Congress

News
4:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fix Is In For Congressional Obamacare Glitch

The new health law has left some 20,000 workers on Capitol Hill unsure of their health care options for the coming year.
Dwight Nadig iStockphoto

Finally, the federal HR department has released the health rule much of Capitol Hill has been waiting for.

There's now an explanation from the Office of Personnel Management on how members of Congress and much of their staff will get their health insurance starting next year.

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Where We Live
11:18 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Edith Prague's New Job, Rosa DeLauro's Ongoing Fight, and Rinku Sen on Health Equity

Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror, Chion Wolf/WNPR, Kris Krüg/PopTech

Earlier this year, Governor Dannel Malloy named Edith Prague the Commissioner of the state’s Department on Aging.

The 87-year-old previously served as state representative, state senator and was even the commissioner of aging once before under Governor Lowell Weicker.

We sat down with Edith Prague to talk about her new job, her political career, and one job she doesn’t want.

"I wouldn’t go to Washington if my life depended on it," said Prague.

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Where We Live
11:59 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The Wheelhouse: What Happened to Slow News Summers?

Chion Wolf

Secretary of State John Kerry is only six-months into his new job - and he’s brought two major opponents together in Washington.

"We’re here today because the Israeli people and the Palestinian people both have leaders willing to heed the call of history," said Kerry yesterday.

Today, it’s our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse and we talk with NPR’s longtime Political Junkie Ken Rudin about the peace talks, Congressional support for the NSA surveillance program, gridlock and more.

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Here & Now
2:49 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Obama Proposes Cuts In Corporate Tax Rates

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 3:44 pm

U.S. home prices continue to surge. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index out today shows a 12 percent increase in May compared to a year ago.

Low interest rates and an improving job market are boosting demand for homes and driving prices up.

President Obama is out with a plan that he says will improve the job market even more. The president is touring an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn. to announce a so-called “grand bargain” to overhaul the corporate tax system.

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Where We Live
11:17 am
Wed July 24, 2013

The Wheelhouse: You Mean There Was News Other Than The Royal Birth?

Thomas Good, Wikimedia Commons; SROPhotos, Flickr Creative Commo

Are you ready for the 2014 gubernatorial election? We don't know if we are, but we're wading into it anyway after Senate Minority Leader John McKinney announced his bid for the governor's mansion.

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Climate Change
3:47 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Blumenthal, Murphy Endorse Obama's Climate Change Plan

Samaia Hernandez

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2:46 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Incumbent Esty Takes Big Fundraising Lead

Lead in text: 
The freshman Congresswoman is getting big money from outside the state, building up an early lead over challenger Mark Greenberg.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty raised more than a quarter million dollars in the second quarter of 2013, bringing the 5th District Democrat's total campaign balance to nearly $400,000, according to her latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Student Loans
2:42 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Student Loan Interest Rates Set to Double on July 1

With a July 1 deadline looming, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to stop interest rates on new federal student loans from doubling.  But there may be time to address the situation before classes begin next fall.

About 7 ½ million students nationwide pay for a portion of their college tuition through subsidized Stafford Student loans. Right now, interest rates will go from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st.

"There is a window of opportunity for Congress to still act."

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Congressional Gold Medal
6:24 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

The Borinqueneers: An All Puerto-Rican Unit in the U.S. Army

Photo by Catie Talarski

There'a a push among federal legislators to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the last segregated Hispanic unit in the U.S. military. 

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Sandy Recovery
1:23 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Connecticut Lags in Use of Sandy Relief Dollars

More than six months have passed since Superstorm Sandy devastated the tri-state region and many people are still struggling. Money from the congressional Sandy relief bill is already helping those in New York and New Jersey. But Connecticut lags behind.

In Fairfield Beach, you can hear the constant whir of construction. Some recently raised homes look like they’re standing on long stilts 12 or 14 feet above ground. Many others are marked for demolition or are already empty lots.

On some streets, things look normal, until --

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News
9:30 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Connecticut's Request for Sandy Funding Pale By Comparison

It’s been five months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the tri-state area. And now, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are working on preparing for the next storm. Congress has allocated some money for that purpose, but very little of that will go to Connecticut.

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Jobs
12:48 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Postal Service To Reduce Operations At Two Processing Plants

Diane Orson

The U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to reduce operations at two Connecticut mail processing plants this summer. That’s earlier than anyone expected, and could affect more than a thousand workers. 

