Energy & Environment

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar gets primary challenger
Immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros interned for Cuellar in 2014

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, one of the more conservative Democrats of Congress, is getting a primary challenge from the left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Henry Cueller, one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress, is getting a primary challenger who has support from the progressive group that backed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her bid for office.

Immigration and human rights lawyer Jessica Cisneros, 26, who was an intern for Cuellar five years ago, announced her primary campaign Thursday to unseat the eight-term incumbent in Texas’ 28th District that stretches along the southern border with Mexico and reaches north into San Antonio.

‘Sex-starved males’ comment sets off House floor kerfuffle
Rep. Norma Torres stirs GOP colleagues with comments during debate

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., referred to some GOP colleagues as "sex starved males" on the House floor, setting off a brief spat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A routine House debate nearly exploded Wednesday when California Democrat Norma J. Torres implied her Republican colleagues were “sex-starved males” for opposing abortion.

“Mr. Speaker, it is tiring to hear from so many sex-starved males on this floor talk about a woman’s right to choose,” Torres said as lawmakers debated a rule setting up amendment consideration for a four-bill spending package that includes funding for public health programs.

‘Running with Beto’: The offstage version of Beto O’Rourke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 77

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate in Texas provided plenty of fodder, warts and all, for David Modigliani’s ‘Running with Beto’ documentary on HBO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Filmmaker David Modigliani got to first base with Beto O’Rourke. At an amateur club baseball game in Austin, Texas, in early 2017, O’Rourke, center fielder for the Los Diablitos de El Paso, singled and introduced himself to Modigliani, first baseman for the Texas Playboys Baseball Club, and said he was a congressman running for Senate.

This anecdote doesn’t make it into Modigliani’s documentary for HBO, “Running with Beto,” but it fits right into the movie’s vibe. O’Rourke’s “Let’s put on a multimillion-dollar Senate campaign” approach did not suffer from a lack of exposure, but Modigliani casts it in a different light by showing more than just the Texas Democrat’s armpit-sweat and crowd-surfing, DIY schtick. He wanted to document someone like O’Rourke “trying something new” in Texas, where Democrats “have been banging their heads against the wall for 30 years.”

Buffeted by trade winds, soybean farmers seek tax credit renewal
Industry ‘would be wiped out‘ if tariffs on Argentine competitors were lifted, Rep. Kind says

Freshman Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, center, is seeking to restore the biodiesel credit (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One bright spot in an otherwise dreary outlook for U.S. soybean farmers, caught in the ongoing China trade war crossfire, has been the 1.5 gallons of biodiesel — a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional diesel motor fuel — that each bushel of soybeans yields.

Protected on one side by the EPA’s renewable fuels mandate and by steep import tariffs on the other, some biodiesel producers were able to post profits last year despite the lapse of the industry’s coveted $1 per gallon tax credit for the sale or use of the fuel.

Republican senator likely to push colleagues to curtail August recess again
David Perdue says he wants time to consider spending bills

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia is likely to seek at least a partial cancellation of the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. David Perdue says he is likely to again call for the Senate to cancel its August recess — or at least part of the five-week break — so lawmakers can work on spending bills.

“If we don’t get it done, I’m still of a mind that we need to be here in August. I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s just a reality. We’re not doing our jobs. We’re not getting it done,” the Georgia Republican said Tuesday at a pen-and-pad briefing.

Capitol Ink | Trade War Farmer

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Fight over pay raise for Congress causes Democrats to pull spending bill
Rules chairman says measure could return as early as next week

House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., confirmed the plan is to remove the legislative branch title from the first bundle of fiscal 2020 appropriations measures. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have decided to pull the fiscal 2020 Legislative Branch spending bill out of a package moving on the floor this week, averting a politically toxic debate over salaries for members of Congress.

“We could have done this in a bipartisan fashion, but people were demagogues on this. I don’t want to leave my members who are in tough districts subjected to that,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Monday evening.

