Matt Cartwright

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.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and run somewhere else
Comeback trail for 2020 candidates sometimes means running in a different district — or state

Rep. Susie Lee won Nevada’s 3rd District last fall after losing the Democratic primary in the 4th District two years earlier. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of House candidates this cycle aren’t letting previous losses — or geography — get in the way of another congressional run. Dozens of members of Congress lost races before eventually winning, but some politicians are aiming their aspirations at different districts, and in some cases different states, to get to Capitol Hill.

In Arizona, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni lost two races to Republican Debbie Lesko in the 8th District last year, including a special election. This cycle, she is seeking the Democratic nomination in the neighboring 6th District to take on Republican incumbent David Schweikert.

Some vulnerable Democrats stick to the middle — though not all of them
On votes, Matt Cartwright is a notable exception among Democrats in Trump districts

Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright has the highest party unity score among House Democrats from districts that backed President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty-one Democrats in the House face a daunting challenge next year. They must win re-election in districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. For many, the 2016 results were close. But in eight of the districts, Trump won in a romp, by more than 9 points.

It would make sense for those Democrats to stake out moderate territory to distinguish themselves from their party’s vocal liberal wing. Most of them are, with one notable exception.

Interior head: ‘I Haven't Lost Any Sleep’ over record carbon levels
David Bernhardt’s comment came during what was supposed to be a hearing about the department’s fiscal 2020 budget request

David Bernhardt, nominee to be Secretary of the Interior, testifies during his Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on March 28, 2019. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told a House committee Wednesday that he hasn’t “lost any sleep” over record levels of global emissions that cause climate change. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told a House committee Wednesday that he hasn’t “lost any sleep” over record levels of global emissions of climate-changing carbon emissions.

His comment came during what was supposed to be a hearing about the department’s fiscal 2020 budget request. But some of the questions from Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee focused on his handling of climate issues. Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, was pressed to explain how climate could factor into future land management decisions.

Biden leads 2020 candidates, but Democrats want to hear more about the field
Only 36 percent say their choice is firm, as most want to know more about Harris, Warren and others

Potential Democratic voters want to hear more about Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a new poll from CNN released Tuesday found. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden would be the choice of 39 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters if the party's primaries were held today, a new CNN poll released Tuesday found.

That put him far ahead of the crowded field of candidates, and support for Biden appears to have increased after his official announcement last week. 

Biden’s nascent campaign racks up congressional endorsements
Backing from senators, House members likely to raise tensions with progressives seeking fresh leadership

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacts in front of a Stop & Shop following a speech in support of striking union workers earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images file photo)

Within hours of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s long-awaited announcement early Thursday that he would wage his third presidential campaign, he had already received endorsements from a raft of members of Congress.

By early afternoon, nods had come from Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama, as well as Reps. Tom Suozzi of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.  

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.

Democrats probe Trump decision to not defend Obamacare

Attorney General William Barr urged the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to let the Obamacare case make its way through the courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats opened a probe Tuesday into the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the 2010 health care law in a high-profile legal challenge, as Attorney General William Barr urged lawmakers to allow the case to move through the courts.

The chairmen of five House panels sent letters to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Justice Department seeking documents and communications about how the decision was made earlier this year to only partially defend the health care law in a legal challenge brought by Texas’ attorney general and other conservative state attorneys general.

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.

Road ahead: Barr testifying on DOJ budget, likely to get grilled about Mueller report
House to vote on net neutrality bill before Democratic retreat, Senate picks up pace on nominations after going nuclear

Attorney General William P. Barr will be the headline witness on Capitol Hill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All eyes will be on the House and Senate Appropriations committees this week — but not necessarily because of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget blueprint.

Attorney General William P. Barr is scheduled to testify Tuesday in the House and Wednesday in the Senate about the Justice Department’s budget, but the conversation is sure to turn to his handling of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.