Energy & Environment

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.

Lowey: Appropriations deal could be struck this weekend
House Appropriations chairwoman says House could vote next week

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., sounded optimistic that negotiations over a spending bill could wrap up over the weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey said Friday the House could begin voting on final spending bills for the current fiscal year next week.

After months of partisan stalemate, the New York Democrat struck a decidedly optimistic tone in predicting that negotiations on a final spending deal could wrap up this weekend, clearing the way for floor votes to begin. Lawmakers have been scrambling to complete a deal before current funding runs dry on Dec. 20.

Photos of the Week
The week of Dec. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

The Capitol Christmas Tree was lit on the West Front of the Capitol on Wednesday evening. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former EPA advisers say agency’s mercury proposal is flawed
Process for devising proposal to weaken Obama-era pollution rule was ‘fatally flawed,’ they say

The EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard targeted emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the EPA gets closer to finalizing changes to an Obama-era air pollution rule, a group of former agency advisers says the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken the mercury emissions regulations is based on faulty and outdated data.

The Trump administration a year ago proposed a rule that would revoke the EPA’s legal justification for issuing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule that aimed to curb hazardous air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Trump has a new NATO foil: Canada’s ‘two-faced’ Justin Trudeau
U.S. president continues to embrace Turkey's Erdogan as other leaders keep their distance

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak Tuesday at the NATO summit in London. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

France’s Emmanuel Macron was first. Now President Donald Trump is feuding at a NATO summit in London with Canada’s Justin Trudeau, calling him “two-faced.”

But in keeping with his contrarian foreign policy approach, Trump told reporters Wednesday he thinks Turkey’s hardline leader, Recep Erdogan, is doing a “great job.”

House pushes ‘dozen bills or none’ approach to spending talks
GOP senators express doubts as House leaders insist on finalizing appropriations by Dec. 20

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says he doubts that all 12 overdue spending bills for the current fiscal year could be finalized before the Dec. 20 deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders are insisting that all 12 overdue spending bills for the current fiscal year must be finalized before any of them can reach the floor, according to sources familiar with strategy talks.

The demand for some kind of grand bargain could complicate hopes for completion of at least a portion of fiscal 2020 appropriations before stopgap funding runs dry on Dec. 20 and Congress adjourns for the winter holidays. 

Trump relishes in casting France’s Macron as new bad boy of NATO
US president acknowledges impeachment probe casts ‘cloud’ over his diplomatic efforts

President Donald Trump and France's President Emmanuel Macron answer questions during their meeting at at the NATO summit in London on Tuesday.. (ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Casting Emmanuel Macron as the bad boy of NATO, President Donald Trump kicked off a two-day alliance meeting by sounding off on everything from the French president’s “insulting” comments, his own impeachment and a possible Mike Pompeo Senate bid to an ally’s crucial elections and beyond.

During a 50-minute gaggle with reporters during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Trump appeared to revel in putting heat on Macron as their relationship continues to sour. Unprompted by reporters, he dinged Macron over his country’s unemployment rate and sputtering economy and offered something of a warning to France as he — in a complete 180-degree shift — became the NATO alliance’s defender.

Road ahead: impeachment progress, judicial nominations and a Christmas tree
First open hearing at House Judiciary is set for Wednesday

The lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree, which arrived last week, will take place the same day as the next House impeachment hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

In a sign of the season, the next open House impeachment hearing is scheduled to take place the same day as the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.

The impeachment inquiry remains front and center as Congress returns this week, with the Senate continuing to methodically confirm the judicial nominations of President Donald Trump.

Impeachment cloud to follow Trump across pond for ‘celebratory’ NATO meeting
‘The politics of this alliance are so difficult,’ former State Department official says ahead of talks

President Donald Trump will meet privately with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at this week’s NATO summit in London. Above, the three leaders at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, in August. (Ian Langsdon/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump’s attendance this week in London for a summit with world leaders comes with a cloud of scandal and controversy hanging over the American president.

White House aides say Trump will use the two-day NATO summit Tuesday and Wednesday to continue pressing member nations to pay more into the alliance’s coffers. He also will urge his counterparts to do more to counter what one U.S. official described as China’s attempts to infect NATO soil with “cheap money” and “cheap investment” that aims to “trap nations in debt, and thus bring diplomatic concessions.”

GOP report: Evidence ‘does not prove’ Trump pressured Ukraine for political benefit
Republican staff report claims evidence Democrats presented does not establish case for impeachment

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, joined by other House Republicans, speaks to the media during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Nov. 20, 2019. A GOP report by Intelligence staff says Democrats’ evidence “does not prove” Trump abused his authority to pressure Ukraine. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Evidence presented during the fact-finding stage of a House impeachment inquiry “does not prove” Democratic allegations that President Donald Trump abused his authority when pressuring Ukraine into launching an investigation of a rival that would benefit his 2020 reelection campaign, a report released by Republicans Monday evening said.

The 123-page report, authored by Republican staff of the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, pans the impeachment inquiry as “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system” and argues that the evidence does not prove Democrats’ allegations against Trump.

Senate confirms Brouillette to succeed Perry as Energy secretary
Republican donor and former business executive will take over one of the most technically complicated departments in the federal bureaucracy

Brouillette before his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 14. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 70-15 Monday evening to confirm Dan Brouillette to succeed Rick Perry as Energy secretary. 

President Donald Trump nominated Brouillette, a long-time Republican donor and former business executive for Ford Motor Co. and USAA who worked at DOE during the George W. Bush administration, after Perry said in October he would step down.

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.

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats
Members want to know if political influence played a role in retaliation against their state

California Democratic Reps. Doris Matsui, left, and Anna G. Eshoo, seen after a caucus meeting in the Capitol, both signed on to the letter to the EPA watchdog. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler threatened in a Sept. 24 letter to the California Air Resources Board, the state’s air agency, to withhold federal funding for highway projects if local regulators did not implement plans, known as “state implementation plans,” or SIPs, to improve air quality.

Conservationists: Interior ignores court order on sage grouse protection
Judge had ordered agency to use Obama-era rules that Trump tried to weaken to allow oil and gas drilling on sage grouse habitat

During the March to May mating season, sage grouse males display their bulging air sacs to attract mates. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images file photo)

The Interior Department is offering leases to drill for oil and gas in greater sage grouse habitat using a species conservation plan nullified by a federal court last month for being too weak, according to conservation advocates.

The agency is supposed to be adhering to an Oct. 16 order by a federal judge in Idaho who temporarily suspended the Bureau of Land Management’s latest sage grouse conservation plan, which removed protections for the species on millions of acres across the West. The ruling effectively put back into effect plans written under the Obama administration for protecting the bird from increased habitat destruction by wildfires and energy development. 

Elise Stefanik’s rise tests new GOP fundraising platform WinRed
After initial concerns, Stefanik has been using WinRed to capitalize on newfound fame

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., has been in the spotlight as one of the Republicans’ strongest questioners during impeachment hearings. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

On Fox News Thursday night, Rep. Elise Stefanik made sure to tell viewers about a website where they could “step up” and donate to her campaign. After her appearance, the New York Republican announced she raised a staggering $500,000 in less than two hours.

Stefanik’s fundraising push is an early test of whether House Republicans, using a new online fundraising platform Stefanik once questioned, can capitalize on national attention to bring in campaign cash.