Ryan Zinke

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.

Alexander Says National Parks Bill ‘Most Important’ In Decades
Bill would use energy permit revenue to fund backlog of maintenance projects

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., redoubled his efforts this week to pass the National Parks Restoration Act to address the National Parks maintenance backlog. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander and other lawmakers see an avenue to enact the “most important piece of legislation for national parks in decades,” the Tennessee Republican said Tuesday.

In March, a bipartisan group of senators and House members introduced legislation to fund nearly $7 billion in national parks maintenance projects that have been on hold for years.

Whitehouse: EPA’s Pruitt Took Security Detail to Rose Bowl, Disneyland
New information raises more questions about Trump administration officials’ spending of taxpayer money

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants to know why “significant agency resources are being devoted to administrator [Scott] Pruitt’s ’round-the-clock security, even when he is traveling on non-official business.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has used EPA-funded security for personal trips, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote in a letter to the agency’s inspector general.

Pruitt took his security detail with him to his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a family vacation at Disneyland in California; and the 2018 Rose Bowl game, Whitehouse wrote in the letter obtained by CNN.

Gowdy’s Oversight Panel Knocking On Interior’s Pricey Doors
Committee wants answers about $139,000 doors, in latest showdown over spending by Trump’s Cabinet officials

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke prepares to testify at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on March 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s $139,000 replacement doors have earned him a trip to the principal’s office.

In a letter dated March 22, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy requested a briefing from Zinke following news reports surrounding the procurement of replacement doors for his office at the Interior Department.

Whitehouse Preps 200th Climate Speech, Hoping Senate Will Stir
“It is an indicator of the extent [to] which the fossil fuel industry owns the joint”

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks with Roll Call in his office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every week of every Senate session for the last six years, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has taken to the floor to urge his colleagues to “wake up” to the dire consequences of their inaction on climate change.

But the slumbering chamber keeps hitting the snooze button.

Supreme Court Backs Congressional Power to Affect Lawsuits
Chief Justice Roberts, Gorsuch dissent in the decision

The Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not overstep into the power of federal courts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday backed the power of Congress to pass legislation that would affect ongoing litigation, ruling that a law about Michigan land and its use as a Native American casino did not violate the Constitution.

In a 6-3 opinion, the court found that Congress did not overstep into the power of federal courts with a law to end a lengthy court battle over the Interior Department’s decision to take that tract into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians.

House Oversight Probes Scott Pruitt’s Travel Expenses
EPA administrator has been under fire for first-class travel and luxury hotel stays

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is among several Trump administration officials under scrutiny for possible travel violations . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As questions about the official travel habits of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt mount, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is demanding documents and other information on his first-class flights, as it looks into whether federal laws were broken.

Pruitt has for several months been under fire for incurring high travel costs at taxpayer expense. After recent news reports of Pruitt’s use of expensive first-class flights and stays at luxury hotels, an EPA spokesman said the administrator had been given a “blanket waiver” to fly first class for security reasons.

Opinion: When Americans Dream, Is This What They Have in Mind?
A land of opportunity — but not always equal opportunity

A dry-land farmer and his family on the Flathead Reservation near Niarada, Montana, in 1921. (U.S. National Archives)

The “American Dream” may be a problematic concept, but everyone in this country and around the world knows exactly what it means. And truth be told, everyone wants to believe it: If you are determined and work hard enough, smart enough and long enough, you can achieve anything in this land of unlimited opportunity.

Yes, the history of this country, from its founding on, has proved that the dream is not complete. Ask Native Americans, who have a more than convincing argument to counter the oft-told story of American goodness and greatness. Ask enslaved African-Americans and their ancestors who fought and died for rights enshrined in authentically American documents. Ask the Americans whose family members toiled in factories and on farms for little more than subsistence.

Montana’s Greg Gianforte Ditches ‘No PAC’ Pledge for 2018
Now that he’s in Congress, GOP lawmaker is accepting corporate PAC money

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is accepting PAC money for his re-election race this year, after campaigning on a pledge not to accept corporate PAC donations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After pledging not to take corporate PAC money during his 2017 campaign for Congress, Rep. Greg Gianforte accepted nearly $20,000 in corporate PAC donations during the fourth quarter of 2017.

“I have been taking PAC money,” the Montana Republican said Tuesday.

Holds on Energy and Environment Nominees Pile Up — Again
Procedural roadblocks reflect concerns about Trump administration policies

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the process for environment-related nominees has become “a little more complicated this year.”

A series of energy- and environment-related nominees are stuck in limbo as procedural roadblocks, or “holds,” pile up over concerns by Republican and Democratic lawmakers about policy implementations by the Trump administration.

The holdups — five announced last week — have almost become a rite of passage for Trump nominees looking to take positions within the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA.