Alaska

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.

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.

A Steady Flow of Political Royal Blood to Congress
Hill dynasties don’t last so many generations any more, but plenty of family members still try to stay in electoral business

Greg Pence, Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, is seeking the Congressional seat once held by his younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Saturday’s wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is creating another surge of American royal mania, and with a particular twist — besotted chatter about their offspring someday running for Congress, or even president, while remaining in the line of succession to the British throne.

It’s a fanciful notion, regardless of whether the Los Angeles actress retains dual citizenship after she passes her British citizenship test, because the Constitution prevents titled nobles from taking federal office.

EPA’s Pruitt Faces Bipartisan Criticism at Senate Spending Panel
Discussion of agency’s budget takes back seat to scandals

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faced some hard questions when he appeared before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a bipartisan lashing at a Senate Interior-Environment Appropriation Subcommittee hearing where agency scandals largely eclipsed discussion of the fiscal 2019 budget.

“I am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency,” Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said as she kicked off a hearing on the EPA’s fiscal 2019 budget.

For GOP, Death of Manufacturing Loan Program Finally in Sight
Unspent money dating back years makes it an easy, yet still elusive, target

Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no fan of the loan program for energy efficient vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One way or another, the Energy Department’s direct loan program for fuel-efficient car manufacturers looks destined for the chopping block.

Once viewed as a lifeline for Detroit’s “Big Three” manufacturers facing economic headwinds even before the onset of the Great Recession, the program is now little more than a kitty of untapped funds appropriated a decade ago. The last major Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program loan was approved conditionally in 2015, but Arconic Inc., whose former parent Alcoa secured the loan to produce lightweight vehicle materials at its Tennessee plant, turned the money down last year.

Palin Disputes That McCain Regrets 2008 Vice President Pick
‘Like a perpetual gut punch’ every time she sees the assertion, former running mate says

Sen. John McCain appears with running mate then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin after he accepted the Republican nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, September 4, 2008. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sarah Palin is disputing revelations from Sen. John McCain’s new book that he regrets choosing her to be his running mate on the GOP ticket in 2008.

“That’s not what Senator McCain has told me all these years,” the former Alaska governor told the Daily Mail on Thursday. “I attribute a lot of what we’re hearing and reading regarding McCain’s statements to his ghostwriter or ghostwriters.”

Photos of the Week: Haspel Hearing (and Protests), Detainees Return and More
The week of May 7 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

The Service Year Alliance convened on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday in inflatable eagle costumes to call on Congress to expand funding in the 2019 budget for AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and YouthBuild. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The focal point of the week of May 7 on Capitol Hill was the series of meetings that Gina Haspel had with senators, as well as the culminating confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Just outside of D.C. on Thursday morning, a scene played out on a tarmac — Secretary of State Mike Pompeoreturned with three American citizens who had been detained in North Korea, and the president was there to greet them.

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Opinion: The Case for Ugly Primaries
The process is messy, but it can reveal much

Don Blankenship, who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in West Virginia, conducts a town hall meeting at Macado’s restaurant in Bluefield, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

You can’t blame Republican leaders for trying to pick the winner of Tuesday’s West Virginia primary ahead of time when the words “prison” and “supervised release” show up in nearly every story about Don Blankenship. The Senate hopeful and former coal executive did a year behind bars recently for the dangerously unsafe conditions in his coal mines, but is now somehow surging in the polls.

Republicans want a strong general election candidate to take on Sen. Joe Manchin in November, and trying to block a jailbird from the GOP nomination seems like a no-brainer. Add to that Blankenship’s willingness to savage Mitch McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” and call the father of his wife, Elaine Chao, a “Chinaperson,” and it would take a Herculean amount of strength for the Senate majority leader and his supporters not to get sucked into a fight against one of their own.

Kaptur Exploring Legislative Reprieve for Ousted House Chaplain
Ohio Democrat said any legislation she proposes would be bipartisan

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy performs a marriage ceremony in 2015 for Alaska Rep. Don Young and Anne Garland Walton in the chapel of the U.S. Capitol. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur does not believe Speaker Paul D. Ryan has authority to remove House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy without a vote of the House. And she’s exploring legislation to prevent his ouster. 

Conroy submitted a letter of resignation April 15 at the speaker’s request that was read on the House floor the following day. Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong confirmed that Ryan sought the Jesuit priest’s resignation but did not provide a reason why. 

New Push for Senators to Pay Their Interns
Advocates say the time is right for offices to stop relying on free labor

A majority of Senate offices do not offer paid internships, according to data from nonprofit advocacy group Pay Our Interns. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ideas to boost diversity on the Hill have been thrown around, and the numbers are slowly improving. But what if the solution was right in front of everyone, sitting at tiny shared desks in congressional offices?

Paid interns.