Oklahoma

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

New Bill Would Hold HHS Feet to Fire for Unaccompanied Minors
Whereabouts of nearly 1,500 undocumented children are reportedly unknown

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., says the Department of Health and Human Services has a responsibility to ensure the safety of unaccompanied minors even after they’re placed with a sponsor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators have introduced a bill designed to ensure that the Department of Health and Human Services takes full responsibility for, and keeps better track of, unaccompanied children who come to the border seeking entry to the United States and then are placed with U.S. sponsors.

The legislation follows a new report that revealed that the government could not determine the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 children that HHS had placed with sponsors this year.

Manafort Memos Reveal Influence Campaign
Former Trump campaign manager to cooperate with Mueller investigation

President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In 2012, Paul Manafort thought he had done what he needed to defeat a Senate resolution to condemn the prosecution of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and call for her release.

But the international political operator couldn’t outmaneuver veteran lawmaker Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., according to a document filed by federal prosecutors Friday in a criminal indictment of Manafort.

Something Old, Something New, Someone Appointed, Neither Blue
Republicans Jon Kyl and Troy Balderson sworn in on Wednesday

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, second from right, before being sworn in on the House floor Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress grew by two Republicans on Wednesday when Jon Kyl was sworn on the Senate side and Troy Balderson over in the House. 

Shortly after the Senate convened at noon and voted to confirm Elad Roisman to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Kyl, a former Senate minority whip who retired in 2013 but was appointed on Tuesday to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Outside Kavanaugh Cacophony, Congress Faces Looming Deadline on Government Spending
Despite steady progress this year, lawmakers have little time to pass funding bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., talks with reporters in the Capitol’s Senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons on August 28, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The multiday media circus surrounding the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh notwithstanding, Congress is facing a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government, with appropriators struggling to work out their differences on fiscal 2019 spending. 

There are only 11 legislative days this month when the House and Senate are both scheduled to be in session. That means there isn’t much floor time in either chamber to vote on what could be as many as three conference reports with spending totaling more than $1 trillion, even if the legislation is privileged in the Senate and the House limits debate.

At the Races: Big Sky Test(er)
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Oklahoma Republicans Pick Likely Successor to Bridenstine
Kevin Hern won the GOP primary runoff in the open 1st District

Former GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine is now the NASA administrator. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Businessman Kevin Hern won the Republican primary runoff in Oklahoma’s 1st District on Tuesday, and is likely heading to Congress next year from the safe GOP seat.

The Tulsa-anchored seat opened after GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine resigned in April to become NASA administrator.

No Price Tag Yet for Trump's Space Force, Pentagon Says
Nascent military service is a priority for the president

Pentagon leaders will work with Congress on legislation to create a Space Force, although there is no cost estimate for the proposal as of yet. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon does not yet know how much the nascent Space Force will cost, but nonetheless is working with Congress to write legislation creating the new military branch proposed by President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday.

“We have not done the costing estimates [on Space Force], that’s under way right now,” Mattis told reporters during a rare on-camera appearance in the Pentagon’s briefing room.

Inhofe Armed Services Leadership to Depart Drastically From McCain’s
Late Arizona senator rankled president and Pentagon, Inhofe sympathetic to both

Sen. James M. Inhofe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With John McCain’s death Saturday, the Senate Armed Services gavel will almost certainly pass to James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, marking a significant change in leadership style and priorities for the powerful panel.

While the boisterous McCain was a hard-charging critic of both the Pentagon and the commander in chief, the more subdued Inhofe is, in many ways, the opposite.