Local Democrats warn party: Growing Republican wave is real
Democrats in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, felt the Republican wave building over the summer when frustrated parents filled school board meetings to complain about masking requirements and an academic theory on systemic racism that wasn’t even taught in local schools.
Senators press for more on SolarWinds hack after AP report
Key lawmakers say they’re concerned they’ve been kept in the dark about what suspected Russian hackers stole from the federal government and they pressed Biden administration officials for more details about the scope of what’s known as the SolarWinds hack.
Pelosi taps DC National Guard head to lead House security
National Guard troops were delayed in getting to the building as the rioters beat up police officers and smashed through windows and doors to get in. On Thursday, seven House committees asked 10 federal agencies for documents and communications from the government as part of a wide-ranging investigation. The Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee have already held two hearings with security officials about what went wrong. The security officials described violent attacks on overwhelmed police officers and desperate pleas for backup. As the committees investigate, Capitol officials are improving the building's physical security, including reinforcing the House doors that the rioters attempted to breach.
Slower mail, fewer office hours part of Postal Service plans
United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on "Legislative Proposals to Put the Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing" on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington. United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is left. Postal Service over persistent delivery delays under DeJoy, a major GOP donor who took over the agency last summer. He announced the plans at a webinar with other postal service officials. And those concerns remain.”DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO who took over the Postal Service last June, has been mired in controversy since taking over the agency.
Capitol defenders cite missed intelligence for deadly breach
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, to examine the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Sund said he hadn’t seen an FBI field office report that warned of potential violence citing online posts about a “war." Sund said he did see an intelligence report created within his own department warning that Congress could be targeted on Jan. 6. ”Sund and Irving disagreed on when the National Guard was called and on requests for the guard beforehand. A House subcommittee will examine damage to the Capitol on Wednesday and will hear testimony from current security officials, including Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, on Thursday.
Takeaways from Congress' first hearing on Capitol riot
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund appears before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, to examine the January 6th attack on the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)WASHINGTON – Security officials testifying at Congress' first hearing on the deadly siege of the Capitol cast blame and pointed fingers on Tuesday but also acknowledged they were woefully unprepared for the violence. The security officials lost their jobs, and Trump was impeached by the House on a charge of inciting the insurrection, the deadliest attack on Congress in 200 years. But then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that he only learned about it the day before Tuesday's hearing. But in closing, Klobuchar restated the testimony: “There was clear agreement this was a planned insurrection.”ONE OFFICER'S PERSONAL STORYThe hearing opened with Capitol Police Capt.
Impeachment over, Congress shifts focus to security failures
Two Senate committees have summoned top security officials to testify, the beginning of a comprehensive look at what went wrong. In her letter to Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said the House will also put forth supplemental spending to boost security at the Capitol. The hearing will begin a broad examination of the security failures that led to the breach. The security breakdown on Jan. 6, as the House and Senate met for a joint session to count electoral votes, was severe. With the diminished security presence, the rioters not only breached the Capitol but entered the Senate chamber minutes after senators had fled.
Senate confirms Mayorkas as Biden's homeland security chief
Vice President Kamala Harris, right, ceremonially swears in Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, accompanied by his wife Tanya Mayorkas, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday as President Joe Biden's homeland security secretary, the first Latino to fill a post that will have a central role in the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, a sweeping Russia-linked cyber hack and domestic extremism. His nomination was stalled in the Senate by Republicans who wanted to question him further on Biden's plans for immigration policy. Mayorkas is uniquely qualified to make sure the Department of Homeland Security is working to protect people from all backgrounds, all communities and all walks of life,” Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat and chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said from the Senate floor. “He has nominated a very good secretary for DHS, a secretary that understands that policies affect border security,” he said.
Michigan Sen. Peters to lead Dem efforts to expand majority
Scott Applewhite)LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who won a tough reelection race in the fall, will lead Democrats' efforts in 2022 to expand their current razor-thin Senate majority. Next year, Democrats will have chances to pick up seats in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin. In November, Peters withstood a stiff challenge from top Republican recruit John James, winning by 1.7 percentage points in a state that Joe Biden reclaimed after Donald Trump won it four years earlier. He said while Democrats could benefit from “disarray” within the GOP, it is up to Republicans to determine Trump's influence. Peters pointed to his own electoral victories — such as the 2014 midterm, when he won an open seat as Republicans swept other top statewide offices.
Gov. Newsom challenged to address Senate's lack of diversity
Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 testing facility in Valencia, Calif. As California Gov. Gavin Newsom's shoulders as he considers his pick to serve out the rest of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' Senate term through 2022. The South saw its highest number of Black Senate candidates ever this year, but none won races outright. Labor icon Dolores Huerta and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice want Newsom to appoint a Black woman. De Leon won the endorsement of the California Democratic Party and prominent labor unions, in part because of his support for immigrant rights and aggressive policies to curb climate change.
