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Congress

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After President Donald Trump fired Rex Tillerson Tuesday morning in a tweet and nominated the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo to replace him, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said Americans should be alarmed.

Guns and gun safety continue to dominate this week, as the Florida legislature passed several gun-related measures. The provisions fall short of what newly-energized student activists wanted, but still represent a degree of victory for gun control advocates in a state that has seen few such "victories."

Francine Wheeler, the mother of 6-year-old Ben who was killed at the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School, testified at a hearing of Senate Democrats on Wednesday. Wheeler spoke alongside other survivors and family members, including a student who survived the shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Congress has the power to challenge President Trump on new tariffs, but it's unlikely lawmakers will act, even though nearly all congressional Republicans oppose the president's trade policy because they believe it will harm the U.S. economy.

"It's a conundrum, really, because you do not want 100 senators and our counterparts in the House doing basically any trade initiative. That's why we give that (power) to the executive," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has long led the push to provide a permanent legal status for "DREAMers" — young adults in the United States illegally who were brought to the country as children.

Durbin was in the mix on multiple bipartisan deals in recent months, as the clock ticked toward a March 5 expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Trump decided in September 2017 to end.

Congress is under intense pressure to pass legislation to curb gun violence, but lawmakers are deeply split over how far to go in limiting access to guns.

Lawmakers from both parties say they want to take action to prevent another deadly attack like the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. Disagreements over gun control measures go beyond a clear partisan split between Democrats and Republicans, leaving even the most popular bipartisan proposal stalled in Congress.

After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro speaking at Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman General contractor in Branford, Connecticut.
Lori Mack / WNPR

President Trump recently announced his infrastructure plan to fix the nation’s highways, bridges, and transit - a $1.5 to $1.7 trillion investment. And while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support infrastructure legislation, most states, including Connecticut, are disappointed in the funding formula.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, officially announced Friday morning that he is running for the Senate seat being vacated by seven-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Romney tweeted a video announcement, after delaying a planned launch on Thursday in the wake of the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Romney, who spoke out forcefully against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, blasted Washington and took veiled swipes at the president in the video.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump signed a bipartisan budget agreement Friday morning, following approval of the bill in Congress shortly before sunrise.

The two-year spending pact will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than current law allows.

The deal suspends a 2011 budget law championed by conservatives that set hard caps on discretionary spending and included an automatic trigger known as "sequester" cuts if Congress attempted to bust those spending caps.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

Senate leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement to increase military and domestic spending levels for two years, paving the way for the first long-term spending pact since President Trump took office.

The White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan quickly declared support for the pact, helping pave the way for its passage by the end of the week, despite opposition from fiscal hawks and liberal Democrats.

Frankieleon / Creative Commons

Do you remember where you were on April 1, 2010? That's the last time the U.S. Census Bureau counted you as one of the 323.1 million people who live in the U.S. Don't remember? No problem. It's time for the 2020 Census. 

Updated at 6:57 p.m. ET

The House passed a bill Tuesday evening to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, as Senate leaders still hope to clear the way for years of budget harmony this week with a long-term spending agreement.

But as Congress worked on keeping things running, President Trump made a fresh call to shut down the government over immigration.

Updated on Feb. 5 at 5:15 p.m. ET

The recently-released Republican memo alleging abuses of covert surveillance powers by the Justice Department and FBI to investigate a former member of President Trump's campaign team will not have "any impact on the Russia probe," said Republican Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Gowdy, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was speaking on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. He also said that even if the controversial Steele dossier didn't exist, there would still be a Russia investigation.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., says he believes Congress will eventually reauthorize federal funding for the Community Health Center Fund, which constitutes the largest chunk of federal money that goes to community health centers. Murphy gave the assurance to health care providers and clients at an OPTIMUS Health Care clinic in Bridgeport’s East Side neighborhood on Thursday.

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