science

Capitol Ink | CO2 Congress

Smithsonian has almost $1 billion in outstanding maintenance, committee told
Buildings with outstanding repair needs include the Castle and the National Air and Space Museum

Cathy L. Helm, inspector general of the Smithsonian Institute, testifies before the House Administration Committee on Oversight of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Smithsonian Institution has almost $1 billion in outstanding maintenance needs across the more than 600 facilities it oversees, an issue that concerned lawmakers at Wednesday’s House Administration Committee hearing and one that the recently appointed head of the museum complex pledged to address.

Prominent Smithsonian buildings in need of deferred maintenance — maintenance and repairs that were not performed when they should have been — include the Smithsonian Institution Building, known as the Castle, the Arts and Industries Building and the National Air and Space Museum. The $937 million backlog for fiscal 2017 is an assessment of every building it oversees, according to to Cathy Helm, inspector general for the Smithsonian Institution.

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.

Retiring lawmakers will face tough market on K Street
‘K Street is not hungering for former members,’ senator-turned-lobbyist Norm Coleman says

In most cases, it’s congressional staff members who K Street really clamors for. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street recruiters are poring over the list of 21, and counting, lawmakers planning to exit Congress, but the lobbying sector may offer a shrinking supply of big-money gigs heading into the 2020 elections. 

As more House members and senators consider making their escape from Capitol Hill, the realities of the K Street economy and the well-worn revolving door will be among their considerations, say insiders at lobbying firms and downtown headhunters.

Trump drags ‘Sharpiegate’ into second day as latest self-inflicted wound festers
‘I’m really worried about him,’ Democratic presidential candidate Buttigieg says

President Donald Trump references a map held by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters after a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office on Wednesday. The map appeared to have been altered to suggest the storm was initially projected to hit Alabama, as Trump claimed, prompting federal officials to issue a correction. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday dragged another self-created scandal into another day as he defended a map he displayed a day earlier of Hurricane Dorian’s expected path that appeared to have been altered, prompting howls from Democrats and accusations that he was putting lives in danger.

White House aides were eager last week to portray a commander in chief as deeply involved in the federal government’s efforts to prepare for and respond to Dorian. The storm even did the Trump team a favor when it turned away from Florida, sparing the Sunshine State the kind of catastrophic direct hit that left at least 20 dead and catastrophic damage in the Bahamas.

About Trump’s North Carolina Hurricane Dorian emergency declaration...
Another presidential tweet stirs confusion as GOP POTUS seeks to boost Tillis

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., is in a competitive race for reelection next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

No, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis did not send President Donald Trump a formal request he declare a federal emergency as Hurricane Dorian heads to the Tarheel State.

Several media outlets tightly interpreted a presidential tweet posted Monday night in which Trump said such a declaration soon would get his signature “at the request of Senator Thom Tillis.” The president signed the declaration later that night.

Pentagon assembles team of intellectual property experts
Questions linger about how to properly compensate defense industry for data

The Pentagon's intellectual property team can include personnel from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, military departments and combatant commands. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Defense Department is on the verge of standing up a new cadre of intellectual property experts to help the Pentagon negotiate rights to valuable data and other IP from defense contractors, the department’s top weapons buyer said Monday.

“We need to go on the offense to protect our technology, versus merely acting defensively,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, said during a briefing with reporters.

NIH needs $1.3 billion for building repairs, report says
While more funding goes to research, aging facilities found in ‘deteriorating condition’

The James Shannon Building in Bethesda, Md., was completed in 1938. A congressionally mandated report noted that more than 72 percent of NIH facilities are more than 20 years old. (Lydia Polimeni/NIH file photo)

The National Institutes of Health needs a “substantial infusion of funding” to address the “deteriorating condition” of many of its facilities, according to a congressionally mandated report.

The report, released Monday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, recommends that Congress provide $1.3 billion in new funding over several years in order to address buildings and facilities at the NIH’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Trump reprises his pitch as the only savior for a Rust Belt battleground
Environmental groups call Pennsylvania facility he visited part of a ‘cancer alley’

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on May 20. He was back in the state, his 11th visit in two years, on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump interrupted his summer vacation Tuesday to again court Rust Belt voters that helped deliver him the White House, espousing false statements and bold promises as he seeks a second term.

“The political class in Washington gutted … your factories,” Trump told workers at a new Shell-owned petrochemical plant in Beaver County, along the border with Ohio, another perennial swing state he also won in 2016. Trump also blamed other countries for American industrial decline, drawing cheers when he told the audience “they have been screwing us for years.”

Gun research funding push faces challenge in Senate even after shootings
House-passed bill would be first time in decades Congress allocated funding specifically for gun violence research

Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees health research funding, signaled he wouldn't support new funds for research on gun violence. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress are amplifying their calls to fund more research on gun violence after the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, but Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt suggested Thursday he wouldn’t support new funding in that area.

The dispute over $50 million for gun violence prevention research could pose an additional challenge in the effort to avoid a government shutdown this fall.