Stopgap bill seems likely as Congress struggles through appropriations


Though some lawmakers hoped last year's government shutdown would result in crisis-free government funding, appropriations activity in the House and Senate make it seem more likely that another crisis-driven stopgap measure will be necessary, especially given an upcoming five-week congressional recess, Reuters reports.

Liberal US senator hits road for Democrats

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren is quickly becoming a top Democratic fundraiser and campaign powerhouse, hitting the road on behalf of candidates in key races the party will need to win to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November.

Since March, the Massachusetts Democrat, a leader of the party's liberal wing, has stumped for candidates in Ohio, Minnesota, Oregon, Kentucky and Washington state and has trips planned this week to West Virginia and Michigan. It's a hefty schedule for a freshman senator who not long ago was teaching law at Harvard but now holds the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat.

White House: 2014 deficit to drop $100B

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's budget deficit will drop to $583 billion this year, the lowest level of President Barack Obama's tenure, the White House said Friday.

Last year's deficit was $680 billion. The latest update from the White House budget office is also $66 billion less than the administration predicted earlier this year when releasing the president's budget.

GOP aims at wrong department on oil drilling

National Journal

The House energy and water appropriations bill passed yesterday includes an amendment from Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, that would stop the Energy Department from blocking offshore drilling permits, despite the fact that drilling falls under the Interior Department's jurisdiction, National Journal reports.

High stakes for energy, environment policy in Pa. governor battle


The future of Pennsylvania's energy policy will be decided by its governor's race, with Republican Gov. Tom Corbet promising a fight against EPA carbon rules and more energy development and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf pledging more renewable energy and entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, E&E reports.

NYT's NRDC claims draw McCarthy's criticism

The Hill

A New York Times report suggesting EPA's carbon reduction proposal was heavily influenced by a Natural Resources Defense Council draft drew criticism from agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, who in a memo to staff said the report dismissed the work of agency employees, The Hill reports.

Parts of US Capitol closed after incident

WASHINGTON (AP) — An accident involving asbestos forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol on Thursday and prompted House leaders to delay the day's session for two hours.

A hazardous materials response team was in the building following an incident that began at around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., Capitol Police said. There were no initial reports of any injuries.

By midmorning, most of the building was reopened and Capitol tours on the House side resumed. The Senate, at the other end of the 751-foot-long building, seemed unaffected by the incident.

Senate confirms housing chief to run budget office

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Barack Obama's housing chief as the new director of the White House budget office, completing a second-term Cabinet shuffle.

In his new job, Shaun Donovan will be responsible for preparing Obama's annual budget request and reviewing proposed agency regulations before they become final.

Senators block election-year bill aiding hunters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans and liberal Democrats on Thursday derailed a Senate bill to help hunters and potentially aid Democratic senators seeking re-election in GOP-leaning states. It's the latest bipartisan measure to fall victim to election-year maneuvering.

The broadly popular legislation would have opened more federal lands to hunters and other sportsmen, increased funds for shooting ranges and blocked government curbs on bullets and fishing gear containing lead. It also would have renewed some conservation programs.

Steyer pushing more green group activity in 2014, driving new hires

National Journal

Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer's plans to spend up to $100 million this election season are helping boost some environmental groups, generating a spate of new hires and heavier spending, National Journal reports.


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