Congress | KUOW News and Information

Congress

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.

Rep. Jim McDermott in Feb. 2.014.
Flickr Photo/Transportation for America (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Pc1hdI

Bill Radke talks to Peter Jackson, a writer and the son of former Washington Senator "Scoop" Jackson, about the legacy of longtime Congressman Jim McDermott, who announced his retirement Monday. KUOW reporter Joshua McNichols also shares an update from the congressman's press conference. 

When Republicans took over both chambers of Congress in January, party leaders vowed they would prove to the country that Republicans could govern. They promised to stop with the self-made crises, such as government shutdowns, and rack up legislative accomplishments. So in the first year of a GOP-controlled Congress in nearly a decade, how well did Republicans prove they can govern?

Just days before the election of a new speaker of the House, lame-duck Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made good on one last promise — that he'd try to "clear the barn" for his successor.

In one fell swoop, two thorny issues were crossed off the to-do list: raising the debt ceiling by next Tuesday and coming up with a budget agreement.

Thursday was one of the most important days of Hillary Clinton's political career. The Democratic presidential candidate faced grilling for more than eight hours over the 2012 terror attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The questions from the 12 House Select Committee members — seven Republicans and five Democrats — split mostly along partisan lines.

There was chaos on Capitol Hill on Thursday after front-runner Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name from the House speakership election. The closed-door House Republican meeting that was supposed to emerge with a speaker nominee spilled out into the hallway outside of the House Ways and Means Room in the Longworth Office Building. That's where reporters rushed lawmakers to find out exactly what had happened and where the conference might go from here.

Here's a peek into that hallway, in 60 seconds:

In a stunning turn of events, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has withdrawn from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

McCarthy was the favorite ahead of Thursday's closed-door vote by House Republicans. He was in a three-way race for the top spot in the House with Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.

This post was updated at 4:25 p.m.

In a shocking move Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled out of the race for speaker of the House, throwing the GOP leadership race into chaos and confusion.

According to Republican congressmen coming out of the caucus meeting — where lawmakers were expected to pick a successor to retiring House Speaker John Boehner — McCarthy told Republicans he didn't have a path to victory.

Even though President Obama has not yet released details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced Monday, supporters and opponents are making their voices heard — at full volume.

Business leaders and interest groups hope their impassioned pleas will sway Congress, which must vote on the proposed deal next year.

This is what the cheers sounded like:

For the first time since surreptitious videos put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight again, the organization's president, Cecile Richards, faced the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

House Speaker John Boehner will give up his seat in Congress at the end of October.

Boehner became the 53rd speaker of the House in 2011. The Ohio Republican's tenure has been marked by fierce confrontations with Democrats and sometimes with his own party. One of those fights led to a 16-day partial government shutdown in 2013.

Amid renewed conflict with more conservative members of his party, Boehner is once again facing the prospect of a government shutdown.

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he won't seek re-election next year.

U.S. Capital congress
Flickr Photo/Stephen Melkisethian (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Cathy Allen, political consultant and president of The Connections Group, about Washington state's political clout in Congress now that the majority party is Republican.

Ballot drop box in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Ross Reynolds talks to Andrea Seabrook, founder of DecodeDC, about how local initiatives create laws in spite of the stalemate in Congress.

Marcie Sillman speaks with Representative Derek Kilmer, a Democrat representing Washington's 6th Congressional District, about the Senate passage of The American Savings Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to allow more financial institutions nationwide to offer prize-linked savings accounts.

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