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Congress

Congressional Delegation Reacts to SCOTUS Ruling

Jun 29, 2012
Marty Stone (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Supreme Court’s validation of the health care law did nothing to end the bitter debate in Congress over the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the decision may have hardened positions.

Chion Wolf

Republican congressional candidate Justin Bernier is casting himself as the conservative alternative to Andrew Roraback in Connecticut's 5th Congressional District race. Bernier described the 5th as a "right-of-center district, no doubt about it."

During an appearance on WNPR's Where We Live, Bernier weighed in on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. "I support Citizens United," said Bernier. "I think that what they're doing is good in terms of getting Republicans elected."

Kreg Steppe (Flickr Creative Commons)

There's been a lot of talk and some political movement toward a national standard for the use of clean energy. But the topic is still rife with politics. Researchers at Yale and Harvard have released a study that says Americans on average would be willing to pay $162 per year in higher electricity bills to fund a national standard requiring that 80% of energy be "clean." 

But "clean" has different meanings for different people.

Chion Wolf

Republican State Senator Andrew Roraback is leaving the legislature to run for the 5th Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy.

Photo by Chion Wolf

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is reacting strongly against a decision by the House Agriculture Committee to cut $33 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP.

46 million Americans rely on the food stamp program. A majority of them live in households with incomes below the poverty line.

The Buffett Rule Splits Connecticut Senators

Apr 17, 2012
Fortune Live Media (Flickr Creative Commons)

On the eve of today’s deadline for filing state and federal taxes, Connecticut’s Senators split over raising taxes on the richest Americans.

The so-called Buffett Rule would make all Americans earning more than $1 million pay a 30 percent tax rate on their investment income. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett , who doesn’t like paying a higher tax rate than his secretary, the rule failed on a procedural vote Monday in the Senate. 

Chion Wolf

I don't look forward to political debates. There are too many of them. They reveal far too little. And nothing interesting ever happens.

Except last night. Five Democratic hopefuls seeking the US Senate nomination debated under the auspices of WVIT or ... NBC30 ... or whatever we're supposed to call it.

Present was one candidate I had absolutely never heard of, Matthew Oakes, a big guy who tends to choke up when talking about high education and other wonky topics.

Chion Wolf

Baseball season puts us in mind of those great baseball names --  Van Lingle Mungo, Prince Fielder, Napoleon Lajoie, Nestor Chylack, Rabbit Maranville and Lancelot Phelps.

Actually ... Lancelot Phelps wasn't a baseball player. He was the first person elected to Congress from Connecticut's Fifth District. And since that time, the frequently redistricted Fifth  has elected Connecticut's only African-American member of Congress - Gary Franks - and a fellow named John Rowland.

Photo by Chion Wolf

A 2004 law requires a certain percentage of federal contracting dollars to go to small businesses owned by service disabled veterans. But a recent inspector's report from the Department of Defense finds that in 2010, more than two dozen contracts were awarded to companies that weren't eligible.  

Connecticut education officials are finalizing the state’s waiver application for relief from the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Applications for the second round of waivers are due on Tuesday.

Flickr Creative Commons, BenLucier

It's hard to keep an even keel about the debate over the two Internet anti-piracy laws known as SOPA and PIPA.

Yesterday's spectacle, if it revealed nothing else, showed what a flimsy connection there is between a congressmen "co-sponsoring" a bill and that same congressmen knowing what's in the bill.

After yesterday's show of force,  a number of congressmen withdrew their support for their co-sponsorship because ... wait for it ... they didn't agree with the content of the bills.

Kevin Burkett (Flickr Creative Commons)

So, the “super committee” failed to reach a deficit-reduction plan - now, “automatic” cuts loom.

While this is undeniably true - the impact of the committee’s “failure” can be read many ways: One is that it actually helped to divert attention away from the debt ceiling battle in Congress until after the 2012 election.

Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act.   Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal plans to introduce an amendment that raises similar concerns as his 2005 lawsuit over the education reform law.

