Congress | WOSU Radio

Congress

A major Veterans Affairs reform has passed the Senate by 92-5 and is on its way to the White House. The $55 billion bill will change how the VA pays for private care, expand a VA caregiver program and start a review of the VA's aging infrastructure. President Trump has said he will sign it — and it's sure to be touted among his biggest legislative achievements.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

House GOP leaders promised Republicans Tuesday they will bring up immigration legislation in June, even though that pledge threatens to divide the party and undermine the staying power of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"What we're trying to do is find where the consensus sweet spot is," Ryan told reporters. "It's a very difficult issue. Immigration is an issue that has a lot of passionate positions, a lot of passionate thoughts, and our members come from various different perspectives."

Keitha Simpson at the Marysville Food Pantry.
Nick Evans

Volunteers box up food for the morning rush at the Marysville Food Pantry while Keitha Simpson stands in an aisle lined with cases of food.

“You name it—any kind of non-perishable you would want,” she says. “Canned vegetables, fruits, pastas, pasta sauce.”

Updated at 6:21 p.m. ET

The House rejected a $867 billion farm bill on Friday — after spending days negotiating with key conservatives in an attempt to pass the bill without the support of Democrats.

The vote was 198-213. Every Democrat voted against the measure, as did 30 Republicans. Many of the GOP lawmakers are members of the House Freedom Caucus and voted no after failing to get concessions on spending and a future vote on immigration in exchange for their support.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

The Senate approved a resolution Wednesday to nullify the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rollback, dealing a symbolic blow to the FCC's new rule that remains on track to take effect next month.

The final vote was 52-47. As expected, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, joined Democrats in voting to overturn the FCC's controversial decision. But two other Republicans — Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — also voted in favor of the resolution of disapproval.

It's the thick of primary season, and the looming question that hangs over the 2018 midterms is — will Democrats take control of Congress?

The Federal Election Commission has ruled that federal candidates can use campaign funds to pay for child care costs that result from time spent running for office.

On Thursday, the FEC ruled unanimously, 4-0, in favor of New York Democratic House candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley.

A small group of House Republicans began gathering support Wednesday for a plan to force votes on immigration legislation as early as this summer, despite protests from party leaders.

Anthony Gonzalez and Susan Moran Palmer
WOSU

Ohio’s 16th Congressional District, one of Ohio’s two open U.S. House races, has found its challengers: Republican Anthony Gonzalez and Democrat Susan Moran Palmer.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a bipartisan bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, despite warnings from Senate leaders that the bill is unlikely to receive a vote in the full Senate.

Liuba Grechen Shirley has a son who's almost two and a daughter who's almost four. And until recently, the stay-at-home mom and freelance consultant had her childcare routine down.

"The bulk of the child care during the day was up to me," she said. And when she had work to do, she'd get help with watching the kids — but it was free.

"My mother is a teacher. She comes home at 3:30 every afternoon, and she would watch my children from 3:30 on, and that's when I'd start consulting," Grechen Shirley said.

Roger C / Flickr

Environmentalists are praising the U.S. Senate for blocking a measure loosening shipping regulations on the Great Lakes – and making it easier for invasive species to foul those waters.

Politics isn't always red or blue. Lately, it has been green.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to introduce legislation on Friday to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, adding a high-profile advocate in the effort to decriminalize, legalize and normalize marijuana use in America.

Schumer's legislation would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under a 1970 law that classifies marijuana as dangerous as heroin for legal and regulatory purposes.

Updated on April 19 at 3 p.m. ET

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey is just over a week old and already is helping force more change in the Senate than most seasoned lawmakers can even dream. On Thursday she joined her mother, Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, on the Senate floor for a vote.

The newborn's appearance was made possible by a unanimous decision by the Senate on Wednesday evening to change its rules, which typically allow only senators and a handful of staff into the Senate chamber during votes. Now, lawmakers can bring along children under 1.

A record number of women — 309 — had filed to run for the U.S. House as of April 6. That's a nearly 90-percent increase over 2016's numbers.

That wave of women candidates has sent the share of candidates who are women skyrocketing...to 22 percent.

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