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Congress And Lawmakers

The Takeaway

Colorado and Connecticut Primaries Underway

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Voters in Colorado and Connecticut head to the polls today to vote in primary elections. In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, who was endorsed by President Obama, is facing a surprisingly hard primary battle. A loss could bring insight into how voters feel about Washington and President Obama. Kirk Johnson, Denver bureau chief for The New York Times, joins us with the latest from the Centennial State.

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The Takeaway

Black Farmers' Settlement Withheld ... Again

Monday, August 09, 2010

It's been 11 years and the nation's black farmers have still not received the nearly $1.25 billion settlement they were promised by the Agriculture Department. The Senate was expected to approve the measure before the start of recess last Thursday, but Republicans put the brakes on the vote after citing concerns that Democrats had not outlined a plan to pay for the settlement.

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The Takeaway

Senate Delays Vote on Spill Bill

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Senate still has a few things to do before it goes on August recess. From the "spill bill" to Elena Kagan, Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich has the latest from Capitol Hill.

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The Takeaway

From Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to Charles Rangel: The Past and Future of Harlem's Political Leadership

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This afternoon a House ethics panel will lay out the charges against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who, at 80 years old, is one of the longest-serving members of Congress. Rep. Rangel has represented Harlem since 1970, when he ousted the legendary Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Both men had long, storied careers representing what may be the country’s most famous African-American neighborhood, home to Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, and many others. But a lot has changed in Harlem since Powell, Jr. was elected in 1945. We look back at the history of Harlem politics and the power of the "Gang of Four."

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The Takeaway

Rep. Charlie Rangel to Face House Ethics Panel

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) may face the biggest fight of his long political career when he faces a public ethics hearing on Capitol Hill later this afternoon. At the heart of the hearing are allegations that Rangel underreported his rental income on a villa in the Dominican Republic, held multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, and misused congressional stationery to solicit private donations for a City College center that bore his name.

Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) may be facing the biggest fight of his long political career when he faces a public ethics hearing on Capitol Hill later this afternoon.  At the heart of this hearing are allegations that the Congressman underreported his rental income on a villa in the Domincan Republic, held multiple rent stabilized apartments in New York City, and misused Congressional stationary to solicit private donations for a City College center that bore his name.  

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The Takeaway

Commission Considers How to Reduce Burgeoning National Debt

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's growing concern about the national debt: currently a gulp-inducing $13 trillion... and counting. President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is tasked with coming up with proposals to begin solving the problem later this year. We speak with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, and a member of the bipartisan deficit-reduction commission.

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The Takeaway

In Colorado Midterms, Nobody Wants to Be the Insider

Monday, July 26, 2010

It may seem like a distant memory, but back in 2008, the story of the Democratic presidential primary was the rise of a relative newcomer to Washington taking on the party establishment with grassroots organizing. It was a winning strategy for then-candidate Barack Obama in Colorado, where he earned more than two-thirds of the primary votes and defeated Hillary Clinton. 

In Colorado’s Democratic Senate primary this year, there’s another candidate campaigning as an outsider, but the establishment narrative is flipped. This time, the political newcomer is the incumbent, and the challenger is a mainstay of Colorado politics.

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The Takeaway

The Curious Case of Republican Scott Brown and a Key Crossover Vote on Financial Reform

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just months ago, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) rode to office in a pickup truck powered by Tea Party support for his promise to be the 41st vote against health care reform. Now he's siding with Democrats on financial reform, the president's next big legislative priority. He has extracted concessions for his position, but that's not the reason he's crossing party lines. He's part of a rare breed these days: moderate Northeast Republicans. "41" is no longer the most important number for Scott Brown; it's "2012," when he faces re-election.

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The Takeaway

Unemployed Anxiously Await Senate Vote on Benefits Extension

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

While lawmakers are adjourned this week for the July 4th recess, many of the country's millions of unemployed workers await their return for an expected vote on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. 

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The Takeaway

Will Black Farmers Finally Get Their Money?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yesterday the Senate defeated a jobs bill, which included $4.6 billion to pay a settlement to American black farmers. The bill was crucial to the farmers, who won a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture charging years of discriminatory loan practices. 

We've been monitoring the story all year, and bring back the president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, Gary Grant, for his response. "Ordinary people never get anything in Washington," he says, "We won't give up. It will not be put to rest - that's for sure."

