congressional correspondent
Thomas's Feed
Jun 23, 2013

U.S. lawmakers slam Russia for abetting Snowden flight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on Sunday said former national security contractor Edward Snowden’s reported flight to Russia with a plan to flee onward to Cuba or Venezuela undermined his whistle blower claims and they slammed Moscow for helping a fugitive.

An aircraft thought to be carrying Snowden landed in Moscow on Sunday after Hong Kong let the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor leave the territory, despite Washington’s efforts to extradite him to face espionage charges.

Jun 21, 2013

Senate sets Monday vote in key test for immigration bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A landmark immigration bill appears headed toward passage next week in the U.S. Senate, where a test vote is set for Monday on a border-security deal designed to bolster Republican support.

The Democratic-led Senate is expected to pass the White House-backed bill and send it to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it faces more resistance, especially over a provision that would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Jun 20, 2013

Senate immigration deal would double number of U.S. border agents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A flood of new federal agents and high-tech surveillance devices would be dispatched to the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico under a deal aimed at winning passage of an immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, congressional sources said on Thursday.

The proposal, which could be formally offered as an amendment to the sprawling immigration bill as early as Thursday, would double the overall number of U.S. border patrol agents, according to senior Senate Democratic aides.

Jun 19, 2013

Backers of immigration reform embrace upbeat economic assessment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Backers of a landmark immigration bill voiced confidence on Wednesday that it will pass the U.S. Senate as early as next week, propelled by new evidence that the sweeping legislation would boost the economy and help narrow the government’s budget deficit.

The economic projection, released on Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, is “a big game-changer,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight” that wrote the bill, told Reuters.

Jun 19, 2013

Senate immigration bill to aid economy, budget office says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A White House-backed bill to overhaul the U.S. immigration system got a boost on Tuesday when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that the measure would cut federal budget deficits and boost the U.S. economy.

The CBO analysis came as the Senate fended off amendments by the bill’s opponents that would have delayed for an unspecified amount of time provisions to legalize up to 11 million undocumented immigrants and allow them to gain citizenship within 13 years.

Jun 18, 2013

Gaps widen between House, Senate on immigration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Work intensified on Tuesday to revamp the U.S. immigration system, but gaps widened between the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives over what proposed changes should become law.

The net effect was to raise further doubts about the prospects for both houses approving a comprehensive measure that would grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Jun 13, 2013

Senate rejects Republican effort to gut immigration bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican amendment that foes said would have undermined a key element of the White House-backed bill that aims to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the defeat of his amendment, 57-43, broke a promise by President Barack Obama’s Democrats to permit an “open debate” on the landmark immigration legislation. Democrats forced a vote after little discussion.

Jun 13, 2013

Lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some members of the Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game “20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 13, 2013

U.S. lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Some members of the U.S.
Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence
agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game
“20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows
exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who
conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working
knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 7, 2013

Long debate over immigration begins in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Friday plunged into a spirited debate on overhauling the country’s immigration rules, with a verdict likely by the end of June on legislation that could define President Barack Obama’s final years in office.

The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” a nearly 900-page reworking of the nation’s 27-year-old immigration law, faces a tough fight in the Democratic-held Senate and an even harder battle in the more conservative House of Representatives later this year.

    • About Thomas

      "Thomas Ferraro joined Reuters in 1998; he has helped cover a number of presidential campaigns and is a veteran of Capitol Hill where he has seen Democratic and Republican majorities rise and fall. He has also covered a number of Supreme Court confirmation battles, including those of four nominees now on the highest U.S. court."
    • Follow Thomas