Congress | KUOW News and Information

Congress

United States Capitol building.
Flickr Photo/Eric E Johnson (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7enkXF

President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening at the Capitol, around 6:00 p.m. PST.

The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs. Following tradition, House Speaker Paul Ryan invited the president to make the speech to lay out his agenda in the early days of his new administration. 

At a session in Fremont, Shaine Truscott with SEIU-775 helps train "peacekeepers" for protests.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

In a Fremont conference room, about a dozen people pored over a hand-drawn map of the area around Republican Congressman Dave Reichert's office over in Issaquah. 

This is the specter currently haunting President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress: a left-wing Tea Party movement – led by paid protesters – that aims to disrupt their Town Halls and other public events across the country.


Mardie Rhodes of Sammamish was one of the people at the rally in Issaquah on Thursday.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

Protesters gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert's office in Issaquah on Thursday, upset that he hasn’t scheduled face time with the public during the first Congressional recess since Donald Trump was elected president.

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.

Spokane Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the current Republican health care bill is only part of a larger plan.
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.

State legislator Brady Walkinshaw represents Washington State's 43rd District.
Courtesy of Ann Norton

Pramila Jayapal got Bernie. 

Now Brady Walkinshaw gets Barney.

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

Campaigning before The Breakfast Group, a civic organization for African-American men, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw admitted that they had a choice between “two great progressives.”

He was referring to himself – a state representative from Capitol Hill – and Pramila Jayapal, state senator from Columbia City.

Congress is in the midst of a review of the copyright laws to make sure they're up to date. Some of the recording industry's biggest stars, among them Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Paul McCartney, recently signed a letter urging lawmakers to make reforms.

From left to right, Pramila Jayapal, Joe McDermott and Brady Walkinshaw at 7th Congression District debate in July.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

National media have called it a race to see who can be the most liberal.

It’s the contest to replace longtime Congressman Jim McDermott in Washington’s 7th Congressional District, which includes most of Seattle and parts of Snohomish County.

The race is on the ballot in the Aug. 2 primary.


Rep. Jim McDermott represented the Seattle area for 14 terms.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Stumped by your primary ballot? We've digested some of the issues. 

Jim McDermott’s seat

Nine candidates have filed to replace Jim McDermott in the Seventh Congressional District, which includes Seattle.

Suzan DelBene talking to supporters at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Kim Malcolm speaks with Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) about why she took part in a sit-in on the House floor with other Democrats to demand a vote on a measure that would restrict the purchase of a firearm by a person on the terrorist watch list. All of Washington's Democratic Congress members were part of the protest.

Demanding action on gun control, about 30 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives are staging a sit-in.

"Lawmakers are grouped in the well of the chamber, in front of the speaker's dais and in chairs in the front row," NPR's Sue Davis reports. "Some members are literally sitting on the floor of the House."

The Senate is set to vote on four gun control measures Monday evening — and none of them is expected to pass.

Getting these votes scheduled was the singular goal of a 15-hour talking marathon Senate Democrats mounted on the Senate floor Wednesday. But because the outcome of the votes is already a foregone conclusion, some senators are wondering out loud: "What's the point?"

"This is unfortunately about politics on Monday night, not about finding a solution that will work for our country," said Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Flickr Photo/Senate Democrats (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with U.S. Senator Patty Murray about her role in a filibuster that lasted nearly 15 hours over Wednesday and early Thursday. U.S. Senate Democrats took over their chamber on Wednesday in an attempt to force action on gun control.

Any doubt that Senate Republicans would hold the line behind their leader's decision to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee has been erased.

"I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

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

Bill Radke talks to Senator Patty Murray about the Every Child Achieves Act that was signed into law and what she hopes to accomplish for education in 2016. 

Rep. Jim McDermott represented the Seattle area for 14 terms.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Jim McDermott has represented Seattle in the U.S. Congress since 1989. He was elected to that office 14 times. But now, he wants to retire, to travel, to teach and to paint.

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