policy

Photos of the Week: They’re Back!
The week of September 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Over the August recess, the Ohio Clock’s two arms were returned to full working order. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returned to Washington with just one working arm after breaking his shoulder at his home in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One rocky Donald Trump week tends to breed another... and another
Analyst: ‘If the election were held tomorrow, President Trump would lose — badly’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

After another rocky week for Donald Trump, former officials and experts see a president likely to become even more bold and unpredictable as his path to reelection appears to grow more difficult.

From a tumbling approval rating and worries among voters about his economic stewardship to his firing of another national security adviser to remarks at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon that raised eyebrows to a special election in a Republican stronghold that was closer than expected, the president’s brash style was on full display.

Census falling further behind in hiring outreach staff
Partnership specialists are critical to reach hard-to-count populations

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in July that the “the bricks and mortar [strategy] wasn’t working” to protect the agency’s shrinking number of area Census offices and closure of its Questionnaire Assistance Centers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Census officials continue to fall behind their goals for hiring local outreach staff, a critical component in promoting the 2020 census among the hardest-to-count populations in the country, agency officials told an advisory committee.

While several aspects of the preparations, including address verification, are on or ahead of schedule, the U.S. Census Bureau said it remains more than 200 people short of its goal of hiring 1,500 local partnership staff ahead of next year’s count. The hiring problems have come as the agency ramps up for the 2020 enumeration that will be used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state, how federal funds are allocated, and to structure economic surveys.

As House passes Arctic drilling ban, Interior goes the other way
Trump administration moves to open part of sensitive area to drilling, a win for Alaska Republicans

A pair of moose are seen near the Sheenjek River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Alexis Bonogofsky/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Interior Department and the House are moving in different directions on Arctic drilling.

Hours after the House voted 225-193 to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the agency said it was moving to open a portion of the area to drilling.

Bipartisan group urges FDA to go beyond vaping flavor ban
Senators call for more action to curb e-cigarettes

Last week, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from both parties emphasized to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday that more should be done to curb youth vaping beyond the Trump administration’s decision a day earlier to ban e-cigarette flavors.

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless briefed the senators in a morning meeting that the organizer, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, described in positive terms. Last week, Durbin called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.”

List to replace fired national security adviser John Bolton grows to 15
Trump says he makes ‘all the decisions’ so senior advisers ‘don’t have to work’

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews in July 2018. He took the executive helicopter to a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Thursday evening. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are now 15 candidates to replace John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, but the president says it will not be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

There was talk around Washington that the former Kansas GOP congressman — rumored to be eyeing a Senate run in his home state next year — might do both jobs after increasingly becoming Trump’s go-to counselor on foreign affairs and national security. But the president put an end to such speculation Thursday evening.

McCarthy: Addressing debt would be Republicans’ top priority if they take back House
Environment, technology and privacy rights would also top agenda, McCarthy says

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is promising action on the national debt if Republicans retake the chamber next year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — As House Republicans kicked off a 48-hour retreat here Thursday afternoon to plot their path back to the majority, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the GOP’s top priority if it retakes the chamber in 2020 would be to address the national debt.

“First thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of,” the California Republican said. “This is continuing to grow.”

Ted Cruz: A Trump deal with Democrats on gun control could lead conservatives to stay home in 2020
Depressed turnout ‘could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,’ Texas Republican says

Sen. Ted Cruz is warning Republicans against deals with Democrats on guns that could depress conservative turnout in next year’s elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is warning that President Donald Trump making a deal with Democrats on gun legislation might cause conservative voters to stay home in 2020.

“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights,” the Texas Republican said, “that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren.”

House Judiciary approves procedures for impeachment query
Nadler says hearings will start next week with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, left, and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, are seen during a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Lessons from the Mueller Report, Part II: Bipartisan Perspectives," in Rayburn Building in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday agreed to a resolution for procedures related to an investigation into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, as Democrats and Republicans deeply were split over whether it meant anything at all.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, allowed that “there has been a good amount of confusion” about how the committee should talk about the ever-broadening investigation into allegations that Trump committed crimes and abused the power of his office.

Trump administration expected to roll back clean water rule
New rule would reduce the number of waterways the federal government can protect from pollution

Wetlands and waterways such as those in the Florida Everglades, shown here, and the wildlife they sustain could be affected by the EPA's rollback of clean water protections. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Trump administration is expected to complete on Thursday a new rule that rolls back parts of the 2015 clean water rule that expanded federal authority over the nation’s streams, rivers and wetlands.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler scheduled a “major water policy announcement” at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that has lobbied hard for the repeal of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS.