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Feb 4, 2014

U.S. senator, labor push to restore jobless benefits for 1.7 million

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Jack Reed, with the support of the largest labor group in the nation, said on Tuesday he hopes to get a vote as early as this week on a new bill to restore expired federal jobless benefits for 1.7 million Americans.

The bill does not appear to have the 60 votes required to clear an anticipated procedural roadblock by Republicans in the 100-member Senate, according to Senate aides.

Feb 3, 2014
via Front Row Washington

Key retirements mean a changing of the guard next year in U.S. Congress

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Regardless what voters decide in the November elections, there will be a major changing of the guard next year in the U.S. Congress as result of a number of key retirements.

Those stepping down rather than seeking another term include five Senate Democratic chairmen with plenty of institutional power and knowledge on matters particularly important to President Barack Obama, such as healthcare, taxes, trade, labor and defense.

Jan 31, 2014

Analysis: White House hopes for fast-track trade hit political tangle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s push for authority to fast-track trade deals has hit a big setback in the form of opposition from his top fellow Democrat in Congress, but it is far from dead.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s warning to policymakers on Wednesday “just to not push this right now” reflects concern about the domestic political agenda ahead of November’s congressional elections, when free trade could be a damaging issue for many Democrats.

Jan 30, 2014

U.S. Senate passes bill to delay hikes in flood insurance rates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a rare act of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Thursday to delay dramatic increases in federal flood insurance premiums for millions of Americans.

On a vote of 67-32, the Democratic-led Senate brushed aside earlier White House concerns and sent the measure to the Republican-led House of Representatives for consideration.

Jan 30, 2014

Senior Democratic Congressman Waxman to retire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of California, a leading liberal who helped craft President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul, said on Thursday he would retire from Congress at the end of this year.

After 40 years in Congress, Waxman, 74, said he is ready to move on. His career in politics included efforts to promote clean air, strengthen food safety laws, improve AIDS initiatives, bolster healthcare for the poor, lower drug prices and crack down on the tobacco industry.

Jan 30, 2014

Waxman, leading liberal, to retire from U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Democratic U.S.
Representative Henry Waxman of California, a leading liberal who
helped craft President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare
overhaul, said on Thursday he would retire from Congress at the
end of this year.

After 40 years in Congress, Waxman, 74, said he is ready to
move on. His career in politics included efforts to promote
clean air, strengthen food safety laws, improve AIDS
initiatives, bolster healthcare for the poor, lower drug prices
and crack down on the tobacco industry.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. congressman apologizes for threatening to throw reporter over balcony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Michael Grimm, a former Marine who threatened to throw a television reporter over a balcony after an interview in the Capitol, apologized on Wednesday and said he had overreacted.

“I will break you in half,” Grimm told Michael Scotto of cable channel NY1 News in the confrontation late on Tuesday. Scotto had asked the New York Republican about a federal investigation into possible finance violations by his campaign.

Jan 29, 2014

Republicans respond and respond to Obama State of Union

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. Congress responded in competing voices on Tuesday to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address as various wings of the party vied to advance their prescriptions for the country’s best way forward.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was set to deliver the sanctioned Republican response to Obama, will queue up long-held party doctrine that “champions free markets and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you.”

Jan 27, 2014

Bipartisan flood Insurance bill clears Senate hurdle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan bill to delay dramatic increases in federal flood insurance premiums for millions of American homeowners and small businesses cleared a Republican procedural roadblock in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

On a vote of 86-13, the Senate agreed to advance the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which would postpone for four years rate hikes of up to 10 fold and more.

Jan 17, 2014

Senator Coburn leaving Congress as he battles cancer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who crossed the aisle in 2005 became friends with a newly elected colleague named Barack Obama, says he will leave office in December, two years before his term ends. He is battling cancer.

In a brief statement issued by his office late on Thursday, Coburn, 65, a medical doctor, said: “This decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires.”

    • 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."
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