Edward J Markey

Drama Awaits Senate Debate on Pentagon Policy
No lack of substantive, high-profile issues for defense authorization measure

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., will manage a sprawling floor debate on the Pentagon policy bill starting this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate will take up the massive Pentagon policy bill this week, providing a stage for high-profile debate on simmering national security issues ranging from transgender troops to the growing North Korea nuclear threat.

Senators have already filed hundreds of amendments to the defense bill, among them language to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, establish a North Korea strategy, limit arms sales to U.S. allies, define U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and block the creation of a new military service.

Airlines Cap Ticket Prices for Irma Evacuees After Criticism, Including From the Senate
Blumenthal and Markey had asked Chao for an investigation

Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao was asked to investigate airline ticket prices ahead of Hurricane Irma (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Airlines are responding to criticism, including from Senate Democrats, about spikes in ticket prices ahead of Hurricane Irma, with $99 caps on flights from Miami.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao requested a Department of Transportation probe of price hikes.

Word on the Hill: Flake Honored for Courage Under Fire
Staffer recognized by HBCUs, and CODEL news

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., walks away from the scene of the shooting at the Republican baseball team’s practice in Alexandria, Va., in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the same day that President Donald Trump was bashing him at a rally in Phoenix, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was honored Tuesday in Tucson by Arizona sheriffs for his actions during the shooting at the Republicans’ Congressional Baseball Game practice in June.

Flake was recognized by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and the Arizona Sheriffs Association for running from cover to help House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was seriously wounded, and for calling Scalise’s wife to inform her about what happened.

Why Five Democrats Voted Against Confirming the New FBI Director
Reasons include Trump, ‘Bridgegate’ and warrantless surveillance

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of five Democrats to oppose confirmation of Christopher Wray as FBI director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five Senate Democrats who voted against Christopher Wray’s confirmation as FBI director had all offered reasons why by Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren focused on questions about Wray’s independence from President Donald Trump.

White House Opioid Panel Pushes Access to Treatment

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose state of West Virginia has been ravaged by opiods, says more needs to be done to address the crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An advisory commission is urging President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency with regard to opioid abuse and addiction, among other recommendations to address a crisis that is claiming upward of 30,000 lives every year.

An emergency declaration “would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding,” said a new draft report from the White House circulated on Monday.

Word on the Hill: Free Bananas
McCain’s reading list, Gosar issues Facebook warning

In 2014, New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel was spotted shopping on Amazon.com while waiting for President Barack Obama to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s Amazon Prime Day, which means staffers can get some free fruit for breakfast.

Amazon’s D.C. banana stand is giving out free bananas from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. outside Union Station, so staffers can grab one on their commute.

Meet the Dogs of the Senate, Round II
Canine friends in Tillis, Wyden, Perdue, and Markey’s offices

Holland, a Pembroke Welsh corgi in Georgia Sen. David Perdue‘s office, keeps the senator’s couch warm. (Courtesy Perdue’s office)

A few friendly dogs roaming around can help make today’s tough political climate a bit easier to deal with.

In May, we featured some dogs who hang out regularly in Senate offices, either as official “office dogs,” or because they belong to staffers who like to bring them in.

US Cybersecurity in Need of Rapid Repair, Senators Told
Ex-Pentagon aide warns of large-scale attack by North Korea

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey is concerned about cybersecurity deficiencies in the private sector, particularly in utility companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cybersecurity in the United States is in a severe state of disrepair, leaving the country vulnerable to attack from hacking groups backed by its opponents, two witnesses testified in a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

The witnesses told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy that they believe a massive cyberattack is imminent unless the U.S. ratchets up its efforts to protect against and deter offensives from countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea.

Democrats Wary of GOP Health Care Hedging
Minority party not inclined to let up on criticism

From left, Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Chris Van Hollenof Maryland and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts kept up their attack on the GOP health care plan Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are increasingly cautious about handicapping their quest to repeal the 2010 health care law, but their Democratic colleagues have no intention of letting up on criticism of the GOP’s goal of gutting former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Democrats have been holding near-daily press conferences outlining concerns they have with the legislation that narrowly passed the House last month.

Top US Diplomat in China Resigns After Trump Climate Decision
David Rank, the acting ambassador, quit post Monday

David Rank, the top U.S. diplomat in China, has resigned in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. (Win McNamee/Getty Images File Photo)

David Rank, the acting U.S. ambassador to China, resigned Monday in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, CNN reported.

Rank called a town hall-style meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to inform his colleagues that he could not deliver a notice to the Chinese government on the Trump administration’s retreat from the international pact negotiated under former president Barack Obama, according to a tweet from China expert John Pomfret.