Energy & Environment

Photos of the Week: Members Dash to Memorial Day Recess as California Primaries Heat Up
The week of May 21 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., leaves the Capitol on Thursday after the last votes in the House before the Memorial Day recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Activity on the Hill has ground to a halt ahead of the Memorial Day recess while campaign season is in full swing in the Golden State. In addition to our usual coverage of Capitol Hill and its players, Roll Call is on the road in California ahead of the state’s June 5 primary.

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Senate Energy-Water Bill Advanced Amid Nuclear Weapons Debate
Concerns raised about funding low-yield nuclear weapon

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the lone vote opposing a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Thursday.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 30-1 Thursday a $43.8 billion draft Energy-Water fiscal 2019 spending measure before entering into a lengthy consideration of how to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium and the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons.

The bill would boost spending for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and related programs by $566 million compared to fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and is $7.2 billion more than the Trump administration requested. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Could Negative Campaigning in California Primaries Dampen Democratic Energy?
Hard feelings hit crowded Golden State contests two weeks out from the primary

Dave Min and Katie Porter, both Democrats running for California’s 45th District, participate in the DEMOC PAC’s candidate forum in Irvine on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

IRVINE, Calif. — When some volunteers and organizers arrived Tuesday night at the University Synagogue, they found some orange and red pieces of paper on the chairs in the auditorium.

“NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN ALERT” read the paper in bold black letters. “The Dave Min campaign is running attack ads against multiple other Democrats! IS THIS WHAT ORANGE COUNTY WANTS?”

Moulton Adds 3 More Veterans to Leadership PAC’s Endorsement List
Massachusetts congressman riding high after notching win in key Kentucky race

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., has endorsed 19 veterans who are running for Congress for the first time in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Seth Moulton is apparently riding high after a candidate he endorsed in a key Kentucky race won her Democratic primary Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Democrat added three more military veteran candidates to his Serve America leadership PAC endorsement list on Wednesday: a former Obama administration official in New Hampshire, a state senator in Nevada, and a retired Navy commander who was one of the first women in the Navy’s nuclear program.

Energy and Commerce Honored in Historical Society Tradition
“In a way, the committees are a forgotten part of the system,” group says

Former House Energy and Commerce Chairman John D. Dingell speaks Wednesday at a ceremony honoring the panel in Statuary Hall. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The United States Capitol Historical Society paid tribute Wednesday to the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a 20-plus-year tradition.

Since 1995, the society has recognized one congressional panel at a special event each year.

Senate Energy-Water Rejects Research Cuts Sought by White House
‘We started with an unrealistic budget proposal by the administration’

Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee advanced by voice vote Tuesday a $43.8 billion draft fiscal 2019 spending measure that, like the House’s bill, does not include drastic reductions in applied research programs proposed by the Trump administration.

The draft legislation, parts of which were made public Tuesday in the committee majority’s summary, represents a $566 million increase from fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and a $7.2 billion increase from the Trump administration request. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Memorial Day Means a Gas Price Event at Congressional Exxon
Schumer-led effort calls on Trump to push OPEC, oil executives to slash prices

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Maria Cantwell were among the Democrats at an Exxon station at Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street Northeast on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Memorial Day weekend and summer driving season approaching, it was time once again for lawmakers to descend on a familiar Capitol Hill landmark.

This time, it was Senate Democrats making the pilgrimage to the Exxon station at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast to decry policies behind rising gas prices.

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Current Blue Dog Democrats include, from left, Reps. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and  Brad Schneider, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.

Lizzie Fletcher Wins Closely Watched Texas Democratic Runoff for Culberson Seat
Democrats are targeting Houston-area seat that Clinton carried in 2016

Texas Rep. John Culberson is a Democratic target this year, after Hillary Clinton carried his Houston-area 7th District in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher won the Democratic runoff in Texas’ 7th District on Tuesday, defeating activist and writer Laura Moser, whom the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considered a weak general election candidate.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Fletcher led Moser, 68 percent to 32 percent, according to The Associated Press. 

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Growth in Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Poses New Policy Issues
Republicans want to make overseas shipment of liquefied natural gas easier

The United States is flush with supplies of oil and natural gas — and that has lawmakers contemplating policy changes. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to U.S. energy supplies, Congress’ default setting for decades had been worry: worry that America did not have enough energy to meet its needs and worry that OPEC would hold the U.S. hostage by jacking up the price of — or withholding — its oil.

That setting has changed. With the U.S. flush with supplies of oil and natural gas over the past few years, Congress has permitted the export of domestic oil and raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the budget deficit and offset costs of unrelated legislation. And now Republicans want to make it easier for producers to ship liquefied natural gas overseas.

Meet the Democrat Who’s Not Giving Up on Rural, Working-Class Districts
Charlie Kelly is executive director of House Majority PAC

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, controls tens of millions of TV spending for the fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By 7 a.m. on a recent Monday morning, Charlie Kelly was well into the weeds of America’s congressional districts and halfway through a cup of coffee.

Seated in a cramped conference room in downtown Washington, the executive director of House Majority PAC was meeting with each of his regional political desks. He rattled off candidates’ names — their strong suits, as well as their flaws — and dropped encyclopedic knowledge of each district.

Analysis: The Trump Agenda’s Unintentional International Consequences
Signs of fraying relationships among close allies starting to show up

Mexican presidential hopeful Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to put Donald Trump “in his place.” (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, who preaches pro-business policies at home and more favorable terms for the United States in trade deals, may well help elect more anti-American leaders around the world and leave the United States more isolated and embattled.

We could see the first manifestation of this in Trump’s confrontational approach with Mexico. His positions on trade (particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement) and immigration, and his characterization of the people of Mexico, have boosted the prospects of presidential hopeful Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico’s July 1 election.

Florida Delegation Playing Hardball to Extend Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Sunshine State Democrats and Republicans may target NDAA

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., says he doesn’t see “any light between Republicans and Democrats” on the issue of offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Emboldened by a Defense Department report that expressed worries about unfettered offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s House delegation is preparing to throw its weight around to win a multiyear extension of a moratorium off its coasts.

The bipartisan commitment from the third largest congressional delegation, reached last week, may affect the $708.1 billion defense authorization bill that is being considered by the Rules Committee Monday and Tuesday ahead of a vote as soon as Wednesday.

Podcast: Potential Hiccups to the Interior-Environment Spending Bill
CQ Budget, Episode 61

EPA Director Scott Pruitt arrives April 26, 2018 to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee on his agency's fiscal 2019 budget.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)