IN­SIDE THE BELT­WAY

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JENNIFER HARPER Bal­ly­hoo and balder­dash to jharper@wash­ing­ton­times.com

CONGRESS: JUST 12 WORKDAYS IN TWO MONTHS

Law­mak­ers may think no one is look­ing as they exit the na­tion’s cap­i­tal for im­pend­ing va­ca­tion, cam­paign­ing, fundrais­ing or the prover­bial fam­ily time. But some­one is watch­ing. And count­ing. Jim Hoft, founder of Gate­wayPun­dit.com, dragged out the cur­rent con­gres­sional cal­en­dar to dis­cover that law­mak­ers have only 12 days of work sched­uled through the end of Septem­ber.

Yes, just 12 days of pro­duc­tiv­ity un­til Oc­to­ber dawns and au­tumn is un­der­way.

The cal­en­dar it­self re­veals that each day in Au­gust is marked for “district work” — as in the law­mak­ers’ home dis­tricts. In Septem­ber, there are six more “district” days, plus two “no votes” days, one fed­eral hol­i­day and a scant few “D.C. work week” des­ig­na­tions when law­mak­ers are ac­tu­ally milling around in the U.S. Capi­tol or there­abouts. The re­sult? Congress has a dozen days to be pro­duc­tive.

Mr. Hoft re­calls that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made an earnest ap­pear­ance on Fox News on March 8 and vowed that there would be 200 solid work days in play to get Pres­i­dent Trump’s agenda passed. Those 200 days run out on Aug. 7.

“Noth­ing has hap­pened, and Congress will be on break when the 200-day prom­ise flies by,” says Mr. Hoft. “Only 12 days to get at tax re­form and Oba­macare. Can we all now agree this Congress is openly work­ing against this pres­i­dent?”

GORETOPIA

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore is very busy pro­mot­ing “An Inconvenient Se­quel: Truth to Power,” his sec­ond doc­u­men­tary film on global warm­ing, which opens in the­aters Fri­day. Mr. Gore ap­pears to be in a feisty mood, and he’s plenty vexed with Pres­i­dent Trump.

“The pres­i­dent has sur­rounded him­self with a rogues’ gallery of cli­mate de­niers, com­ing out of close ties with the car­bon pol­luters,” Mr. Gore told CBS on Wed­nes­day. “The car­bon pol­luters have taken over part of our democ­racy. We need to take it back.”

His com­ments, how­ever, were de­liv­ered the same day that Na­tional Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search an­a­lyst Drew John­son re­leased a re­port de­tail­ing Mr. Gore’s own car­bon-re­lated prac­tices.

Ac­cord­ing to the find­ings, the for­mer vice pres­i­dent’s 10,070-square-foot es­tate near Nashville, Ten­nessee, used 230,889 kilo­watt hours of elec­tric­ity dur­ing the last 12 months — or 21 times what the typ­i­cal Amer­i­can house­hold uses in a year. Mr. John­son based his re­port on data from Nashville Elec­tric Ser­vice, in­ci­den­tally.

“Al Gore has at­tained a near-myth­i­cal sta­tus for his fren­zied ef­forts to pro­pa­gan­dize global warm­ing. At the same time, Gore has done lit­tle to prove his com­mit­ment to the cause in his own life. I’m not sure he even be­lieves what he’s say­ing,” says Mr. John­son.

A RE­TURN TO WEST VIR­GINIA

Pres­i­dent Trump has sched­uled one of his ju­bi­lant jumbo ral­lies Thursday, this one at a pub­lic arena in Hunt­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia, which holds 9,000 peo­ple.

“Pres­i­dent Trump clearly be­lieves in putting Amer­i­cans back to work, in­clud­ing sup­port­ing coal and man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs. He knows the chal­lenges West Vir­ginia faces but be­lieves, like I do, that our state’s best days lie ahead,” says Rep. Evan Jenk­ins, West Vir­ginia Repub­li­can who re­cently ac­com­pa­nied Mr. Trump on Air Force One, where the two en­joyed a meat­loaf din­ner on­board the air­craft.

