Ryan Zinke

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.

Opinion: With a Potemkin President, Maybe It’s Time for Congressional Government
With Trump, the less he does the better

A strong case can be made that the less President Donald Trump does, the better off Americans are, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

In 1885, an up-and-coming Ph.D. student named Woodrow Wilson wrote the book that would establish his academic reputation. Entitled “Congressional Government,” Wilson’s conclusions reflected “the declining prestige of the presidential office” in the decades following the death of Abraham Lincoln.

“That high office has fallen from its first estate of dignity because its power has waned,” Wilson wrote in his introduction. “And its power has waned because the power of Congress has become predominant.”

Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says
Sen. Bill Nelson alleges move was aimed at helping rival score political points

The Interior Department has backed away from a proposal to expand offshore drilling on Florida’s two coasts. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

A plan to open Florida’s tourism-dependent Atlantic and Gulf coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling was dropped by the Trump administration on Tuesday after a bipartisan backlash that also threatened to complicate a must-pass fiscal 2018 spending bill.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department on Jan. 4 revealed a draft five-year plan for expanding the sale of federal offshore drilling leases to the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans, as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, announced Tuesday night on Twitter that Florida’s two coasts would not be included in the expansion.

Northeastern Lawmakers Unite Against Trump Offshore Drilling Plan
Republicans and Democrats from region join Florida and West Coast colleagues blasting plan

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, penned a joint letter on Monday to resist the Trump administration’s offshore drilling plans off their state’s coast. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers in the Northeast united across party lines on Monday to hazard against President Donald Trump’s offshore drilling plan to re-open more than 90 percent of the U.S. coastline to oil and gas companies.

Roughly 94 percent of the coastline, including the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts, remains off limits to oil and gas drilling. But Trump’s Interior Department revealed a five-year plan proposing 47 potential lease sales to energy companies through 2024, including two in the North Atlantic region from Maine to New Jersey.

West Coast, Florida Foes Resist Trump Offshore Drilling Plan
Both Republicans and Democrats pan Interior Department proposal

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is among those opposed to the Trump administration’s plan to allow offshore drilling off Florida's Gulf coast. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is a reason the last federal sale of oil or gas drilling leases off Florida’s Gulf Coast or California’s Pacific coast was in the 1980s: The local and congressional opposition is bipartisan and intense.

That’s also why the Trump administration can expect a fight over its new offshore strategy, which calls for drilling in areas once thought to be sacrosanct.

Trump Reduction of National Monuments a Rare Move
Antiquities Act has primarily been used to increase, not reduce protected areas

Part of the Bears Ears monument in Utah. (Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump on Monday signed two executive actions that drastically slash the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and criticized former presidents for their use of the Antiquities Act to designate such monuments.

Trump called former President Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears an overreach of executive power, even as he unilaterally undid much of the designation himself. President Bill Clinton first designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument in 1996 .

Honoring Eisenhower at Long Last
Memorial to 34th president broke ground Nov. 2

An artist’s rendering of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, scheduled to be completed by 2020. (Courtesy Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Its critics have called it a “monstrosity,” an “exercise in postmodern grandiosity,” and a “textbook example of the Washington swamp Donald Trump vowed to drain.”

Now, though, a memorial to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, mired in controversy for more than 17 years, is the newest monument under construction on the National Mall.