Science

House Democrats Rebuffed on Getting Census Documents
Quest to get answers on citizenship question blocked by party-line committee vote

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., says his resolution of inquiry was “about making sure we hold the administration accountable.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats tried this week to make the Commerce Department disclose documents about the decision-making behind a citizenship question on the 2020 census. But they were blocked by Republicans. 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday voted 20-16 along party lines to reject the resolution of inquiry by California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez and unfavorably report the measure. The vote prevents the resolution from moving to the House floor.

Hill Frets Over Trump Pattern of Promising Big, Then Backtracking
‘In the end, it can mean absolutely nothing,’ says a Republican strategist

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrive in the Capitol on May 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Peter T. King — in true New Yorker fashion — used his hands to hammer home his point as he walked through the Cannon Tunnel. As he talked about President Donald Trump’s style, he raised one hand, pushing higher an imaginary bar.

“He’s not afraid to take on challenges. He’s not afraid to go big,” the Republican congressman said of the president. “With him, there’s the ‘art of the deal.’ It’s give. It’s take. It’s forward. It’s backward. It’s sideways. But in the end, he typically goes forward.”

Senate Energy-Water Rejects Research Cuts Sought by White House
‘We started with an unrealistic budget proposal by the administration’

Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee advanced by voice vote Tuesday a $43.8 billion draft fiscal 2019 spending measure that, like the House’s bill, does not include drastic reductions in applied research programs proposed by the Trump administration.

The draft legislation, parts of which were made public Tuesday in the committee majority’s summary, represents a $566 million increase from fiscal 2018 enacted appropriations and a $7.2 billion increase from the Trump administration request. The House version would fund the same agencies at $44.7 billion.

Opinion: A Letter to Republicans About Watergate, Trump and the Judgment of History
Excuses by lawmakers won’t hold up in the end

The Watergate hearings focused on the conduct of President Richard M. Nixon more than 40 years ago. The events that led to Nixon’s downfall seem vivid and contemporary, Walter Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Dear Congressional Republicans,

As you spend time with your families over the recess, I suggest that you might invest a few hours reflecting on the Nixon era in Washington.

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Meet the Democrat Who’s Not Giving Up on Rural, Working-Class Districts
Charlie Kelly is executive director of House Majority PAC

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, controls tens of millions of TV spending for the fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By 7 a.m. on a recent Monday morning, Charlie Kelly was well into the weeds of America’s congressional districts and halfway through a cup of coffee.

Seated in a cramped conference room in downtown Washington, the executive director of House Majority PAC was meeting with each of his regional political desks. He rattled off candidates’ names — their strong suits, as well as their flaws — and dropped encyclopedic knowledge of each district.

Photos of the Week: Rain, National Police Week and Smokey Robinson
The week of May 14 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen through rain drops on the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A rainy week in Washington is coming to a close (though the rain seems intent on sticking around through the weekend). Some of the events this week on Capitol Hill included: a presidential visit to the GOP policy lunch, testimony from singer-songwriter legend Smokey Robinson, the premiere of Sen. John McCain's HBO documentary and oh, more rain.

Here's the entire week in photos:

Brooks Defends Blaming Falling Rocks for Rising Sea Levels
‘Erosion is the primary cause of sea level rise in the history of our planet,’ Alabama congressman says

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., argued with a climate scientist in a committee over the cause of rising sea levels. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks defended his statement saying falling rocks and erosion were the reason for rising sea levels.

Brooks earned national headlines when at a Wednesday House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing, he argued with a climate scientist.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
We found your badge, Shaun; Virginia commuting woes; and royal wedding prep

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., arrives for a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FBI’s 2019 budget featuring testimony by director Christopher Wray on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

FBI Director Raises Concerns about Chinese Tech Giant Trump Wants to Help
Wray defends agency, responding to political attacks from Congress and White House

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the bureau’s FY2019 budget Wednesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday reaffirmed concerns about Chinese telecommunications company ZTE that President Donald Trump wants to help — and defended the agency from political attacks coming from the White House and Congress. 

At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing about the FBI’s fiscal 2019 budget request, Wray used a question about the agency’s responsiveness to congressional oversight to highlight the importance of protecting people who provide agents information.