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Sunday, February 26, 2017
Senate
McConnell

Republican-Friendly Audience To McConnell: ‘Do Your Job’

At one point, a frustrated audience member implored him: “Answer the question Mitch!” after he offered a curt answer to a woman asking about lost coal jobs in eastern Kentucky. As he began leaving the event, escorted by state and local law enforcement, a few in the crowd booed. Someone shouted “Do your job!”

February 22, 2017
Gorsuch, Republicans, Senate, Democrats, Obstruction

The Supreme Court Wasn’t The Only Seat Stolen By Senate Republicans

Besides the open Supreme Court seat that Republicans refused to act on during Obama’s last year in office, there are currently 112 vacancies across the federal bench. Obama made 54 nominations to those seats that Republicans refused to confirm, including several dozen where they never held a final vote. In short, the GOP mounted a judicial coup.

February 21, 2017
Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell

In Congress, Republicans Are Starting To Fret

Until recently, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tolerated Trump’s turbulent debut because they agreed with the direction the White House was heading — or were confident they could nudge it in the desired one. But the newfound partnership is showing signs of serious strain.

February 18, 2017
Senators

Senators Register Alarm About White House Security

As an avalanche of security issues distracts the Trump administration in its third week, two ranking Democratic senators have sent letters of inquiry to the White House regarding the staff’s possession of private Republican National Committee email accounts; the president’s use of a personal, unsecured smartphone; and reports of mishandling sensitive documents during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Florida over the weekend.

February 15, 2017
Andrew Puzder

Labor Nominee Puzder Faces Uncertainty As Confirmation Hearing Looms

Four Republican senators have not yet said whether they will support labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, raising suspense about whether he will survive an initial confirmation hearing this week. Puzder has faced staunch opposition from Democrats and protests from union-backed groups about policies at CKE’s food chains.

February 14, 2017
Goldman Sachs, Mnuchin

Ex-Goldman Banker Mnuchin Installed As Treasury Secretary

President Donald Trump swore in former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood financier, Steven Mnuchin, as Treasury secretary on Monday, putting him to work on tax reform, financial de-regulation, and economic diplomacy efforts. At a White House swearing-in ceremony, Trump said Mnuchin would be a “great champion” for U.S. citizens.

February 14, 2017
Senate Majority Leader McConnell adjusts glasses while taking questions on the upcoming budget battleon Capitol Hill in Washington

Mitch McConnell’s Crime Of Passion Against Elizabeth Warren

There’s no question that the decision to silence Warren backfired — badly. The furor gained the Massachusetts senator far more attention than her otherwise routine speech would have if it hadn’t been interrupted. The result: The majority leader turned the confirmation vote on Sessions, a loss for the Democrats, into a vehicle they could use to rally their partisan base.

February 13, 2017

Puzder Owes Millions To Bank Seeking Labor Department Waiver

Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Labor personally owes millions of dollars to a convicted bank that is relying on the same department to waive sanctions for its crimes. The ties between embattled appointee Andrew Puzder and the multinational bank UBS were listed in federal documents, but they were not explicitly acknowledged in Puzder’s ethics agreement with federal regulators.

February 13, 2017
Trump

The Biggest Loser: Trump Has Gotten Even Less Popular While In Office

President Trump, who won the presidency with a minority of the votes cast, has retained a strong hold on his core supporters. After a brief increase in popularity early in his transition, almost all public polls show a steep decline in Trump’s support, and he has quickly fallen into territory plumbed by Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

February 13, 2017
Obamacare, Healthcare

How Democrats Can Hold GOP Accountable For Healthcare Fix

In the Senate, Democrats could propose amendments to a replacement bill that would set specific goals of access, cost, and quality—essentially requiring Trump to take responsibility for his promises that the healthcare replacement will be, in his words, “insurance for everybody.”

February 12, 2017
Goldman Sachs

Senators Question Goldman Sachs On Its Role In Trump Banking Policy

In a letter to Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin asked for details on “lobbying” activities in the bank related to review of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Obama-era fiduciary rule on financial advice.

February 11, 2017
DeVos

DeVos Sees Public Education As A Biblical Battlefield

Betsy DeVos is a doctrinaire right-winger who means to destroy public education, replacing it with a system of religious schools that serve the middle class and the wealthy. Implacably hostile to the public commons, she would rip apart a core asset of our democracy.

