Wyoming

Senate Republicans Ready to Limp Into Border Wall Fight
With Democratic votes needed, wall funding may not meet what Trump and House GOP want

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, conduct a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday after the policy lunches. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they are willing to join their House counterparts in a postelection fight over border wall funding but recognize that their chamber will be more constrained by the need for Democratic votes.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Monday that there would be a “big fight” in December on appropriating more money for President Donald Trump’s desired wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Wisconsin Republican wouldn’t foreshadow how that fight would play out, but he didn’t rule out a partial government shutdown as a potential outcome.

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

A reauthorization of the FAA will be among the final pieces of big-ticket legislation to pass before Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.

EPA Watchdog to Step Down as Scott Pruitt Probes Continue
Arthur Elkins had contradicted the former administrator’s account of his security detail

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies during a hearing in May. The inspector general who led multiple investigations of his spending habits is retiring this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA’s inspector general, who led multiple investigations into former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending and management practices at the agency, will leave in October, his office announced Tuesday.

Arthur A. Elkins Jr., who has been EPA inspector general since 2010, said in a news release that he will retire on Oct. 12, but did not indicate whether his departure is related to issues at the agency. Before becoming inspector general, Elkins worked as associate general counsel in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel.

The Investigation Will Be Televised
Ken Buck was 27 years old when he staffed the Iran-Contra investigation. Now he could ‘never be a tyrant’

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., left, worked for then-Rep. Dick Cheney, R-Wyo., right, as a counsel on the Iran-Contra Investigation. (Courtesy Ken Buck)

As his father watched him from a hospital bed, 27-year-old Ken Buck sat behind Dick Cheney while history was being made.

The Colorado Republican was the assistant minority counsel on the Iran-Contra investigation, working for Cheney, then a Wyoming congressman.

Flashback Friday: Staff a “Critical Burden”?
Sen. Alan Simpson said so in 1988

Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., came from a political family. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

In 1988, Sen. Alan K. Simpson didn’t hold back when revealing his opinion about congressional staffers.

“The point is we are elected senators, and we should try to do our business, occasionally, with ourselves and among ourselves and between ourselves. Even though the staff is critically important, it is also a critical burden upon us in many situations,” the Wyoming Republican said on the Senate floor.

Senators Get Informal as FAA Deadline Nears
Reauthorization didn’t make the summer cut. Now senators are looking for a pre-conference shortcut

Sen. John Thune says negotiating with the House before Senate passage is the best option to avoid a lapse of authorization Sept. 30, even if process questions remain. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Staff members on both sides of the Capitol are trying to work around obstacles in the Senate by negotiating “pre-conference” versions of Federal Aviation Administration authorization and water infrastructure bills, according to lawmakers.

Despite the stated goals of the bills’ sponsors, the Senate did not consider either the FAA or water infrastructure measure over the summer, preventing a true conference committee from hashing out differences with the House-passed versions of the FAA and water infrastructure bills.

Senate Quandary: How to Sanction Russia Without Harming Europe
Foreign Relations chairman predicts resolution in coming weeks

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As senators deliberate over legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia, former government officials warned against any action that would harm European allies that rely on gas imports from Russia.

“It’s very difficult with some of the bills that have been laid out to only punish Russia without punishing our European friends,” said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., at a Wednesday hearing on the importance of NATO.