Senate hearing elevates baseless claims of election fraud
Christopher Krebs, former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, testifies before a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Republican senators on Wednesday further perpetuated President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, two days after Democrat Joe Biden’s victory was sealed by the Electoral College. GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the committee chairman and one of Trump’s fiercest defenders, said his goal was to have a bipartisan hearing to examine the election. But he repeated Trump’s assertions without evidence and focused heavily on the claims being made by the president's team. There was no testimony from state or local election officials who conducted extensive checks to ensure the accuracy of the election before certifying the results.
Senate control hangs in balance with a few races undecided
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters during a press conference in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. “We’re waiting — whether I’m going to be the majority leader or not,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday. There already is a Jan. 5 runoff in the state's other Senate race. Securing the Senate majority will be vital for the winner of the presidency. John Hickenlooper defeated GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat Republican incumbent Martha McSally.
Election splits Congress, GOP bolstered as Democrats falter
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on track to keep control of the Democratic House, but saw her majority shrinking and her leadership called into question. By evening, Pelosi had all but declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner, saying House Democrats “will now have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress” on party priorities — lowering health care costs, providing jobs through new infrastructure and others. “I know folks are anxious,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy told followers on a live Twitter video. McConnell also warned of the continued problems Republicans face in the Trump era as voters turn away from the GOP. “It’s time for a different approach,” said Democrat John Hickenlooper, a former governor who unseated Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado.
Democrats' Senate drive halted by GOP; key races undecided
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump’s campaign helped his GOP allies, but that state election officials were still counting ballots. Key Senate races in North Carolina, Alaska and Georgia remained undecided. Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has struggled against Democrat Cal Cunningham, despite the married challenger’s sexting scandal with a public relations strategist. GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler will face Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor at the church where the Rev.
2020 Latest: Mich. Democrat Peters wins Senate reelection
He ran by emphasizing his bipartisan work and by criticizing James’ support for President Donald Trump. States still up for grabs include Nevada (6 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Georgia (16 electoral votes). Nevada, which has six electoral votes, is among the states Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that hasn’t yet been called. Nebraska, one of two states that divides its electoral votes, has five total electoral votes up for grabs. Trump won Texas by 9 percentage points in 2016 and all but took a win here for granted.
Democrats losing paths to Senate control as GOP hangs on
Republican Senate candidate Sen. Mitch McConnell, second from right, and his wife, Elaine Chao, right, look on as aides show him the election results in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)WASHINGTON – Hopes fading for Senate control, Democrats had a disappointing election night as Republicans swatted down an onslaught of challengers and fought to retain their fragile majority. Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. The Democrats' gains were in Colorado and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat GOP incumbent Martha McSally. Republican Cynthia Lummis, the former congresswoman from Wyoming, won the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mike Enzi.
GOP tries to save its Senate majority, with or without Trump
Republican senators are fighting to save their majority against an onslaught of challengers in states once off limits to Democrats that are now hotbeds of the backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans are fighting to save their majority, a final election push against the onslaught of challengers in states once off limits to Democrats but now hotbeds of a potential backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. With it, a reelected Trump could confirm his nominees and ensure a backstop against legislation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. With the chamber now split, 53-47, three or four seats will determine Senate control, depending on which party wins the White House. Swooping in to fill the gap for Republicans is the Senate Leadership Fund, tapping deep-pocketed donors.
Parties' late spending on Senate races shows GOP's jeopardy
Less than two weeks from an Election Day that will determine Senate control, each party is throwing late money at an up-for-grabs Democratic seat in Michigan. The Senate Majority PAC, a political committee aligned with the chamber's Democratic leaders, has canceled its remaining $1.2 million in spending against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, sensing victory. He's getting outspent 3-1,” said GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, whose retirement is making the seat available. Besides Alabama, Michigan is the GOP's best chance at gaining a seat and thwarting Democrats' drive to a Senate majority. “It matters," agreed Poersch of Democrats' Senate Majority PAC, citing a shift in voters' sentiment over the final weeks of the 2016 campaign that helped Trump edge to victory.
Battleground postal delays persist with mail voting underway
Postal Service records show delivery delays have persisted across the country as millions of Americans began voting by mail, raising the possibility of ballots being rejected because they arrive too late. Postal Service records show delivery delays have persisted across the country as millions of Americans are voting by mail, raising the possibility of ballots being rejected because they arrive too late. The agency also announced it will treat election mail as first-class, which had previously been an informal policy. Other battleground areas also showed problems in early October, with delivery rates of first-class mail below the national average. Postal delays also could compound existing issues that have cropped up in recent weeks as election officials manage the unpreceded surge in mail voting with deadlines looming.
