announcing his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When covering campaigns on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to lose perspective, particularly when it comes to money. Million-dollar figures are thrown around without much thought. But the amounts of money being raised by candidates right now, particularly Democrats, are absurd.

I glanced back at competitive races nearly 20 years ago for some context, and the comparisons between a day of presidential fundraising and entire, top-tier congressional contests are staggering.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins becomes first Republican to oppose Trump’s EPA nominee
Claims Andrew Wheeler’s policies ‘not in the best interest of our environment and public health’

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, opposed the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine’s Susan Collins on Wednesday became the first Republican senator to oppose  President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA as the Senate cleared a procedural hurdle on the nomination.

The Senate voted 52-46 to end debate on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler, the acting EPA administrator, setting up his final confirmation vote for Thursday. Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., did not vote, and Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., an ardent supporter of the coal industry, voted against ending debate on Wheeler’s nomination.

Lawmakers, businesses warn of long-term damage of tariffs
“Tit-for-tat tariffs as a negotiating tactic are very, very dangerous”

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey has a bill that would limit the ability of the president to impose levies for national security reasons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration may have pushed trading partners to come to the negotiating table with tariffs, but a Delaware soybean farmer and a Virginia distillery owner say business people like them are paying a price for the tactic.

At a Wednesday press conference by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, Senate Republicans Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin joined Democrats Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Mark Warner of Virginia in decrying the tariffs, which they said are squeezing businesses and could eventually take a bite out of the U.S. economy. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland represents 150 organizations from several industries.

Democrats running for president want presidential transitions to share security clearance applicant lists
Elizabeth Warren is among the headliners on the new legislation

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are seen during testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most of the Senate Democrats running for president are headlining an effort to force presidential transitions to turn over lists of security clearance applicants to Congress.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is headlining the effort, and co-sponsors include potential or confirmed 2020 hopefuls like Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Wheeler EPA nomination advances on party-line panel vote
Wheeler, currently the agency's deputy administrator, has been leading the agency in an acting role since July when Scott Pruitt resigned

Andrew Wheeler, nominee to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, arrives for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Jan. 16, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-10 along party lines to advance the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to become administrator of the EPA.

He was among five of President Donald Trump’s nominees who moved a step closer to taking key administration jobs on Tuesday, including two for the EPA and one who would fill a two-year-old vacancy at the top of the Federal Highway Administration.

Republican urges Trump to ‘jump-start’ infrastructure push

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., walks through the Capitol on Oct. 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats in Congress say they want to do it. President Donald Trump says he wants it, too.

But if a major transportation bill is going to happen this year, the ranking Republican on the House committee that would write it says Trump needs to get his own party on board, and that starts with State of the Union speech.

Email dump could slow EPA confirmation fight
Shutdown throws a wrench in court-ordered document release related to potential conflicts of interest

Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, prepares to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works panel last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has been formally nominated to run the Environmental Protection Agency, setting up a contentious confirmation fight just as a court order threatens the release of over 20,000 emails related to his potential conflicts of interest.

The White House on Wednesday formally sent Wheeler’s nomination to the Senate, triggering the start of the process. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, was confirmed to be the agency’s deputy in April 2018 and became acting administrator in July after the departure of scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, who resigned from the top post amid mounting ethics issues.

USPS IG clears conservative group of wrongdoing in Spanberger file release
At least 6 other former employees had their files improperly released after FOIA requests, IG found

The U.S. Postal Service improperly released a highly sensitive personnel file of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., to a conservative opposition research group last summer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Postal Service inspector general officially cleared a prominent conservative research group of any wrongdoing for getting its hands on Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s complete and unredacted official personnel file last summer.

America Rising, a conservative opposition research group contracted by dozens of conservative PACs and campaign committees each election cycle to dig up dirt on Democratic candidates, went through the proper channels, submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for Spanberger’s file to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the IG concluded in its report released in late December.