Congress

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Obama Could Ease Iran Sanctions— Without Congress

White House points to president's power to 'suspend' them in event of a deal

(Newser) - Iran may be open to a nuclear deal in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions, and President Obama, the Treasury Department says, has the power to take action himself. According to a White House study, Obama doesn't need congressional approval to "suspend" most of the sanctions on... More »

Ralph Hall, Oldest in US House, Hurt in Car Accident

91-year-old in serious condition: report

(Newser) - The oldest-ever serving member of the House of Representatives is in the hospital following a car accident. Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas, 91, is being treated in Plano, WFAA reports. He was reportedly riding in a vehicle when another hit it; afterward, he was airlifted to the hospital, and KXII... More »

Congress Has Rarely Worked a Full Week in 37 Years

Both chambers in session together Monday through Friday just 14% of the time

(Newser) - When you crunch the numbers, Congress looks pretty lazy. The Washington Post finds that both chambers have been in session only about 40% of the time since 1978—the first year for which online records are available—and they've both worked full weeks simultaneously a measly 14% of the... More »

Ex-Con Former US Rep Dies After Tractor Accident

James Traficant was expelled from Congress in rare move

(Newser) - Former Ohio Congressman James Traficant, who served time in jail on a corruption conviction, has died at 73 after a tractor accident , according to reports. The vehicle flipped over onto him while he was trying to park it, the AP reports. He spent four days in the hospital and died... More »

House OKs US Help for Syrian Rebels Fighting ISIS

Senate expected to pass it tomorrow

(Newser) - The House voted grudgingly today to give the US military the authority to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting ISIS. The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed the plan seven weeks before midterm... More »

2 Gay Candidates for Congress Hope to Make History

Republicans want to be first in their party to campaign and win seats

(Newser) - Two openly gay GOP candidates are still alive in the midterm congressional elections. One is Richard Tisei of Massachusetts, who ran unopposed in his primary last night and hopes to join the six current LGBT members of the House, all Democrats, reports Mother Jones . No openly gay GOP candidate has... More »

Iraq Vet Beats Incumbent in Democratic House Primary

Seth Moulton unseats John Tierney in Massachusetts

(Newser) - For the fourth time this primary season, a House incumbent has been defeated—and there were no Tea Partiers in sight this time. John Tierney, a nine-term Democrat in Massachusetts, was defeated by 35-year-old Iraq veteran Seth Moulton, reports the Wall Street Journal . The former Marine captain had the support... More »

Congress' Most Endangered Incumbents

Unpopular President Obama could hurt Democrats

(Newser) - The congressional midterm elections are coming, meaning it's time to mine the tea leaves for potential losers. So, who might be facing the music come November? Of the Senate's 10 most vulnerable, nine are Democrats, according to Roll Call . A sampling from its list:
  • Mary Landrieu—An oddball
... More »

Obama May Skirt Congress on Global Climate Deal

With Senate a dead end, he plans pact that needs no ratification: NYT

(Newser) - President Obama is employing some "legal and political magic" as one expert puts it so he can create an international climate change agreement without Congress, the New York Times reports. This fancy footwork is in preparation for a 2015 UN climate change summit in Paris. Knowing that he has... More »

House Ready to Drop $350K to Sue Obama

Lawyer David Rivkin is charging $500 an hour

(Newser) - The House of Representatives has lawyered up in its quest to sue President Obama , the National Journal reports, and it's not going to be cheap: David Rivkin was key to devising the House's case strategy in the first place. He'll be paid $500 an hour up to... More »

US Strikes Iraq With Land-Based Bombers

President Obama updates Congress with a letter

(Newser) - The US has expanded its air campaign in Iraq with attacks aimed at helping Iraqi forces regain control of the strategic Mosul dam. The White House said President Obama notified Congress today that the widened mission would be limited in duration and scope. The administration's letter to Congress said... More »

Nasty Michigan Campaign Ends With Epic Speech

Victor Justin Amash denounces opponent's 'disgusting, despicable' campaign

(Newser) - If you weren't paying attention to last night's primary contests, you missed one of the more memorable victory speeches in a while. It came from Republican Justin Amash, a libertarian-leaning politician who defeated challenger Brian Ellis in Michigan's 3rd District. Candidates generally "kiss and make up"... More »

Of Mice, Pop Tarts: Congresswomen Who Bunk at the Office

They look to save money, avoid settling down

(Newser) - It's become fairly standard for some congressmen to spend both their days and nights in their offices. For what appears to be the first time, however, congresswomen are doing the same, the Wall Street Journal reports in a look at three House Republicans. "My poor staff, they have... More »

Lawmakers Strike Deal to Overhaul VA

Announcement today comes ahead of recess

(Newser) - Congressional negotiators have hit on a deal to address the serious issues reportedly plaguing Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. The agreement in negotiations led by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Rep. Jeff Miller comes in the wake of disagreements over dueling Senate and House plans, the Washington Post notes.... More »

Unlocking Your Cell Phone Will Soon Be Legal

...but the rules are still murky

(Newser) - The rules on unlocking your phone —allowing you to use it with any carrier—are hard to keep up with. Just two years after the US Copyright Office ruled that unlocking was illegal without permission from your carrier, Congress has turned things around again. Lawmakers have passed a bipartisan... More »

Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From the Capitol

They're onto you, 143.231.249.138—cut it out

(Newser) - Last week, Gizmodo and other tech-obsessed sites reported on significant Wikipedia edits regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that were apparently made from a Russian government IP address ... and now, it appears someone in the US government is taking that idea and running with it. The online encyclopedia has blocked an... More »

US Might Finally Improve Your Sunscreen

Congress pushing bill that would speed up FDA backlog on ingredients

(Newser) - The US is way behind other countries when it comes to sunscreen, thanks to a backlog at the FDA, reports Time . For more than a decade, key ingredients used all over the world have been held up in the US waiting for government approval. Even 2002 legislation aimed at speeding... More »

Pentagon Aims to Train Small Syria Opposition Force

Program could start next year, slowly expand

(Newser) - The Pentagon has a plan to train some moderate opposition fighters in Syria, but it may struggle to win congressional approval. Administration officials want to start small, training just 2,300 people; the program would be "scalable" from there, a top defense official tells the Wall Street Journal . It... More »

Back to Iraq? It's Up to Congress

Founding Fathers' decision allows for 'vigorous national debate': Rachel Maddow

(Newser) - As the US debates its future in Iraq, all eyes are on President Obama—but where we should be looking is Capitol Hill. Yes, congressional leaders recently said Obama needed no new authorization for further military action in Iraq. "But they're wrong," writes Rachel Maddow in the... More »

Bill: No More First-Class Flights for Lawmakers

Taxpayers should only cover coach seats, House sponsors say

(Newser) - If federal lawmakers want to kick back in first-class, they'll have to do it on their own dime—or so hopes a new House bill. "At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using... More »

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