Energy & Environment

Trump Lashes Out at Mueller Ahead of Potentially Damaging Court Filings
Special counsel, federal prosecutors set to release documents on Manafort, Cohen

President Donald Trump lashed out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III just hours before he is slated to show some cards in his Russia probe that could damage the president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:55 a.m. | President Donald Trump launched what amounted to a preemptive strike in his fight to shape public opinion about Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe just hours before the special counsel is expected to release telling documents about his findings.

Trump's approval rating is back around 40 percent and could take a further hit when the documents are released if they show Mueller and other federal prosecutors are turning their sights on him. Legal experts have said in recent days that as more and more evidence comes out in official documents, the more it appears Mueller and others are looking hard at “Individual 1,” legal parlance they say clearly refers to Trump.

With Orrin Hatch Retiring, Supreme Court Loses an Active ’Friend’
Utah Republican is one of the more frequent authors of amicus briefs

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is retiring, has been a frequent author of friend of the court briefs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of this year’s highest-profile Supreme Court cases gave retiring Sen. Orrin G. Hatch a final chance to broadcast his views beyond the Capitol building to the nine justices across the street.

In a criminal law case set for oral arguments Thursday, the Utah Republican filed a brief known as an amicus curiae — or a “friend of the court” who is not a party in a case. He gave them what he called “an experienced legislator’s perspective on the constitutional and practical issues at play.”

A Contrast in Styles as Trump, Country Bid Farewell to George H.W. Bush
41st president’s 1992 defeat could offer lessons for 45’s expected re-election bid

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay their respect at former President George H.W. Bush's casket in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The late President George H.W. Bush will leave the Capitol for the final time Wednesday morning and make one last pass by the White House before his flag-draped casket is placed at the front of the National Cathedral for his state funeral farewell. Seated a few feet away will be a very different president, Donald Trump.

The late Republican president’s four years in office and 1992 defeat to an upstart Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, offer contrast to the incumbent’s raucous two years and lessons for his expected re-election bid. The two presidents’ work with Congress and legislative histories differ sharply, as do how they comported themselves — from Bush’s thoughtful letter-writing to Trump’s off-the-cuff tweeting.

Son Says Granger’s Post Will Help Him Finish Controversial Texas Project
Fort Worth officials seek federal dollars to complete ‘Panther Island’ flood prevention, development plan

Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas will be the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With her ascendance to the top post among Republicans in the powerful House Appropriations Committee, GOP Rep. Kay Granger is in position to deliver federal funds to a years-long project to protect her Texas district from floodwaters.

The director of that project? Her son, J.D. Granger, head of the Trinity River Vision Authority.

Congress Ready to Punt Spending Fight for Two Weeks
Fight over border wall funding on hold as nation mourns 41st president

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says the new funding deadline “raises the stakes” for negotiators working on the seven remaining spending bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers plan to send a two-week extension of interim government funding to President Donald Trump this week, putting their fight over border wall funding on hold to mourn the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

The bill released Monday would push the deadline by which Congress needs to pass a spending package for the remaining 25 percent of this year’s agency budgets from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21 and would provide a temporary extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until the same date. It would also continue an extension for the Violence Against Women Act, which was extended through Dec. 7 in the current stopgap spending law. (Roll Call incorrectly reported in an earlier story that the VAWA extension was not included in the stopgap spending bill.)

Tornado Strikes Congressman’s Hometown, Grazes McDonald’s His Dad Built
Rodney Davis breaks out the chain saw after rare December tornadoes

The McDonald’s co-owned by Davis’ dad and brother took a hit when a tornado passed through town. (Courtesy Rep. Rodney Davis)

After a rare December tornado hit his hometown in central Illinois over the weekend, Republican Rep. Rodney Davis is on cleanup duty. 

While his own family and property went unharmed, many neighbors got hit hard. And the twister banged up the sign of the business where Davis first worked as a teenager — a local McDonald’s franchise built by his dad.

Odds Stacked Against House Members Considering 2020 White House Bids
As many as 6 House Democrats could launch campaigns to challenge Trump

Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, second from left, and Eric Swalwell of California, to his left, could find themselves running against each other for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Also pictured, Rep. Grace Meng and former Rep. Steve Israel, both of New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As high-profile Democratic senators and governors steel themselves for a race to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, at least six sitting House Democrats are rumored to be weighing runs.

