Transportation & Infrastructure

Government shutdown pushing Metro off the rails to the tune of $400K every weekday
Issues could get worse if benefits are not transferred after January 21

Metro is facing $400,000 in lost revenue each business day that the government is partially shut down . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Metro, which operates trains buses and parking garages in and around Washington, D.C., is losing roughly $400,000 from its receipts for every business day that the partial government shutdown persists.

That revelation from WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld came in a letter to the Democratic senators from Maryland and Virginia who represent many users of the Metro system, including federal employees.

Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

The partial government shutdown is already casting a dark shadow for prospects of what Congress might accomplish in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Man Charged in Eastern Market Suspicious Powder Incident
Camera footage showed individual sprinkling white substance around metro station

A suspicious powder substance at the Eastern Market metro station on Capitol Hill has prompted a huge emergency response, road closures and transit service changes. (Jason Dick, CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:43 p.m. | A suspicious powdery substance at the Eastern Market metro station on Capitol Hill prompted a huge emergency response Monday, including road closures and transit service changes.

Around 8:45 a.m. a man sprinkled an unknown white powder on the platform and tracks at Eastern Market, before exiting the station via train. The same man also sprinkled power in the elevator at the Metro Center station, where he exited the metro, according to WMATA spokesperson Dan Stessel.

Shutdown Effects: Breakdown by Department and Agency
Thousands of federal employees will be working without a paycheck

The Federal Reserve building is seen on Constitution Avenue address on Saturday, the first day of a partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thousands of federal employees face the prospect of working without a paycheck as the White House budget office Friday night directed the heads of government departments and agencies to begin implementing shutdown plans.

Funding for nine departments and other agencies lapsed at midnight as President Donald Trump remained in a standoff with Congress, his demand for funding for wall construction along the border with Mexico the sticking point in talks over appropriations and a stopgap funding measure.

Negotiations on Spending Deal Will Continue, But No Deal in Sight
Senate won’t vote on House spending plan, McConnell says he hopes White House and Democrats can make a deal

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., is seen on the Capitol's Senate steps before a procedural vote on the spending bill on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker reached an agreement with the two Senate leaders that no vote on a spending plan will happen until there’s agreement between Senate Democrats, House Republicans and the White House.

“We’re not voting on anything else ... until there’s a global agreement,” Corker said on the Senate floor.

Listen to the New Sing-Song Warning for Senate Subway Riders
A new disembodied voice now rings out in the Russell trains

New audio warnings have been added for riders on the Senate subway. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a new soundtrack in the Senate basement this week, with the addition of audio warnings for riders on the Russell trains.

“Stand clear, the doors are closing,” says the announcement, which follows a few musical tones. 

White House: Trump Willing to Use Other Funds for Wall to Get Deal
White House would go along with deal as long as it can use funding from other sources to get closer to $5 billion

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House might go along with the Senate plan “as long as we can couple that with other funding resources that would help us get to the $5 billion.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to endorse a potential spending deal that would include all of the remaining appropriations, including a Senate Homeland Homeland Security bill with $1.6 billion in wall-related funding.

But as usual, there was a catch — President Donald Trump might insist on flexibility to use other funds already identified to get closer to his desired $5 billion.

End of the Road for the Highway King Shusters
For the first time in 46 years, south-central Pennsylvania will not send a Shuster to Congress

Bud Shuster, right, wipes his eye as he congratulates his son, Bill, for winning the Republican nomination to fill his seat in 2001. (Gary M. Baranec/AP)

EVERETT, Pa. — Bud Shuster leaned away from a desk in his farmhouse as he considered the differences between his chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and that of his son, Bill, who succeeded him in Congress and retires at the end of this session.

In his six years as chairman, the younger Shuster checked off all the major items in his committee’s jurisdiction, shepherding long-term authorization bills for roads, transit and aviation and three consecutive water resources development bills to enactment. In an era when Congress was known more for dysfunction and gridlock than delivering major legislation, that was no small feat, and it set a record unmatched since his father’s stint as chairman from 1995 to 2001.

Coast Guard Bill Returns ‘Delta Queen’ Steamboat to Spotlight
Senate reauthorization measure would exempt boat from safety regulations

A provision in the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would allow the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

Senate votes this week will help determine whether a 91-year-old wooden steamboat can be revived as an overnight river cruise ship — even though the Department of Homeland Security calls that prospect an “unacceptable” fire risk.

A provision buried deep in a recently modified version of the Senate’s Coast Guard authorization bill would exempt the Delta Queen paddle wheel boat from federal law and Coast Guard regulations that require vessels with overnight accommodations for 50 or more passengers to be made of fireproof materials. The boat’s owner envisions the vessel as a Mississippi River cruise vessel for up to 174 passengers.

With an Ambitious Policy Agenda, Pelosi is Poised to Lead the House Again
Calls increased from Democratic incumbents and candidates asking for new generation of leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 7, the day after Democrats had retaken control of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Basking in House Democrats’ midterm election wins, Nancy Pelosi is focused on the planks of the Democratic campaign platform that will become the new majority’s agenda: health care, infrastructure and cleaning up corruption in Washington.

But the California Democrat cannot escape questions about another theme that emerged on the campaign trail — opposition to her leadership.

Trump: ‘I Don't Care’ if House Democrats Release My Tax Returns
President also downplays difficulty of split government

The Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. President Donald Trump says he wouldn’t care if House Democrats release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Trump claimed Monday he is not concerned about House Democrats obtaining and releasing his tax returns if they win the House majority in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

“I don’t care,” he told reporters as he arrived in Indiana for a campaign rally.

Republicans Poised to Stand by Trump, Win or Lose
No matter the outcome in November, those who have backed Trump will continue to do so

No matter what happens in the midterms, most Republicans will continue to stand behind their man for the second half of his term, most in the party predict. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

In 2006, the reckoning finally came for Republicans. After 12 years in power in the House, scandal after scandal brought the party down — Tom DeLay, the powerful majority whip from Texas, quit after being indicted, and Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned following a scandal involving underage congressional pages. The Iraq War was looking lost. And the president was a drag on everyone. Republicans lost 30 seats in the House, six in the Senate.

Almost immediately after the election, Republicans started eating their own.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

A reauthorization of the FAA will be among the final pieces of big-ticket legislation to pass before Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

7 Ways Congress Might Make Your Next Airline Flight a Little Less Terrible
Full FAA reauthorization is the next legislation before the Senate

The Senate is debating a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration this week, and on the line might be efforts to make air travel better for passengers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is getting ready to send to President Donald Trump a bipartisan reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that might make the commercial flying experience just a little less awful.

“Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats,” Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said when the deal was announced.

Senate GOP Effort to Rebuke Trump on Trade Has Died a Quiet Death
Effort to assert tariff authority not included in FAA reauthorization bill

Sen. Bob Corker has little hope for his trade legislation. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bob Corker appears resigned to the fact that the Senate won’t be acting to rebut President Donald Trump on trade policy before voters go to the polls in November.

The Tennessee Republican had previously talked up the possibility of attaching legislation drafted with Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey to a must-pass reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.