Congress

Law
3:21 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Supreme Court To Consider Case On Passports Of Jerusalem-Born Citizens

Ari Zivotofsky (center) walks with then 9-year-old son Menachem, outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Nov. 7, 2011. Their case, regarding the desire to have their son's U.S. passport list his place of birth as Israel, returns to the Supreme Court this Monday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 8:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday for a second time in a case that combines Middle East policy with the dueling foreign policy roles of the president and Congress. It's a political hot potato that asks what U.S. passports should say about the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem.

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Election 2014
5:22 am
Sun November 2, 2014

5 Things To Know About The 2014 Midterm Election

Voters participate in early voting this past June at the Oklahoma County Elections Board in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 4:49 pm

In case you haven't been following this year's election that much (don't worry, we're not judging you), we've rounded up a list of big ideas in play in the 2014 midterms.

Turnout: In a nutshell, it's likely to be lower than in 2012. The Pew Research Center says voter turnout in the midterms has been lower than in presidential election years as far back as the 1840s.

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Election 2014
8:35 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Elizabeth Esty and Mark Greenberg Meet in Second Debate

Elizabeth Esty and Mark Greenberg debated in Waterbury on Tuesday.
File Photo

Democrat Elizabeth Esty and her republican challenger, Mark Greenberg, touched on a wide array of issues during their second debate: the economy, transit, climate, and Social Security. That last topic has been a point of contention among the two candidates following a controversial television ad from the Esty campaign.

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Election 2014
1:02 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Himes and Debicella Debate Foreign Policy in Stamford

Jim Himes, left, and Dan Debicella.

Fourth District Democratic Congressman Jim Himes and Republican challenger Dan Debicella met to debate foreign policy and international security on Monday night. The event was held at the World Affairs Forum on UConn’s Stamford campus.

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Trucking
4:21 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Blumenthal, McGovern Oppose Driving Limit Revisions

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 6:56 pm

Connecticut’s U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern are calling attention to a recent poll in hopes of blocking a Republican-driven amendment that would adjust limits on the number of hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel.

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Election 2014
12:23 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Economy Takes Center Stage at Second Congressional District Debate

Joe Courtney, left, and Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh debate in New London.
Sean D. Elliot The Day

Four-term Democratic congressman Joe Courtney faced his Republican challenger in the second district in a debate hosted by WNPR and The Day newspaper.

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Election 2014
8:57 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Candidates for Connecticut's Second Congressional District Face Off at Debate

Joe Courtney, left, and Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh debate Tuesday night.

Two candidates vying for Connecticut's Second Congressional District seat, which represents the eastern half of the state, faced off at a debate in New London on Tuesday evening at the Garde Arts Center. 

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The Pollinators
8:10 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Should Neonicotinoids Be Banned to Protect Honeybees?

Neonicotinoids, a class of pesticide, thought to be linked to decling bee numbers, have been temporarily banned in Europe.
d o w n s t r e a m Flickr Creative Commons

Members of Congress, including three from Connecticut, have signed a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to better regulate a controversial class of pesticide called neonicotinoids.

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Financial Regulation
5:16 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Sen. Warren: We Need Regulators Who 'Work For The American People'

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, speaks to a group of supporters at a rally in support of Kentucky Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in June.
Timothy D. Easley AP

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:39 am

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, says newly released recordings of conversations between Federal Reserve officials show that the same kind of cozy relationships that led to the 2008 financial crisis still dominate Wall Street.

In an interview with Morning Edition, Warren says the recordings provide definite proof of that relationship.

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Capping Gas
8:11 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Senate Bill Looks to Regulate Atmospheric "Super Pollutants"

A new U.S. Senate bill is looking to establish more regulations for non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.
why 137 Creative Commons

Last weekend's climate change march brought thousands of protesters to New York City. A new bill now making its way through the U.S. Senate is also aiming to reduce the impact of so-called atmospheric "super pollutants."

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Middle East
9:23 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Connecticut Senators Split on Vote to Arm Syrian Rebels

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and then Senator-elect Chris Murphy (File photo).
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal split their votes on legislation authorizing the U.S. military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting the so-called Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL.

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Middle East
6:38 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Senate Approves Measure To Arm And Train Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 7:11 pm

The Senate joined the House on Thursday in rare bipartisanship by approving a measure to train and equip members of the Syrian opposition.

The Senate passed the measure 78 to 22; the House passed its version with a 273-to-156 vote on Wednesday. The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

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Middle East
8:20 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Connecticut House Members Mostly Reject Training of Syrian Rebels

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the McKeon amendment to arm and train Syrian rebels.
Ron Cogswell Creative Commons

Four of Connecticut’s five members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday against President’s Obama’s plan to help arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in their fight against the extremist group known as the Islamic State. The measure was approved by the House by a vote of 273 to 156.

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Election 2014
9:56 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Connecticut's Esty Calls On Republican Opponent To Apologize For Email

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 2:01 pm

A Connecticut Congresswoman is calling on her Republican opponent to apologize for including the beheading of an American journalist in an email to supporters.

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Politics
9:34 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Obama's Hawkish Plan For Islamic State Puts Doves In A Quandary

President Obama's plan to degrade and destroy the Islamic state poses a challenge for members of his own party, who have traditionally provided the anti-war voices in Congress.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 3:47 pm

President Obama arguably won the Democratic primary in 2008 because of his strong opposition to the Iraq war. Now he's arguing he doesn't need congressional approval to ramp up a bombing campaign in Iraq and expand air strikes into Syria.

