Congress

Kentucky Yankee In McConnell's Court
2:22 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Connecticut Bell Factory Owner Trails McConnell In Kentucky Primary

Matt Bevin is running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Tuesday's primary.
Credit MattBevin.com

A Kentucky Tea Party candidate with Connecticut-ties has a tough primary facing him tomorrow.

Matt Bevin trails Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by 20 points in a new poll. Connecticut residents might remember Bevin as the owner of the bell factory in East Hampton that burned down in 2012.

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Politics
1:48 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Veteran Congressman Makes A Career-Threatening Mistake

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, at a congressional hearing last week. The Democrat and longtime congressman faces the prospect of not being on Michigan's August primary ballot after failing to present the required number of valid signatures.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:27 pm

It's basically Politics 101. To get on the ballot in many states, candidates for office must first collect a designated number of valid signatures from voters, and present those petitions to election administrators.

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Connecticut First
5:07 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Legislative Session Ends at Midnight; Lawmakers Push for Adoption Bill

Connecticut legislators are putting the finishing touches on their work—as this year's regular legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight tonight. While numerous bills still need approval from one chamber or another, many major pieces of legislation from this year's session have already been approved. The list includes a revised $19 billion dollar state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed May 7, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Budgets, Bills, and Freedom of Information

Keith Phaneuf, budget reporter for The Connecticut Mirror
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

There are just hours left in the 2014 legislative session, which means it’s time for lawmakers to start cramming in bills. This hour, we discuss the messy state budget with The Connecticut Mirror’s budget guru Keith Phaneuf.

We also talk about Freedom of Information, something that was changed in the closing minutes of the last session.

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Primary Elections
8:04 am
Tue May 6, 2014

5 Things To Watch In Tuesday's Primaries

North Carolina Republican Senate hopeful Greg Brannon (left) greets Adam Love and his daughter Gwendolyn Love during a campaign event in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:00 am

Get ready for election season.

Tuesday's primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio serve as the kickoff for an intense two-month stretch that will go a long way toward outlining the shape of the midterm election landscape.

By the end of June, more than half the states will have conducted their primary elections. And the answers to some of the most important questions about the November elections will be clearer.

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Civil Rights
4:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., speaks during a December 2013 news conference in Washington to discuss the introduction of a legislative package of major mental health reforms.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Ed Kelley and his wife have three children. They live in a comfortable suburb of Baltimore. And for a long time their life seemed perfect.

"We were churchgoing; we were involved in the community. We had a very close-knit family all around us."

And he adored his 14-year-old son.

"He was funny, he was getting good grades, he loved playing sports; he was so humorous. Actually for the longest time he was sort of the center of the family."

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Big League Ousters
5:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Sen. Reid: NFL Should Follow NBA's Lead Regarding Redskins Owner

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:42 pm

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid says the NFL should consider ousting Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Snyder has been criticized — even by President Obama — over the name of his football team, which is considered a racial epithet against Native Americans.

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New York
9:38 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Rep. Michael Grimm To Face Criminal Charges, Lawyer Says

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), seen here last year, is expected to be indicted on criminal charges. His lawyer says Grimm has done nothing wrong.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:43 am

Rep. Michael Grimm's lawyer says he expects the New York Republican will be indicted on criminal charges. The exact charges haven't been announced. The Staten Island lawmaker and former FBI agent, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, has been under investigation for campaign finance and fraud.

Grimm's attorney says his client is innocent and is the target of a vendetta on the part of federal authorities that has included "malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics."

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Congress
3:31 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Out Of Clout: Some States Brace For Washington Power Outage

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest-serving member of Congress, is celebrated by colleagues, including Vice President Biden, on Capitol Hill in June 2013. A former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell, now 87, announced in February that he will retire after this term.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 9:36 am

When the next Congress is sworn in, Iowa's congressional delegation will be unusually green. Precisely half of its lawmakers on Capitol Hill are retiring at the end of this session, meaning the state will be losing decades of clout and seniority in Washington, D.C.

And Iowa isn't even the biggest loser this year. California is losing two House Democrats with 40 years of experience each — Henry Waxman and George Miller — along with Republican House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, who's been in Congress for more than two decades.

