Congress

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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Veterans Affairs
9:34 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Blumenthal Pushes Veterans Affairs Reform Bill

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke in Hartford about a bipartisan compromise to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health program, which has been impacted by long patient wait times.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Where We Vote 2014: Elizabeth Esty

Rep. Elizabeth Esty from Connecticut's 5th District.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The 2012 race for Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District seat was filled with campaign-related shenanigans. The person who came out on top was Elizabeth Esty.

She’s running for re-election this year in the “Fightin’ Fifth,” and she joins us for our Where We Vote series to talk politics, foreign relations, immigration, and more.

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Reversing Outsourcing
11:33 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Sen. Murphy Urges Support for Bring Jobs Home Act

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) in a file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy hopes for a strong vote in the Senate this week on the Bring Jobs Home Act. The bill would take away the ability for businesses to get a tax break for sending jobs overseas, and instead incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to the United States.

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Russian Sanctions
4:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Murphy: Europe Should Impose a "Crippling Round of Sanctions" Against Russia

Murphy told CNN's Carol Costello that the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 "is Russia's fault."
Credit WNPR

On Monday at the White House, President Obama urged Russian President Vladmir Putin to order Russian separatists in Ukraine to allow international investigators unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. 

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Contraceptive Coverage
2:39 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire complained about a Democratic effort to reaffirm a contraceptive mandate at a Tuesday news conference
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:34 pm

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

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Congress
1:41 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

House Votes to Extend Moratorium on State, Local Taxes for Internet Access

The U.S. Capitol building.
Credit Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

The House has voted to make permanent a moratorium that prevents state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet. 

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Contraceptive Coverage
10:20 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Blumenthal Calls on Hobby Lobby to Adhere to Connecticut Law

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a WNPR file folder.
Av Harris WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a letter on Monday to the CEO of Hobby Lobby calling on the company to follow Connecticut law and offer its employees in East Haven and Manchester full contraceptive coverage.

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Immigration
2:27 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Obama Seeks $3.7B To Handle Immigration Crisis

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas, on June 18. The White House on Tuesday sought $3.7 billion to deal with the immigration crisis at the border.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 4:12 pm

Update at 3:33 p.m. ET

The White House said it's asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address the humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico.

The statement said the funds would cover domestic enforcement, repatriation and reintegration of migrants, transportation costs, additional immigration judges, prosecutors and litigation attorneys to "ensure cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible."

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Around the Nation
3:37 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Obama To Ask Congress For $2B To Ease Immigration Crisis

Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

The Obama administration will ask Congress for more than $2 billion Tuesday to address the urgent humanitarian crisis along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In the past nine months, more than 50,000 children and teenagers have crossed that border illegally on their own, most from Central America. By law, the administration can't deport those young people until they have an immigration hearing — a process that can take years.

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Veterans
4:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Wait Times for VA Health Care Growing in Connecticut

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the VA to explain why veterans are waiting longer than 30 days to be seen in Connecticut and nationwide.

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Politics
7:02 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Another Day, Another Reason For Voters To Loathe Congress

The House Ethics Committee dismayed government watchdogs by reducing disclosure requirements for privately paid trips taken by members of Congress.
Matthias Schrader AP

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 7:25 pm

Congressional approval ratings are at rock bottom. Why would members pull a stunt likely to make them even more unpopular than they already are?

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Immigration
3:05 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Immigration Reform Fails in Congress While Thousands of Migrants Flood The Border

Congressman Jim Himes.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

A surge in migrants to the U.S. southwest border has prompted President Obama to ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to combat the problem. His request comes one year after a Senate immigration reform bill was passed, and then stalled, in the U.S. House. 

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Vanishing Bees
12:37 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

A bumble bee gathers pollen in September 2007 on a sunflower at Quail Run Farm in Grants Pass, Ore., where farmer Tony Davis depends on them to pollinate crops. Bees are being wiped out by a mysterious condition known as colony collapse disorder.
Jeff Barnard AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 12:17 pm

When President Obama announced last week that he was creating a federal task force to investigate the nation's vanishing bee colonies, the moment provided newly minted Press Secretary Josh Earnest an opportunity to crack one of his first jokes on the job.

"When I walked out here today, I knew I was going to be handling a range of sensitive issues," he told reporters. "I didn't know I was going to be talking about the birds and the bees."

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White House
5:08 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Obama Asks For $500 Million To Train, Equip Syrian Rebels

Rebel fighters drink tea on the front line of Ramouseh, near the Aleppo Artillery School. President Obama has requested $500 million to arm and train "moderate" Syrian rebel groups.
Hosam Katan Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:21 pm

President Obama has asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels who are seeking the ouster of Bashar Assad.

If Congress approves the plan, it would supplement a covert training and assistance program already being run by U.S. intelligence agencies, The Associated Press says.

The White House says in a statement that the rebels would be vetted before providing assistance, to ensure that U.S. equipment doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

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Domestic Violence
12:12 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Blumenthal Proposal Aims to Fix Loophole in Restraining Order Law

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act.
Office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has introduced legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence who obtain a temporary restraining order against their abuser.

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Immigration
9:55 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Cantor's Loss In Va. Is Immigration Issue's Death Knell. Or Not.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss in his district's primary is seen by many as the end of a chance at immigration overhaul any time soon.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 11:04 am

As the smoke clears from the wreckage of the Republican establishment's monumental loss in the Virginia congressional primary, it appears that hopes of immigration overhaul have been snuffed out.

Economic professor Dave Brat, who beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday, made immigration policy a major part of his argument against Cantor.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

The Present and Future of Gun Control In America

Sen. Chris Murphy
Chion Wolf WNPR

The latest mass shooting in California has left many questioning America’s gun control policies, and left a grieving father pleading for action from lawmakers -- not sympathy.

This hour, we look at the present and future of gun control in America. We also consider how to celebrate the 200th birthday of Samuel Colt, the man who revolutionized and popularized the gun.

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Veterans' Health
3:11 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Blumenthal Wants Justice Department to Investigate Veterans Affairs

Connecticut's U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf

Connecticut's congressional delegation has yet to hear from VA officials on how long veterans are waiting for appointments at the agency's hospitals and outpatient clinics in the state. 

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Veterans' Health
4:05 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Connecticut Delegation Seeks VA Facilities Audits

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, left, and Rep. John Larson, right.
Senate Democrats/Center for American Progress

Connecticut's congressional delegation wants full details of audits conducted at Veterans Administration medical facilities, including six in the state. 

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