Brian Babin

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Photos of the Day: It’s Seersucker Season
Summer Thursdays in the Senate have an optional dress code

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., walk to a barbecue lunch in celebration of Seersucker Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the first Seersucker Thursday in the Senate for 2018.

The tradition of wearing these lighter-fabric suits re-emerged in the late 1990s at the urging of former Majority Leader Trent Lott. The Mississippi Republican wanted to show that “the Senate isn’t just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and — in the case of men — red or blue ties,” according to the Senate historian.

GOP Senate Hopefuls in House Nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize
Move comes ahead of key primary battles in Indiana, West Virginia

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., is among the House Republicans who’ve nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five incumbent House Republicans running for Senate have co-signed a letter nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s a move that could curry favor with the president and his supporters just a week before pivotal primaries in states such as West Virginia and Indiana, two Trump states where GOP candidates are trying to align themselves with the White House.

Dentists on the March to Congress
November could see two more join the cavity-fighting caucus

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is probably as popular as going to the dentist, but a handful of dentists are looking to make their way to Congress.

Of course, the first step to growing the number of dentists on the Hill is re-electing the current ones. Considering they represent heavily Republican districts, their prospects are good, even though the political winds might be blowing against them.

Photos of the Week: House Heads Out Early, Senate Welcomes a Baby
The week of April 16 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks up the House steps as he arrives at the Capitol for the final votes of the week Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members scrambled out of town on Wednesday this week  — a day earlier than originally scheduled. And on Thursday the Senate made history by welcoming an infant onto the chamber’s floor. Sen. Tammy Duckworth gave birth on April 9, and the rules were changed to accommodate the new mom.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
The new Beethoven, e-Waste Disposal Day and military children on the Hill

From left, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., and Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, stop to chat with Miss South Carolina Tori Sizemore and Miss Louisiana Lauren Vizza as they arrive at the Capitol for the final votes of the week on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/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.

To the Moon and Beyond! — Mission to Mars Funding in Omnibus
Goal is to put an astronaut on the red planet during Trump’s time in the White House

NASA for years has been planning long-range space exploration to the moon and Mars. Back in 2006, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz, and Constellation Program Manager Jeffrey Hanley discussed the Constellation Program, the space agency’s plan for robotic and human exploration of the moon and Mars. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is hoping to land a U.S. astronaut on Mars during his tenure in the White House, and Congress is prepared to continue to back up that mission.

The fiscal 2018 spending bill would provide $1.35 billion in funding for the Orion Spacecraft at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The program, which received the same level of funding for fiscal 2017, is aimed at building a vehicle for deep-space travel, including the moon and Mars.

Sweeping Changes Proposed for Foreign Lobbying Law
Critics: Proposal overreacts to Mueller indictments

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley in response to indictments in the special counsel’s Russia probe would have far-reaching consequences for U.S. representatives of foreign governments, foreign companies and other international interests.

The Iowa Republican put forward the measure last week after Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III announced indictments in his investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana introduced an identical bill in his chamber.

Texas Delegation Celebrates Astros’ World Series Win
Comes months after Hurricane Harvey devastated the region

The Houston Astros celebrate their Game 7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. (HoustonAstros.com)

Texas lawmakers celebrated the Houston Astros’ World Series win Wednesday, which came just months after Hurricane Harvey caused destruction throughout the region. 

The Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7 of the series Wednesday night to claim the first championship in their 56-year history.

Harvey Floodwater Traps Babin in Texas Home
Congressman says they'll be fine

People wait in line to buy groceries at a Food Town supermarket in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, said Wednesday he is trapped in his home in Woodville, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey lead to massive flooding in the area.

The congressman, who represents the eastern Houston suburbs, told CNN “we're fine” when asked if they needed to be rescued. Babin said he had been able to leave his home after the hurricane hit over the weekend, but the waters recently rose, trapping them there.