Congress

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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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Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, who represents an area of the state that includes Newtown, will be in attendance Tuesday night during President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address. 

Appearing on WNPR's Where We Live, Esty praised the president's executive actions announced last week.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty joins us ahead of President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address. One of the big issues being pushed by the president is on guns. It's something that has been Esty's focus since she took office just after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. This hour, we check-in with the Democrat from the 5th congressional district.

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This week President Barack Obama announced new executive action to tighten gun control in the United States, but what will the proposed changes mean for Connecticut?

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Governor Dannel Malloy said he applauds President Obama's plan to use executive authority to implement a set of measures aimed at curbing gun violence.

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

Jan 5, 2016
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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 This hour, we'll explore the foundational but outdated document called the Constitution.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?

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Several members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are among a group of federal lawmakers meeting with President Barack Obama about his executive actions tightening the nation's gun laws.

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A $19 million line item in the new federal budget that's dedicated to much-needed improvements and modernization along the Northeast Rail Corridor is being hailed as a "foot in the door" for possibly more federal funding.

U.S. Senate Democrats

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and more than a dozen officers traveled to the halls of the U.S. Senate recently to speak up for a program that is universally supported at home. 

President Obama wrapped up 2015 by taking another round of questions from the press.

At the traditional end-of-year news conference Friday afternoon, Obama began with a list of achievements, including the legalization of same-sex marriage across America and progress made toward addressing global climate change.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Washington lawmakers passed the long-debated education bill that minimizes the federal government's role in public education.

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President Barack Obama is urging Congress to control U.S. gun purchases, including voting for a ban on the sale of guns to people on the terror watch list. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A new federal transportation funding bill recently signed by President Barack Obama will provide Connecticut with an extra $310 million in financial aid over the next five years.

As yet another mass shooting claimed the lives of 14 people Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a familiar refrain echoed from the lips of politicians: Pray.

But for many fed up with the now seemingly routine shootings and the resulting inaction from each over how to stop another tragedy, pleas to God weren't enough anymore.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a wide-ranging bill to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as "No Child Left Behind."

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A Hearst Media investigation has found that in the past two years, the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, located just a few miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, outspent the National Rifle Association on lobbying to prevent expanded background checks and protect immunity for gun manufacturers.

Puerto Rico has managed to make a payment due today on its bond debt, but officials are warning that the commonwealth's fiscal position remains tenuous.

As a result, the government will have to pay for essential government services by using money budgeted for upcoming debt payments, said Melba Acosta Febo, president of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, in a statement. She added:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Pentagon has announced it will send additional Special Operations forces to Iraq and Syria to help defeat the so-called Islamic State. The news shouldn't be a surprise according to Connecticut's U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, but he said it is concerning.

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Some companies are trying to keep ahead of negative online reviews by suing or threatening consumers. 

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Will state lawmakers have a budget deal in place to be thankful for on Thursday? Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will bring you updates from the state capitol where time ticks away for an agreement on how to fix the state budget. 

Photo by Chion Wolf

Pfizer's proposed merger with Allergan, which will take the pharmaceutical giant's tax domicile overseas, has provoked a new round of angst about corporate defections.

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In a 289 to 137 vote last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would tighten the vetting process for refugees from Syria and Iraq. The measure passed despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama -- a threat Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says "baffles" him.

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Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney has been pressed to defend his vote last week with the Republican majority in the House to strengthen the vetting procedure for Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

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A nationwide shortage of saline solution, a fluid commonly used in I.V. bags in hospitals, is prompting response from the U.S. Senate. 

Saline solution is, essentially, sterile salt water. It's used in hospitals to hydrate patients and to mix and dilute medication.

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Two members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation voted with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives Thursday to strengthen the vetting procedure for Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

The House of Representatives has easily passed a GOP-authored bill to restrict the admission of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to America by requiring extra security procedures.

The bill — called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or the American SAFE Act of 2015 — would require the secretary of Homeland Security, the head of the FBI and the director of national intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria, affirming he or she is not a threat.

C-Span

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is calling for the U.S. to demand higher security from its European partners around the visa waiver program.

The Senate passed a bill at 3:12 a.m. ET Friday that would raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into 2017. This means that there would be no fiscal standoffs and threats of government shutdown for more than a year.

The measure is now on its way to the White House for President Obama's signature, NPR's Ailsa Chang reports for the Newscast unit:

"For months, there was real concern the looming Nov. 3 deadline to lift the debt ceiling was going to send Congress into crisis mode, right when it was picking a new speaker of the House.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was easily elected to serve as the 54th House speaker Thursday, ending a tumultuous few weeks for the Republican House majority as it scrambled to find a replacement for outgoing Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Speaker John Boehner gave farewell remarks on the House floor Thursday, picking up a box of tissues as he prepared to speak, a nod to his tendency to cry in emotional moments.

Officially announcing his intent to resign as speaker and the representative from Ohio, Boehner said he leaves "with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job."

He spoke for 10 minutes about his life and rise in government, accomplishments in Congress and the role of the body.

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