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Farm Bill
9:33 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Malloy, Boehner in Food Stamp Fight

Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

Governor Dannel Malloy has sharply criticized U.S. House Speaker John Boehner who accused Connecticut and other states of cheating the federal food stamp program.

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Congress
6:03 am
Sat March 15, 2014

House Passes Payment Fix For Medicare Docs, But At What Cost?

Medicare's payments to doctors will likely be slashed April 1, unless the U.S. Senate can quickly get a derailed compromise back on track.
iStockphoto

Bipartisan support dissolved this week for compromise legislation that would have fixed a longstanding problem with the way Medicare pays physicians. Though the bill passed the House of Representatives Friday, it now contains a provision almost certain to invite veto unless a Senate version can quickly nudge the ultimate bill back toward compromise.

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Connecticut First
6:06 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Manhattan Building Collapses; Law Proposes Shrinking Drug-Free Zones

An explosion tore through an area of Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood early on Wednesday, collapsing two buildings. There were fatalities reported and dozens injured. All Metro-North service was suspended as all Metro-North trains in and out of New York City use the rail lines adjacent to the blast zone.

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Congress
7:41 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Feinstein's CIA Outrage Splits Senate

Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA publicly and at length of hacking Senate computers to spy on Senate aides and remove documents.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 1:07 am

The Senate was a chamber divided in reaction to Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein's diatribe against the CIA for allegedly hacking into Senate computers.

A no-nonsense Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, took to the Senate floor Tuesday to speak at length and publicly for the first time about a dispute with the agency.

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Sandy Hook
7:00 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Cyclists Ride From Newtown to D.C. With Message for Lawmakers

Team 26 Left Newtown on Saturday. They arrived in D.C late Tuesday morning.
sandyhookrideonwashington.com

A group of cyclists completed a 400 mile bike ride on Tuesday from Newtown, Connecticut to Washington, D.C. This is the second annual Sandy Hook Ride on Washington.

Team 26, a group of 26 cyclists from Newtown and around the country, left Newtown's Edmund Town Hall on Saturday. On the way to D.C., they held rallies in Harlem; Morristown, New Jersey; Doylestown, Pennsylvania; and Baltimore, Maryland.

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Congress
10:16 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Lawmakers Plan to Hold the Senate Floor All Night to Urge Action on Climate Change

The U.S. Capitol.
Credit Kevin Burkett / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. senators from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are among 28 lawmakers who are preparing to hold the Senate floor all night long to urge congressional action on climate change.

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Hospitals
4:47 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

West Haven VA Hospital in Spotlight for Unsanitary Conditions

The West Haven VA Hospital.
Credit Connecticut VA Healthcare System

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has asked the Connecticut VA Healthcare System to report in a month how it will ensure sanitary conditions at its West Haven hospital. Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, visited the hospital Friday morning after a VA Inspector General's report outlined several areas of concern from a June 2013 inspection at the VA hospital. 

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Congress
3:16 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Boehner Casts Doubt On Prospects For Immigration Overhaul

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:06 am

Speaker of the House John Boehner seemed to throw cold water on bipartisan hopes for a law overhauling the country's immigration system this year.

"This is an important issue in our country," Boehner acknowledged in a press conference on Thursday. "It's been kicked around forever, and it needs to be dealt with."

Then the Ohio Republican delivered a big, resounding but. He said he "never underestimated the difficulty of moving forward this year." And he issued an ultimatum of sorts.

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Congress
3:03 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Rep. Waxman Leaves Behind A Legacy Of Health Laws

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California stands in his Capitol Hill office beside a wall displaying his legislative accomplishments. Waxman, 74, said Thursday that he would retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 11:43 am

California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the last remaining members of the huge post-Watergate class of 1974, is calling it quits at the end of this term.

Most people who live outside his Los Angeles district and off Capitol Hill have likely never heard of Waxman. He was never a fixture on the Sunday talk shows, or in Washington's social scene.

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Congress
11:16 am
Wed January 29, 2014

House Passes Compromise Farm Bill

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 11:29 am

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a five-year farm bill.

