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Congress

An influential Washington state Congress member is among the officials pushing for an investigation into Michael Flynn's actions.

The confirmation today of Betsy DeVos as the 11th U.S. secretary of education brought angry denunciations and firm pledges of support — no surprise for a Cabinet nominee who had become a lightning rod for Americans' views about their public schools.

Here's our roundup, with excerpts from reactions around the country:

First, DeVos herself tweeted shortly after her confirmation:

And this tweet from Vice President Pence, who cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate:

President Trump tweeted his congratulations:

The teachers unions

There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder."

When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance.

Rep. Adam Smith
Office of Adam Smith / U.S. House

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith says he’s deeply disturbed by comments made by President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

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

Democrats in the U.S. House have introduced a bill to try to prevent immigration restrictions like the ones in effect under President Trump. Trump's executive order temporarily bans immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries and prohibits entry by any new refugees for four months.

Senator Jeff Sessions.
FLICKR PHOTO/Gage Skidmore (CC by SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/av61Fy

Bill Radke speaks with Puget Sound Business Journal digital editor Greg Lamm about the impact Jeff Sessions could have on Washington's marijuana and tech industries if he is confirmed as the U.S. attorney general.

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

Donald Trump's electoral victory was made official Friday by members of Congress.

Several Democrats made a last-ditch effort to block him from the presidency. Among them was Seattle's new Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Just days into Congress' new session, major topics are on the table.

Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray says she will fight back against a Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood. This week House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wants to cut off federal financial support to the health organization.

Lawmakers returned to Washington and wasted no time getting to work on the repeal of Obamacare.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a resolution just hours after the new Congress convened Tuesday that will serve as the vehicle for repealing much of the president's signature health care law.

Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e4kQ16

Patricia Murphy talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Amy Harder about the role of Donald Trump Jr. in deciding the president elect's pick for Interior secretary. Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers was initially a front runner for the position. On Thursday, Trump picked Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.

Members of the U.S. House and Senate expect to pass a law in the next few days that would return a 9,000-year old set of human remains to Northwest tribes. “Kennewick Man” was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1996 by two students.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been unanimously re-nominated by his party to continue to serve as speaker in the 115th Congress.

According to Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong, Ryan was nominated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., a founding member of the conservative Freedom Caucus that helped to push out former House Speaker John Boehner.

Pramila Jayapal says she'll go to Congress 'on the defensive' against new president Donald Trump.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Willmer

In the race for the 7th Congressional District, which includes most of Seattle as well as Shoreline and Vashon Island, State Senator Pramila Jayapal emerged with a strong lead on election night over her opponent Brady Walkinshaw. 

Her victory would make her the first Indian-American woman in Congress.

Republicans are feeling the best they have this cycle about their chances of holding their majority in the U.S. Senate, but doing that would require several states to break their way on election night. That's a risky place to be one day before control of the Senate is decided.

The tightening of the presidential race over the past week may have had an impact on these Senate contests. Most of the contests remain firm toss-ups, though Democrats still have multiple paths to winning back the five seats they need (or just four if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the presidency).

Pramila Jayapal and Brady Walkinshaw agree on the issues for the most part. Walkinshaw notes that his contributions come mostly from within Washington state; Jayapal rebuts that she is running for national office.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Kim Malcolm talks with Publicola's Josh Feit about the 7th Congressional District race between Pramila Jayapal and Brady Walkinshaw. This week, Jayapal's campaign accused Walkinshaw's campaign of putting out a dishonest and misleading TV ad. Feit is political editor at Seattle Met Magazine where we writes the blog, Publicola.

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