Who Is Cecil Andrus?
How the late Idaho governor almost derailed the omnibus

Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus speaks during the National Audubon Society Gala Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 31, 2015. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The National Audubon Society)

Cecil who?

The spirit of the late Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus graced the political stage this week when a provision in the omnibus spending package naming the Gem State’s White Clouds Wilderness after the Democrat snarled progress on the legislation, which was needed to fund the government past Friday.

Opinion: Fossil Fuels Aren’t Dead, and North Dakota Is Proof
Investing in coal and natural gas still pays dividends for our communities

Investing in fossil fuel research doesn’t mean throwing good money after bad; it means prosperity for our communities, Hoeven writes. Above, workers watch a gas flare at an oil well site in Williston, North Dakota, in 2013. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

One of the most important challenges we face as a nation is reducing our deficit and debt. As a proud fiscal conservative, I understand we must make tough financial decisions; that is why I have worked diligently on measures that will put our nation on a path to a balanced budget.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which formulates the federal government’s spending plans, I know there is a distinct difference between making wise investments and frivolous spending. I believe it is important that we steer our scarce federal dollars toward effective investments like energy research and innovation.

An Environmental Film Festival That Aims for a Big Tent
26th annual confab pitches itself as both mission-driven and entertaining

The 26th annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital is underway, and runs through March 25. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maryanne G. Culpepper, executive director of the Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital, has a long-standing heads-up for filmmakers who arrive at screenings to talk about their movies. 

“People are going to challenge you with questions. Be sure that you really know your stuff, and don’t try to bluff your way through an answer, because they’ll call you on it,” she says. 

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.

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.

Winners and Losers in the Trump Budget in One Chart
Administration released its budget request Monday

The president’s budget request includes $1.1 trillion in discretionary funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration submitted its fiscal 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill on Monday, outlining the president’s priorities for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Roll Call analyzed the documents and put together the following graphic on the departmental winners and losers in the proposed budget:

White House to Pull Nominee to Head Environment Council
Kathleen Hartnett White has history of rejecting climate change science

The White House is withdrawing the nomination of Texas climate change science skeptic Kathleen Hartnett White. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House will withdraw the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, the former Texas environmental official tapped to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House official said Sunday.

The Washington Post first reported the planned withdrawal on Saturday.

Opinion: Cutting Ribbons Won’t Do Anything for Infrastructure
What’s needed is a wholesale change

Planners should think twice before reaching for the ceremonial scissors, Nellenbach writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump has repeatedly made the case for a comprehensive infrastructure package. He did so on the campaign trail, and he has kept up the drumbeat in the Oval Office. As his administration prepares to issue its proposal for revamping the nation’s creaky transportation systems, aging waterways and inadequate broadband, it should zero in on two key problems.

First is shortsighted spending. The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on infrastructure. Roughly two-thirds of that spending pays for new, improved or rehabilitated structures as opposed to their everyday operation and maintenance — costs that are mostly borne by state and local governments. For far too long, the federal government has poured money into new construction without an eye to what happens after the ribbons are cut.   

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.

Florida Offshore Decision Unleashes Opposition Tidal Wave
Other states want similar treatment

The Interior Department wants to expand offshore drilling but has decided to remove Florida’s coasts from its plan.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Interior Department’s decision to remove Florida’s coasts from its draft five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan because of staunch opposition from the state has opened a floodgate of coastal state governments demanding similar treatment.

[Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says]