In pitch for Biden, Obama urges voters to cast Trump out
Former President Barack Obama speaks at Citizens Bank Park as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Philadelphia. The president on Wednesday was in Erie, one of a handful of Pennsylvania counties that Obama won twice before it flipped to Trump. Obama paid heed especially to disillusioned voters, including Black men and progressives wary of Biden. With his reprisal for Biden, Obama reminded voters of 2016, when Trump upset Clinton narrowly in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to forge an Electoral College majority despite losing the popular vote nationally. Not this election.”The roundtable was a personalized version of the same message, with the nation's first Black president urging Black men not to give into apathy.
Low-key Democrat tries to hang onto Senate seat in Michigan
Peters was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014, when he prevailed easily despite the GOP’s successes nationally and in Michigan. All largely back both Biden and Peters, but a bigger percentage remain undecided in the Senate race, according to some polls. He said he ranks as one of the most bipartisan Senate Democrats and, despite being a freshman in the minority, has written and passed more of his bills than any other senator. Before winning promotion to the Senate, Peters was a congressman, lottery commissioner and state senator and served in the Navy Reserve. Stu Sandler, a consultant for James' campaign, said support for Peters is “soft all around.
White House again criticizes FBI director for voting remarks
WASHINGTON – FBI Director Christopher Wray was the target of White House criticism for the second time in a week Friday as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows chided him over remarks made a day earlier to Congress about voter fraud. Meadows was critical in his CBS interview of the director, tying his remarks on voter fraud to a probe of the FBI's handling of Russian links to the Trump campaign. It was unusually pointed criticism of an FBI director, especially one who was appointed by Trump. But in response to a question from Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the FBI director said the agency has not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, at least not to date. “Now, we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” he said.
From farm to beach, Democrats across America nominate Biden
(Democratic National Convention via AP)SACRAMENTO, Calif. A Montana cattle range, a California beach, a historic bridge in Alabama. These were the sometimes kitschy, sometimes poignant scenes from the first-ever virtual roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention. Fred Guttenberg spoke about Biden's compassion following the murder of his daughter at the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Each state also cast some votes for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the last Democrat in the race to challenge Biden. Following tradition, Delaware, Biden's home state, was the final state to announce its support for Biden, with Gov.
Postmaster general to appear before Senate over mail delays
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)WASHINGTON Backlash mounting, President Donald Trump's embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will appear Friday before the Senate to testify on mail delivery delays and service changes that lawmakers and others are warning could imperil the November election. The top Democrat on the Homeland Security panel seeking DeJoy's testimony called the Postal Service a lifeline to Americans. The package will also include $25 billion to shore up the Postal Service, which faces continued financial losses. The Postal Service said it has stopped removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines following complaints from lawmakers and customers. Meanwhile, the Postal Service is seeking a short-term rate increase that would raise prices on commercial domestic competitive parcels, including Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, first-class package service, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service.
Pelosi to call House back into session to vote on USPS bill
WASHINGTON Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is calling the House back into session over the crisis at the U.S. In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central," Pelosi wrote Sunday in a letter to colleagues, who had been expected to be out of session until September. The House Oversight and Reform Committee said it wants to hear from DeJoy and from the chair of the Postal Service board of governors, Robert Mike Duncan. With heightened scrutiny of its operations, the Postal Service is now requesting a temporary preelection rate increase, from mid-October through Christmas, although not for first-class letters. "Given the recent customer concerns the Postal Service will postpone removing boxes for a period of 90 days while we evaluate our customers concerns,'' Postal Service spokeswoman Kimberly Frum said.
House Dems summon postal leaders to hearing on mail delays
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, is escorted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)BEDMINSTER, N.J. The Democratic-run House on Sunday demanded that leaders of the U.S. Postal Service testify at an emergency oversight hearing Aug. 24 on mail delays as concerns grow that the Trump White House is trying to undermine the agency during the coronavirus pandemic while states expand mail-in voting options for the November presidential election. The House Oversight and Reform Committee said it wants to hear from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and from the chair of the Postal Service board of governors, Robert Duncan. On Saturday, Trump tried to massage his message, saying he supports increasing money for the Postal Service.
Lawmakers: Postal changes delay mail-order medicine for vets
Postal Service facility in McLean, Va. Postal Service. Postal Service are taking a toll on military veterans, who are reporting much longer wait times to receive mail-order prescription drugs, according to Democratic senators. The lawmakers called on DeJoy to reassess the impact of the postal changes on veterans and urged him to work with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to reduce delays. Those who gave so much to serve this country should be able to count on the nations Postal Service to deliver their medications in a timely manner, the lawmakers wrote Friday.