The city of Hunt­ing­ton, mean­while, is wit­ness­ing some po­lit­i­cal war­fare. The Her­ald-Dis­patch re­ports that read­ers are “go­ing at each other over Trump visit” in an on­line com­ments sec­tion, though the lo­cal news­pa­per did of­fer a sam­pling of com­ments “fit to print” — many quite heart­felt and hope­ful about Mr. Trump’s visit.

“West Vir­gini­ans gave Pres­i­dent Trump a more than 42-point vic­tory over ly­ing Hil­lary, and this week we got some of the first good news in nearly a decade about the come­back in our coal in­dus­try, “says Con­rad Lucas, chair­man of the West Vir­ginia Repub­li­can Party. “This White House is with us, for us and fi­nally on the side of mid­dle Amer­i­cans who want to work. We will make this state and na­tion great again.”

SPIDERMAN PLA­TOON

“What’s al­most as tough as Kevlar, as flex­i­ble as silk, has the DNA of a spi­der but comes from a worm? Some­thing the Army is look­ing to buy for as much as $1 mil­lion,” re­ports Pa­trick Tucker, tech­nol­ogy ed­i­tor for De­fense One.

“The U.S. Army is up­ping its in­vest­ment in ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered spi­der silk for body ar­mor. Last year, the ser­vice paid al­most $100,000 to Kraig Biocraft Lab­o­ra­to­ries, which makes spi­der silk that can be pro­duced at scale — with silk­worms,” writes Mr. Tucker, who adds that the Army will move to the sec­ond phase of the con­tract and will look to the lab to pro­duce a cus­tom­ized strain of the silk for “flex­i­ble” body ar­mor.

Spi­der silk is much tougher than reg­u­lar worm silk, and about half as tough as Kevlar. But it’s far more flex­i­ble — 3 per­cent elas­tic­ity for Kevlar ver­sus nearly 40 per­cent for spi­der silk, Mr. Tucker ex­plains.

MCCAUL’S MO­MENT

House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Michael McCaul has re­leased his monthly “Ter­ror Threat Snap­shot” for Au­gust, which re­veals that in 2017, there have been 14 “homegrown ji­hadi cases” ac­tive in the U.S. and the FBI con­tin­ues to in­ves­ti­gate cases in all 50 states. Over­all, there have been 209 ISIS-linked plots or at­tacks against West­ern tar­gets in the last four years; that in­cludes 31 since Jan­uary alone.

There’s some promis­ing news too.

“Last month the U.S.-led coali­tion re­claimed con­trol of Mo­sul from ISIS, rep­re­sent­ing a sig­nif­i­cant blow to the ter­ror group that is the great­est threat to the home­land,” says Mr. McCaul. “While the Amer­i­can-backed lib­er­a­tion of Mo­sul is a ma­jor vic­tory, the fight is far from over. We must stay vig­i­lant in or­der to keep them from es­tab­lish­ing new safe havens and stop them from re­turn­ing to the West. I ap­plaud Pres­i­dent Trump for mak­ing the fight against ISIS a top pri­or­ity.”

POLL DU JOUR

● 72 per­cent of U.S. vot­ers say the Jus­tice De­part­ment should open a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “gov­ern­ment leaks of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion”; 84 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 69 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 63 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 18 per­cent say the Jus­tice De­part­ment should not in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter; 12 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 16 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 24 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 48 per­cent say the Jus­tice De­part­ment should open a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server as sec­re­tary of state; 79 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 48 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 18 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 43 per­cent say the Jus­tice De­part­ment should not in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter; 16 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 41 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 72 per­cent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morn­ing Con­sult/Politico poll of 1,972 reg­is­tered U.S. vot­ers con­ducted July 27-29

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Capi­tol will not be a very busy place in the next months, says a watch­dog. There are 12 days of work sched­uled through Septem­ber.

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