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Energy and Commerce Honored in Historical Society Tradition
“In a way, the committees are a forgotten part of the system,” group says

Former House Energy and Commerce Chairman John D. Dingell speaks Wednesday at a ceremony honoring the panel in Statuary Hall. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The United States Capitol Historical Society paid tribute Wednesday to the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a 20-plus-year tradition.

Since 1995, the society has recognized one congressional panel at a special event each year.

End of an Era on Senate Finance as Longtime Staffer Departs
Mark Prater was figure in major tax debates dating to the 1990s

Mark Prater, chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and a veteran of major tax debates for decades, is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mark Prater, a fixture in GOP tax policymaking on Capitol Hill, is leaving his post as chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.

“Mark has played a vital role in every major tax debate in the last quarter century,” Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday in a statement, noting Prater’s work on last year’s tax code overhaul, the Bush-era tax cuts and more. He joined the Finance Committee in January 1990. Tuesday was his last day with the panel.

Georgia Democratic Race to Take On Karen Handel Moves to Runoff
Lucy McBath, Kevin Abel are top two finishers, 7th District contest also heads for runoff

Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., will have to wait till July to find out who will be her Democratic opponent this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democrats in Georgia’s 6th District will advance to a July runoff for the right to take on Republican Rep. Karen Handel in November. 

Since no candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the suburban Atlanta district, the top-two finishers — activist Lucy McBath and businessman Kevin Abel — will face each other on July 24. 

Who’s Going to Challenge Karen Handel Without Jon Ossoff?
Georgia’s 6th District primary is on Tuesday

GOP Rep. Karen Handel is running for her first full term, but there won’t be a rematch of last year’s special election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia’s 6th District was in the news nonstop this time last year when the special election to fill former Republican Rep. Tom Price’s seat became the most expensive House race in history.

GOP nominee Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state, ended up defeating big-spending Democrat Jon Ossoff by 4 points (with plenty of help from outside Republican groups). She is now running for her first full term.

Sinema Breaks Record at ACLI Capital Challenge Race
Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher is fastest member of Congress for second year in a row

Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, number 120, watches as Reps. Mike Gallagher and Kyrsten Sinema celebrate their victories at Wednesday’s ACLI Capital Challenge. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:30 p.m. | Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was the fastest female lawmaker and set a new course record for her division at the 37th annual ACLI Capital Challenge three-mile race Wednesday.

Sinema finished in 22 minutes and 3 seconds to break the course record of 22:41 held by former Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio.

4 Things to Watch During Tuesday’s Primary Elections
Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon will be hosting primaries

Voters head to the polls for primary elections in four states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four states will host primary elections Tuesday, setting up matchups for several key races this fall. 

Pennsylvania, Idaho and Nebraska all have House primaries to watch. And the Keystone State’s new congressional lines will be tested for the first time. The state’s Supreme Court tossed out the old map earlier this year, deeming it an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. 

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

Drafting Cotton May Not Work Again for Gallagher in ACLI Capital Challenge
Wisconsin Republican won for the lawmakers in last year’s 3-mile race

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher runs twice a week. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher has been running along to his “ACLI 2018 Crush Cotton” playlist to prepare for Wednesday’s 3-mile race.

Yucca Mountain’s Lone Ranger Finally Corrals House Attention
Nuclear waste bill passes easily in House, faces roadblocks in Senate

Rep. John Shimkus says his aggressive questioning of Obama-era energy officials reflected his “righteous anger.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Visiting Nevada’s Yucca Mountain in 2011 was like walking through a ghost town, Rep. John Shimkus recalled in an interview this week.

It was the year after the Obama administration surrendered to fervent local opposition and halted work by the Department of Energy to prepare the site to store the nation’s commercial nuclear waste, even though Congress designated it for that purpose in the 1987 Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

Gina Haspel Performs Well but Raises More Questions During Hearing
Suggests she has handled declassification decisions about her own background

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is sworn in before testifying during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing Gina Haspel said during the open portion of her Senate confirmation hearing seemed likely to derail her nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, and she picked up some needed Democratic support along the way. 

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who serves on the Intelligence panel, was the first Democrat out of the gate to support Haspel.