Christopher S Murphy

How John Kennedy Sees Things
‘This is why the aliens won’t talk to us.’

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since arriving in the Senate last year, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has become a gift to Capitol Hill reporters for his colorful use of language.

Most recently, he has said that the dispute about whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “why the aliens won’t talk to us.”

Congress Mandated Harassment Training; Now They Have to Pay for It
Costs, details of the popular resolution still up in the air

Lawmakers, with Gretchen Carlson, unveil sexual harassment legislation earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

The House and Senate each adopted resolutions mandating harassment and discrimination training for employees of Congress and legislative agencies. Yet it’s not clear how much the training will cost and what it will include.

Congress’ Gun Massacre Caucus
Dealing with mass shootings is becoming all too familiar for many members

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, center left, with Rep. Mark Sanford to his right and then-Gov. Nikki Haley, second from right, attend a memorial service commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

On Dec. 14, 2012, Elizabeth Esty was attending a social media workshop for new members of Congress at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She had been elected to represent Connecticut’s 5th District a month earlier.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Here’s an example right now — I’m getting texts and alerts that there’s been a shooting and we don’t know what happened,’” she said.

Murphy Calls Out ‘Fealty to Gun-Makers’ After Texas Massacre
‘None of this is inevitable,’ Connecticut senator says after gunman kills more than 20 during church service

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate policy luncheons in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy slammed his colleagues for their “fealty to gun-makers” after the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday that left 26 people dead.

“None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America,” the Connecticut Democrat said in a statement.

Democrats Face Messaging Hurdles on GOP Tax Plan
Condensed timeline, dissension complicate strategy

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons walks to the microphones in the Capitol after the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats and their supporters had a unified message when it came to standing against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But when it comes to resisting President Donald Trump and the GOP on tax legislation, it might get more complicated.

Democratic leadership is sending signals it is not willing to negotiate on the GOP tax bill until the current partisan effort fails, but some members of the conference appear ready to buck that message, if need be.

Advocates Push Passage of Health Deal as Open Enrollment Nears
CBO says it’s too late for lower premiums next year, but hopes for ’19 remain

Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander arrives for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Sept. 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats concerned about the confusion surrounding individual health insurance are urging a vote on bipartisan legislation to stabilize the marketplaces as a sign-up period next week creeps closer.

Still, it appears increasingly likely that lawmakers won’t consider such a proposal until closer to the end of the year. And many experts say the bill’s impact for 2018 would be modest anyway.

Nominations Fill Legislative Void in Senate
Work stalled in the chamber amid partisan health care and tax effort

Callista Gingrich, nominated to be Vatican ambassador, is one of many nominees awaiting a vote from the Senate. She’ll get hers on Monday afternoon. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans have repeatedly accused the Democratic minority of slow-rolling the process of confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees for hundreds of vacant federal and judicial positions. But after engaging in a partisan agenda for most of this year, the GOP may need those confirmation votes just to fill up floor time in the chamber.

The major tenets of the Republican agenda are largely stalled, with the legislative health care effort in tatters and an overhaul of the U.S. tax code still in development.

Next Health Secretary Could Set Course for Insurance System
Price’s successor will put own stamp on Obamacare

President Donald Trump will nominate a new HHS Secretary now that Tom Price is out of the job. The new secretary could have a big effect on the fate of the health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the health care debate sidelined on Capitol Hill, the next Health and Human Services secretary will have the ability to determine the Trump administration’s approach on the current health care law.

Despite seven years of promises, Republicans have been unable to roll back the 2010 health care law as they’d planned before the end of September. The vacancy left by former Secretary Tom Price, who resigned last week amid scrutiny of his private jet use, added another challenge to a politically divisive battle.

Gun Control Movement Turns to Campaigns
Sen. Chris Murphy says focus should be outside the Capitol

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, at their news conference at the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gun control advocates quickly urged Congress to act after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. But the real fight may be on the campaign trail.

Many of them suggest that even after a gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Sunday night — killing nearly 60 people and injuring more than 500 — it’s unlikely that the Republican-controlled House and Senate will act.