They include Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Tim Ryan of Ohio and Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

Governing ‘Mandates’ Are Usually Phony. This One Is Real
By opting for a divided Congress, voters were sending a clear message

With voters embracing divided government in last month’s elections, congressional leaders have an obligation to work toward a meaningful and realistic policy agenda next Congress, Grumet writes. Above, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in October 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Over the past several election cycles, political parties, pundits and activists have proclaimed governing “mandates” based on the support of only a slim majority of voters who represent just a small fraction of the actual population. The mandate hyperbole has fueled careening and brittle policy agendas that have undermined economic progress and national cohesion.

In the recent midterms, our divided country has forcefully deprived both parties of the fantasy that they can govern without compromise. The question now is whether congressional leaders can develop a pragmatic agenda to lead a divided nation.

The Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis Deserve Better
Policymakers must extend services for infants beyond the first weeks of life

A new law that improves care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome is a step in the right direction, Smith writes. Above, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, who introduced the bill, and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., a co-sponsor, put their heads together in 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The opioid epidemic has hollowed out communities across the country and touched the lives of Americans of all ages. But we know disturbingly little about the youngest victims of this crisis: babies born with a type of opioid withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS.

One in five pregnant women fills a prescription for opioids, and while not all their babies will be born with the syndrome, all are at an increased risk. Just how prevalent is NAS? One government fact sheet noted that more than 21,000 babies were born with it in 2012 alone, and a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the incidence of the condition spiked dramatically between 2000 and 2012. But from there the trail seems to go cold.

Trump, China’s Xi Agree to End Trade and Tariff Standoff
Lawmakers have been split on how tough Trump should be on Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at the Capitol in September 2015. He and President Trump agreed to a trade cease-fire Saturday after months of tensions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday agreed to what amounts to a cease-fire on a monthslong trade tiff.

“President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Granger Selected as New Top Republican on House Appropriations
With Nita Lowey expected to chair, panel is set for historic all-female leadership duo

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is expected to be the ranking member on House Appropriations next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will likely take over as the House Republicans’ lead appropriator in January after the GOP Steering Committee recommended her on Thursday.

The full House GOP Conference is expected to ratify the decision Friday. While it’s possible the conference could overrule the Steering panel recommendation, conference approval is typically a formality.

Brenda Jones Sworn Into the House for Remainder of Lame Duck
Questions surrounded her unwillingness to resign from Detroit City Council

Michigan Rep. Brenda Jones was sworn in Thursday to the House for a short term that expires at the end of the 115th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan Democrat Brenda Jones was sworn into the House on Thursday for a brief term that will expire at the end of the 115th Congress. Her tenure is a break with more than 100 years of precedence since she will continue to serve in another elected office simultaneously. 

Jones won a special election in Michigan’s 13th District earlier this month to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Democrat who resigned last December following accusations of sexual misconduct. Jones had also run for the full term that begins next year but lost in the August Democratic primary to Rashida Tlaib, who easily won the general election on Nov. 6. 

Congress Waits for a Reboot, but Gets the Spinning Wheel
It’s an open secret that Congress isn’t doing its job. Now what?

Republican Reps. John Shimkus of Illinois, left, and Fred Upton of Michigan look nonplussed at an April 11 hearing featuring testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The spring’s high-profile Capitol Hill hearings with the heads of Facebook, Twitter and Google should have been a chance for lawmakers to demonstrate to the American public why Congress is such an important institution.

Since early 2017, concerns about how tech giants were securing and using the personal information of hundreds of millions of social media users had escalated to alarm. Still, despite bipartisan agreement on the growing need for regulations to better protect privacy and prevent social media platforms from being used to spread lies and hate speech, lawmakers haven’t lived up to their oversight task. Months later, they’ve made no significant headway — no bills tackling the issue have received markups or are moving on the floor.

Democrat Brindisi Edges Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York
Two more races yet to be called — one in New York, one in California

Democrat Anthony Brindisi has unseated GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Anthony Brindisi has defeated freshman Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District, The Associated Press has projected, leaving just two more races from the midterm elections in the balance.

Brindisi’s lead had grown to just under 4,000 votes by Wednesday, the AP reported, with 1,881 ballots yet to be counted.

Former Rep. Ed Pastor Dies at Age 75
Was the first Hispanic member elected from Arizona and a longtime appropriator

Then-Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., speaks during a news conference to announce efforts to rename room HVC 215 after slain congressional staff member Gabe Zimmerman in July 2011. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Ed Pastor, the first Hispanic from Arizona to serve in the U.S. House, has died. He was 75.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called Pastor “an Arizona trailblazer and true public servant” in announcing his passing on Wednesday. The longtime Democratic member of the House Appropriations Committee served for more than two decades in the House. He succeeded Rep. Morris K. Udall, who had resigned his seat in 1991 while battling Parkinson’s disease.