Warning on Russia adds questions about Senate's Biden probe
But the stark warning that Russia is working to denigrate the Democratic presidential candidate adds to questions about the probe by Johnson's Senate committee and whether it is mimicking, even indirectly, Russian efforts and amplifying its propaganda. Evanina said Russia disapproved of Biden because of his role in shaping Obama administration policies supporting Ukraine and opposing Russian leader Vladimir Putin. In May, the committee authorized a subpoena for Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm that was a consultant to Burisma. Johnson, meanwhile, announced this week a subpoena for the FBI for documents in its investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump ally and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has for months scrutinized the Russia investigation.
Senator launches investigation into Postal Service delays
Postal Service that are causing delays in mail deliveries across the country just as big volume increases are expected for mail-in election voting. Trump, a vocal critic of the Postal Service, contended Wednesday that "the Post Office doesnt have enough time to handle a significant increase in mail-in ballots. Democrats are calling for the Postal Service to rescind the restrictions on overtime and other operational changes, and they have pushed for $10 billion for the Postal Service in talks with Republicans on a huge COVID-19 response bill. David Partenheimer, a spokesman for the Postal Service, declined to comment on DeJoys meeting with Democrats. Partenheimer disputed reports that the Postal Service is slowing down election mail or any other mail.
House panel calls new postal chief to explain mail delays
Postal Service that are causing delays in mail deliveries across the country. The Postal Service and Treasury Department announced an agreement in principle on loan terms last week, with a formal agreement expected in the next few weeks. If postal distribution centers are running late, they will keep the mail for the next day, Postal Service leaders say in a document obtained by The Associated Press. Democratic lawmakers have demanded answers from DeJoy following complaints from constituents about mail service delays and other problems. Under new social distancing mandates, the Postal Service has become even more essential in keeping rural communities connected and economically viable.''
Dems: Nursing home virus effort 'chronicle of deadly delay'
The head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lead federal agency on nursing homes, defended the administration's record. Statistics reported by nursing homes to the federal government as of June 14 show nearly 30,800 residents have died, according to an AP analysis. An AP count that includes nursing homes and other long-term care facilities finds nearly 52,500 deaths, combining residents and staff. Verma said CMS tried to help by changing its rules to allow labs to go into nursing homes and collect samples. CMS has impaneled a 25-member commission to analyze what happened in nursing homes and make recommendations to better protect elderly and frail residents.
Quickly, carefully, GOP senators consider policing changes
Sen. Rand Paul wants to stop sending surplus U.S. military equipment to local law enforcement. And GOP Sen. Mitt Romney is trying to assemble a bipartisan package of bills in response to police violence. I think we should all be optimistic right now," Scott, the only black GOP senator, told reporters at the Capitol. Lawmakers are watching as demonstrations erupt in all corners of the country, from the biggest cities to the smallest towns, and acknowledging the arrival of a mass movement for law enforcement changes as politically impossible to ignore. Obviously this is a national awakening, GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said Tuesday on CNBC.
Raw feelings abound as Senate turns back to Russia probe
WASHINGTON WASHINGTON (AP) Two Republican-led Senate committees have launched election-year investigations into the Justice Departments Russia probe, resurrecting the issue at the urging of President Donald Trump while reigniting the partisan hostility that comes along with it. In a Senate office building next door, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved its own slate of three dozen subpoenas related to the Russia probe over strong Democratic objections. Speaking on the committees investigation, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told Johnson that I continue to be concerned that this is politically motivated even as he voted to move ahead. The president has continued to rail against the Russia probe, which he calls a hoax. Among the names on that list is Trumps Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who was vice president when the Russia probe began.
GOP rising star John James faces trouble at top of ticket
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)Michigan Senate candidate John James has been called a rising star of the Republican Party so many times its become a cliche. He has caught the attention of big donors and received the enthusiastic, all-caps praise of President Donald Trump on Twitter. He checks all the boxes, so to speak, from a candidate perspective, said former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis. Although Trump narrowly won Michigan four years ago, the mood seems to be turning away from the president and the GOP. In a Fox News poll last month, 44% of Michigan voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, with 52% unfavorable.
Senate panel approves subpoena in Hunter Biden probe
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted 8-6 to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm that was a consultant to Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine that paid Hunter Biden to serve as a board member. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma. The chairman of the Republican-led panel, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, has repeatedly insisted that the investigation is not designed to hurt Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee in this years presidential election. These hearings will provide the Senate with the full picture.A Biden campaign spokesman said in a statement that Johnson was running a political errand for Trump. The presidents efforts to have Ukraine investigate Hunter Bidens role as a board member for Burisma were at the heart of House Democrats impeachment probe last year.