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February 13, 2016

Posts in "Uncategorized"

February 8, 2016

Zika Virus Funding Met With Caution in Congress


Burwell will brief lawmakers on the Zika virus Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Burwell will brief lawmakers on Zika Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill leaders responded cautiously to President Barack Obama’s announcement Monday that he would ask Congress to provide $1.8 million in emergency funding to bolster the response to the Zika virus.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is set to brief Senate leaders and relevant committee leaders  Tuesday on the virus, which is typically spread through mosquitoes and has been linked to a birth defect. The World Health Organization last week declared the virus a global health emergency. Full story

January 29, 2016

Senate Food Workers Allege ‘Raise Theft’


Capitol food workers have gone on strike for more than a year (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Food workers have gone on strike for more than a year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After achieving an apparent victory with wage increases in a new contract, Senate food workers now say that a number of workers have been illegally barred from receiving a raise.

In a complaint filed with the Labor Department on Jan. 14, Good Jobs Nation, the group that has been organizing worker strikes over the past year, charged that the Senate’s food service vendor altered workers’ classification, to make them no longer eligible for substantial wage increases included in a contract renegotiated in December.

Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 4:43 p.m.
Uncategorized

January 27, 2016

Heroin Epidemic Hearing Highlights Need for Resources


Ayotte, left, and Shaheen, right, testified at the hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ayotte, left, and Shaheen, right, testified at the hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers, state officials, advocates and law enforcement officers attempting to mitigate the heroin and prescription drug crisis plaguing the country had a message for Congress: We need your help.

“Listen, we need financial help. The states cannot do this alone,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, said at a Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday. He later added, “We’re scraping together pennies to try and make our treatment centers stand on their own.”

Full story

January 26, 2016

For One Day Only, the Senate’s a Matriarchy


Mikulski, center, talks to her fellow women senators at her Women's Power Workshop. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mikulski, center, talks to female senators at her Women’s Power Workshop. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 It might have been the first time this has ever happened: On Tuesday morning, as the Senate reconvened after a winter storm, every senator, staff member and page in the chamber was a woman.

Full story

January 22, 2016

John Thune Gets a Sneak Peek at the Washington Auto Show


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 21: A bright orange Ford Mustang convertible catches Sen. John Thune's eye as he tours the Washington Auto Show at the DC Convention Center in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bright orange Ford Mustang convertible catches Thune’s eye as he tours the Washington Auto Show at the DC Convention Center in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The focus of Sen. John Thune’s sneak preview of the Washington Auto Show on Thursday was new safety and environmental technologies, but that didn’t keep the South Dakota Republican from spending time with new toys.

In the midst of a presentation from Ford, Thune’s attention was drawn to a Mustang convertible, and he was quite interested in the features of the newest pickups from the big three. Full story

January 21, 2016

Campaign Venom Blocks Syrian Refugee Debate


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell arrives for the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Wednesday in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The rancorous politics of the presidential campaign spilled onto the Senate floor Wednesday and blocked debate on a bill that would effectively keep refugees from Iraq and Syria from entering the United States.

Republicans argued that the legislation, which cleared the House in November with an overwhelming majority, is needed after recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists. But Democrats said the bill only feeds the fear and hatred stirred up by GOP presidential candidates.

Full story

January 20, 2016

Politics Sink Refugee Bill in Senate


McConnell, left, and Reid, right, claimed victory in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell, left, and Reid, right, are on opposite sides of the debate on the Syrian refugee bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate rejected taking up a bill Wednesday to enhance screening of refugees, after Republican and Democratic leaders failed to strike a deal on politically charged amendments.

The procedural vote on the refugee legislation fell five votes short of the 60-vote margin needed to bring the bill to the floor; two Democratic senators Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, voted with 53 Republicans to invoke cloture on the bill, which cleared the House in November.

