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Congress

The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., early Friday as the new secretary of Health and Human Services.

He was approved by a party-line vote of 52-47. Democrats were concerned that the conservative congressman wants to pare down government health programs. They were also troubled by lingering ethics questions over Price's investments.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

President Trump started the day by blasting a Democratic senator who revealed criticism of Trump from his nominee to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Judge Neil Gorsuch told Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he found President Trump's recent attacks on judges to be "demoralizing" and "disheartening." Gorsuch made the comments during a private meeting, and a member of the Supreme Court nomination team escorting Gorsuch through the get-acquainted meetings also confirmed the remarks to NPR's Tamara Keith.

The words were those of Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

But they resulted in a rarely invoked Senate rule being used to formally silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Today the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as President Trump's education secretary, 51-50.

Senate Democrats held an all-night session Monday night into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch effort to try to stop President Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, from being confirmed.

Among those who took to the floor was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who said it was "difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education."

Updated Feb. 3 at 4:45 p.m. ET

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.

The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama's regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act.

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

In Washington, D.C., the cognoscenti confidently predict that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be easily confirmed. But both supporters and opponents are chastened by the predictors' embarrassingly wrong prognostications over the past year. And that is presenting Senate Democrats in particular with a strategic dilemma.

President Trump has gotten his man at the State Department.

Rex Tillerson was approved by a 56-43 vote Wednesday in the Senate. Four senators who caucus with the Democrats crossed the aisle and joined all of the Republicans in voting for Tillerson. They were Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as independent Angus King of Maine.

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

A day after Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance the nominations for President Trump's nominees to lead the departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, the panel's Republicans met in a surprise meeting Wednesday morning and voted to suspend committee rules to vote on those nominees without Democrats present.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted planned votes on Tuesday morning to advance the nominations of two Trump Cabinet nominees.

Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy introduced a bill on Monday to overturn President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Mike MaGuire / Creative Commons

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States. He also suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen - from entering the country for 90 days. Chaos ensued, lawsuits were filed, and people protested nationwide against Trump for the second time since his Inauguration. 

C-Span

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sat side-by-side Tuesday with the woman who ran against each of them in hard-fought, sometimes bitter races, and recommended her heartily for a position in the Trump administration.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has welcomed an executive order from President Donald Trump, formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

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