infrastructure

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

J. Brett Blanton, nominee to be architect of the Capitol, right, introduces his family to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the start of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package
Pelosi seeks Presidio park while McCarthy pursues Shasta Dam expansion

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are pushing for this year’s final spending bills to include projects for their home state of California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.

The two items in dispute — the Presidio park project championed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Shasta Dam expansion sought by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy — are among some 200 disagreements that need to be resolved by leadership to finish up the appropriations legislation.

Impeachment cloud to follow Trump across pond for ‘celebratory’ NATO meeting
‘The politics of this alliance are so difficult,’ former State Department official says ahead of talks

President Donald Trump will meet privately with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at this week’s NATO summit in London. Above, the three leaders at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, in August. (Ian Langsdon/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump’s attendance this week in London for a summit with world leaders comes with a cloud of scandal and controversy hanging over the American president.

White House aides say Trump will use the two-day NATO summit Tuesday and Wednesday to continue pressing member nations to pay more into the alliance’s coffers. He also will urge his counterparts to do more to counter what one U.S. official described as China’s attempts to infect NATO soil with “cheap money” and “cheap investment” that aims to “trap nations in debt, and thus bring diplomatic concessions.”

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats
Members want to know if political influence played a role in retaliation against their state

California Democratic Reps. Doris Matsui, left, and Anna G. Eshoo, seen after a caucus meeting in the Capitol, both signed on to the letter to the EPA watchdog. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler threatened in a Sept. 24 letter to the California Air Resources Board, the state’s air agency, to withhold federal funding for highway projects if local regulators did not implement plans, known as “state implementation plans,” or SIPs, to improve air quality.

DeFazio wants to go big on infrastructure despite hurdles
Plan embraces automated vehicles and intelligent transportation roadways

House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is pushing an ambitious bill that could help House Democrats show they are trying to do big things beyond impeachment (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are renewing their push for a major infrastructure bill without the support they once hoped to get from President Donald Trump.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Oregon, presented a comprehensive infrastructure plan during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats late Thursday. The legislation is still being drafted, he said, and he declined to offer any cost estimates.

Going all in on Louisiana governor’s race, Trump tries to ‘thread a needle’
‘This is not a Republican Party like it was two or three years ago,’ GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump looks on as Eddie Rispone, the Republican nominee for governor in Louisiana, speaks during a rally last week in Monroe, La. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday continues his considerable effort to rally Louisiana Republicans to oust the Democratic governor, making his fourth trip to boost GOP candidate Eddie Rispone.

The attempt to take personal ownership of the contest comes with some risk for Trump, who has already seen control of the House go to the opposite party in the 2018 midterms and a personal pitch to help the Republican governor in Kentucky, a state he won by 30 points in 2016, seemingly come up short last week.

Report: Puerto Rico’s infrastructure failing as federal aid remains on hold
Engineers group says hurricane-ravaged island needs up to $23 billion investment over 10 years

A downed electric pole sits in mud more after Hurricane Maria hit the island in October 2017. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

More than two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s bridges, dams, drinking water, ports, roads and power grids are at a breaking point — and the federal dollars to fix that infrastructure remains out of reach.

So says the American Society of Civil Engineers in a report released Tuesday that assigned the island’s infrastructure an overall grade of D-.

‘Skinny’ defense bill omits key element: Military construction
Backup plan lacks details that could affect controversial border wall funding plan

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., intends his "skinny" bill to cover the bare minimum of a defense authorization. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman earlier this week filed a stripped-down defense authorization bill that he said contained the U.S. military’s must-pass provisions — a backup plan in case House and Senate conferees cannot agree on a full authorization measure in the next few weeks.

But the so-called skinny bill is missing one essential element: a detailed list of authorized military construction projects.

Boeing chief at Senate 737 Max hearing: ‘We made mistakes’
Senators question whether Boeing held back key information and whether its culture contributed to unsafe aircraft

Nadia Milleron, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, holds a sign with victims of the crash Tuesday behind Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, foreground, during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on aviation safety and the future of the Boeing 737 MAX. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As he prepares for Wednesday’s oversight hearing with the embattled Boeing CEO, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio must sort through a corporate culture that he believes compromised safety and find out what, if any, legislative remedies there are to be had.

The crash of two Boeing 737 Max aircraft over the past year — Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March — took the lives of 346 people and profoundly wounded the reputation and bottom line for the Chicago-based aircraft maker. The aircraft has been grounded in the U.S. since March.

Trump hotel lease is subject of latest House subpoena
Panel demands legal records, communications, profit statements for business

The Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. in 2016. The Trump hotel has been subpoenaed documents related to the government's lease of the historic Old Post Office building in Washington to the president's hotel business. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Another House committee on Thursday issued a subpoena for an investigation of the Trump administration — this time demanding documents related to the federal government’s lease of the historic Old Post Office building in Washington to the president’s hotel business.

The subpoena from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and signed by its chairman, Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., demands that the General Services Administration produce documents including legal records, communications between it and Trump and his children, as well as profit statements for the business, the Trump International Hotel.