New Mexico

Udall is retiring, but he will leave behind a weighty environmental legacy
Udall described environmental destruction to Earth as a crisis that demands pressing urgency in a retirement statement

Ranking member of the subcommittee Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M, attends a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Sen. Tom Udall departs the Senate in 2021, he will leave behind a weighty environmental legacy built with bipartisan help, progressive principles, and a clarion call to tackle climate change.

In a statement on Monday announcing he would not seek re-election in 2020, the New Mexico Democrat described environmental destruction to Earth as a crisis that demands pressing urgency.

Sen. Tom Udall won’t seek a third term in 2020
‘The worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them,’ New Mexico Democrat says

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is not running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2020, creating an open seat in a state that has swung decidedly toward the Democrats in recent years. 

“I’m confident that we could run a strong campaign next year to earn a third term, because of all the work you and I have done together, along with my wife, Jill, and my incredibly dedicated staff,” he said in a statement. “But the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent.” 

Colorado joins effort to elect presidents by popular vote, go around Electoral College
Colorado is the latest state to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote

Trump's election in 2016 boosted interest in the national popular vote — at least among Democrats. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado has become the latest state — and the first swing state — to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote.

Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that requires those states to select their presidential electors based on who wins the most individual votes nationwide, regardless of which candidate wins in the state.

Some climate change panel members are literally invested in the issue
Panel members have investments in fossil fuel companies, and at least two have ties to clean-energy industries

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee business meeting in the Rayburn Building in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One member of the House committee created to address climate change stands out for what he owns: hundreds of oil and gas wells in North Dakota oil fields worth millions of dollars.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota, received at least $400,000 from those wells and as much as $1.1 million in the previous year, as well as $75,000 in salary from Armstrong Corp., his family’s oil and gas business. He also owns at least 289 wells, worth between $2.9 million and $11.5 million, though in a recent interview Armstrong said he owns more than 300 wells.

‘Zombie’ spending marches on as HR 1 faces Senate death, complaint says
Measure would address alleged misuse of campaign accounts after lawmakers leave office

Allegations of using campaign money for personal expenses after leaving office is the subject of a Federal Elections complaint against former Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Senate prepares to face off in the coming weeks over House Democrats’ sweeping political ethics overhaul bill, a provision aimed to curtail so-called “Zombie” campaign spending is getting renewed attention. 

That’s the use of campaign money to pay for personal expenses after a lawmaker has left office. And it’s the subject of two Federal Elections Commission complaints filed this week involving former Republican lawmakers, Florida’s Ander Crenshaw and Georgia’s John Linder

House passes HR 1 government overhaul, sending it back to campaign trail
With Senate not planning to take it up, Democrats plan to continue fight into 2020

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., led Democrats' effort to draft the HR 1 government overhaul package as chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. The House passed the measure Friday on a party-line vote. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With passage of HR 1, House Democrats’ political money, ethics and voting overhaul, the mammoth proposal now heads exclusively to the 2020 campaign trail, where candidates in both parties say they believe their message will woo voters.

The House passed the measure 234-193 Friday morning. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill’s foe in chief, has assured his side he plans to officially ignore it in his chamber, refusing to bring it for a vote even as the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that he believed his party could win elections against people who support it.

Tim Kaine and the war on zombie wars
Virginia Democrat says he is slowly gaining support for a more robust congressional role in military adventures

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is continuing his fight against “zombie” wars. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Little by little, Sen. Tim Kaine thinks fellow members of Congress are coming around to his point of view that the legislative branch should be more assertive when it comes to war powers.

The Democrat from Virginia has been among the most persistent advocates for the Senate debating and voting on authorizations for using military force when needed, and pulling them back when it’s past due. His latest push is against what he calls “zombie authorizations.”

Pipelines vulnerable under TSA’s watch
The same agency responsible for airport pat-downs is supposed to be guarding pathways for oil and natural gas

The Transportation Security Administration, better known for patting down passengers heading to their flights, is also in charge of securing about 2.7 million miles of pipelines carrying hazardous liquids, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. (Barry Williams/Getty Images file photo)

Nearly 3 million miles of pipelines that crisscross the United States carrying oil, natural gas and other hazardous liquids may be vulnerable to cyberattacks as the federal agency responsible for overseeing their security is overburdened with other responsibilities, lawmakers, government auditors and regulators say.

The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, better known for pat-downs of passengers heading to their flights, is also in charge of securing about 2.7 million miles of pipelines. Most are buried underground in remote and open terrain, but others run through densely populated areas, the Government Accountability Office said in a recent report.

House Democrats ready ethics overhaul for floor vote this week
HR 1, a sweeping ethics overhaul is expected to pass along party lines, amid intense opposition from Republicans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leaves a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats, barely nine weeks into a majority they won in part with promises of an anti-corruption legislative agenda, will turn the spotlight this week to their signature campaign finance, ethics, voting and lobbying overhaul.

The House Rules Committee will take up the package Tuesday, setting the parameters for consideration on the floor. Lawmakers then will debate the measure on the House floor over the following days, with an expected vote on final passage Friday morning. Democrats and outside advocates pushing for the bill say they’ll be on high alert for GOP attempts, including amendments and motions to recommit, that could tank the overhaul.

Tom Udall and Susan Collins introduce Senate disapproval of Trump’s border security emergency
Encourage fellow senators to defend the congressional power of the purse

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall is leading the joint resolution to terminate President Donald Trump’s border security national emergency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Susan Collins and Tom Udall have teamed up on the Senate version of legislation disapproving of President Trump’s border security national emergency.

Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico and an appropriator, said the resolution to terminate the national emergency isn’t really even about the proposed border wall itself, saying on the Senate floor this is a matter of “standing up for the Constitution.”