senate

  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.

George Mitchell

Oct 22, 2015
Chris Colton, Albany Law School

Former U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was in our region yesterday, speaking at both Albany law School and Skidmore College. He discussed his new book, The Negotiator: A Memoir, and his experience in brokering the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement to address the conflict in Northern Ireland.

In addition to his long and storied career in the U.S. Senate, he has also taken on the task of working to bring peace to the conflict in the Middle East and led the investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball that culminated in the release of what has come to be known as the Mitchell Report.

Senate Republicans appeared to break with tradition by contacting the Iranians in a letter.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock the development was a stunning in American politics.

  The founders designed the Senate to be the more contemplative chamber of Congress.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that longer terms make life in the Senate less harried.

  Democrats control the Senate for just two more weeks.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the midterm elections were a missed chance for his party.

  Democrats took a drubbing in the midterms.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock they could lose another Senate seat this week.

  For the first time in several cycles, the U.S. Senate race in November was an afterthought.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that Senator Ed Markey won easily, but now finds himself in the minority.

Stephen Gottlieb: I Don’t Get It

Nov 11, 2014

I don’t get it. Political scientists tell us that the advantage of democracy is that the elected officials have to act for the benefit of most of the people. And if they don’t, they lose.

11/4/14 Panel

Nov 4, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain & Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Midterm Elections
Senate Forecast
World Trade Center Tenant
Virgin Galactic
Misstating Mileage
Ebola Nurse Agreement
Car Talk Host Dies

  The Senate could go to the Republicans on Election Day.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the fat lady ain’t singing yet.

9/17/14 Panel

Sep 17, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post & Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Ground Troops?
GM Recall Outcry
Gov. Calls for Peterson Suspension
NFL Troubles - Redskins
Iowa Senate Race Importance

9/15/14 Panel

Sep 15, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Islamic State Threat
Senate Control
Obama Legacy
"Living in Sin" Couples Married by Pope
Scotland

Wikimedia Commons

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has started looking for campaign staff and courting the political elite in New Hampshire.

Before JFK became the man who led America through the days of Camelot, there was John F. Kennedy - junior senator from Massachusetts. The senate is, after all, where JFK's leadership and presidential ambitions truly began.

JFK in the Senate: Pathway to the Presidency, is a new book that deals exclusively with JFK’s years in the senate and how they helped catapult him towards the presidency.

John Shaw is a Senior Correspondent and Vice President for Market News International, and a contributing writer to the Washington Diplomat.

Senate Votes To Advance Specialty Pharmacy Bill

Nov 13, 2013

The Senate voted Tuesday to advance a bill designed to tighten government oversight of pharmacies that custom-mix prescription drugs, in the wake of last year's deadly meningitis outbreak tied to contaminated pain injections.

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.

This week saw the end of the Massachusetts special Senate election primaries, with Congressman Ed Markey claiming the Democratic nod to face Republican Gabriel Gomez, who won a three-way race. The two will face off at the ballot box on June 25 and have wasted no time trading criticism. Political observer Dr. Alan Chartock says polling, which showed Markey ahead just 44 to 40 in the early going, predicts a close race.

  The future of the postal service is in question.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch, who is running in the Democratic primary for Senate, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he is against postal cuts. 

Congressional colleagues are now electoral opponents in Massachusetts.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he is running for Senate on his own merits, not merely to oppose Congressman Ed Markey. 

  Immigration reform appears near – but that’s on the Senate side.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he hopes immigration reform can pass through the House as well.

WAMC

With Senator John Kerry’s resignation taking effect Friday, and an interim appointee named, the field is taking shape  for the special senate election in Massachusetts.

The special election scheduled for June 25th will be the third time since January 2010 that Massachusetts voters trek to the polls to pick a US Senator.   The new campaign is launching just a couple of months after Massachusetts voters settled the most expensive race in the nation between then incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown and now Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Scott Brown’s campaign says the Republican incumbent won’t take part in a debate hosted by the Kennedy Institute  and U-Mass Boston.  WAMC”s Paul Tuthill reports.

The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation they say will curb abuses against disabled people in state care.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports… 

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is endorsing Bob Turner in the three-way Republican primary to take on Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. WAMC’s Dave Lucas has details…

Giuliani said Wednesday the New York City congressman whose district will disappear next year due to redistricting is the only candidate who can beat Gillibrand in the November general election.

The Massachusetts budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is winning praise from municipal officials. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

Senate leaders say the spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1 would boost local aid by $275 million over current year levels and provide full funding for unrestricted local aid. An earlier budget proposal by Governor Deval Patrick had made $65 million of unrestricted aid contingent on state revenues reaching certain benchmarks in the current year.

Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren are releasing several years of tax returns.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Brown made his federal and state returns for the tax years 2006-2011 available for inspection by reporters on Friday. Warren was expected to release four years of returns later Friday.

In the most recent tax year, Brown and his wife, Gail Huff, reported total income of $510,856 and paid federal taxes of about $125,000 after a refund. They also contributed more than $16,000 to charity.

U.S. Senator Brown, Warren to Release Tax Returns

Apr 27, 2012

Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown and likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren are planning to release several years of tax returns.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

The two campaigns said they'll make the returns public today. 

The decision to release the returns followed more than a week of negotiations during which both campaigns haggled over when to unveil the returns and how many years to release.

Both campaigns are also hoping to use the information in the returns to take political jabs at each other.