Congress

School Food
9:53 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Connecticut Schools Chosen for Farm-to-Cafeteria Program

Several Connecticut schools are taking part in a farm-to-school pilot program.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Unlike other parts of the country, New England has been seeing a growing number of new farms. Connecticut is among eight states recently chosen for a federal pilot program supporting locally-grown food in schools.

Existing federal funds in this year’s Farm Bill will now allow 16 school districts to use tax dollars to purchase fruits and vegetables from Connecticut farms for school lunches. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty calls it a double-win.

Read more
White House
2:10 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

President Obama Closes the Year With a Press Conference

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Alan Gross, who was en route to the United States from Cuba, in the Oval Office on December 17.
Pete Souza White House

President Barack Obama claimed an array of successes in 2014, citing lower unemployment, a rising number of Americans covered by health insurance, and an historic diplomatic opening with Cuba. 

Read more
Congress
1:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate OKs Judicial Nominees, Tax Extensions Before Republican Takeover

Senator Harry Reid of Nev. on Tuesday, walks to one of his final meetings as the Senate Majority Leader. In January, Republicans take over the majority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:27 am

In what The Associated Press called a "final flurry of accomplishment" Tuesday night, lawmakers were able to push through a bill that extended a package of tax breaks, which had expired at the end of 2013, and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported the confirmations also marked a big accomplishment for the Obama administration.

Read more
White House
7:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The U.S. Has A Surgeon General, For The First Time In 17 Months

More than a year after he was nominated, Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed as the next surgeon general Monday. Back in February, Murthy testified about his nomination before a Senate panel.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:14 pm

A job that's been open in President Obama's administration since July of 2013 was finally filled Monday, as the Senate voted to confirm Vivek Murthy as America's new surgeon general.

The tally was 51-43, ending a confirmation process that began after Obama nominated Murthy to the post in November of 2013 — yes, that's one year ago.

Read more
Wake of Newtown
2:45 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Newtown Families to Continue Congressional Lobbying

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, marked the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a promise to continue to push for gun safety legislation.

Read more
Senate
4:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

'Warning Shot': Sen. Warren On Fighting Banks, And Her Political Future

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (right), a member of the Senate banking committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House financial services committee, express their outrage to reporters that a $1.1 trillion spending bill that was passed in Congress contains changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that regulates complex financial instruments known as derivatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren failed to stop a change in bank regulations last weekend, but she raised her profile yet again.

The Massachusetts Democrat tells NPR that her fight over a provision in a spending bill was a "warning shot." She intends to continue her fight against what she describes as the power of Wall Street, even though that fight brought her to oppose leaders of her own party.

Read more
National History
8:50 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Congress Approves Historic Coltsville Park in Hartford

Colt's Armory in Hartford around 1906.
Library of Congress

Connecticut officials are celebrating congressional approval of a new national park in Hartford centering on the historic Colt firearms factory building with the blue, onion-shape dome. 

Read more
Congress
10:29 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

'Cromnibus' Spending Bill Passes, Just Hours Before Deadline

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dusk Thursday. The House approved a massive spending bill just hours before a midnight deadline to fund the federal government.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:08 am

Post updated at 9:38 p.m. ET.

A massive federal spending bill finally won the House's approval Thursday night, less than three hours before a midnight deadline that threatened a federal shutdown. The measure's fate had been in doubt after it narrowly survived a rules vote earlier in the day. The final tally was 219-206.

Read more
Torture
2:23 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

'Unknowable' If CIA Methods Elicited Useful Information, Agency's Chief Says

CIA Director John Brennan
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:57 am

CIA Director John Brennan defended his agency's actions after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and said while it is "unknowable" whether the CIA's interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects provided useful information, the agency did not mislead the Bush White House about its activities.

Read more
Torture Report
8:41 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Dick Cheney On Senate Torture Investigation: 'The Report Is Full Of Crap'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 12:53 pm

"The report is full of crap."

That's what former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News in an interview about a Senate investigation that found the Central Intelligence Agency used brutal techniques to interrogate terrorism suspects and then misled lawmakers, the White House and Congress about what they were doing.