Road ahead: House tackles first spending package and NDAA endurance contest
House also set to vote on a ‘not quite contempt’ resolution Tuesday

A man stands near the Mountains and Clouds sculpture in the Hart Building atrium on June 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has blockbuster floor action teed up this week, including votes on the first spending package for fiscal 2020 and a measure that would authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials.

House lawmakers have been warned that late-night votes are on the schedule as they work through floor consideration of a five-bill package that amounts to about $990 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2020.

Trump denies climate change as his Pentagon prepares for it
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 156

Former Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus, Jr., urges Congress to address climate change. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In this episode of CQ on Congress, former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says President Trump's climate change denial risks an apocalyptic future that will stress the U.S. military. Ben Hulac, author of a forthcoming CQ magazine cover story on how climate change is affecting the Arctic, explains why that could create conflict between world powers.

US-Mexico tariff talks resume Friday as implementation looms Monday
House Ways and Means chairman says if Trump imposes tariffs, he’ll introduce resolution to repeal them

Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’ll introduce a resolution of disapproval to repeal President Donald Trump’s tariffs against Mexico if they go into effect on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mexico and the U.S. will continue talks Friday about efforts to curb the flow of Central American migrants to the southern U.S. border, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a short statement late Thursday.

Mexico is trying to reach an agreement with the U.S. on migration in order to avoid a series of escalating tariffs President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on all Mexican imports. The first round of tariffs would begin Monday with a 5 percent duty on imports ranging from fruits to machinery.

Democrats want to require Pentagon to study climate change risks on military bases
It’s the latest effort by House Democrats to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, center, wants to include language in the NDAA bill that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will seek to include in the proposed National Defense Authorization Act language that would require the Pentagon to more aggressively study the risks posed to its bases by climate change, their latest effort to scrutinize and quantify the challenges a warming planet poses to the military.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow unveiled a summary of the measure Thursday, saying it will be included in the chairman’s mark to be offered by Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who leads the House Armed Services Committee that takes up the bill June 12.

Even Thomas Edison’s great-grandson wants inefficient incandescent bulbs phased out
Inventor’s descendant joining Democratic chairman in opposing planned Trump administration rollback

The Trump administration announced in February it would rescind long-planned regulations requiring that all lightbulbs be at least three times as efficient as the classic incandescents of Thomas Edison's day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even the great-grandson of Thomas Edison, popularly recognized as the inventor of the lightbulb, supports a government regulation that would lead to his ancestor’s creation being phased out.

Barry Edison Sloane, a descendent of the famous American entrepreneur, will join New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. Thursday to chide the Trump administration for rolling back lightbulb efficiency standards.

A Trump administration review of mining bans has green groups worried
Environmental groups say they worry the report could give the White House a rationale for opening federal lands to new mineral extraction

U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington. A new Commerce Department report has created worry among environmental groups, who say the report could give the Trump administration a rationale for opening federal lands to new mineral extraction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Commerce Department report about U.S. reliance on foreign sources of minerals deemed essential for national security has stirred fears among environmental groups that the Trump administration may lift existing bans on new mining claims on public lands, including sites near the Grand Canyon.

Commerce recommended in the report released Tuesday that the Interior and Agriculture Departments complete a “thorough review” of all such bans — also called withdrawals — and develop “appropriate measures to reduce unnecessary impacts that they may have on mineral exploration, development and other activities.”

Safe climate a constitutional right, young plaintiffs tell court
But government argues case violates Constitution’s separation of powers

Workers watch a gas flare at an oil well site in Williston, N.D., in 2013. The young climate activists in Juliana v. United States have argued that the federal  government’s policies supporting fossil fuel directly contributed to global climate change, which in turn threatens their lives and security. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A court case brought by 21 children and young adults asserting a constitutional right to safe climate may turn on the judiciary’s view of its own power to create climate policy.

Much of a hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here Tuesday afternoon centered on the judicial role in establishing a response to climate change and what rights a group of young activists have to challenge the government’s role in creating a climate crisis. If successful, the suit could require federal agencies to create a comprehensive climate action plan. The shape of such a plan is still unclear.