Jim Bridenstine

Fly me to the moon … before China does
Trump administration wants to get there by 2024, but the competition will be stiff

The image of a Saturn V, the rocket that sent Apollo 11 into orbit in 1969, is projected Tuesday on the Washington Monument. Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new space race is on, and this time it’s the U.S. versus China rather than the former Soviet Union.

In the coming years, NASA and the China National Space Administration separately plan to send a series of missions to the moon with the goal of having a strong presence on its south pole — heightening the likelihood of tension and conflict.

D.C. is over the moon about 50th anniversary of Apollo 11
The week’s events are out of this world

A collection of Barbie dolls celebrating the moon landing anniversary is on display on Wednesday at the “Barbie Pond on Avenue Q,” outside a house in Washington. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Fifty years ago, two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made history as the first people to ever step onto the surface of the moon (or onto a movie set, depending on which side of the conspiracy spectrum you fall on). This week our nation’s capital is siding with space and celebrating the lunar mission that took place in July 1969.

In honor of the milestone anniversary, the National Air and Space Museum is projecting a 363-foot image of Saturn V, the rocket that launched the Apollo 11 crew, onto the east side of the Washington Monument. On Friday and Saturday, the museum will host even more theatrics, recreating the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock on the National Mall. 

NASA chief warns yearlong stopgap could cripple return to moon
Sen. Moran asked Administrator Bridenstine for help winning over former House colleagues

The image of a Saturn V, the rocket that sent Apollo 11 into orbit on July 16, 1969, is projected on the Washington monument on July 16, 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to land the first man on the moon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With celebrations underway marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the NASA administrator is warning that a full-year stopgap spending bill, like one recently floated by the Trump administration, would be “devastating” to U.S. efforts to get back to the moon.

Administrator Jim Bridenstine was at the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday for a hearing on space exploration to the moon and Mars, when Chairman Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, asked about the potential consequences of a yearlong continuing resolution, or CR.

Road ahead: House health care week again, as Senate tackles contentious nominations
House Democrats also voting on Equality Act, which will mark passage of half of their top 10 bills

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is lead sponsor of the Equality Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s health care week, part two, in the House as the chamber will vote on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen the 2010 law and lower prescription drug prices — after passing a measure last week that Democrats said would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

But the health care package won’t be the only marquee legislation on the floor this week. Democrats will be halfway through advancing their top 10 bills out of the House after a vote on HR 5, the Equality Act.

There’s Some WTF in This Lame Duck Session of Congress
Appointed, maybe and not-yet, maybe-never members dot the Capitol

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on November 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Every lame duck session of Congress is special in its own way, and the current one, operating alongside the orientation session for newly elected members of Congress, has its share of oddities and weirdness. 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan swore in new members of the House on Tuesday, those who won special elections to fill out unexpired terms, Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., and Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa. Oh, and also an “appointed” member, Republican Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.  

Justice Department Issues Indictment for 2013 Congressional Trip to Azerbaijan
Feds allege nonprofit concealed that trip was funded by foreign government

A 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan has resulted in an indictment being handed down to the head of the nonprofit, whom the government alleges concealed the source of funding for the journey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Justice Department has issued an indictment of former non-profit head Kevin Oksuz for his role in a plot to hide the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Kevin, also known as Kemal, Oksuz allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz ran a Houston based nonprofit that he is accused of using to funnel money to fund the congressional trip from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government.

Something Old, Something New, Someone Appointed, Neither Blue
Republicans Jon Kyl and Troy Balderson sworn in on Wednesday

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, second from right, before being sworn in on the House floor Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress grew by two Republicans on Wednesday when Jon Kyl was sworn on the Senate side and Troy Balderson over in the House. 

Shortly after the Senate convened at noon and voted to confirm Elad Roisman to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Kyl, a former Senate minority whip who retired in 2013 but was appointed on Tuesday to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Oklahoma Republicans Pick Likely Successor to Bridenstine
Kevin Hern won the GOP primary runoff in the open 1st District

Former GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine is now the NASA administrator. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Businessman Kevin Hern won the Republican primary runoff in Oklahoma’s 1st District on Tuesday, and is likely heading to Congress next year from the safe GOP seat.

The Tulsa-anchored seat opened after GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine resigned in April to become NASA administrator.

What to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries
Voters go to the polls in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma

GOP Rep. Martha McSally is facing two other Republicans for the GOP nomination for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voters in three states — Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma — head to the polls Tuesday in some of this year’s latest nominating contests, including a critical Senate race and about half a dozen open-seat primaries.

Arizona hosts the most high-profile race with Republicans choosing their nominee for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake

As Trump Looks to Outer Space, Senate Dems Put In a Word for Earth
They were there to hear about NASA’s ‘search for life,’ but Democrats wanted to talk about climate change

Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and ranking member Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., revealed differing visions for NASA’s science mission at a Wednesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump may be known for flip-flopping on issues, but he hasn’t backed away from his lofty goals in outer space. His push for a military “space force” and boots on the Red Planet has some in Congress trying to bring him back to Earth.

As senators heard Wednesday about NASA’s “search for life” in the galaxy, some Democrats wanted to talk about climate change.