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Congress

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Want to know how the 12 U.S. Senators from New England are voting on President Donald Trump's nominees? Look no further.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Republicans in Congress are mulling an obscure rule change that could threaten Connecticut's newly established, state-sponsored retirement savings plan. 

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate confirmed former wrestling executive Linda McMahon today to lead the Small Business Administration.

The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., early Friday as the new secretary of Health and Human Services.

He was approved by a party-line vote of 52-47. Democrats were concerned that the conservative congressman wants to pare down government health programs. They were also troubled by lingering ethics questions over Price's investments.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

President Trump started the day by blasting a Democratic senator who revealed criticism of Trump from his nominee to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Judge Neil Gorsuch told Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he found President Trump's recent attacks on judges to be "demoralizing" and "disheartening." Gorsuch made the comments during a private meeting, and a member of the Supreme Court nomination team escorting Gorsuch through the get-acquainted meetings also confirmed the remarks to NPR's Tamara Keith.

The words were those of Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

But they resulted in a rarely invoked Senate rule being used to formally silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Today the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as President Trump's education secretary, 51-50.

Senate Democrats held an all-night session Monday night into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch effort to try to stop President Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, from being confirmed.

Among those who took to the floor was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who said it was "difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education."

Updated Feb. 3 at 4:45 p.m. ET

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.

The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama's regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act.

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

In Washington, D.C., the cognoscenti confidently predict that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be easily confirmed. But both supporters and opponents are chastened by the predictors' embarrassingly wrong prognostications over the past year. And that is presenting Senate Democrats in particular with a strategic dilemma.

President Trump has gotten his man at the State Department.

Rex Tillerson was approved by a 56-43 vote Wednesday in the Senate. Four senators who caucus with the Democrats crossed the aisle and joined all of the Republicans in voting for Tillerson. They were Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as independent Angus King of Maine.

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

A day after Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance the nominations for President Trump's nominees to lead the departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, the panel's Republicans met in a surprise meeting Wednesday morning and voted to suspend committee rules to vote on those nominees without Democrats present.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted planned votes on Tuesday morning to advance the nominations of two Trump Cabinet nominees.

Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy introduced a bill on Monday to overturn President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

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President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States. He also suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen - from entering the country for 90 days. Chaos ensued, lawsuits were filed, and people protested nationwide against Trump for the second time since his Inauguration. 

C-Span

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sat side-by-side Tuesday with the woman who ran against each of them in hard-fought, sometimes bitter races, and recommended her heartily for a position in the Trump administration.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has welcomed an executive order from President Donald Trump, formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

Kaz Vorpal / Creative Commons

Inauguration Day is here. In a few short days, President Obama will transfer what remains of his power to Donald Trump. Some are elated, others afraid.

A live stream of this confirmation hearing is available via C-SPAN.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been among the most controversial picks for Donald Trump's Cabinet. In part, that's because the Environmental Protection Agency nominee has said things like this:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For Connecticut's 1st District Congressman John Larson, the 115th Congress has gotten off to an inauspicious start.

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  His followers were “impressionable voters” duped by “radical doctrines and quack remedies,” claimed The Washington Post. Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the “sober” politicians would “submerge” this movement, according to The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. A “keen sense of dramatic instinct” was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of “gravity” and “profundity of thought” would be exposed.

The week before Donald Trump takes the oath of office will set the stage for his entry into the Oval Office. Not only will at least nine of his Cabinet nominees begin their Senate confirmation hearings, but the president-elect himself will face reporters at a long-awaited press conference, where he may address how he plans to separate his business interests from his presidency.

On top of that, President Obama steps into the spotlight one last time, on Tuesday evening in Chicago, for a farewell address in which he's likely to frame his legacy.

An overwhelming majority of people disapprove of Republican lawmakers' plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a ready replacement for the health care law, according to a poll released Friday.

And judging by the letter-writing and lobbying in the first week of the new congressional session, many health care and business groups agree.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Intelligence agency leaders repeated their determination Thursday that only "the senior most officials" in Russia could have authorized recent hacks into Democratic National Committee and Clinton officials' emails during the presidential election.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed an Oct. 7 joint statement from 17 intelligence agencies that the Russian government directed the election interference — and went further.

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