Energy & Environment

Walden Won’t Give Odds on Horse Racing Bill Leaving the Gate
Barr urges colleagues not to mix betting and horse doping with amendments to his bill

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden says he’s open to advancing a proposal to regulate parts of the horse racing industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said Friday he remained open to advancing a bipartisan proposal that would establish a national authority for regulating doping and medication in horse racing.

But after a raucous Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing that revealed an industry divided over how to address the issue, the Oregon Republican was unwilling to commit to moving a proposal from GOP Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky. Barr’s bill has 125 co-sponsors, 75 of them Democrats.

House Passes Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package
Bill ‘does not adequately deal with the magnitude of the crisis,’ Pallone says

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon helped put together the opioids package that passed Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Friday passed a bill that will serve as the legislative vehicle for many of the 55 other House-passed bills designed to curb opioid addiction, ending two weeks of floor votes on opioids measures.

The catchall bill, which advanced 396-14, would incorporate a number of proposals from the Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and public health. A group of 161 patient advocacy groups wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week in support of the legislation.

Energy Panel Advances Bills to Support New Nuclear Plants
Bills will help maintain nuclear in the domestic electricity mix, lawmakers say

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, says the bills will help establish a coherent and defined federal nuclear policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A quartet of bills meant to ease the path to commercialization of new nuclear reactors moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Thursday.

The bills are intended to speed up Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for so-called advanced reactors, including smaller units, and to spur a domestic fuel supply. Lawmakers have proposed the bills as a way to help nuclear retain its place in a domestic electricity mix increasingly powered by natural gas and cheap renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Government Reorg Plan Greeted Without Fanfare
Key members of Congress seemed unaware of details as White House plan was released

The Office of Management and Budget, led by Director Mick Mulvaney, released a sweeping reorganization proposal on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize the federal government won’t likely be moving to the top of the Senate agenda anytime soon.

“This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the proposals. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”

Court’s Gerrymandering Punt Looks to Land in North Carolina
Current House map was drawn by partisan greed, its author says. Is that unconstitutional?

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 28 as the court prepares to hear the a Maryland partisan gerrymandering case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it sidestepped an opening to decide the future of partisan gerrymandering this week, the Supreme Court may have turned a tobacco grower and farm equipment dealer into one of the most important people in American politics.

The farmer and John Deere salesman, 47-year-old David Lewis, is also an influential state legislator who represents the rural geographic center of North Carolina — the state that will now be Ground Zero in the three-decadeslong debate over whether electoral boundaries can ever be drawn with so much partisan motivation that they’re unconstitutional.

House Budget Would Direct $302 Billion in 10-Year Spending Cuts
‘Three-step process to give to the rich and make everyone else pay for it,’ Democrats say

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack’s fiscal 2019 budget resolution charts a path to balancing the budget in nine years through a combination of steep cuts in mandatory spending programs, freezing nondefense discretionary spending and banking on robust economic growth, according to a summary.

Under the draft fiscal blueprint, which will be marked up in committee Wednesday and Thursday, the deficit would be reduced by $8.1 trillion over 10 years compared to current law or policy. The budget would produce a surplus of $26 billion in 2027 if all of the assumed policies were enacted, growing to $142 billion in 2028.

DCCC Raises $11.3 Million in May
House Democrats’ campaign arm has brought in $162 million so far this cycle

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján says Democrats will not be “out-organized or out-worked in the midterms.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $11.3 million in May, exceeding its monthly total at the same point during the last election cycle by more than $3 million. 

The committee raised $3.3 million in total from online donations, according to figures shared first with Roll Call. Democrats say the amount of online donations — which involve 360,000 first-time donors so far this election cycle — are indicative of energy among the party base. 

Beat the Press: Lawmakers Look to Break Media Team’s Softball Streak
‘We get to get a little physical and we get to do something really good’ in charity game

The media team celebrates after its 2-1 victory over female lawmakers at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After months of strong female voices challenging male-dominated institutions, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand is eager to direct that fervor onto the softball field.

“I think there’s a lot of energy on our team right now and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for women and women’s voices,” the New York Democrat said at practice for the Congressional Women’s Softball Game last week.

Time Running Out in Ryan’s Quest to Overhaul Welfare Programs
Speaker returns to Jack Kemp roots as he targets SNAP and TANF

In his remaining months as speaker, Paul D. Ryan is making one last push on poverty. Above, Bishop Shirley Holloway helps Ryan unveil his plan for “A Better Way” in Anacostia in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has spent his 20-year congressional career primarily focused on two issues, taxes and poverty. The Wisconsin Republican led a major rewrite of the tax code last year, but when he retires at the end of this term he won’t have many accomplishments to tout on poverty.

The last big win for conservatives in the so-called War on Poverty was the 1996 welfare overhaul, Ryan acknowledged on PBS’ “Firing Line” earlier this month.

Opinion: My ‘Family Leave’ Was a Well-Timed Government Shutdown
Yes, I worked at the White House. But before all that, I am a father

Mothers protest at the Capitol during the government shutdown of 2013. For some new parents, the shutdown brought an unexpected chance to spend time with their children — but luck isn’t much of a family leave policy, Jenkins writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Father’s Day, I thought a lot about what it means to be a good father. You see, in my mind, I am a father first.

Yes, I worked at the White House. Yes, I now work for Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die. Yes, I am a sad New York Mets fan. But before all of these things, I am a father. It’s the most important job I will ever have. Unfortunately, in today’s America, considering yourself a “father first” is not always expected by employers or society at large.

Opinion: Higher Education in America Finds Itself on a Slippery Slope
Our great research universities risk getting left behind

As support for our educational system becomes increasingly politicized, a significant number of people are now questioning the very worth of a higher education, Augustine writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A decade ago I chaired a committee that was established on a bipartisan basis by members of the House and Senate to assess America’s future economic competitiveness. The committee’s 20 members included CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, former presidential appointees, presidents of major public and private universities and three Nobel laureates. Upon completion of our work, two of our members joined the then-president’s Cabinet, one as secretary of Energy and the other as secretary of Defense.

The document we produced, which became known as the “Gathering Storm Report,” concluded that the top two priorities for America to remain competitive in the global marketplace were to strengthen education and to double our investment in basic research.

Illustrations Help Tell the Story of Early Capitol Hill in New Book
Pamela Scott started working on ‘Creating Capitol Hill: Place, Proprietors, and People’ a decade ago

The book is available on the U.S. Capitol Historical Society's website. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Pamela Scott, an author of “Creating Capitol Hill: Place, Proprietors and People,” is worried the book may not be seen as a serious historical project. 

She uses a number of photographs in the book — maybe too many — and is concerned that some historians will “think it’s a coffee table book,” she said.

At the Races: He’s Off the Trail
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Defense Bills Seek to Protect U.S. Energy at Base in Germany
Critics slam return of ‘zombie earmark’ as Bacon says proposal will reduce reliance on Russian gas

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., says he wants to limit American dependence on Russian gas, but critics call his coal proposal a wasteful earmark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hatch Seeks Quick House Action to Improve Suicide Prevention Hotline
Legislation passed Senate last November

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has renewed his push to improve a hotline designed to help prevent suicides. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After recent high-profile suicides, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is pushing for the House to expedite work on a bipartisan bill to improve the national suicide prevention hotline.

“Our bill requires the FCC to recommend an easy-to-remember, three-digit number for the national suicide prevention hotline. I believe that by making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system more user-friendly and accessible, we can save thousands of lives by helping people find the help they need when they need it most,” the Utah Republican said in a floor speech. “The Senate passed our bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in November. Now it’s time for the House to do its part.”