Illinois

Hurricanes Stir Up Toxic Legacy of Coal-Fired Power Plants
Trump administration has worked to roll back federal coal ash regulations

A coal ash pond at Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C. (Courtesy Les Stone/Greenpeace)

After Hurricane Florence deposited its last drop of rain on the Carolinas, the worst of the flooding was still to come as water made its way down mountainsides, through gullies and into creeks and accumulated in the Cape Fear River.

Spilling over the river’s banks, the water reached and breached a cooling lake used by Charlotte-based Duke Energy’s L.V. Sutton power plant in Wilmington, North Carolina. From there it flowed over one of the three surrounding coal ash disposal sites, prompting fears that the cancer-causing byproduct of bygone coal operations could be flowing through a major groundwater system.

At the Races: 19 Days Left
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in congressional campaigns

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

Donald Trump Once Wanted to Buy the FBI Headquarters, Now House Dems Are Asking Questions
New request sent to agency in charge for documents about potential conflicts

The front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Ave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Key House Democrats pressed the head of the General Services Administration to provide more information Thursday about President Donald Trump’s role in the proposal to rebuild the FBI headquarters building on its current footprint on Pennsylvania Ave.

“As a direct result of President Trump’s clear conflict of interest on this matter, we are now requesting information and documents to determine whether the President is making decisions about the FBI headquarters building based on what is best for the country or what is best for his own financial bottom-line,” wrote the five House members, who are all ranking members of relevant committees or subcommittees.

Failures of Congress Keep Nuclear Waste Scattered Across the US
Government’s liability is $34 billion and growing as communities wait and wait some more

A sign warns away trespassers near the shuttered Zion Nuclear Power Station along the shore of Lake Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

In Zion, Illinois, 257 acres of prime lakefront property about 40 miles northwest of Chicago should be at the center of a redevelopment plan to revive a struggling community caught in the aftermath of a closed nuclear plant, says its mayor, Al Hill.

But after decades of federal inaction on a comprehensive strategy to move the nation’s high-level radioactive waste from some 121 sites across the country, Zion and its local officials are coming to the same stark realization as many other communities with shuttered or aging plants: The federal government’s foot-dragging on nuclear waste policy may seem as long as the radioactive materials’ 10,000-year half-life.

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Could Republicans in Competitive Districts Pursue NRCC Top Job?
NRCC head has usually been someone who can travel, fundraise for others

California Rep. Mimi Walters may be interested in chairing the NRCC if the position is open. First, she has to win re-election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With many Republicans conceding their poor prospects of holding the House next month, attention outside the conference is beginning to turn to who will helm its campaign committee for the next cycle. 

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who’s running for a fifth term in a safe Republican seat, is the current chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s not uncommon for there to be turnover at the end of a cycle, and it’s largely understood Stivers is unlikely to remain in charge should the GOP lose its majority.

Menendez, Pompeo Feud Over Diplomatic Nominees
Secretary of state accuses New Jersey Democrat of ‘putting our nation at risk’

From right, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker arrive for a hearing on July 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A tiff between New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slowing down the confirmation of nominees for the nation’s diplomatic corps, already understaffed at a time of mounting global challenges.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State nominees over their qualifications even as he continues to press Pompeo to fulfill long-standing oversight document requests.

D.C. Eatery Serves Pizza With a Side of Female Democrats for Congress
Pizza Paradiso has pizzas for Ortiz Jones, Ocasio-Cortez, Underwood and Sinema

Drew McCormick, left, and Ruth Gresser, right, researched Democratic female candidates who would be “firsts.” (Thomas McKinless/ CQ Roll Call)

Forget eating pizza. These politicians are becoming it.

At least that’s the vision of chef Ruth Gresser, who owns Pizzeria Paradiso in D.C. She’s celebrating a handful of female candidates this cycle with a mozzarella salute, complete with a beer pairing.

Tuesday Is the Voter Registration Deadline in These States
For Maryland and D.C. residents, it’s the last day to register online

The midterm elections are approaching fast and many voter registration deadlines have already passed. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

If you live in one of 18 states and haven’t registered to vote, you’ve already missed your chance to cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

Other deadlines are fast approaching. Virginia residents, get your postmarks going. Monday is the last day you can register online, in person or by mail.

Stick With Senate Farm Bill or Extend Existing Law, Groups Say
Agriculture committee staffers in both chambers continue to work on compromise

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., helped push through their farm bill that passed the chamber on an 86-11 vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Unless key farm bill negotiators use the Senate version as the template for a new bill, an extension of the now expired 2014 farm law would be better than using the House farm bill as the basis for a conference report, representatives from nutrition, environmental, small farmer and food policy groups said Monday.

At a briefing, the organizations said the House and Senate farm bills differ sharply in important areas. While they want a new bill to replace the farm law that expired Sept. 30, the organizations say they represent a broad coalition that would oppose a bill based on the House farm bill version, which calls for changes, including to farm payments and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.