Frank Pallone Jr

Deal banning surprise medical bills also ups tobacco purchase age to 21
The agreement raises the odds of Congress passing legislation meant to lower some health care costs this year

Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., left, and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., talk during a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup in 2017. Walden, Pallone and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced a tentative deal to ban surprise medical bills Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Key House and Senate committee leaders announced a bipartisan agreement Sunday on draft legislation to prohibit surprise medical bills and raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21.

The agreement raises the odds of Congress clearing measures intended to lower some health care costs before the end of the year.

Pelosi: Climate panel is not just ‘an academic endeavor’
Select committee headed by Castor said to be readying recommendations for ‘major’ legislation in 2020

Castor's climate panel is to make recommendations for legislation in 2020.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats will unveil major climate legislation in the spring after the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis releases a set of recommendations, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday.

Pelosi said House Democrats would follow the conclusions of the committee, which was established at the start of this Congress and has held more than a dozen hearings on climate change and its underpinning science, to draft what she said would be bipartisan legislation.

How robocalls may be the thing to unite Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 178

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., participates in the House Democrats’ news conference on health care reform in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Robocall compromise bill set up for quick House passage
Text of the Pallone-Thune bill was released Wednesday

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., teamed up with Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., to introduce a compromise robocalls bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s one issue that is likely to unite Congress before the end of the year: tackling the robocall epidemic plaguing phones of lawmakers and constituents alike. House and Senate lawmakers released text Wednesday of a bipartisan compromise measure that merges the House and Senate versions passed earlier this year.

The joint bill will require phone companies to verify that phone numbers are real and block robocalls without charging consumers any extra money. The measure also pushes the Justice Department to bring more criminal prosecutions against robocallers and gives the Federal Communications Commission more time and authority to investigate and punish illegal robocallers.

Democrats plant a flag with bill to eliminate carbon emissions
Proposal has 150 co-sponsors in House but unlikely to move in Senate

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would direct federal agencies to determine how to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have offered their most ambitious climate legislation since progressives offered the now languishing Green New Deal resolution in February.

The new bill, introduced Thursday with more than 150 Democratic co-sponsors including Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, would have federal agencies determine how to reduce net U.S. carbon emissions to zero by 2050 — and to write regulations to meet that goal.

Facebook, other social media sites pressured to protect census
Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on Oct. 23, 2019. Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are increasing pressure on social media companies to protect next year’s census from disinformation online, concerned that foreign governments and internet trolls could disrupt the 2020 enumeration.

The latest push comes in a letter the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus sent Thursday to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking her to speak with group members about steps to both promote the census and “combat interference and disinformation on its platform.” Russia or another country may try to push the census off course, they say, and Facebook and other companies should be prepared.

Coal-burning utility boosts lobbying, may get eased regulations
New rules proposed by Trump administration would eliminate some Obama-era environmental protections for coal ash

A coal ash pile in Guayama, Puerto Rico. The pile’s owner, Arlington-based AES Corp., has asked the Trump administration to relax regulations for the disposal of toxic residues from burning coal.  (Courtesy Mabette Colon)

On Oct. 2, 19-year-old Mabette Colon traveled from her hometown in Puerto Rico to Arlington, Virginia, to try to persuade the EPA to abandon its efforts to ease regulations for the disposal of toxic residues from burning coal.

Colon said she grew up less than a mile from what activists describe as a nine-story-tall pile of coal ash owned by Arlington-based AES Corp. in the town of Guayama. She worries that under the Trump administration revisions proposed Monday, which have not yet been publicly released, the company could pollute with impunity and further expose her community to the toxic pollutants that have sickened her neighbors.

Oregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden not running for reelection
Walden is the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden is retiring. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden announced Monday that he will not run for reelection to a 12th term next year.

Walden, 62, said in a statement he was confident he would have won re-election, but “the time has come to pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

Democrats bow to critics, expand scope of drug price bill
The changes by House Democratic leaders were made to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., points to sign that reads “lower drug costs now” as she departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on September 19, 2019. Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday, seeking to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action.

The chamber is expected to vote on the bill this month.

Missouri lawmaker seeks probe of GOP’s census look-alike mailings
RNC ‘district census’ fundraising solicitations raise concerns of potential confusion over 2020 count

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., shown in the Capitol in May, has said the Republican mailings are an attempt to "deceive and confuse" people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mailings the Republican National Committee sent to Montana and Missouri residents have riled officials there, prompting one House Democrat to call for an investigation into fundraising solicitations he says are designed to confuse people about the decennial census.

Styled as the “2019 Congressional District Census,” the mailing includes a questionnaire and letter from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel soliciting a donation of up to $1,000. But the mailings are likely to confuse residents before the start of next year’s census, argued Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.