Richard Blumenthal

Bernie Sanders, the Man With Single-Payer Clout
Vermont independent continues to direct the future of national Democratic Party

Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders bashed special interest groups when introducing the so-called Medicare for All Act of 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The seismic shift in support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan to transform the U.S. health care system into a single-payer program indicates the reach the Vermont independent has within the Democratic Party.

At the same time that his onetime presidential foe Hillary Clinton is reminding people of the party’s devastating loss last fall, Sanders is trying to define its future. His bill to enroll every American in Medicare drew 16 co-sponsors, 16 more than when he first introduced similar legislation in 2013.

Thune, Peters Divide Over Big Trucks in Driverless Vehicle Bill
“Highly-automated trucks are not ripe for inclusion”

Trucks of Otto, an autonomous trucking company acquired by Uber. (Courtesy Dllu/Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0)

Members of a key Senate committee are divided over whether to include large trucks in legislation that would guide driverless-vehicle regulation in a disagreement that pits safety against jobs in the trucking industry.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said at a hearing Wednesday that autonomous vehicles will improve safety and lower emissions. He said trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds should be included in the legislation. 

Photos of the Week: DACA Protests, Harvey Relief and Leadership Smiles and Frowns
The week of Sept. 5 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal returns to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, and the Senate Judiciary staff on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from its August recess to a short but dramatic week. President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his decision to end a program that shielded from deportation undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Protests erupted around the nation, including in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Also this week, Congress considered a Hurricane Harvey relief package, which made headlines Wednesday afternoon after Trump struck a deal with Democratic leaders to attach certain provisions to that measure.

Donald Trump Jr. Talks to Senate Investigators
But details beyond opening statement remain private for now

Reporters hold up their smart phones to try to catch a photo of Donald Trump Jr., as he returns to a meeting with the Senate Judiciary staff on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump Jr. spent about five hours Thursday answering questions from Senate Judiciary Committee staff about a meeting he set up between his father’s presidential campaign and a Russian lawyer, but the details beyond his opening statement remain private for now.

Several senators attended the closed-door, voluntary interview with the president’s son, part of the committee’s probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Only Senate staffers asked questions, however, and the committee will have to vote at a later time on whether to make the transcript public.

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: Blumenthal Against Bullies
McCain’s birthday, Rubio at Dolphins practice, body scanners, Boxer weighs in on A’s stadium, and Sasse on MLK

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is looking into the dispute between Uber and a hair salon in his home state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Uber, the ride-sharing company, is being accused of forcing UberSalon, a hair salon in Fairfield, Conn., to close down and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, wants to get to the bottom of the controversy.

Salon owner Dawn Marie Ganino said she received a letter from Uber threatening to take legal action over a trademark violation, West Fair Online reported.

Blumenthal Says He Won’t Be ‘Bullied’ By ‘Slurs’ From Trump
Connecticut Democrat says he will keep talking about Mueller

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is pushing back against what he called “slurs” from President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he will not be thrown off from talking about legislation designed to insulate special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by what the Connecticut Democrat called “slurs” being hurled at him on Twitter by President Donald Trump.

Mueller is overseeing the investigation of efforts by Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, as well as of an expanding web of related activity that may prove criminal in nature.

Senators Seek to Protect Mueller From Trump
Work will take place to reconcile two bills over recess

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has broad support among senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s the best way to keep President Donald Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? Senators and their staffs on both sides of the aisle will be trying to figure that out over the next few weeks.

Sen. Chris Coons hopes lawmakers will come together quickly to craft a bill to provide Mueller with some insulation from Trump. The Delaware Democrat is the lead co-sponsor on a bill introduced by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis that would create a right of action for a special counsel to seek legal recourse in the event of a firing.

Christopher Wray Faces Challenges as New FBI Director
Senate confirms new director on 92-5 vote, showing bipartisan support

The Senate confirmed Christopher Wray as the FBI director, 92-5. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Christopher Wray will lead the FBI as it wrestles with challenges such as cybersecurity and domestic terrorist investigations, as well as the political fallout from the bureau’s role in the 2016 presidential election and its ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Senate’s bipartisan support for Wray, 50, is rooted in his reputation as well as experience with national security issues and major investigations as a federal prosecutor, a Justice Department official after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and as a lawyer in private practice.

Democratic Senators Rethink Bill Criminalizing Support for Israel Boycott
Israel Anti-Boycott Act could impose $1 million in penalties and 20 years in prison

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said he thinks the ACLU has misrepresented the original legislation, but he was willing to “make it clearer.” (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators are thinking twice about the proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act after an outcry by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which considers it a “serious threat to free speech.”

While Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the bill’s lead author, said that the ACLU had misinterpreted the piece of legislation, he expressed his intention to “make it clearer.”