February 11, 2017
Tom Price, a rabid Obamacare critic, tapped to lead the HHS

Senate Confirms Obamacare Opponent As Health Secretary

The Senate voted 52-47 on Friday to confirm Representative Tom Price as the top U.S. healthcare official, putting a determined opponent of Obamacare in position to help President Donald Trump dismantle the healthcare law. Price, in his new job, will have authority to rewrite rules implementing the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

February 10, 2017
Time Travelers

Dear Time Travelers: Welcome To 2017

I first noticed this influx of visitors from the past — men, mostly — shortly after the election. Filling my email inbox. Trolling my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Offering one unsolicited directive after another about how women should be conducting themselves. Lately, I’m wondering whether time travel isn’t contagious. Spreads like a syndrome maybe.

February 10, 2017
Trump taps immigration hard-liner Jeff Sessons for attorney general

Sessions Confirmed As Attorney General After Fierce Battle With Democrats

Jeff Sessions who has served two decades in the Senate from Alabama, was confirmed by a 52-47 vote after strong pushback from Democrats concerned about his record on civil rights. In a rare move for a senator recently confirmed to a Cabinet position, Sessions took to the floor of the chamber and called for members of Congress to have some “latitude” in their relationships with members of the other party.

February 9, 2017
Puzder, Trump, Labor Secretary

Senate Panel Finally Receives Ethics Filings For Labor Nominee Puzder

Tentative plans for Puzder’s hearing have been repeatedly postponed amid delays with a review by the Office of Government Ethics. Those stem from the complexities surrounding how Puzder will divest himself from CKE Restaurants, which is owned by private equity firm Roark Capital Group.

February 8, 2017
DeVos, Pence, Christian Right

If Republicans Won’t Take A Stand On Incompetent DeVos, What Will They Take A Stand On?

Surely there are more than two Republican senators who are smart enough to realize that Betsy DeVos is underqualified and incompetent to lead the Department of Education. A few heads should be hanging with shame in the Senate. If they were unable to show basic guts in such a clear-cut matter, Americans can expect no courage from them in the worrisome years to come.

February 8, 2017
Warren

Try As They Might, Senate Republicans Cannot Silence Elizabeth Warren

Silenced on the Senate floor by Republican colleagues, Elizabeth Warren took her criticism of Trump’s attorney general nominee out to the hallway — and found much larger platform. The action prompted a tide of support on Facebook for Warren under a hashtag #LetLizSpeak after she went outside the chamber and read the letter in a video posted on the site that drew more than 5 million views.

February 8, 2017
Tom Price

Democrats Insist New Details Warrant SEC Probe Into Tom Price’s Stock Trades

Price testified before the Senate health committee that he had purchased the stock at the same price that was available to all other investors. But the Senate Democrats noted that new reports indicate Price had purchased discounted shares in two separate private placements offered to fewer than 20 U.S. investors.

February 7, 2017
Betsy DeVos

In Rural America, DeVos’ Confirmation Could Spell Doom For Public Schools

DeVos’s free-market principles are on full display in Detroit, where for-profit charter school operators have sowed chaos without creating any educational gains. Detroit’s miserable educational outcomes are some of the worst in the nation, and liberals have pointed to them frequently in their objections to DeVos.

February 7, 2017
Trump

While We Are Distracted By Tweets, Trump Is Building A Corporate State

The destructive toll of Donald Trump’s presidency is beginning to emerge, foreshadowing what’s likely to come as the White House and congressional Republicans begin to reverse, repeal, and replace federal laws and regulations. While Trump’s red-state supporters may be cheering now, they’ll soon feel the consequences.

February 7, 2017
DeVos

Confirmed: Pence’s Unprecedented Tie-Breaking Vote Gives DeVos The Edge

President Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the Senate, but only after Vice President Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her. The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a president’s Cabinet nominee, came after two Republicans joined with 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos.

February 7, 2017
Gorsuch, Trump

Democrats Question Independence Of Trump Supreme Court Nominee

Democrats have expressed worry that Gorsuch could act as a rubber stamp for the Republican president’s policies on a nine-seat Supreme Court poised to revert to a conservative majority. With four liberals and four conservatives now on the court, Gorsuch’s confirmation would restore the conservative majority that had existed for decades until the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia.

February 7, 2017
Rick Scott

Rick Scott Figures Some Dictators Aren’t So Bad — If They’ve Got Money

Governor Rick Scott recently warned Florida’s seaports that they could lose critical state funding if they make any shipping deals with Cuba. He later told reporters: “I don’t believe any port in our state, none of them, should be doing business with a brutal dictator.” These would be stirring words if they didn’t reek with hypocrisy.

February 7, 2017
Trump EPA nominee Scott Pruitt

EPA Employees Protest Trump’s Nominee To Head Agency

Over 400 former EPA staff members sent a letter to the U.S. Senate asking its members to reject the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the agency’s new administrator, saying “he has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws.”

February 6, 2017