The $100 billion-a-year measure included small cuts to the food stamps program, and preserved some farm subsidies. The vote in the House was 251-166.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which is expected to approve it. President Obama is expected to sign the measure into law.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed January 29, 2014

The State of The Wheelhouse

Bill Curry
Chion Wolf WNPR

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama gave a speech that did what it was supposed to: uplift his supporters and enrage his opponents. On WNPR's weekly news roundtable, our panel of analysts and reporters react to the State of the Union address both nationally and here in Connecticut. 

Also, Republican candidate for governor Mark Boughton surprised longtime political observers with his announcement of a running mate. It wasn't what he did that was a surprise, but when he did it. Finally, we remember folk legend and American icon Pete Seeger who died this week.

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SOTU
2:50 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Inside The State Of The Union: What The President Proposed

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:49 pm

After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday as he focused on themes that are central to his second-term agenda. The changes he proposed in his annual State of the Union speech were relatively modest, but flashes of ambition showed in his promise to move forward, with or without Congress, to address issues of income inequality.

Here's what President Obama proposed on the policy front:

Minimum Wage

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SOTU
8:05 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Decrying Washington Stalemate, Obama Calls For 'Year Of Action'

A woman bundled against the cold walks past the U.S. Capitol dome prior to President Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:00 pm

With the country slowly digging itself out of recession, some of his legislative priorities buried under Washington's partisanship and his approval ratings at some of their lowest levels, President Obama called for "a year of action" during his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday.

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Going to Washington
12:36 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Son of Undocumented Immigrants Invited to the State of the Union Address

Lucas Codognolla is the lead organizer of Connecticut Students for a Dream.
Credit Stamford Advocate

An undocumented immigrant who recently graduated from the University of Connecticut will attend President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. He's Lucas Codognolla, lead organizer of Connecticut Students for a Dream, which advocates for immigration reform and education equity for undocumented students. 

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WAMC News
11:16 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Congressional Corner With Joe Courtney

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 10:52 am

    The Farm Bill still has to be completed.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the agriculture industry in his district is waiting.

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SOTU
9:49 am
Tue January 28, 2014

5 Things To Expect In Obama's State Of The Union Address

President Obama gestures to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner before giving his 2013 State of the Union address.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 2:35 pm

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.

Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:

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Economic Fairness
3:27 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Report Makes the Case for Federal Minimum Wage Hike

Murphy's report makes the point that productivity has risen far faster than wages.

Senator Chris Murphy is adding his voice to the call for a hike in the federal minimum wage.

Connecticut's minimum wage just went up, but there's increasing pressure from President Obama and the Senate Democrats for the federal minimum to follow suit. 

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Coming Home Project
9:42 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Senate Bill Would Restore COLA Benefit for Veterans

American Legion Post 96 Commander Ken Hungerford with Sen. Blumenthal and Linda Schwartz on Thursday.
Credit Jaki Lauper

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal promised to fight for a wide-reaching veterans' bill that includes restoring a cut to cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees.

The legislation, Senate bill 1950, is more than 300 pages. It includes money to help the federal VA eliminate its claims backlog, and extends the number of years that returning veterans can access VA health care. It also expands benefits for caregivers.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Unemployment and the Job Search

Congress continues to debate the extension of unemployment benefits.
Credit Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

The debate over unemployment insurance has Congress in a deadlock. Those opposed to extending emergency benefits argue that doing so only promotes an "idle" class of jobless Americans. Those in favor say it's the only safety net the unemployed have in today’s difficult labor market.

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White House
3:36 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Wielding A Pen And A Phone, Obama Goes It Alone

President Obama has alluded to his pen and his phone as two tools that help him act without waiting for congressional approval.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 8:04 am

President Obama has a new phrase he's been using a lot lately: "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."

He's talking about the tools a president can use if Congress isn't giving him what he wants: executive actions and calling people together. It's another avenue the president is using to pursue his economic agenda.

'If Congress Is Deadlocked'

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Congress
4:17 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

House Republicans Join In Passing $1 Trillion Spending Bill

House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:19 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill — a compromise that appeared to get past the bitter partisan showdowns that have caused an unpopular federal government shutdown and nearly tipped the U.S. into default.

The 359-67 vote was a sign of considerable support from Republicans, thanks to a bipartisan deal worked out last month laying out spending for the next two years.

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