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Yes, you can ride in a bow tie, and other lessons from Bike to Work Day
Rep. Earl Blumenauer joined packs of cyclists for the annual commute and free T-shirt frenzy

(Ed Felker/CQ Roll Call)

We caught up with Rep. Earl Blumenauer as he whizzed down the street during his Friday commute to Capitol Hill.

(And by “we” I mean my colleague and cycling enthusiast Ed Felker, who puts the pedal to the pavement rain or shine and kindly wore a GoPro for the occasion.)

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Grassley, Wyden want to end uncertainty over temporary tax breaks
Five task forces charged with coming up with solutions for so-called tax extenders

Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are seen at a hearing in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced the creation of five task forces charged with delving into what to do about 42 myriad tax breaks that continually get turned on and off by Congress, ranging from an incentive to sell cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel for trucks to a deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

The joint announcement by the Iowa Republican and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, the committee’s ranking member, comes 16 and a half months after 26 tax “extenders” expired at the end of 2017. Grassley said the task force is charged with coming up with solutions by the end of June, including whether to consolidate or change certain provisions, make them permanent or allow them to lapse.

House vote combining drug, health law bills irks Republicans
Combining the two bills sets up a political minefield for Republicans who are torn between the two issues

Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., center, Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building. The House is set to vote Thursday on legislation meant to lower prescription drug prices and strengthen “Obamacare” health insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House is set to vote Thursday on legislation meant to lower prescription drug prices and strengthen the individual health insurance exchanges, setting up a political minefield for Republicans who are torn between the two issues.

Democratic leaders’ decision to combine legislation that would make it easier to bring generic drugs to market with bills that would bolster the 2010 health care law does not damage the prospects of passage for the package of bills. But that does make it certain that most Republicans will vote against the bipartisan drug pricing legislation.

Trump’s tax return battle will be fought in court, Mnuchin says
‘We haven’t made a decision but I think you can guess on the way we’re leaning on our subpoena,’ Mnuchin told appropriators

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin prepares to testify during the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on April 9, 2019. On Wednesday Mnuchin was quizzed over releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday he expects the courts will resolve the conflict between the administration and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal over the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

“This will go to the third branch of government to be resolved,” Mnuchin said Wednesday during questioning before the Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Rayburn evacuated after alarms sound throughout building
The exact cause of the alarm and evacuation is not yet known

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. holds a meeting in between Rayburn and Longworth after alarms sounded throughout the Rayburn House Office Building causing an evacuation Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Katherine Tully-McManus/ CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers, staff and visitors were evacuated for almost two hours on Tuesday afternoon after fire alarms sounded throughout the Rayburn House Office Building.

Capitol Police and Architect of the Capitol staff were on the scene, including a fire marshal and emergency management personnel. Staff was evacuated at about 1:30 p.m. and allowed to return after 3:15 p.m. 

These Senate Democrats want to ban stock trading by members of Congress
Sens. Brown and Merkley introduce legislation last week to prohibit trading in most cases

Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., left, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, want to ban stock trading by members of Congress in most cases. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democratic senators want to prevent a recurrence of ethically dubious stock trades by members of Congress by banning them altogether.

Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio want to bar lawmakers and senior aides from buying and selling individual securities. The reality is that many members of the House and Senate do own and trade stock in publicly-traded companies.

Trump drags feet on climate treaty, and Republicans aren’t happy
As Kigali Amendment languishes, Sens. Kennedy, Carper point fingers at the administration

Hydrofluorocarbons — found in air conditioners — are worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. A plan to limit them has bipartisan support, but the Trump administration is standing in the way, Republican senators say. (iStock/Composite by Jason Mann)

It has the support of industry heavy-hitters, environmental advocates and a bipartisan cushion of votes in the Senate.

But the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty to limit hydrofluorocarbons — highly potent greenhouse gases found in air conditioners, refrigerators, insulation and foam — is stuck.

Trump calls for end to surprise out-of-network medical bills

The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore.,  left, and Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., support the push to clamp down on surprise medical bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday called on Congress to pass legislation intended to curb surprise medical bills, an issue with bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill but one that has stalled under intense industry lobbying.

Trump laid out core principles the White House wants in legislation, which officials hope Congress will send to the president later this year. Trump’s remarks came after lawmakers focused on the issue asked the White House to get involved to secure more support, a senior White House official said.

Mental health clinics wait on Congress
If federal lawmakers don’t renew a promising program before the end of June, it will be up to the states to find the money

Sen. Debbie Stabenow is leading the charge in the Senate to renew a promising mental health program. The clock is ticking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The promise of higher federal Medicaid payments is giving eight states the chance to show that one-stop mental health clinics with 24-hour crisis care could offer patients a better option than the de facto safety net of police departments and emergency rooms.

But the two-year experiment is drawing to a close now, leaving the program with an uncertain future if Congress doesn’t extend it.