Read more
Interrogation Methods
2:25 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Report Says CIA Misled Congress, White House On Interrogation Program

An IKONOS satellite image of a facility near Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 17, 2003, shows what is reportedly the largest CIA covert prison in Afghanistan, code-named the Salt Pit.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 7:27 pm

The CIA "provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public" about the "brutal" interrogation techniques it used on terrorism suspects, a long-held Senate intelligence committee report finds.

The report provides the most comprehensive public accounting of the interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Read more
Capitol Hill
2:46 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Congress Clashes Over Release Of CIA 'Torture Report'

Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is again defending her report on CIA torture methods, which was set to be released this week.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:06 am

Leaders on Capitol Hill are at odds regarding a report on CIA methods — including torture — used to extract information in the so-called war on terror.

Chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been fighting for the release of her 480-page executive summary of the report since April of this year, and it finally was scheduled for a reveal this week.

Read more
Congress
10:05 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Republicans Debate: Fight The President Now, Or Fight Him Later?

Republican Senator-elect Thom Tillis of North Carolina says he expects his party to challenge the president immediately on immigration, and that he hopes President Obama's Defense and Justice nominees will be acceptable to both parties.
Davis Turner Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 9:16 am

Congress returns for its final session of the year on Monday afternoon, and lawmakers have a big to-do list ahead before they can adjourn for the holidays.

Read more
ISIS
3:35 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Joe Courtney: Recent Events in Middle East Give "Validation" to Support of Rebels

Rep. Joe Courtney discusses his support of Syrian rebels and other priorities for the coming session.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rep. Joe Courtney from Connecticut's second congressional district was the only member of the delegation to vote in favor of arming and training Syrian rebels in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Read more
Immigration
9:52 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Boehner: 'We Will Not Stand Idly By As President Undermines The Rule Of Law'

Speaker of the House John Boehner talks with reporters in his office in the U.S. Capitol on Friday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:05 pm

"We will not stand idly by as the president undermines the rule of law and places lives at risk."

That's what House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, had to say this morning about President Obama's unilateral action on immigration.

In a news conference at the Capitol, Boehner used harsh language to describe the executive actions intended to defer the deportation of, according to the White House, up to 5 million immigrants.

Read more
Immigration
2:12 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rosa DeLauro Supports Obama's Executive Action, Doesn't Fear More Gridlock

Rep. Rosa DeLauro blamed her own chamber for partisan gridlock in Washington.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Republican lawmakers are already denouncing President Barack Obama's planned executive action on immigration and the idea of another government shutdown has been floated. But Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro says the gridlock is a product of her chamber in Washington.

Read more
Immigration
9:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Republicans Warn Obama Ahead Of Planned Immigration Action

President Obama is expected to announce steps today that would provide temporary relief to some of the 12 million immigrants in the country illegally. Republicans are warning him against acting unilaterally on the issue.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:40 pm

Republicans in Congress are warning President Obama against acting alone on immigration, hours ahead of a planned announcement by the president that could provide temporary relief to some of the nearly 12 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Republicans say any unilateral action on immigration by the president would mean there is no chance of passing a comprehensive immigration overhaul in Congress.

Read more
Congressional Check-In
3:44 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Jim Himes on Wall Street Regulation and Transportation Deficiencies

Rep. Jim Himes will represent the 4th district for his 4th term.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Connecticut's Fourth District Congressman Jim Himes was in the running to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee but lost out to New Mexico congressman Ben Ray Lujan.

Read more
Pipeline
6:22 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Senate Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, In A Close Vote

Pipes for Transcanada Corp.'s planned Keystone XL oil pipeline are stacked at a depot in Gascoyne, N.D. The House of Representatives approved the Keystone XL pipeline Friday; the Senate voted against it on Tuesday.
Andrew Cullen Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:52 pm

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline project to expand an oil pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico has failed the approval of Congress, after the Senate voted against the project Tuesday. The House passed its version of the bill Friday.

