Science

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

The “Warrior on a Horse” statue in downtown Skopje, Macedonia. American politics has increasingly taken on a Balkan flavor with party affiliation coming in the way of finding policy solutions. (Boris Grdanoski/AP file photo)

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.

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.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is interviewed for the “CQ on Congress” podcast on June 28. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.

Opinion: Why the Kavanaugh Pick Is Not as Safe as It Seems
Collins and Murkowski aren’t the only Republicans who could balk at Trump’s choice

Sen. Rand Paul could be the one to throw a wrench in the Supreme Court confirmation, even as all eyes turn to a pair of his colleagues, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is a memory seared into Brett Kavanaugh’s soul — and it may well be an image that briefly flickers through his mind every time a loud siren goes off in Washington.

In his Monday night East Room debut as Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Kavanaugh harked back to working for George W. Bush on 9/11. Introducing his wife, Ashley, Kavanaugh said, “We met in 2001 when we both worked in the White House. Our first date was on Sept. 10, 2001. The next morning, I was a few steps behind her as the Secret Service shouted at all of us to sprint out the front gates of the White House because there was an inbound plane.”

Health Statistics See Funding Lag Amid Boosts Elsewhere
Advocates are concerned a critical national survey could soon disappear

A heroin user reads an alert on fentanyl in New York City in August 2017. The National Center for Health Statistics produces drug overdose death counts that it updates monthly, but stagnant funding for health statistics puts the future of such surveys in jeopardy. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

Stagnant funding for federal health statistics is raising concerns among medical professionals, patient advocates and other groups that one of the national surveys used to assess the death rate from opioid abuse and average life expectancy may soon disappear.

Funding for the National Center for Health Statistics has fallen from $166 million five years ago to $160 million this year. And while the Senate is proposing a $1 million increase for health statistics for fiscal 2019, the House has proposed level funding and the Trump administration is calling for a $5 million cut.

Embattled Pruitt Out as EPA Chief
Senate now has another Cabinet post to process in an election year

Scott Pruitt testifies during his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is the latest Trump administration Cabinet official to be ousted or abruptly leave, after his resignation was accepted Thursday by President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted. 

US Spending Less to Secure World’s Nuclear Bomb Materials
Slowdown in nonproliferation spending contrasts with nuclear weapons upgrade

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget request for “core” nuclear nonproliferation programs at the Energy Department is fully 18 percent lower than the level of funding such programs had eight years ago. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Terrorists are avowedly trying to build nuclear bombs, but U.S. spending to safeguard the world’s atomic materials has dipped in recent years — and President Donald Trump plans to keep it that way, according to budget documents, independent experts and lawmakers.

An Energy-Water spending bill passed last week by the Senate in a package with two other spending measures proposes a slight increase for nuclear security programs. But it would still leave the budget for those efforts far below what it was just a few years ago.

Rubio Mocked for Three Consecutive Days on Twitter
Florida Republican criticized media for coverage of Trump

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, was criticized on social media for defending President Donald Trump. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio has been the subject of mockery for the third consecutive day on Twitter for his comments defending President Donald Trump.

The Twitterverse criticized the Florida Republican on Friday for saying there was so much profanity in news stories.

Opinion: Trump and the Case of the Missing 15 Percent
The president’s golden gut has told him to demonize immigrants, but where is that strategy leading?

When President Donald Trump boasted Monday night in South Carolina that he has “the greatest political instinct in 50 years,” he may have been forgetting who won election in 1968, Shapiro writes. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

It was a trademark Donald Trump performance down to his invoking a race of sycophants with the typically vague formulation “Some people have said.” In his self-absorbed ramble at a Monday night South Carolina rally, Trump boasted, “Some people have said I have the greatest political instinct in 50 years.”

Of course, 50 years gets us right back to Richard Nixon.