Tariff Fallout Could Shape Midterm Battlegrounds
Political observers in both parties are taking stock of potential effects

President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10 in Moon Township, Pa. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Trump administration’s controversial plan for new tariffs may seep into the debates of competitive House races — well beyond Pennsylvania steel country — that will determine in November which party controls the chamber.

Opponents of the tariffs on steel and aluminum also warn that if the administration carries through with the proposal and if other nations retaliate, the issue could spill into even more congressional districts, including in Republican-leaning farm country.

Five Cabinet Secretaries Face Senate Barrage
Questions range from infrastructure to nuclear waste to the Census

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune's panel hosted five Cabinet secretaries on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not every day — or even every decade — that five cabinet secretaries walk in to testify at the same Senate hearing.

And while Wednesday’s Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing generally focused on President Donald Trump’s proposal to rebuild American infrastructure (and doubts about how to pay for it), senators took full advantage of having so many heavy hitters in one room.

Ryan’s Piecemeal Approach May Keep GOP Infrastructure Push Afloat
But speaker’s strategy of multiple bills could complicate Senate passage

Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants to break an infrastructure overhaul into pieces, moving five to six bills before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A key piece of the Republicans’ 2018 legislative agenda is shape-shifting.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s pronouncement last week that an infrastructure overhaul will be tackled in multiple bills serves a dual purpose: It keeps hope for one of the president’s top policy priorities alive, while setting more realistic expectations for what will get done this midterm election year.

Thune Clears Path for Long-Term Aviation Bill This Summer
Commerce chairman abandons effort to change how pilot hours are counted

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune is dropping a controversial pilot training provision from the aviation bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Dakota Sen. John Thune’s decision to drop a controversial provision on pilot training clears a path for lawmakers to complete a long-term aviation reauthorization bill this summer that addresses drones, aircraft certification, safety and other issues.

Thune, the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said last week he was abandoning his effort to change how pilot hours are counted. That came after House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster gave up the week before on spinning off the air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration. Both proposals encountered stiff resistance in Congress.

Ryan Says Infrastructure Overhaul Will Be Done in 5 to 6 Bills
'We don’t want to do one big bill,' speaker says

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said an infrastructure overhaul is easier to pass if broken into pieces. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday affirmed House Republicans’ intentions to complete an infrastructure overhaul this year but said that the effort will be broken into pieces. 

“We don’t want to do one big bill,” the Wisconsin Republican said at an event in Georgia with Home Depot employees.

GOP Reaction to Trump Tariffs is Fast, Furious and Negative
Republicans fret about retaliatory action, effect on agricultural trade

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, among the president’s strongest allies in the Senate, warned that imposing tariffs was akin to a tax hike. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are calling for changes to the seldom-employed section of U.S. trade law that the Trump administration used to unilaterally impose steep new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The conversations are in the preliminary stages, but build upon discussions GOP members have had for weeks regarding concerns over the White House’s trade policy.

Shuster Hopes to Move FAA Funding Before Infrastructure Bill
Says GOP votes could be sacrificed for bipartisan support

Elevator doors close on House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said he intends to try to pass a long-term reauthorization of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration before an infrastructure package advances.

Shuster, who will take a lead role in negotiations on the infrastructure bill, also said he expects to lose some Republican support in order to bring Democrats on board and advance a bipartisan bill.

Analysis: Five Ways Trump Dimmed the Tax Bill Glow
Chaos returns to White House, overshadowing legislative agenda

President Trump walks along the White House's West Colonnade of the White House on Wednesday evening. (White House photo via Flickr)

President Donald Trump was excited, beaming behind the storied Resolute Desk three days before Christmas. He joked with reporters and offered camera operators presidential ink pens. And he boasted that, after a year with more downs than ups, he was starting to figure out how to be president.

“So, you know, it’s been a process,” he said after securing his first major legislative win by signing a GOP tax bill into law — and terminating the Obama-era health law’s individual mandate at the same time. “It’s been a great process. Really beautiful.” In the days that followed, he assured members of his Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida his administration was about to have a “great” second year.

Bill Shuster Won’t Run for Re-Election in 2018
Pennsylvania Republican term-limited as Transportation Committee chairman

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, who is term-limited as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will not seek a ninth full term in 2018, leaving behind a safe Republican seat. 

“Rather than focusing on a re-election campaign, I thought it wiser to spend my last year as Chairman focusing 100% on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America,” the GOP lawmaker said in a statement Tuesday. 

Opinion: Science That Leads
The National Science Foundation needs to get its priorities straight

The Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The U.S. is falling behind China in key science and technology areas, Smith writes. (Courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

This past summer, Chinese scientists used quantum technology to teleport a single photon from the Earth’s surface to an orbiting satellite. Although Star Trek fans will be disappointed that teleportation of human beings is a long way off, teleporting a photon into space is an amazing achievement — and an example of China’s all-out effort to dominate quantum information science and other emerging technologies.

China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer and has just passed the U.S. for the first time to lead the world in the number and total performance of supercomputers. As of this month, China has 202 supercomputers on the TOP500 ranking, its largest showing to date, compared to 143 for the U.S., an all-time low.