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Congress
1:01 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Boehner: House GOP 'Ready To Work With The President'

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Boehner says Congress stands ready to work with the president on the threat from Islamic State militants.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 3:31 pm

House Speaker John Boehner, commenting on President Obama's strategy to defeat Islamic State militants, says Congress has received a request for authorization to train Syrian rebels and "we ought to give the president what he's asking for."

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Congress
5:13 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

In An Era Of Gridlock, Does Controlling The Senate Really Matter?

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell has reportedly been talking privately about what he'd do as majority leader.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 7:41 pm

Republicans are increasingly confident that when this year's midterm elections are over, they will control both houses of Congress. But in this period of polarization and gridlock, what difference would it make?

This midterm election doesn't seem to be about anything in particular other than whether you like President Obama or not. There's no overarching issue, no clashing national agendas. Instead, it's just a series of very expensive, brutally negative races for Congress.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Obama Wants Congress' Support On ISIS, But He May Not Need It

President Obama will address the nation Wednesday to present his strategy against the Islamic State.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 2:57 pm

The top four congressional leaders will be at the White House today to talk to President Obama about U.S. military action against the group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS. This comes just one day before Obama will address the nation and lay out his strategy for dealing with the extremist group.

The president says he wants congressional buy in, but "buy in" can mean a lot of things.

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Ray Rice
12:53 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Blumenthal Calls for NFL to Impose Stricter Domestic Violence Penalties

Ray Rice at the Baltimore Ravens' training camp in 2009. The Ravens released him after new video emerged showing him assaulting his fiance in an elevator.
Keith Allison Creative Commons

The National Football League's punishment for acts of domestic violence is too lenient, according to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He responded to the new video showing former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator.

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Congress
12:24 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

5 Questions About The 2 Weeks Congress Plans To Work This Fall

Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives return to work at the Capitol this week after a five-week vacation. They must get to work on a continuing resolution to extend funding for government agencies to prevent a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 7:45 am

Tanned and rested after a five-week summer vacation, Congress has returned for a brief session before returning home to campaign for re-election. This autumn session is expected to last a couple of weeks, give or take a couple of days.

What can be accomplished in so short a time? A great deal, if House and Senate choose to work together. Or nothing, if they don't. If you are wondering which will happen, you haven't been watching the 113th Congress up to now.

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Rethinking Poverty
8:42 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Rep. Ryan Calls For 'Culture Of Inclusion' To Tackle Poverty

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference at the Union League Club of Chicago on Aug. 21.
John Gress Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 8:00 am

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, used to have a habit of describing the American people in two categories. There were the "makers" — people paying taxes — and the "takers" — people getting government benefits.

Today, the Wisconsin Republican says he was wrong, and that the country needs to overhaul how it thinks about poverty. In his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, he offers ways to redirect federal spending to fighting poverty.

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WAMC News
12:30 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Congressional Corner With Chris Murphy

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:51 am

  College costs have reached emergency status for many Americans.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the industry needs a paradigm shift.

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Asylum Seekers
4:27 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Blumenthal Says Child Migrants Deserve Fair Asylum Proceedings

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border from Central America has slowed from a record high earlier this summer.

When members of Congress return from summer recess, though, they'll still have to vote on how much money should be spent to deal with the migrants already here. 

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Child Health
9:52 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Federal Legislators Want Liquid Nicotine Bottles to Have Safety Caps

An assortment of liquid nicotine bottles.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / lindsay-fox

A dozen Senate Democrats are pushing federal legislation that would require child-proof bottles for the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Getting Frank About Political Mail

A collection of mail sent out by state lawmakers to Connecticut residents recently.
Credit Tucker Ives / WNPR

You’ve probably received a “legislative report” from your elected representatives. These mailers tout their accomplishments and some criticize political opponents. But they’re not paid for with campaign money. This “constituent outreach” is paid for with public dollars. We’ll look at the history of this practice called “franking” at the state and federal level.

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ISIS
1:49 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Sen. Murphy Urges Caution on U.S. Intervention in Iraq

Sen. Chris Murphy in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Pentagon said military strikes have begun against advancing Islamic militants operating near U.S. personnel in northern Iraq. That announcement comes after President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes and humanitarian aid in the region.

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White House
9:21 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Obama: 'I Have No Green Light' To Act Without Congress

At a news conference Wednesday, President Obama spoke mostly about foreign policy but also answered questions about his actions in the U.S.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 8:16 pm

In a news conference Wednesday that was largely about international relations and trade, President Obama also addressed the limits of his own authority at home.

"I never have a green light," Obama said. "I'm bound by the Constitution; I'm bound by the separation of powers."

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Congress
3:26 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

House Cancels Vote On $659 Million Border Security Bill

Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens patrol the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, earlier this month.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:54 pm

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET.

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

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Intelligence
1:40 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:48 pm

Ending a contentious and very public spat between two branches of government, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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Congress
10:02 am
Thu July 31, 2014

House Approves $16 Billion Plan To Improve Health Care For Vets

The House easily approved a deal to help veterans hammered out by Florida GOP Rep. Jeff Miller (left) and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 8:42 pm

The House voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would address widespread problems with health care for veterans.

The vote in favor of the $16.3 billion package was 420 to 5.

The problems veterans have had obtaining care has drawn national attention in recent weeks. A White House investigation into problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found "significant and chronic systemic failures."

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