Washington Post – With the official release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, it’s clear that several strains of thought prominent in the U.S. will be particularly challenged by the document. That includes U.S. individualists who tend to support limited government and fewer environmental restrictions — Rush Limbaugh has already accused Francis of Marxism — and also those who perceive a strong conflict between science and religion.
The Hill - The House on Thursday took the first step toward resuscitating the White House’s trade agenda by passing legislation granting President Obama fast-track authority. The bill now goes to the Senate, where the White House and GOP leaders are seeking to strike a deal with pro-trade Democrats.
Environment & Energy Daily – After years as the top Senate Republican appropriator overseeing most federal environmental regulators, Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski scored a personal victory yesterday by finally guiding the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies spending bill through the Appropriations Committee.
Environment & Energy Daily – Senate Republicans are pressing ahead with a controversial measure aimed at preventing “federal water grabs” arguing that Western farmers’ and communities’ access to vital water supplies to facing a two-prong attack. While drought is drying up water resources across the West, water rights holders are also worrying about whether federal policies will impede their access, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power yesterday.
The Hill – The Senate’s $612 billion defense policy bill strips the Veteran Affairs Department of its authority to run large construction projects, transferring it to the Army Corps of Engineers. The amendment to the chambers’ National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which lawmakers passed 71-25 on Thursday, is a rebuke of the agency over its effort to build a 184-bed replacement hospital in the suburb of Aurora, CO. That project has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
NY Times – The Senate on Thursday passed a $600 billion defense policy bill that would rein in pension costs, ban the use of torture and authorize legal offensive weapons for Ukraine. But it then immediately rejected a measure to pay for it, the first battle in a spending fight that count end in a government shutdown this fall.