Henry Cuellar

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.

Dem Rep. Cuellar Asks Supporters to Donate to Vulnerable Republican
GOP Rep. John Carter is facing a tough challenger from Democrat M.J. Hegar in Texas’ 31st District

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, raised eyebrows for attending a fundraiser breakfast for vulnerable Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and asking his supporters to contribute to Carter’s re-election campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas invited his supporters to attend a fundraising breakfast for neighboring Texas Rep. John Carter on Tuesday.

The hook: Carter is a Republican in what experts expect to be one of the closest congressional races in the state.

What Has Congress Done Lately? Name Post Offices
About a fifth of enacted laws were little more than a federal name game

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., leads the Senate in naming post offices this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In recent years, about a fifth of the enacted laws did little more than designate names for federal property.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar leads members of the House with six bills to name federal buildings. He has proposed naming five post offices for veteran communities and a courthouse after George P. Kazen, a district court judge who retired after serving 40 years on the bench.

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.

House Appropriators Back Indefinite Detention of Migrant Kids
DeLauro: ‘It creates a false choice: Either we take the kids away or we jail everyone together’

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joined all the Appropriation Committee’s Republicans in backing language overturning the Flores agreement in a Wednesday markup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the southern border dominated the first few hours of Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee markup of a spending bill for the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments.

As of midafternoon, committee members had gotten through only eight of up to 50 expected amendments to the fiscal 2019 $177.1 billion spending measure.

Moderates Punt on Immigration Petition as GOP Goals Drift
House plans to vote on 2 proposals next week, but compromise remains elusive

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., arrives at the office of Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday for a meeting on immigration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the month since moderate Republicans launched a discharge petition to force the House to take up immigration legislation to protect so-called Dreamers, they’ve continuously moved the goal posts on what it is they want to achieve. On Tuesday, they shifted the target again.

The moderates have effectively agreed to drop their discharge petition on the “queen of the hill” rule — which would set up votes on four immigration measures, with the one getting the most votes above a majority prevailing — even though there’s not yet agreement on alternative legislation that can pass the House. 

How the Hill Reacted to the Trump-Kim Summit
Reaction ranges from a ‘huge deal’ to a ‘bi-lateral con job’

President Donald Trump answers a final question while departing a news conference following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore. Trump described his meeting with Kim as “better than anyone could have expected.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made history Tuesday in Singapore as the first American president to meet face-to-face with a leader of North Korea since the Kim dynasty sprouted on the peninsula roughly seven decades ago.

At the heart of negotiations was the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula in exchange for “security guarantees” for the North’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.

Immigration Discharge Petition Deadline Arrives
3 remaining signatures expected to be added Tuesday, but negotiations on alternative measure to continue

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., says an immigration discharge petition will get to the required 218 signatures without an agreement on separate immigration legislation House Republicans can pass. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The immigration discharge petition signature deadline has arrived. All signs point to the petition reaching the required 218 signatures by the end of the day, but negotiations are continuing in an effort to block it from forcing a vote.

The discharge petition, led by moderate Republicans, is designed to bypass House leadership and force a floor vote on a series of controversial immigration bills to protect so-called Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. 

House GOP Gets Closer on Dreamer Solution as Other Immigration Issues Arise
Negotiators coalescing around merit-based visa for young immigrants but path to citizenship still a sticking point

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is  among a group of slightly more than a dozen Republicans trying to negotiate an immigration deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of slightly more than a dozen House Republicans trying to negotiate a sweeping immigration bill came closer Friday to agreement on some issues, like how to deal with the “Dreamer” population, but found new obstacles on other matters like border security and interior enforcement.

Despite progress in some areas, several negotiators noted the likelihood that a discharge petition that would force a series of votes on immigration bills that lack unified GOP support would get to the required 218 signatures Tuesday.

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Current Blue Dog Democrats include, from left, Reps. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and  Brad Schneider, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.