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Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

More Democrats Say They’ll Skip Trump’s State of the Union
Lawmakers cite president’s ‘racist’ comments, say they’ll have ‘state of our union’ event

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., will not attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address later this month, joining four other Democrats in protest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Add two more Democrats to the list of House members catting on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address later this month.

Reps. Frederica S. Wilson and Pramila Jayapal announced over the weekend they will join three other lawmakers boycotting the event held in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

Inspired by #MeToo, Some Staffers Are Telling Congress’ Secrets
Beneficiaries of confidential settlements challenge code of silence

A former staff member of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says he was inspired by the #MeToo movement to release documents outlining a $7,000 workplace discrimination and disability settlement with Walden’s office in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cody Standiford is not exactly saying #MeToo.  He’s never been a victim of sexual misconduct.

But he may end up helping congressional staffers who have. The Iraq War veteran recently defied a legal agreement to shed light on how Congress handles harassment and discrimination complaints.

Photos of the Week: Ice Cold to 60s, a Happy Alabama Fan and More as Full Congress Returns
The week of Jan. 8 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A visitor from Vietnam poses for a picture on the frozen Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool on Monday. A member of the National Park Service subsequently told people to leave the ice and said that 12 people had recently fallen through. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House returned to Washington this week (after the Senate gaveled in last week), officially kicking off the second session of the 115th Congress. Temperatures were frigid as the week began, but the city thawed out by Friday, when highs hit around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

With House Passage of FISA Measure, Action Moves to Senate
GOP leaders in chamber move to restrict amendments to reauthorization

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is part of a bipartisan group that has problems with the FISA reauthorization measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday approved 256-164 a bill to reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years, putting the measure in the Senate’s hands.

The bill, backed by the Trump administration and all the U.S. intelligence agencies, would preserve the FBI and the intelligence agencies’ ability to search a surveillance database for information on Americans with minimal warrant requirements.

House Republicans Discuss FISA — Spending, Not So Much
Fiscal deal is primarily at the leadership level-BR

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said the GOP conference focused on the FISA legislation, not spending issues.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | House Republicans spent their Thursday morning planning conference discussing a surveillance measure that would be on the floor later the same day instead of a plan to fund the government beyond Jan. 19.

The week-end GOP conference meeting is typically reserved for legislative issues the House will tackle in weeks ahead. Conferences held the morning after fly-in day are when House Republicans normally discuss measures on the floor that week.

FISA Vote in the House Pivots on Privacy
Bipartisan group is demanding tougher protections

As provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expire, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash is leading a bipartisan group voicing privacy concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is set to vote Thursday on a bill to extend the electronic surveillance powers of the National Security Agency. 

How the House votes could determine whether the bill wins Senate passage for a long-term extension of provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or if lawmakers hit another roadblock and decide to punt again. Facing an impasse before Christmas, Congress passed a short-term extension until Jan. 19. The provisions were due to expire Dec. 31. 

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.