Tom McClintock

Democrats’ Bernhardt probe has California’s Cox in a tough spot
His committee thinks Interior secretary may have improperly intervened in decision to send water to Democrat’s farming constituents

Rep. TJ Cox represents farmers in California’s Central Valley. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A draft report by the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded in July that giving farmers in California’s Central Valley more water would harm salmon, steelhead trout and killer whales.

But after the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service intervened, the final report, released on Oct. 22, reached a new conclusion: The government could maximize water deliveries and protect the fish at the same time.

Biggs to replace Meadows as Freedom Caucus chairman, effective Oct. 1
Meadows, who’d planned to transition out of the chairmanship this fall, will remain on caucus board

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, left, has been elected to serve as the third chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Also pictured, California Rep. Tom McClintock at a House Judiciary hearing in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs will serve as the third chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, after the group of roughly three dozen hard-line conservatives elected him to take over its leadership effective Oct. 1.

The sophomore congressman will replace North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows next month — a fall leadership transition that Meadows had long been planning. Meadows has served as the group’s chairman for the past two and a half years following the two-year tenure of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the founding chairman.

No one argues for keeping marijuana illegal, but next step divides House panel
As Democrats focus on racial impact, Republicans argue for incremental steps

Rep. Karen Bass said decades of marijuana prosecutions have given millions of citizens second class status. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At a hearing on marijuana Wednesday, no one on the House subcommittee who helps write the criminal code spoke out in clear support of continuing the prohibition that has been part of federal law for decades.

“Personally I believe cannabis use in most cases is ill advised, but many things are ill advised that should not be illegal,” said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, the panel's acting ranking member.

‘If you can climb that, you deserve whatever you can get’ Trump says on wall visit
President heads to California one day after backing off — sort of — closure threat

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference to announce his national emergency delclaration for the situation at the southern border on Feb. 15 in the White House's Rose Garden. He traveled to the border on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — One day, President Donald Trump seemed dead set on closing ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. The next, he had shelved that threat — maybe — for another aimed at pressuring Mexican officials to curb migrant flows into the United States.

That followed a retreat by the president on trying to pressure congressional Republicans into another attempt to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s entire 2010 health law. Fittingly, the latest roller coaster-like week of the Trump era ended with a presidential trip to the southern border.

Official distances HHS from sexual abuse of detained migrant children allegations
HHS official quibbled with description of contractors under HHS as "HHS staff"

A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border on June 12, 2018 near Mission, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A Department of Health and Human Services official tried to distance his department from thousands of alleged sexual abuse cases of unaccompanied migrant children during intense questioning at a Tuesday hearing.

Rep. Ted Deutch grilled Commander Jonathan White about the abuse during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, but White emphasized the alleged perpetrators were contractors for the U.S. government, not staffers. White was the deputy at HHS under Secretary Alex Azar, who oversaw emergency efforts to return children separated from their parents at the border.

Anti-legalization group releases first pot lobby tracker
Political donations to federal candidates mark growth in industry, shift in focus from states

Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., are among the biggest recipients of pot industry money to date, according to a new database maintained by an anti-legalization group. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group opposed to the legalization of marijuana on Tuesday unveiled a tool to track industry donations to federal candidates. 

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, is the first major opposition group to attempt to quantify the industry’s federal-level lobbying efforts,a sign of the growing profile of the legalization movement.

These Planes Will Fight Fires, If You Can Wait 10 Years
Stalled Air Force conversions show how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spearheaded the recent legislative mandates to convert the transport planes into fire tankers. It’s taking too long, she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In 2013, Congress ordered the Air Force to convert seven Coast Guard transport planes into firefighting tanker aircraft, but now the first of the planes may not be ready to fight fires for several more years, nearly a decade after the initial plan was launched. 

The story of the seven planes illustrates how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system, even when the equipment is a matter of life and death. 

Congress Relatively Mum on Raging California Camp Fire
A list of missing people spiked to more than 600 names Thursday

Few members of Congress outside of the California delegation have weighed in on the Camp Fire raging north of Sacramento. Years of drought have created a “tinderbox” in the Golden State, according to NASA. (NASA)

Despite a dramatic spike in the number of people unaccounted for as the historically deadly Camp Fire rages in northern California, members of Congress have been relatively quiet on the natural disaster. 

A list of missing people ballooned from 130 names to nearly 300 names within hours Wednesday, the Mercury News reported, and reached more than 600 names by late Thursday. Sixty-three people have died, and another three have died in a simultaneous blaze in Southern California. 

Mike Johnson Elected Next Republican Study Committee Chairman
Freshman Louisiana Republican won chairmanship over California Rep. Tom McClintock

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:03 p.m. | Louisiana freshman Rep. Mike Johnson will chair the Republican Study Committee in the 116th Congress, after winning a race Friday against five-term California Rep. Tom McClintock.

This is the second consecutive RSC election in which a first-term congressman was elected chairman over a more senior lawmaker.

Republican Study Committee to Decide Between Mike Johnson, Tom McClintock for Next Chairman
Both candidates want to boost the RSC’s role in developing and communicating conservative policy ideas

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., is running to be the next chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans aren’t shying away from their conservative beliefs after they lost more than 30 seats to Democrats in last week’s midterm election. If anything they’re doubling down and trying to hone in on a more conservative message heading into 2020.

The Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, has long wrestled with questions about what it means to be a conservative and how to enact conservative policy in a divided Congress. Even with unified Republican government these past two years, the RSC struggled to enact some of its key priorities, such as pro-life policies and work requirements for government benefits.