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The Takeaway

BP CEO Slammed at Congressional Hearing

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tony Hayward, the much-criticized CEO of BP, faced angry lawmakers on Capital Hill yesterday for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Hayward stuck closely to his prepared statements, ducking many of the questions posed to him, but in the course of the questioning, we did learn some important things about the oil spill and the political fallout it's causing.

Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, attended the hearings and shares his impressions.

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The Takeaway

Primary Candidates Brace for November Election

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Last night, voters decided the party candidates in four closely watched states: Arkansas, California, Nevada, and South Carolina and seven others. But for many candidates the election battle is only just beginning. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich looks at how the primary winners will fare in November's ballot. Sharron Angle's win in Nevada is both a victory for the Tea Party and for Harry Reid, who has been preparing to face-off against the conservative candidate.

Primaries have wrapped in 12 states across the country 
And joining us now is Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich to read the tea leaves of what last night’s elections could predict for November’s mid term bouts.

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The Takeaway

Election Preview: Local Primaries Get Tea Party Push

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Today's primaries may feel local, but they are getting a national push. Sarah Palin visited South Carolina on behalf of gubernatorial candidate, Nikki Haley. Palin's appearance catapulted the candidate to the head of the polls. Nevada's Senate primary is also a Tea Party election, according to Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich. There, Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle seems positioned to win the primary, which will pit her against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This bodes well for Reid as Tea Party candidates have a hard time winning national elections.

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The Takeaway

Of Labor and Incumbency: Primaries in Arkansas, Nevada

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Primary races are scheduled in eleven states today. We are looking at two elections with national implications: Arkansas, where the power of organized labor is at play, and Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping a specific GOP pick will enable him to keep his seat. 

In Arkansas, Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln is facing a run-off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Organized labor groups, both local and national, have thrown their weight behind Halter, saying Lincoln betrayed them by not supporting a public option in health care reform and by voting for NAFTA as a U.S. Representative, in 1993. National labor groups have pumped millions of dollars into the race - leading some analysts to suggest that Arkansas' primary contest has been hijacked by national interests.

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The Takeaway

Goodbye, Arlen Specter

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WNYC

I first saw Arlen Specter in September, 1990.  Working for then-New York City Comptroller Liz Holtzman, I travelled down to Washington with her, where she was testifying in the confirmation hearings of Justice David Souter.  Like Specter, Holtzman had been a D.A., and the then-curly haired former Philadelphia prosecutor parried sharply with the ex-Brooklyn D.A. on whether Souter had appropriately applied the rape shield law in a New Hampshire case.  Holtzman argued that Souter had not been sufficiently attentive to the victim’s privacy rights, Specter disagreed.  Strongly.

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The Takeaway

Kentucky's Primary and the Future of the GOP

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There are primaries happening today across the country - in Oregon, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky. We look closer at the race in Kentucky where a Tea Party favorite, Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), is leading in primary polls over GOP establishment candidate Trey Greyson..

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The Takeaway

Anti-Incumbent Fever as Primaries Get Underway

Friday, May 14, 2010

Anti-incumbent fever has taken down two Washington heavyweights in less than a week. First, there was the surprising caucus defeat of three-time Republican Senator Robert Bennett in Utah last Saturday. Then fourteen-term Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan, from West Virginia, became the first House incumbent to lose his primary race this year. Now, many are wondering if incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, Republican-turned-Democrat, will be the next to lose his primary.

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The Takeaway

Oil Execs' Play Blame Game on Capitol Hill

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton – the three companies involved in the massive oil spill that continues to spew in the Gulf Coast – testified on Capitol Hill yesterday, pointing fingers at each other and deflecting blame from their own firms.

Senators were clearly not amused by all the blame game in full swing. "There's this transference of liability, or finger pointing," Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said. "There's going to be plenty of time to figure out who is to blame, who is at fault.”

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The Takeaway

Obama to Nominate Elena Kagan to Supreme Court

Monday, May 10, 2010

Later this morning, President Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. The Senate confirmed her appointment to her current position last year, 61-39. Justice Stevens has long been a reliably liberal voice on the court and Kagan would likely continue that philosophy. If confirmed, she would be the third woman on the court and the first justice in nearly forty years who has not already served as a judge.

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The Takeaway

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on Chances for a Climate Bill

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Todd interviews Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who considers whether the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher betters or worsens chances for Congress to pass a climate bill this year.

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