Congress

PBS NewsHour

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy gave an impassioned speech about gun control at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, telling the crowd he has a sense of outrage he's never felt before.

President Obama is expected to sign a federal GMO labeling bill into law soon. This would nullify Vermont's labeling law, as well as laws passed by Connecticut and Maine that have not been enacted yet — effective immediately.

After years of bitter debate and legislative stalemate over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, a compromise proposal sailed through Congress in breathtaking speed over the past three weeks.

The House of Representative passed the measure on Thursday with solid support from both Democrats and Republicans. It now goes to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it.

With the overwhelming support of the Senate, Dr. Carla Hayden has been approved as the next librarian of Congress.

Hayden, the head of Baltimore's public library system and the former president of the American Library Association, is the first woman and the first African-American to hold the post.

Hayden was nominated by President Obama in February, but a vote on her nomination wasn't held until Wednesday.

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

The bill, which had previously passed the House, will now be sent to President Obama. He has indicated that he will sign it, despite concerns that it doesn't provide enough funding.

President Obama on Monday called on Congress to revisit the controversial idea of providing a government-run insurance plan as part of the offerings under the Affordable Care Act.

What's been described as the "public option" was jettisoned from the health law in 2009 by a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. Every Democrat's vote was needed to pass the bill in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took the first step to pass legislation that would overturn Vermont's law that requires the labeling of food that contains genetically modified ingredients. The proposed federal bill would prohibit individual states from enacting their own GMO labeling standards.

Rep. John Yarmuth / Twitter

Gunfire and three blasts at the airport in Istanbul yesterday left at least 40 people dead and hundreds wounded. It’s yet another strike against Turkey, a country that's on the front lines of a migration crisis and a war against terrorists. Some U.S. lawmakers, meanwhile are trying to make it harder for those on the terror watch list to get guns, including House Democrats who staged the latest high-profile demonstration last week. But that other issue, migration, was the key to the victory of the "Leave" campaign in the United Kingdom, as they voted to exit the E.U. 

Rep. Chellie Pingree

As Democrats in the House of Representatives continued to call for votes on gun control in a sit-in that extended through Wednesday night into Thursday morning, delegates from Connecticut were at the helm of the protest. 

Updated at 1:15 p.m.

House Democrats have ended their almost 26-hour-long sit-in to push for gun control legislation, pledging on Thursday afternoon to continue their fight once Congress returns from the July Fourth recess.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., ended the daylong protest surrounded by his Democratic colleagues. The civil rights leader proclaimed that this "is a struggle, but we're going to win this struggle."

Demanding action on gun control, about 30 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives are staging a sit-in.

"Lawmakers are grouped in the well of the chamber, in front of the speaker's dais and in chairs in the front row," NPR's Sue Davis reports. "Some members are literally sitting on the floor of the House."

YouTube / Senate Democrats

It's been a busy week in Connecticut's political world. Sen. Chris Murphy rode the wave following his nearly 15-hour-long filibuster to get a vote on gun laws. That wave crashed this week after his colleagues rejected new restrictions on gun sales. But several gun-related issues made news from the judicial branch. This hour, our weekly news roundtable discusses these developments and an update from the state capitol where the legislature overrode some of Gov. Dannel Malloy's vetoes, but not as many as expected. 

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET with Senate votes

To virtually no one's surprise, the Senate failed to advance any of the four gun control proposals — two offered by Democrats, and two by Republicans — that came in response to last week's mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

Here are the results:

Chion Wolf / WNPR file photo

I swear we almost never pick the Nose panelists based on the topics we plan to discuss. (We barely ever even plan in the first place, to be honest.) I asked Mr. Dankosky -- former Vice President of News for WNPR, current Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative -- weeks ago to make his Nose debut this Friday.

YouTube / Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats called for action on gun control legislation Thursday following a 15-hour filibuster led by Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.

C-Span

Three days after 49 people were killed in a mass shooting inside an Orlando, Florida nightclub, Senator Chris Murphy held the floor of the U.S. Senate for nearly 15 hours to talk about gun violence.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pete Souza / White House

In nearly eight years as President of the United States, Barack Obama has delivered more than a dozen responses to mass shootings. The attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida has re-ignited passionate debate on guns, the fight against ISIS, and LGBT discrimination. Several members of Connecticut's congressional delegation have called the legislative branch "complicit" in these repeated acts of violence and criticized colleagues for inaction on gun control. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said that by not acting to prevent mass shootings, Congress has become complicit in tragedies like the one in Orlando, Florida. 

Now that Hillary Clinton has reached the magic number of delegates to secure the Democratic nomination for president, the question on the minds of many Senate Democrats is, when is Bernie Sanders going to call it quits?

A former aide for Republican U.S. Senate candidate August Wolf claims that the politician and ex-Olympian made unwanted sexual advances toward her and violated election laws.

David Maiolo / Creative Commons

A bill that would protect the rights of sexual assault victims has passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous support. The measure, which was co-sponsored by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, focuses primarily on rape kits.

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. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

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