New Jersey

Republicans attack bill to block Minnesota wilderness mining
Mining in Boundary Waters, bill critics say, will help meet U.S. renewable energy needs

Gosar led Republican attacks on the bill to protect a Minnesota wilderness from mining. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Wednesday ripped into a bill that would block mining in about 340 square miles of sprawling wilderness in northeast Minnesota, arguing the legislation would harm the expansion of renewable energy sources.

Leading the attack at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing was Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. At times bordering on shouting, Gosar said failing to ramp up U.S. mining would leave the country beholden to foreign powers and lead to exploitation of child workers abroad.

State of the Union: Draft after draft

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., speaks with reporters following the final votes of the week on Dec. 12, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Josh Gottheimer was one of the youngest staffers on the Clinton administration’s speech writing team.

“The good news is I was only 23 so I don’t think I realized just how overwhelmed I should have been by being in the West Wing,” said Gottheimer while showing CQ Roll Call the Clinton speech memorabilia adorning his walls.

To write a State of the Union for Clinton, you had to do math
Josh Gottheimer was on the speechwriting team back when impeachment collided with the annual address the first time

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., walks down the House steps at the Capitol in 2017. As a White House speechwriter under President Bill Clinton, Gottheimer worked on several State of the Union addresses. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bill Clinton was good at keeping track of how many words were in his State of the Union.

It was 1999, the House had impeached him, a Senate trial was underway, and the president was up late doing math.

Photos of the Week: Groundhog Day edition
The week ending Jan. 31 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander enters the Capitol on Saturday for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers fret over China’s virus info as US local case emerges
The newest case is the husband of an Illinois woman who was confirmed as sick last week

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., talks with an aide during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health markup in July 2019. Lawmakers on the subcommittee were briefed Thursday on the spread of coronavirus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers briefed by the Trump administration Thursday expressed confidence in the United States government’s approach to the spread of coronavirus, although not necessarily China’s response, as officials confirmed the first person infected in the U.S. who had not traveled to China.

The morning briefing for Energy and Commerce Committee members came hours before the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency. Committee members in the briefing expressed concerns that China may not be providing enough information about the outbreak and worried that a severe flu season could strain the U.S. response if coronavirus spreads here. Lawmakers expressed a willingness to provide more resources if needed.

House panel asks whether legislation can keep cash as king
Electronic payments taking greater market share

Rep. Donald Payne, D-Md., is backing legislation to ban cashless stores. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At some uncertain point in the future, printing cash may be a waste of money. As Americans increasingly rely on credit cards, online transfers, mobile apps and cryptocurrencies to complete transactions, a House panel debated Thursday the promise and potential pitfalls of a cashless society.  

In recent years, some stores have decided they’d rather not ask “paper or plastic?” to customers at checkout. Instead, they’ve gone cash free, accepting only smartphone apps like Apple Pay, mobile payments like Venmo, or debit and credit cards.

What kind of country do Americans want? Voters definitely have a choice
As Democrats wrestle with complex issues of inclusion, the GOP message is much clearer

Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer campaigns in Iowa last August. As Democrats wrestle, sometimes clumsily, with complex issues of inclusion, Republicans have a much clearer message, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — “This is the diverse party. We are a diverse country. I am from a majority-minority state, California. So as far as I’m concerned, if we aren’t talking about race, dealing with race and actually addressing the problems of America today forthrightly and strongly, we’re not going to get the support of people, and we don’t deserve the support of people.”

That was presidential hopeful Tom Steyer, when I spoke with him recently, during his second stop through North Carolina in two weeks.

Ambitious infrastructure plan hits reality check: How to pay for it
Disagreements illustrate how difficult it will be to bring plan to fruition

Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., leaves the Capitol on Feb. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Wednesday morning, House Democrats presented an ambitious vision for a massive infusion of federal dollars in the nation’s infrastructure. 

By Wednesday afternoon, members of the House Ways and Means Committee illustrated how difficult it will be to bring that plan to fruition.

Some voters skeptical as Trump rallies with recent GOP convert Van Drew
South Jersey trip came after House freshman changed parties, opposed impeachment

With President Donald Trump looking on, Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew speaks at a Wildwood, New Jersey rally on Tuesday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WILDWOOD, N.J. – Prompted by President Donald Trump, the cheers for freshly minted Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew at a rally here Tuesday night were deafening. It appeared certain that the thousands who had come to see the president were fully embracing Van Drew, who is up for a second term in November.

But outside the 7,500-seat Wildwood Convention Center, some Republican voters remained skeptical of Van Drew’s conservative bona fides. Yes, he had switched parties after winning a South Jersey seat in Congress as a Democrat in 2018. Yes, he had pledged his “undying loyalty” to Trump. And yes, he had voted against the impeachment inquiry that Trump has derided as a “hoax.”

Trump's Mideast peace plan puts pro-Israel Democrats in a bind
Possible lasting break between the Israeli government and Democratic lawmakers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House Tuesday announcing a new plan for Middle East peace (Getty Images)

The White House’s release of its long-awaited Middle East plan is notable less for its specifics, which have already been rejected by the Palestinians, than for the bind it puts on traditional pro-Israel stalwarts in the Democratic Party, particularly if Israel decides to formally annex Palestinian land as the administration plan would immediately allow.

The administration’s 180-page “Peace to Prosperity” proposal released Tuesday, also called “The Vision,” is the three-year brainchild of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. “The Vision provides for a demilitarized Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel, with Israel retaining security responsibility west of the Jordan River,” states a White House outline of the proposal.