NationalAtlas.gov

Every ten years, the U.S. Census is taken and every ten years, the legislative map is redrawn. In states like Connecticut - that process is handled by a legislative committee - an arrangement that leads many to wonder about whether politics plays too large a role in who we get to vote for.

As ProPublica reporters have been uncovering, corporations, unions and other special interests have gotten heavily involved in redrawing district lines.

Christine Mai-Duc, Tribune Washington Bureau

New Haven native and journalist Clare Gillis spent 44 days in captivity in Libya before she was released in May. Gillis appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to share her story.

Gillis spoke out in favor of the bill in question --  the Consular Notification Compliance Act of 2011.

"If the U.S. continues to ignore its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, that makes it easier for foreign governments to ignore their obligations to imprisoned American citizens abroad," she said.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With a 12-year career on Wall Street before coming to Congress, Jim Himes has become a “go-to” guy on questions about the debt ceiling.

The 4th district congressman has been making the rounds of cable talk shows, warning about the coming crisis if Congress doesn’t act to raise the debt ceiling.

He told the Connecticut Mirror that he’s trying to “debunk the baloney” that he says he hears coming from the likes of Tea Party Presidential Candidate Michele Bachman.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony On Repeal Of DOMA

Jul 21, 2011
Chion Wolf

The Senate waded into the emotionally and politically-charged issue of gay marriage Wednesday, with the first-ever hearing on the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. There was testimony from gay and lesbian witnesses, including a widower from Connecticut.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room was packed with gay rights advocates and same-sex couples, as the committee engaged in a divisive debate over the merits of DOMA and a corresponding push to repeal of that law.

Chion Wolf

Susan Bysiewicz is hoping to turn her name recognition and long political career in Connecticut into a spot in the US Senate. 

Bysiewicz was Connecticut’s popular Secretary of the State, when she decided to give up that job to run for Governor.  Then, in the first round of the bizarre political shakeup of 2010, she left that race while in the lead to run for the Attorney General’s job, being vacated by now Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Federal lawmakers spent the weekend working on ways to break the standstill in budget talks. While there is still hope that lawmakers can come up with a package of spending cuts and taxes, including President Obama's $4 trillion so called grand bargain, with an August 2 deadline quickly approaching, a simple raise of the debt limit, as proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the more likely outcome.

Here to talk about reaction from Connecticut's congressional delegation is the Connecticut Mirror's Washington correspondent Deirdre Shesgreen.

Chion Wolf, WNPR

Deficit cutting negotiations with President Obama and Congressional leaders continued yesterday with no apparent progress.  Time is running short to raise the government's debt limit.  We talk to Congressman John Larson about the impasse.

Photo by WNPR's Chion Wolf

A deadline looms large for Congress to reach a budget deal that includes  raising the U.S borrowing limit. If leadership fails to do so by August 2, the country could default on its debt for the first time ever.  WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on the perspective of 4th district Congressman Jim Himes.

ISAF Public Affairs

Senator Joe Lieberman has advocated for a no-fly zone in Libya since the rebel uprising started. Now that one is in place, he says the U.S. needs to stay until leader Moammar Gadhafi is gone.

Lieberman says there's no room for Gadhafi in Libya anymore.

"If all this ends and Gadhafi is still the president of Libya or a part of Libya, this will not be considered a success," he says.

Speaking in downtown Hartford, Lieberman says he thinks the UN-sanctioned no-fly zone has already made an important point to pro-Gadhafi forces.

One year ago today President Obama signed into law his health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Today at the state Capitol a host of supporters, including most of Connecticut's Washington delegation, will join together to celebrate the anniversary.  We checked in with Judith Stein, the executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, to hear how this law has affected Connecticut residents over the past year.

Paul J. Everett, Creative Commons

As the world watches the nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan, Federal lawmakers, including Connecticut's Washington delegation are rethinking nuclear power.  We talk to the Connecticut Mirror's Washington correspondent Deirdre Shesgreen.  So what are Connecticut lawmakers saying?

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