Jose E Serrano

House spending panel skeptical of NASA moon landing plans
Appropriators question push by White House to move up 2028 timeline by four years

Rep. Jose E. Serrano, a New York Democrat, said he is "extremely concerned" by the plan to move up the moon landing timeline by four years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday appeared wary of providing NASA with the additional money it wants to land the next Americans on the moon by 2024, after its administrator testified the agency likely won’t have a detailed cost estimate on speeding up its timetable until it submits its fiscal 2021 budget request in February.

The back-and-forth questioning by the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee was part of a monthslong debate between Congress and the Trump administration about whether it’s actually possible to push up the earlier 2028 timeline.

Trump drops census effort, announces new plan to ‘count’ noncitizens
‘The 2020 reelect is a big factor in this battle for Trump,’ GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump speaks at the “Salute to America” ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump lost a battle Thursday when he dropped his bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but by reviving the effort in dramatic fashion he amassed more ammunition for his coming reelection campaign.

During an unrelated social media forum event at the White House, Trump criticized federal judges and the Supreme Court for blocking his attempt to add the question, calling it a “left-wing” effort to erode rights. And he teased a “solution.” Once in the Rose Garden to address the citizenship matter, he declared, “we are not backing down.”

Trump steers again toward Supreme Court with census citizenship executive order
Opponents of adding question on citizenship to census say they’ll see the president there

President Donald Trump will likely meet a swift legal challenge if he issues an executive order to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s expected executive order adding a citizenship question to the census Thursday will meet a swift legal challenge, one the administration appears ready to fight to the Supreme Court again.

Trump said Thursday morning he would have a news conference on the census and immigration and a source familiar with his plans confirmed he will issue an executive order to add the question in response to a temporary block imposed by the Supreme Court in late June.

Spending, legal hoops ahead for Trump on census question

Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department will have more to say about how it will proceed on litigation on the census soon. But a path forward in the courts or in Congress is unclear. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Warming up for the next round of the fight over adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census after setbacks in the courts, the Trump administration’s latest effort faces numerous hurdles in court that could spill out into Congress’ annual spending talks.

The administration has been coy about how it will try to relitigate the question, and Attorney General William Barr told reporters Monday the “pathway” to reinstate it may be unveiled later this week.

Nine spending bills down, three to go in House
Not a single House Republican has voted for any of the spending bills, and the White House opposes them too

Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., right, full committee chair Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., conduct a House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on April 9, 2019. Nine of the 12 annual bills needed for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 have been passed. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed its second batch of fiscal 2020 spending measures Tuesday, in a $322 billion package that would block Trump administration policies on offshore drilling, a health care court challenge, the 2020 census and more.

On a mostly party-line vote of 227-194, the House passed the Democrat-written measure that combines five of the 12 annual bills needed for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Those are the Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which is the underlying vehicle, along with the Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, Transportation-HUD and the Interior-Environment bills.

Democrats ponder power of the purse to get full Mueller report

Attorney General William Barr is greeted by full committee chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., before a House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Department of Justice's budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Top Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee aren’t ready to wield their power over Justice Department funding to pressure Attorney General William Barr to provide the full special counsel report from Robert S. Mueller III — but they aren’t ruling it out either.

Rep. Jose E. Serrano, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the DOJ budget, told reporters that appropriators could prescribe that no dollars be used to block Mueller’s full report from being released — not that he’s saying that would happen.

Mueller’s report could be out within a week, Barr says during hearing
The attorney general appeared in front of House Appropriations to discuss the Justice Department budget

Attorney General William Barr arrives to testifies before a House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Department of Justice’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers Tuesday that he will be in a position to release a version of the special counsel report “within a week,” with color-coded notes explaining why he redacted any information.

Barr, before an appropriations subcommittee, reiterated that he would withhold information from the report such as grand jury material or information that could reveal counterintelligence methods or interfere with ongoing prosecutions.

Culture shock may be in store for House spending panel
A powerful House Appropriations subcommittee is set for new leadership, and that could mean shifting priorities

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., left, and Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., conduct a subcommittee hearing in the Rayburn Building on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One powerful congressional panel is set to exchange the South Bronx for rural Pennsylvania in the next Congress — in a manner of speaking.

Following the retirement of Rep. José E. Serrano, four-term Rep. Matt Cartwright is set to become the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Commerce and Justice departments and independent agencies like NASA and the National Science Foundation. The sprawling $70 billion bill is a battleground for numerous hot-button issues facing lawmakers, such as gun rights, immigration policy and climate change.

New York Rep. José Serrano has Parkinson’s, won’t seek re-election
Democrat says disease has not affected his work in Congress, and he will serve the remainder of his term

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., announced that he has Parkison’s disease and will not seek re-election in 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Democratic Rep. José E. Serrano announced Monday that he has Parkinson’s disease and will not seek re-election in 2020.

The 75-year-old said he plans to finish his current term, which is his 15th full one in Congress, as the disease has not yet affected his ability to work.

Spectrum auction could boot weather forecasting back to the 1970s, lawmakers warn
Appropriators call for delay of auction set for Thursday

The Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, plans to go ahead with a spectrum auction aimed at securing American leadership in 5G. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior House members, citing a potential threat to the safety of millions of people, urgently asked a federal agency Wednesday to delay an auction of radio frequency spectrum that is slated to occur Thursday.

If that spectrum is used for 5G wireless communications, as planned, it could interfere with government satellites’ ability to collect data in a nearby band — information on which accurate weather forecasts hinge, three House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen said in a letter obtained by Roll Call.