congress

  Our government is failing us. From health care to immigration, from the tax code to climate change, our political institutions cannot deal effectively with the challenges of modern society. Why the dysfunction? Contemporary reformers single out the usual suspects, including polarization and the rise in campaign spending. But what if the roots go much deeper, to the nation’s founding?

In Relic, William Howell and Terry Moe point to the Constitution as the main culprit. The framers designed the Constitution some 225 years ago for a simple agrarian society. But the form of government they settled upon, a separation of powers system with a parochial Congress at its center, is entirely ill-equipped to address the serious social problems that arise in a complex, post-industrial nation. We are prisoners of the past, burdened with an antiquated government that cannot make effective policy, and often cannot do anything at all.

The solution is to update the Constitution for modern times.

 It was an historic day in Washington.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about hearing Pope Francis’ speech in person. 

 Tomorrow is the big day.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he’s looking forward to Pope Francis’ address to Congress. 

  Democrats have a long way to go if they want to retake the House.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his work recruiting candidates to run for Congress.

Paul Elisha: On Traitors and Treason

Jul 28, 2015

  To update, modernize and paraphrase an ages-old dictum: Those who live by the gun, will surely die by the gun… in a not-too-distant but certain future.  According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, we remain the only developed nation where 89 men, women and children are killed with guns every day.  Brady’s mission, to create a safer America, through a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries, by keeping guns out of the wrong hands is only made more difficult, when co-conspirators of the so-called “Military-Industrial Complex” that former President and Army General Dwight Eisenhower wisely warned us to shun, lard legislators with dirty money they deliberately mislabel as “vital for defense.”  It’s time to call this what panderers and pols know in their cold-blooded hearts.  It’s treason!

  Partisanship is at an all-time high in Washington.

But in today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that on energy efficiency, Congress is ready to cooperate.

What’s the life of a Congressperson like?

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Nita Lowey tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about her schedule.

4/15/15 Panel

Apr 15, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and political consultant, Libby Post.

Scheduled topics include Cuba off terrorism list; Congress allowed in on Iran; Atlanta educators sentenced; Retiree savings changes; EU Google anti-trust.

The framework agreement with Iran: historic diplomacy or grave mistake?

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that Congress is taking a close look.

Bill Owens: A DHS Shutdown

Feb 25, 2015

The recent threat to shut down the Department of Homeland Security for those of us in the North Country, given our proximity to the US/Canadian border and our dependence upon it, is truly troubling.

    

  Between November 1963, when he became president, and November 1966, when his party was routed in the midterm elections, Lyndon Johnson spearheaded the most transformative agenda in American political history since the New Deal.

In just three years, Johnson drove the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; the War on Poverty program; Medicare and Medicaid; the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities; Public Broadcasting; immigration liberalization; a raft of consumer and environmental protection acts; and major federal investments in public transportation.

Collectively, this group of achievements was labeled by Johnson and his team the “Great Society.” In his new book, The Fierce Urgency of Now, Princeton Professor of History Julian Zelizer looks at the full story.

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First-time officeholder New York Democrat Bill Owens entered Congress after winning a special election in November 2009 when his predecessor, Republican John McHugh, was appointed Secretary of the Army.  The 65-year old Owens was the first Democrat to represent the 16,000-square mile district since the Civil War era. Last January, he announced he would retire from his seat.  In this first part of a two-part series, WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley talks with Owens about his House experience and future plans.

Vermont’s junior senator has been assigned a key position on a key committee in the new session of Congress.

James DeMers

In a 219 to 206 vote, Congress approved the FY 2015 omnibus spending plan that continues to fund the government. President Obama had urged lawmakers to pass the $1.1 trillion package, despite the White House’s disagreement with two particular inclusions; a provision that would repeal a portion of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms and a measure to increase the limit on campaign contributions by single donors.

  Republicans are poised to take over both chambers of Congress.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock it could be a brief reign.

Wikimedia/Public Domain

The results of Tuesday’s national elections mean both the U.S. House and Senate will be controlled by Republicans when the new Congress is seated in January.  What does that mean for many of the Democratically-leaning districts in the Northeast? WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley gathered some thoughts from some of the region’s representatives.

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As he prepared to return to Washington following the Memorial Day recess, Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat from the 21st district, spoke to WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about issues facing returning representatives.

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  One Congressman’s retirement is another politician’s opening.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Bill Owens tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that candidate Aaron Woolf is right on the issues.

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The 113th Congress has returned to work following a holiday recess and several issues are expected to dominate the agenda. Before he left for Washington, New York’s 21st District Representative Democrat Bill Owens discussed some of the key issues representatives must address. 

Official White House Photo/Pete Souza

As President Obama expresses confidence that he'll be able to work with Congress to pass a resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria, in Vermont and Northern New York, representatives and peace activists want questions answered before any action begins.

Bob Familiar/Flickr

STONY POINT – A proposed high-voltage power line that would extend from Canada to New York City, and pass through the Hudson Valley, would run right by the Historic Waldron Cemetery in Stony Point, the final resting place for Revolutionary War colonists.

A group of business, labor and community leaders gathered in Stony Point Monday to declare independence from foreign power on July 1, Canada Day as the Champlain Hudson Power Express Line is being proposed.

Olympia Snowe

May 20, 2013

    Former Senator of Maine, Olympia Snowe, joins us to talk about getting out of the Senate and how to save it.

Her new book is Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress.

One of the most glaring effects of the sequester budget cuts was the furloughs of air traffic controllers, which led to delays for many travelers.  After two days of heated debate, a bill to end those furloughs overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress on Friday.

New York Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the 18th District tells WAMC that his vanquished November opponent, Republican ex-Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, may be gearing up for another run.

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Most business economists opposed the automatic spending cuts that took effect Friday night amid the gridlock between President Obama and Congress.

But they overwhelmingly support efforts to reduce the deficit over the next 10 years.

That's according to a survey released Monday of 196 members of the National Association for Business Economics.

The survey, done from Jan. 21 to Feb. 13, gave some support to both sides in the U.S. government budget debate.

Abir Anwar

The looming automatic federal budget cuts - or sequestration - will trickle down to all parts of the economy.  During a meeting on business confidence, northern New York officials predicted serious consequences for some economic sectors in the region.  They are also disappointed that Congress can’t, or won’t, work to find the 2-percent cuts in the federal budget.

    The new Congress is getting settled in Washington with a long to-do list. In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he’s anxious to stay busy on behalf of his district.

Official White House Photo / Pete Souza

President Obama chastised Congress for its partisan bickering and lack of progress in tackling the nation’s imperatives during his State of the Union address.

“The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem,” the president said. “They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.”

Democratic Congressman Bill Owens has been sworn in to a new term as the new 113th Congress convenes.  On today’s Community Corner the Congressman talks about some changes he faces as he enters his new term - from a newly drawn district to a change in his committee assignment.

113th Congress Votes to Curb Filibusters

Jan 3, 2013

The House has adopted Republican-written rules for the chamber as partisan differences surfaced on the first day of the 113th Congress.

The Senate put off discussion of its rules so that the Democratic leader could develop a proposal to curb filibusters, and try to win support from minority Republicans.

Traditionally, the House rules package reflects the majority party's legislative positions and is opposed by the minority. The package passed Thursday in a mostly party-line vote of 228-196.

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