Congress

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined 48 other senators calling for the name of the NFL's Washington franchise to be changed. The letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell referenced the NBA's response to the Donald Sterling controversy regarding comments Sterling made about African-Americans.

Last year, the Republican playbook for keeping control of the House of Representatives in 2014 and winning the Senate consisted of a fairly simple strategy: Run against Obamacare.

But now that the 2014 races are starting to take shape, that strategy isn't looking quite so simple. Democrats are fighting back. They're focusing on Republican opposition to the health law's expansion of Medicaid as a part of their own campaigns.

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 Things To Watch In Tuesday's Primaries

May 6, 2014

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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

House Passes Compromise Farm Bill

Jan 29, 2014

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.

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.

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

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.

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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