Congress

House Speaker Paul Ryan called his Thursday morning meeting with Donald Trump "encouraging" but didn't signal he is ready just yet to endorse his party's de facto presidential nominee.

"I do believe we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified to bridge the gaps and differences," Ryan told reporters after the two met at the Republican National Committee headquarters.

In a joint statement after their summit, the two stressed that the party must unite to defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton this fall.

Donald Trump arrived in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to meet with his party's congressional leaders to hash out their differences and talk GOP unity ahead of what is likely to be a pitched general-election battle against Hillary Clinton.

First up was a private meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan. The two arrived around 9 a.m. ET at the Republican National Committee in a session orchestrated by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert admitted at his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he sexually abused more than one student when he was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois decades ago, and said he was "ashamed."

Hastert initially said he had "mistreated" athletes, NPR's David Schaper tweeted from the courtroom. He added: "What I did was wrong and I regret it."

A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives would designate Connecticut's lower Farmington River as “wild and scenic,” which means it would get federal funding and protection. Last week the U.S. Senate voted in favor of it, something advocates have wanted them to do for nearly ten years.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is attracting criticism from members of Connecticut's congressional delegation after comments he made about shielding the gun industry from legal liability. 

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Rep. Joe Courtney joins us to talk about what he's working on in Washington, D.C. for his constituents in eastern Connecticut. One national issue hitting his district particularly hard is the heroin epidemic. What is the federal government's role in combating this problem? 

Also, the U.S. Navy announced this week that Electric Boat would be the main contractor for a new submarine program. How's the health of the rest of the defense industry in the region?

The top House Republican took aim at the nature of American politics in remarks viewed as a rebuke of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump and the tone of his campaign.

"This has always been a tough business, and when passions flare, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn't accept ugliness as the norm," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a speech Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

"Personalities come and go. But principles? Principles endure," Ryan added.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels underscore the need for European leaders to take a hard look at whether their law enforcement and anti-terrorism operations can meet the true threat on the continent.

Despite Bernie Sanders’ string of primary losses to Hillary Clinton earlier this week, he’s vowing to continue his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

It's been called "perhaps the most contentious issue in the food industry": Should food products be labeled to indicate they contain genetically modified ingredients?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed again Wednesday to block President Obama's Supreme Court nomination, saying the American people should have a "voice" in the process.

President Obama's choice to serve as the newest Supreme Court justice is Merrick Garland, a moderate federal appeals court judge and former prosecutor with a reputation for collegiality and meticulous legal reasoning.

Garland, who has won past Republican support, has "more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history," a White House official said. "No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court."

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland is President Obama's pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

C-SPAN

Democrats in the U.S. Senate used debate on a bipartisan opioid abuse prevention bill to call for action on President Barack Obama’s eventual nominee to the Supreme Court.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When a woman addicted to opioids gives birth, she usually leaves her baby behind to be cared for by nurses. However, one Connecticut hospital is rethinking that approach. This hour, we find out why with WNPR reporter Jeff Cohen. 

While Apple and the FBI fight in court over the government's demand that the tech company to help it break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, Congress is trying to find its own solution to the digital security/national security debate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders joined Sen. Patrick Leahy Wednesday in commending President Obama’s latest efforts to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Any doubt that Senate Republicans would hold the line behind their leader's decision to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee has been erased.

"I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Families affected by the epidemic of opiate addiction got a chance to share their stories with the Director of National Drug Control Policy Tuesday, at a forum in New London.

Antonin Scalia's body wasn't cold before his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court became tangled up in partisan politics. Here are five ways Scalia's death is complicating the 2016 election.

Within hours of Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aimed to squash any expectation that President Obama will get to name his successor.

"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice," he said in a statement. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

A federal bill that provides money for addiction treatment and drug prevention has passed its first hurdle. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsored the legislation. 

The bill calls for additional dollars for a number of areas including treatment for people battling addiction while in prison, drug prevention efforts in schools, and expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed the measure by a unanimous vote. But how much of the bill’s $70 million would go to New Hampshire is unknown.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he’ll propose a bill that would pay to remove lead from homes and businesses.

Murphy says a tax credit would lower the chances of lead poisoning in Connecticut. In the northeast, lead was commonly used in for paint and pipes in houses built before 1950. The Connecticut Department of Public Health says about 15 percent of buildings in the state might still have lead in their paint or pipes.

How "Perfect" Is The U.S. Constitution?

Jan 29, 2016
Mr.TinDC / Flickr Creative Commons

From a land use standoff in Oregon, to a gun rights standoff looming in Washington, the U.S. constitution is under daily scrutiny in American life. This hour, we'll explore the foundational but outdated document called the Constitution. The system to amend the "living document" has only been utilized twice since 1970. Does new life need to be breathed into the Constitution and how politically feasible would that be in 2016?

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in Washington yesterday titled “Attacking America’s Epidemic of Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.”  It came as legislators consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  Several of the witnesses that appeared at the hearing were from the Northeast, including New Hampshire’s senators and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

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Connecticut U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy hope to repeal a law that shields the gun industry from liability.

murphy.senate.gov, blumenthal.senate.gov

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are calling on Congress to end a decades-old ban on federal research into gun violence.

Rep. Esty's office

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says progress is being made in Afghanistan. She recently returned from a visit there and to Kuwait as part of a bipartisan delegation. 

Sen. Chris Murphy Decries Fast-Track Military Authorization Bill

Jan 22, 2016
C-Span

Senator Chris Murphy spoke out on the Senate floor on Thursday against a Republican resolution that would fast-track authorization of military force in the war against ISIS. 

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Last week, Puerto Rico defaulted on millions of dollars in debt payments, spurring legal action from bond insurers. This hour, we get the latest on the island's economic crisis, including Governor Alejandro García Padilla’s pleas for Congressional intervention

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