Congress | KUOW News and Information

Congress

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts about their new book, "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law."

The Capitol Rotunda is seen with the statue of George Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, ahead of the State of the Union address by President Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, which will be followed by a response from the Democratic Party. Journalists across the NPR newsroom will be annotating those remarks, adding fact-checks and analysis in real time. 

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

The House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday evening, though the measure now faces uncertainty in the Senate as Republican congressional leaders work to avert a government shutdown by late Friday night.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to proceed on the four-week continuing resolution, which would extend funding only until Feb. 16. That is looking more and more difficult after most Democrats and at least three Republican senators have said they won't vote for the bill.

Pramila Jayapal
Flickr Photo/Joe Mabel (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/zznt82

Kim Malcolm talks with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) about why she won't attend President Trump's State of the Union address on January 30.

Lauri Hennessey was one of many anonymous women who accused Oregon Senator Bob Packwood of improper conduct in the 1990s.
Courtesy Lauri Hennessey

A powerful senator and public champion of women is accused of sexual harassment. As the number of accusers mounts, his fellow senators urge him to step down. Eventually the pressure is too great, and he resigns. 

We're not talking about Al Franken. We're talking about former Oregon senator Bob Packwood.

Updated at 7:14 p.m. ET

After a monumental legislative victory on taxes this week, Republicans in Congress have been scrambling to avoid a chaotic government shutdown that could overshadow their signature tax bill before it even gets signed into law.

Pramila Jayapal
Flickr Photo/Joe Mabel (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/zznt82

Kim Malcolm talks with Rep. Pramila Jayapal about why she believes Sen. Al Franken should step down from Congress. On Tuesday, Jayapal also called for Rep. John Conyers to resign. Both men face multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Two female lawmakers accused sitting members of Congress of sexual harassment but did not divulge their identities, at a House hearing Tuesday.

"This is about a member who is here now; I don't know who it is. But somebody who I trust told me the situation," said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., a member of the House Administration Committee, which is conducting a review of existing policies to prevent and report sexual harassment.

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

Health insurance experts say the 2018 rates in the Affordable Care Act didn't have to be so expensive. And if a bill in Congress is approved, they won't be.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Less than a week after President Trump said he is cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies, lawmakers announced Tuesday that they had a deal to restore the money and take other actions that could stabilize insurance markets for next year.

A detainee in solitary at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Immigration detention is a booming business in the U.S., mostly run by private, for-profit contractors. A new bill in Congress aims to phase out these private facilities, including the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

'Week in Review' panel Bill Radke, Christopher Parker, Billy Bryant and Natalie Brand.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Amazon tells Seattle it wants to see other cities and announces plans for a second headquarters in another North American metropolis.

The only Republican Congressman from the Puget Sound area said this week he won't run for another term. Who will take over for Rep. Dave Reichert?

Mardie Rhodes has lived in the 8th Congressional District for the last 20 years. She says she's a retiree from the health care field.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

The Democrats challenging Republican Rep. Dave Reichert in the 8th Congressional District were by turns respectful and gleeful at the prospect of his retirement.

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., speaks with the media after testifying before the Senate Law and Justice Committee about Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

Rep. Dave Reichert said Wednesday that he won't seek re-election in a race that could decide whether Republicans still control Congress. 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top woman in Republican leadership in the U.S. House, is being challenged by a Democrat.

Former leader of the Washington state senate Lisa Brown is running for Congress.

Brown announced Thursday that she’s challenging McMorris Rodgers for her eastern Washington seat.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

In an emotional return to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain admonished the leaders of his party for how they managed the health care bill and called instead for "regular order."

Updated: 7:26 p.m.

The House overwhelmingly passed a sanctions bill on Tuesday that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election and tie President Trump's hands in terms of lifting economic restrictions on Moscow.

Other than vodka, the Russian product most familiar to Americans is probably the anti-virus software made by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP's health care bill, and they're unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Bill Radke talks with Aaron Katz, who teaches health policy the University of Washington School of Public Health, and retired physician Roger Stark, a healthcare analyst for the Washington Policy Center.

They discuss the current healthcare bill being debated in the Senate and the Congressional Budget Office score that predicts 22 million fewer Americans will have insurance by 2026.

Updated at 8:10 pm ET

Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

That's only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

President Trump kept one of his campaign promises, signing a bill Friday to make it easier for the secretary of veterans affairs to fire and discipline employees. It came in response to the 2014 VA scandal in which employees covered up long wait times while collecting bonuses.

The bill, which passed earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, also gives the secretary authority to revoke bonuses and protects whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

Screenshot from appropriations.house.gov

Both Democrats and Republicans pushed back against cuts proposed for the U.S. Department of Energy when Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Washington state Republicans criticized Trump administration proposals to lop one-fourth off efforts to clean up radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and sell off much of the Northwest’s high-voltage power grid.

Russia's efforts to interfere with last year's elections will be front and center during two hearings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence while the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hear from current U.S. intelligence officials and state election experts.

Here are five questions likely to be on lawmakers' minds as they listen to witnesses and ask questions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will release a discussion draft of their version of the health care bill on Thursday, with a vote likely next week.

Private health care talks have been underway in the Senate for weeks. McConnell tapped a 13-member working group last month to hash out senators' differences over the House-passed American Health Care Act. McConnell's office has since taken the lead drafting the Senate version of the party's long-promised legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has undergone surgery and will need further operations, after being shot by a man who opened fire with a rifle on an early morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress in Alexandria, Va. Scalise was the most seriously injured of four victims of the shootings.

In this Sept. 10, 2013, file photo Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Washington Rep. Adam Smith (D) has unveiled a bill aimed at deterring Russian aggression against the U.S. and its allies.

The bill would pressure the Trump administration to create a comprehensive policy on Russia and increase sanctions.

The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

TV networks have deployed countdown clocks. People are tweeting about places to watch and whether they'll offer morning cocktail specials. Congressional aides report that demand for seats inside the Senate hearing room has reached levels not seen for decades.

Anticipation is building for testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, not least in the White House, where the president and his aides worry the telegenic former law enforcement leader could inflict both political and legal wounds.

What Comey might say

Pages