Full story

January 12, 2016

SOTU Guests Obergefell, Davis Highlight Gay Rights Divide


Activists celebrate the Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Activists celebrate the Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If there are two people who represent opposite poles in the gay marriage debate, it’s Supreme Court plaintiff Jim Obergefell and Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. And they’ll both be in the House chamber for the State of the Union on Tuesday night.

Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that declared same-sex marriages be recognized in all 50 states, will be seated in a place of prominence as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama. Davis, who made headlines last year for refusing to recognize a gay marriage license after the court’s decision, will also be in the gallery.

Full story

January 6, 2016

Senate Sets Hearing on Obama Gun Actions


Shelby has invited the attorney general to testify. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Shelby has invited the attorney general to testify. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day after President Barack Obama unveiled his unilateral actions to combat gun violence, a senior senator invited the attorney general to answer for the proposals he considers “executive overreach.”

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify at a Jan. 28 hearing on the president’s actions, which Obama argued were legal and necessary in the face of congressional inaction on gun control. Shelby’s subcommittee oversees the Department of Justice’s budget. Full story

December 17, 2015

Reid: ‘Mitch McConnell and I Are Friends’


Reid, left, and McConnell, right, reaffirmed their friendship on the Senate floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid, left, and McConnell reaffirmed their friendship on the Senate floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s top two leaders took to the floor Thursday morning to affirm their friendship.

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gave his opening speech on the Senate floor on the year-end spending and tax package, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sought to clear the air after Politico reported that the relationship between the two leaders had reached a “new low.”

Full story

December 8, 2015

Durbin: ‘All Hell Will Break Loose’ Over Abortion Language in Spending Bill


UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 10: Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., leaves the Senate luncheons in the Capitol, November 10, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Durbin said Tuesday that he wouldn’t be surprised if the debate ran up to Christmas Eve. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat warned Tuesday that “all hell will break loose,” if Republicans force the issue on abortion language in the year-end omnibus bill.

“Just heard about it for the first time today, and if they try to do it, all hell will break loose,” Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said of the provision. “You can imagine. The phrase ‘Hobby Lobby’ perks up the ears of many members of the Senate.”

Full story

December 4, 2015

Gun Control Debate Stuck on Mental Health Reform


Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is one of the Democrats out in front of mental health legislation. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murphy is one of the Democrats out in front on mental health legislation. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At first glance Democrats seem to oppose mental health reform in response to mass shootings. Many in the Senate say they embrace such reform, but they’d rather close loopholes in gun laws first. The result, however, is no movement on either gun control or mental health.

Democrats used much of Thursday’s Obamacare repeal vote-a-rama to push gun control amendments in response to a spate of mass shootings. Most of those measures didn’t have a lot to do with mental health.

Full story

December 3, 2015

Senators in Paris for Climate Conference Will Tell France, ‘We Have Your Back’


Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, organized a CODEL to the U.N.'s climate change conference. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, organized a CODEL to the U.N.’s climate change conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barring a scheduling meltdown, a delegation of Democratic senators will break from debates over the health care law, government spending and highway funding to fly to Paris for the U.N. climate change conference. Full story

November 30, 2015

Lankford Joins League of Waste Watchers


Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., released his first annual "Federal Fumbles" report on government "waste."(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., released his first annual “Federal Fumbles” report on government “waste.”(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. James Lankford released his first book of “wasteful” federal programs and regulations on Monday, joining a group of Republican senators with similar reports.

But instead of trying to outdo his colleagues, the Oklahoma Republican called on all members of Congress to come up with their own list and look for common ground to cut spending. Full story

November 17, 2015

McCain: Obama Assertion on ISIS ‘Embarrassing’


paris attacks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain criticized President Barack Obama’s defiant defense of the administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State terror group.

Speaker with reporters Tuesday, the Arizona Republican took umbrage with Obama’s assertion that GOP hawks have failed to offer an alternative plan for fighting the violent extremist groups. He also said building the Arab ground force he envisions is possible as long as Obama pledges to help it take down Syrian President Bashar Assad. Full story

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