An early tally showed 35 for and 30 against the bill; subsequent calls for senators' votes failed to net the 60 votes needed for passage. The decisive 41st "No" vote came with 55 votes in favor, and the final tally was 59-41.

Read more
Global Engagement
2:08 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Ambassador Samantha Power Sees Hope in New Congress

Ambassador Samantha Power at the United Nations.
Samantha Power Facebook

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told a Connecticut audience on Monday that she’s hopeful of meaningful cooperation with Senate Republicans as the Obama administration shapes its foreign policy. 

Read more
Congressional Check-In
11:49 am
Tue November 18, 2014

No Longer a Freshman, Elizabeth Esty Plans to Stay the Course

Rep. Elizabeth Esty returns to Congress for her second term.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Despite being a political target of national Republicans, Connecticut's Fifth District Democratic Representative Elizabeth Esty survived her first re-election campaign.

Read more
Politics
3:48 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Top Spenders On Capitol Hill Pay Billions, Receive Trillions

The amount of money spent on Capitol Hill is way more than small change — but the impact of that money is a little murky. Here, the U.S. Capitol is reflected in a fountain full of coins on Election Day this year.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:24 pm

How much power should corporations wield in Washington? It's an enduring question — and now the Sunlight Foundation has devised a new way to gauge that power.

Read more
Politics
6:05 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Get Ready To Watch This Lame-Duck Congress Sprint

U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., speaks Wednesday as U.S. military veterans, service members and immigration reform advocates look on during a press conference urging President Obama to move forward with immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 10:21 am

Maybe this duck won't be so lame after all.

Judging by what we've seen so far, the "zombie Congress" that returned to town this week (the reelected and the not-so-lucky) will do more business in the weeks following the election than it did in many months preceding.

Consider these trains — all long-sidetracked, all suddenly leaving the station on Capitol Hill:

Read more
Immigration
4:16 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Obama Plans To Use Executive Action To Reshape Immigration

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 10:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Fourth Congressional District
9:43 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Democrat Jim Himes Keeps U.S. House Seat, Tops Dan Debicella

Rep. Jim Himes in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democratic Rep. Jim Himes has defeated Republican Dan Debicella to claim a fourth term representing Connecticut's Gold Coast in Congress. 

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed November 5, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Who's the Next Governor of Connecticut?

If you haven't done so already, now you can throw out all those political mailers you probably received.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy claimed victory in the race for governor early Wednesday morning, but only by a razor-thin margin. Without final results, the best call he could make was, "We're going to win this thing."

Republican challenger Tom Foley, reluctant to concede, gave a speech announcing that yeah, he probably lost. Also still unclear: results of the races for secretary of the state, comptroller, and treasurer. 

Read more
Fifth Congressional District
7:56 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Elizabeth Esty Holds Off Mark Greenberg to Win Second Term in Fifth District Race

Rep. Elizabeth Esty in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty has held off a challenge from Republican Mark Greenberg to claim a second term representing northwestern Connecticut in Congress. 

Read more
Congress
1:40 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Fight For The Senate: Republicans Take Control, Adding 7 Seats

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell arrives at his midterm election night rally with his wife, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, in Louisville. McConnell, who won re-election, stands to become the next Senate majority leader.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 7:44 am

With a loss by Sen. Mark Pryor, the first Democratic incumbent fell in the 2014 midterms, setting off a chain of events that brought the Republicans a new Senate majority. The man who would lead them in Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell, coasted to a win in Kentucky.

McConnell was projected to defeat Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by a 15-point margin, 56 percent to 41 percent, with almost a third of the vote tallied.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor lost to Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, a first-term member of Congress. Pryor has served in the Senate since 2003.

Read more
First Congressional District
11:29 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Democrat John Larson Wins Ninth Term in Congress

Rep. John Larson in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Rep. John Larson has been re-elected to a ninth term in Congress representing a heavily Democratic district in central Connecticut. 

Read more
Second Congressional District
10:37 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney Sails to Re-election

Rep. Joe Courtney.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney has won re-election to another term in Congress representing eastern Connecticut. 

Read more

Pages