There’s been talk for a long time about closing or cutting back operations at postal facilities in Wallingford and Stamford. But last year, USPS officials assured workers – and CT’s Congressional delegation -  that nothing would happen before 2014.

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Cutbacks
9:34 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Sequester has consequences for the environment, too

As the United States Congress nears its deadline for cutting spending, the country faces a sequester, or 85 billion dollars in across-the-board spending cuts that would take effect this year. The public debate over the impacts of the sequester have focused on defense and education cuts, but funding for environmental programs is also at risk. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

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Where We Live
12:03 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Decoding Sequestration

Borman 818, creative commons

So, let’s say Where We Live was like the federal budget, and because of some self-imposed deadline, our show was subject to a “sequester” -  A cut of 2.3%. 

Well, you’d lose about 1 and a quarter minutes off the show. Doesn’t seem too bad, right?  But what if it was completely arbitrary - cutting the first minute that explains what we’re talking about, or the precise moment our guest Bill Curry says something that might change your world.  Doesn’t sound the the best way to trim things, huh?

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Less Reimbursements
11:10 am
Tue December 11, 2012

The "Doc Fix" Set To Expire

DoNotLick

http://cptv.vo.llnwd.net/o2/ypmwebcontent/John%20Foley.WAV

On December 31, doctors will experience a 30% decrease in reimbursements through Medicare and Tricare,  the federal programs that provide care for people over 65 years of age and active and retired members of the military, unless Congress acts to stop it.

In 1997, Congress created a formula that tied increases in physician payments from  Medicare and Tricare to economic growth, a formula that leaves a shortfall in payments to doctors when health care costs rise faster than the nation's economic growth. 

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Where We Live
10:46 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Andrew Roraback Takes Heat From The Left and Right

Chion Wolf

Andrew Roraback is the Republican nominee for the open Congressional seat in the 5th District...and he’s a bit stuck.

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Where We Live
11:17 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Esty Says Roraback Is Not A Tea Party Republican

Chion Wolf WNPR

Although national Democrats are running ads in Connecticut connecting Republican Andrew Roraback to the tea party, his opponent Elizabeth Esty distanced herself from the attacks. "I don't say that and I've said I don't say that," said Esty. She added that if a Republican is elected from Connecticut's 5th District, "What you've done is added another vote, added more support at the national level for the national (Tea Party) agenda."

Esty pointed to a larger problem with the Citizens United ruling and campaign finance.

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Coming Home Project
6:21 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

A Bill To Help Veterans Targeted By For-Profit Schools

Photo by Chion Wolf

Congressman Joe Courtney has sponsored a bill that could help veterans who are in school or planning to enroll using the Post 9-11 GI bill. The legislation would change how education funding is classified from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

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Race for Senate
6:12 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Favored In GOP Senate Primary, Linda McMahon Faces Critics Left And Right

Connecticut GOP Senate candidates Rep. Christopher Shays and Linda McMahon shake hands at a June 14 debate in Storrs. State Republicans vote Tuesday on which candidate will move on to the general election.
Stephan Savoia AP

Two years ago, Republican Linda McMahon ran for an open U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, spent $50 million of her own money in the process, and lost.

In an otherwise Republican year, the former top executive at World Wrestling Entertainment was easily beaten by Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Now, McMahon is trying again — running for the seat of outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent.

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A Not-So-Pretty Penny
2:40 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Would You Pay $162 More For Cleaner Electricity?

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.

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Where We Live
1:21 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Andrew Roraback on the Death Penalty, Health Care and Rowland

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:10 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

The Nose: A Debate Takes An Odd Turn; Connecticut Poised To Dump Death Penalty

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:03 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Election Double Header II: The 5th District As A Prism (Or Petri Dish) For State Politics

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.

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Coming Home Project
2:07 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Defense Department Mistakes Keep Contracts From Disabled Veterans

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.  

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Education Reform
6:24 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Connecticut Finalizes NCLB Waiver Request

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:45 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

SOPA & PIPA: A Guide To Internet Censorship

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.

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Where We Live
11:08 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Redistricting Update

Education Reform
6:43 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Senator Blumenthal To Introduce No Child Left Behind Amendment

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.

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Where We Live
10:21 am
Tue September 27, 2011

The Redistricting of Connecticut

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.

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Where We Live
10:58 am
Fri July 22, 2011

Jim Himes on the Budget Crisis

Chion Wolf

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.

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