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James Lankford to chair Senate Ethics Committee
Oklahoma Republican will take over for Johnny Isakson, who is resigning at the end of the year

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., will lead the ethics panel. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. James Lankford will take over as chairman of the Ethics Committee, succeeding Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson, who will retire at the end of the year, according to a senior Republican aide.

The Oklahoma Republican will lead a six-member, bipartisan committee charged with investigating violations of Senate rules. The committee’s most recent actions were in April 2018, when it published a public letter of admonition to Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

Amid impeachment saga, a kitchen sink of legislative dealing
Sen. Alexander: ‘There’s more to life than judges and impeachment’

Sen. Lamar Alexander says, “There’s more to life than judges and impeachment.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The holiday rush on Capitol Hill is in full swing, and the bipartisan legislative lethargy is showing signs of easing even as the House debates articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Senate and House negotiators are still trying to reach an agreement on a bundle of spending bills, but there has been a relative abundance of other bipartisan deal-making and even actual legislation passing in the Senate.

Dropped from NDAA, 'forever chemicals' fight to linger into 2020
Getting the EPA to regulate the chemicals could emerge as an issue in next year's elections

Kildee spoke at a Fight Forever Chemicals Campaign kick off event on Capitol Hill on Nov. 19ember 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

House and Senate negotiators dropped from the final defense policy bill language to force the federal government to regulate so-called forever chemicals, pushing into 2020 a partisan debate over how to regulate the toxic legacy of products such as Teflon and fire-resistant clothing.

In a bipartisan summary released Monday night, lawmakers included a provision that would ban the Pentagon from using firefighting foam made with the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS,  after Oct. 1, 2024, except aboard military ships, and would immediately prohibit its use in training exercises at military bases. 

Train safety technology hasn't quite reached the station
Fatalities add up as cost and complexity delay full implementation of 'positive train control' system

Rescue crews and investigators inspect the site of a May 2015 Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia . (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

After years of delays, a railroad safety system that federal regulators say could have prevented some 300 deaths since 1969 is finally close to full implementation — but large gaps remain, with commuter railroads using the system on fewer than half of the tracks required by December 2020.

Overall, the news for supporters of the so-called positive train control system is promising — 92 percent of the 58,000 track miles required to implement the safety system have it installed, according the Federal Railroad Administration, which is overseeing compliance with the law. 

Former EPA advisers say agency’s mercury proposal is flawed
Process for devising proposal to weaken Obama-era pollution rule was ‘fatally flawed,’ they say

The EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard targeted emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the EPA gets closer to finalizing changes to an Obama-era air pollution rule, a group of former agency advisers says the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken the mercury emissions regulations is based on faulty and outdated data.

The Trump administration a year ago proposed a rule that would revoke the EPA’s legal justification for issuing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule that aimed to curb hazardous air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Johnny Isakson farewell highlights challenges in Georgia Senate race
Political reality may make it difficult for his GOP successor to follow his bipartisan lead

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson walks to the Senate floor Tuesday to deliver his farewell address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican and Democratic senators took a break from their predictably partisan conference lunches Tuesday afternoon for a bipartisan barbecue honoring Sen. Johnny Isakson.

The outpouring of tributes made clear the Georgia Republican’s successor will have big shoes to fill, and the political reality is that financial executive Kelly Loeffler, whom Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp will announce Wednesday as Isakson’s replacement, might not have an easy time following his bipartisan lead.

Campus Notebook: No Daily Show for you! Thursday Night Football OK, though
What trip to Florida is complete without a stop at Slim’s Fish Camp

People form a long line as they wait to enter The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’s The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library attraction in Washington on Friday June 14, 2019. The Daily Show was initially on the schedule for a Senate staffer's trip to New York, but the Ethics Committee advised against it. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Campus Notebook this week highlights Senate staffers who took trips to New York City in search of more knowledge about music and television production. Also, a Capitol Police drug arrest.

Kyle Hill, a legislative correspondent for Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, traveled to New York City, from Oct. 3-4, on a $793 trip paid for by The Internet & Television Association.

Democrats pick Maloney to succeed Cummings as Oversight Committee leader
14-term New Yorker will take gavel as probes of Trump administration go forward

House Democrats selected Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to be chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney promised on Wednesday to do her best to “follow the honorable example” of former Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, who rolled out a rigorous oversight agenda of the Trump administration this year before his death last month.

“I am deeply humbled and grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with the chairmanship,” Maloney said in a statement.

Maloney gets Oversight gavel nod from Steering Committee; Connolly will challenge in full caucus vote
Dem group gives New York Democrat 35-17 edge over Connolly in recommendation to succeed Elijah E. Cummings

New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney on Tuesday won the recommendation of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to lead the House Oversight and Reform Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney won the recommendation of the influential House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Tuesday to chair the Oversight and Reform Committee, one of the key panels investigating President Donald Trump.

The New York Democrat, the most senior member on the panel, got the nod over Virginia’s Gerald E. Connolly by 35 votes to 17 in a second round of voting.

House Democrats weigh seniority and gender politics in replacing Cummings
Maloney in line to chair Oversight panel, but two men are also on secret ballot

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has seniority on the Oversight and Reform Committee but must defeat two challengers in a secret vote this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will confront longtime divisions over gender politics and how much weight to give seniority when they hold a secret vote Wednesday to select a permanent leader for a committee investigating possible ethical violations in President Donald Trump’s administration. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi elevated the most senior member of the Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, to acting chairwoman after Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland died last month, per caucus rules.