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New hearing on D.C. statehood, same old partisan lines
Effort to provide D.C. residents with full congressional representation gains steam in House

From left, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Mayor Muriel Bowser veteran Kerwin E. Miller, and Dr. Roger Pilon, attend the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled “H.R. 51: Making D.C. the 51st State,” in Rayburn Building on Thursday, September 19, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first House hearing on D.C. statehood in nearly 26 years revealed old battle lines over giving the District of Columbia’s 702,000 residents full representation in Congress. House Oversight Committee Democrats applauded statehood as a long-overdue correction of an anomaly, while Republicans said corruption made D.C. unfit for full voting rights and claimed the whole thing was unconstitutional anyway. 

Thursday’s hearing grappled with HR 51, a bill that would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, into the Union as the country’s 51st state, and provide it one House representative and two senators in Congress. The District is currently represented by a nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who introduced the bill.

Democrats say they want to prioritize legislation over impeachment. Here’s their chance
Thursday release of prescription drug pricing bill provides opportunity for messaging shift

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine M. Clark and Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries say House Democrats are most successful in communicating their policy messages directly to constituents in their districts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders’ plan to release a top-priority prescription drug pricing bill on Thursday presents the caucus with an opportunity to refocus its messaging on legislating over investigating — one that many Democrats say is desperately needed.

Moderate Democrats in particular are concerned that the caucus’s policy work isn’t breaking through the impeachment cloud that has overshadowed the 116th Congress.

Senate chairman worried ‘Real ID’ will shock air travelers
Airport security set to require enhanced driver’s licenses in one year

The Senate Commerce chairman worries passengers will be caught by surprise when airports begin requiring Real IDs to pass through security. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

A post-9/11 law designed to keep people from using fake IDs to board airplanes is one year away from taking effect, but the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee worries that it’s destined to create “Y2K-type disruption” at the nation’s airports in October 2020.

Even though most states are issuing Real IDs — enhanced driver’s licenses required with the passage of a 2005 law  — Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker said he worries passengers who don’t have them and don’t know they need them will be caught by surprise on Oct. 1, 2020, when airports begin requiring the enhanced identification to pass through security.

As states legalize marijuana, pesticides may be a blind spot
Without EPA guidance for states to follow, pot users may be exposed to unknown harms

The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety, but it has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

People who consume marijuana medically or recreationally may be exposing themselves to unknown health risks from toxic pesticides.

The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety but has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. So, states with legalized marijuana industries have been tasking newly created cannabis regulators, health officials and others with setting testing standards for pesticide residues present on the plant.

House Republicans’ 2020 strategy is all about Trump
At retreat, GOP hypes up president as key to their effort to win back the majority

President Donald Trump greets House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Republicans are embracing President Donald Trump as a critical asset in their effort to win back the majority in 2020 and are building their policy agenda and campaign strategy around him.

During a 48-hour retreat here Thursday through Saturday, GOP lawmakers lauded Trump for helping them win a North Carolina special election and said they looked forward to riding his coattails in districts across the country next year.

All-day protest draws attention to opioid crisis, 'Medicare for All'
Liberal group makes rounds in lawmaker offices with personal stories

A demonstrator is arrested after protesting outside a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On an early morning in May, Freddie Henderson III’s heart stopped from a fentanyl overdose, a story his sister Jasmine shared Wednesday in the office of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, as part of a larger push by progressive activists to pressure lawmakers into supporting "Medicare for All" legislation and signing onto a separate measure that would inject $100 billion of federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic.

“My brother is now a statistic,” Henderson said. “And even though I do this work for a living, I couldn't save him. And that’s why I’m here.”

Trump orders end to flavored e-cigarette sales amid vaping-linked illnesses
Flavored e-cigarette makers will need to apply to the FDA for sales authorization

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in July. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it planned to halt the sales of flavored e-cigarettes amid a national outbreak of lung illnesses that may be linked to vaping devices.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration will issue a new policy within several weeks that will require all flavored e-cigarettes to come off the market.

Democrats question lack of flu vaccines, quarantine procedures for migrant children
Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren, also ask about medical screenings

Senate Democrats want to know more about the decision to not give flu vaccines to migrant children in U.S. custody. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, led by Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, are expressing new concerns about a decision not to provide seasonal flu vaccines to migrants in U.S. detention.

“This dangerous decision not to administer vaccinations for a disease that has already proven fatal to migrant children in CBP’s custody is immoral and irresponsible, placing entire communities at risk of the flu and its associated complications,” the senators wrote to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar.

Illinois Republican John Shimkus not running for reelection in 2020
12-term lawmaker leaves behind a safe Republican seat

Illinois Rep. John Shimkus is the ninth Republican to announce plans to retire so far this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. John Shimkus will not run for a 13th term in his southeastern Illinois district, vacating what will likely remain a safe Republican seat in 2020.

Shimkus announced his decision Friday afternoon, saying he wanted to make his plans known as candidates begin to circulate petitions for office next week. 

Democrats question Trump’s motives as Hurricane Dorian targets Florida
President’s decision to cancel Poland trip caught some aides off guard as polls turn bleak

President Donald Trump waves as he walks off Marine One at the White House on Friday. Trump said he canceled the trip to Poland so he could monitor Hurricane Dorian, but some Democrats see political motives. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump contends he canceled a diplomatic trip to Poland so he could monitor Hurricane Dorian as it churns toward Florida, but Democrats see political motives for the storm tracker in chief. And Trump started Friday clearly focused on other matters.

He claimed he was staying stateside “to ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm,” and White House aides were eager to cast the president as laser-focused on the hurricane — even though his decision, yet again, caught some off guard.