Congress

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President Barack Obama scolded Congress last week at his signing of the latest federal stop gap transportation funding bill.

U.S. State Department

Debate continued this week in Washington, D.C. over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.  

Governor Dannel Malloy's top criminal justice adviser said federal legislation penalizing so called "sanctuary cities" would have virtually no impact in Connecticut. 

The argument over genetically modified food has been dominated, in recent years, by a debate over food labels — specifically, whether those labels should reveal the presence of GMOs.

The battle, until now, has gone state by state. California refused to pass a labeling initiative, but Maine, Connecticut and Vermont have now passed laws in favor of GMO labeling.

Pete Souza / White House

When Dustin Johnson missed that four-footer on the final hole in this year's U.S. Open that would've forced a playoff with eventual champion Jordan Spieth, he wasn't under this much pressure.

Joe Courtney, the mild-mannered Connecticut Congressman, had scored a spot in a weekend foursome with fellow House Democrats John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, and the most famous lefty golfer this side of Phil Mickleson, President Barack Obama.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

All eyes are on Congress as lawmakers debate the Iran nuclear agreement. This hour, we speak with Connecticut's 2nd district Rep. Joe Courtney. He called the tentative deal a "hopeful development" when it was first announced.

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The Commerce Department reports Connecticut exports reached a record $10.5 billion last year -- 30th in the nation. But the state’s U.S. senators warn that Congress’s inaction on the federal agency known as the Export-Import Bank could be putting some of that business at risk.   

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Lawmakers in Congress are debating the Student Success Act, which would replace and update the No Child Left Behind law. The Republican House bill passed without the support of Connecticut lawmakers, or any Democrats at all.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While all the other members of Connecticut's congressional delegation voted against it, Jim Himes has been a strong supporter of "fast track" trade authority, which allows the president to negotiate with 11 other Pacific nations.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy applauded today's Supreme Court decision upholding the part of the Affordable Care Act that allows the government to subsidize health care for the poor and middle class. 

Office of Rep. Joseph D. Courtney

A deep diving submarine that was once one of the most secretive vessels in the U.S. fleet is now part of a permanent installation at the Connecticut Submarine Force Museum.

Rep. Joe Courtney and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the NR-1 submarine exhibit in Groton.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The U.S. needs more than just a military response to the violence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. That’s the message from Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who’s issued a call for new principles in U.S. foreign policy. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Since taking office, Sen. Chris Murphy has been vocal on U.S. foreign policy both in the Ukraine/Russia conflict, and in the Middle East. In a recent op-ed for Foreign Affairs, he joined other senators to advocate for new foreign policy principles.

C-Span

Senator Chris Murphy is pushing for congressional action to ban the deployment of U.S. ground troops to Iraq and Syria. Murphy spoke about his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a law that allowed Americans who were born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court said that the law, passed by Congress in 2002, interferes with the president's constitutional right to recognize foreign nations. The U.S. State Department has a long-standing policy not to recognize any nation's authority over Jerusalem until Israelis and Palestinians resolve its status.

The case is seen as an important separation-of-powers ruling.

The Senate has approved the USA Freedom Act, which will alter the way U.S. agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. A final vote on the bill came late Tuesday afternoon, after amendments to the bill failed.

Update at 9:30 p.m. ET: Obama's Signature

Following an expedited enrollment process, President Obama signed the bill into law late Tuesday.

(This post was last updated at 11:09 p.m. ET.)

It was a dramatic day on the floor of the United States Senate on Sunday. Unable to overcome parliamentary maneuvers by Sen. Rand Paul, the body adjourned and let three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act expire at midnight.

Trying to beat a midnight deadline during a rare Sunday session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to fast track a House bill that would overhaul the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Chicago. The Illinois Republican, 73, is charged with trying to evade cash withdrawal requirements, and with lying to the FBI about it.

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FBI Director James Comey recently made his second visit to the New Haven field office since becoming director nearly two year ago. He said he spoke with local police chiefs about how law enforcement can better participate in the conversation about race and profiling.

What Can We Do About Student Debt in Connecticut?

May 26, 2015
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The federal reserve has calculated the amount of American student loan debt is over $1 trillion, greater than car loan and credit card debt. Lawmakers are trying to provide relief for students.

The Senate voted 62-37 late Friday to grant President Obama additional trade powers, which the president plans to use in pushing through an extensive new agreement with a group of Asian countries.

The administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership has been opposed by labor groups and some Senate Democrats because of concerns that the deal could cost some U.S. workers their jobs.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy unveiled federal legislation on Friday that would help streamline the college credit transfer process.

National Transportation Safety Board

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on Congress to invest more in the nation's transportation infrastructure, including the implementation of positive train control on most rail lines.

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"

Back-to-back news conferences by Democratic and Republican House leaders, given from the same podium on Thursday, showed a contrast in how both parties are responding to the politics of a deadly train crash that killed at least eight people and injured scores more.

Transportation funding was going to get plenty of attention this week in Washington — even before an Amtrak train derailed about 140 miles to the north.

This is National Infrastructure Week, so lobbyists, labor leaders and activists started swarming Capitol Hill on Monday, seeking funds for roads, bridges and other projects related to transportation.

The Senate could begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would give President Obama fast-track authority to complete a Pacific Rim trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the president's signature trade initiative, but it is also very unpopular with Democrats.

Leading the charge from the left against the deal in Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. She says the TPP could result in the watering down of Wall Street regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, after the 2008 financial crisis.

Flickr CC by Ryan Lackey

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is sponsoring a bill to have the federal VA create a research center focused on the health of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were exposed to burn pits. Burn pits were used to get rid of all kinds of garbage on military bases. 

The National Security Agency's practice of collecting data about Americans' telephone calls in bulk goes beyond what Congress intended when it wrote Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The three-judge panel was asked to consider whether the program violated the Constitution. Instead, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel punted on the constitutional claim, deciding the program was simply not authorized by federal law.

Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official Thursday. He will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Sanders made his announcement with an early morning email and then spoke to reporters just outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. He plans a formal campaign kickoff in Vermont at the end of the month.

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