Trade

9/11 survivors get Mitch McConnell's commitment for Senate vote on compensation fund
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had announced the bill had 60 supporters in the Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., says the 9/11 first responders and survivors fund reauthorization has 60 co-sponsors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:09 p.m. | The Senate will be taking up 9/11 victims compensation fund legislation this summer, and the bill should be expected to reach President Donald Trump’s desk.

That was the word from first responders and their supporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill.

Bitcoin mining energy costs raise concern, prompt little action
Influx of bitcoin miners to areas with access to cheap and plentiful energy has caused a backlash

More than 18 U.S. homes could be powered for one day by the electricity consumed for a single bitcoin transaction, a recent estimate found. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Bitcoin is under a cloud, one that Congress and others are beginning to acknowledge: the vast amount of energy required to obtain and maintain the virtual currency.

A university study released last week found the emissions produced by the worldwide network of computers that “mine” bitcoin sits “between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City.”

Trump order to make medical service costs more transparent
The order will require hospitals and insurers to provide more information on costs of medical services before patients receive them

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order during an East Room event at the White House on March 21, 2019. Trump signed an executive order Monday that would put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday will issue an executive order directing his administration to put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them.

The order will kick off a process at the Health and Human Services Department to develop rules for the transparency requirements. The new rules will be meant to require hospitals to publicly post charges for common items and services in a consumer-friendly manner, and to require insurers to inform patients about the amounts they must pay before services are actually provided.

The financial technology trade wars
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 5

(iStock)

Meet some of the former pros who’ve played in the Congressional Baseball Game
Bunning, Largent, Ryun and Shuler all had varying degrees of success on the diamond

Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent is greeted by his Republican teammates before the 2000 Congressional Baseball Game. Largent led the Republicans to victory in five of his seven games. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Colin Allred and Anthony Gonzalez won’t be the first former professional athletes to compete in the Congressional Baseball Game. Over the decades, Republicans and Democrats have looked to other ex-pros turned congressmen and their athletic talents in hopes of scoring on the diamond.

The late Sen. Jim Bunning is the only baseball Hall of Famer to come to Washington. Over a 17-season pitching career from 1955 to 1971, the Kentucky Republican won 224 games and had an earned run average of 3.27. Bunning won election to the House in 1986 and made his Congressional Baseball Game debut the following year. He was part of the winning GOP team at least three times as either pitcher or pitching coach. After two terms in the Senate, Bunning opted against re-election in 2010. He died in 2017 at age 85.

Trudeau warns about reopening trade talks, but is ‘optimistic’
House Democrats seen as major obstacle to approving USMCA trade agreement

Canadiana Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in the Capitol on Thursday for his meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a visit to the White House and Capitol Hill on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is optimistic about the prospects of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, but added he hoped obstacles in the U.S. don’t lead to reopening negotiations.

Trudeau, speaking at a news conference at the Canadian embassy, lauded the “very strong and positive relationship with the United States” that he said came out of USMCA negotiations that were “contentious at times.” 

These 103 House Democrats have a message for the presidential candidates
Moderate New Democrat Coalition wants to talk with hopefuls about issues important to their voters

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer, the chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, is inviting all of the Democratic presidential candidates to sit down with the coalition’s 103 members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than 100 House Democrats, including many of the freshmen who won in moderate districts, want to talk to the Democratic presidential candidates. 

The New Democrat Coalition, the largest ideological group in the House Democratic caucus, is sending a letter to all the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday requesting individual meetings with them. 

Trump energy plan faces legal blitz over weaker emissions standards
Democratic state AGs join environmental groups saying they’ll sue the federal government over the rule

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Blue states and green groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration over its new carbon emissions rule finalized Wednesday, which critics say fails to address climate change and the public health risks associated with pollution from the power sector.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule rescinds the Obama administration’s ambitious Clean Power Plan and replaces it with less stringent guidelines for states and coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions.

U.N. pick asked why almost half her days as Canada’s ambassador were spent elsewhere
Menendez noted the U.N. ambassador was away from her post for 300 days from Oct. 23, 2017, to June 19, 2019

Kelly Knight Craft, nominee to be ambassador to Canada, attends her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 20, 2017. She was chided Wednesday by a senior Senate Democrat for the “excessive” time she spent away from her current post as ambassador to Canada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.N. ambassador, who is also a close friend of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was chided Wednesday by a senior Senate Democrat for the “excessive” time she spent away from her current post as ambassador to Canada.

Kelly Knight Craft, a longtime Republican Party fundraiser and business consultant from Kentucky whose billionaire husband’s fortune comes from the coal business, does not have the diplomatic resume typical for envoys to the U.N. But her friendship with Kentucky Republican McConnell virtually guarantees her confirmation.

Pentagon aid to Taliban gets blocked by House vote
The House adopted an amendment that would bar the Pentagon from spending any funds to aid the Taliban

Members of the Taliban surrender themselves to the Afghan Government, on August 26, 2011 in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. The House adopted an amendment late Tuesday night barring the Pentagon from spending any of its funds to aid the Taliban insurgent group in Afghanistan. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The House adopted late Tuesday night an amendment to its fiscal 2020 Defense appropriations bill that would bar the Pentagon from spending any of its funds to aid the Taliban insurgent group in Afghanistan.

CQ Roll Call disclosed last month that the Pentagon had asked Congress earlier this year for a $30 million fund that would at least partly be used in the coming fiscal year to defray the Taliban’s expenses associated with participating in talks to end the nearly 18-year-old war.