House of Representatives

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The pressure is on for Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego.

For the first time, he traveled to Washington, D.C. with elaborate instructions to vote on behalf of two of his colleagues. Gallego can do this under historic new rules allowing proxy voting.

So for two days of legislative floor action, Gallego will call his colleagues — Democratic Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán of California and Filemon Vela of Texas — before every vote, amendment and other key developments.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is not on board with how his Republican governor has let the Lone Star State reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott let Texas' stay-at-home orders expire last month, and businesses resumed their operations with limited capacity.

With the state's caseload on the rise, Castro said it's all happening too soon.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Rick Bright, a career government scientist-turned-whistleblower, told a congressional panel Thursday that without a stronger federal response, the coronavirus threatens to make 2020 the "darkest winter in modern history."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is cancelling plans to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol next week, based on advice from the attending physician in Congress.

A bipartisan task force will continue to negotiate ways to hold virtual committee hearings and markups as Congress struggles with legislating in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans, including President Trump, are increasing pressure on Democratic leaders to reopen the House as lawmakers debate elements of the next coronavirus relief package.

In the face of Republican opposition, House Democrats have backed off plans to consider unprecedented rule changes to allow members to vote and hold hearings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus relief package includes more than $30 billion for education, with more than $14 billion for colleges and universities and at least $13.5 billion for the nation's K-12 schools.

Senate leaders have unanimously passed a historic $2 trillion deal to provide economic relief for Americans, businesses and the health care industry in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses controlled by the president, senior executive branch officials or members of Congress will be barred from receiving funds under the huge economic rescue package the Senate could vote on as early as Wednesday, according to the Senate's top Democrat.

Updated 8:31 a.m. ET Thursday

First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's staggering when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000.

The legislation that the Senate passed Wednesday night is set to provide $2 trillion in economic aid as the nation braces for this massive economic blow.

The Senate coronavirus relief bill now under consideration would give states $400 million to protect upcoming elections against the pandemic threat. The money, far less than the $4 billion some Democrats had wanted, would allow states to expand mail-in and early voting, as well as online voter registration. The money could also be used to help secure in-person voting sites.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

As the number of lawmakers who have tested positive for the coronavirus grows, prompting many of their colleagues to self-quarantine, some members are pushing to move to remote voting, which would break a longtime institutional tradition of voting in person.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

In the midst of Senate negotiations on a massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats have drafted their own counterproposal titled the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate puts "corporations first, not workers and families."

NPR

The House of Representatives will be debating and voting on articles of impeachment against President Trump starting at 9 a.m. on December 18. This vote follows a 14-hour debate by the House Judiciary Committee on December 12. The committee approved two articles of impeachment on a party-line 23-17 vote, making Trump just the fourth president in American history to face impeachment by the House. 

Rep. John Katko / Facebook (file photo)

Next year will be the first time some upstate House Republicans will be in the minority. Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he has built a lot of bridges with Democrats over the last four years.

Liam James Doyle / NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing on Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings about protecting its users' data. The House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing follows hours of questioning by lawmakers in the Senate.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Tuesday to help defeat the state’s Republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year.

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

The House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources has approved a bill that would launch a study to determine if Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego should be elevated to national park status.

The legislation, which was authored by central New York Rep. John Katko, passed unanimously out of the committee and now heads to the full House. The 260-year-old Fort Ontario has been involved in several major American wars and the Safe Haven museum commemorates the 986 Jewish refugees who were granted shelter at the fort during world war two.

Office of Assemblyman Brindisi / File Photo

Congressional races for New York's 22nd and 24th Districts are beginning to take shape. 

Utica-area Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi announced Thursday that he will not run to replace retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld). The Democratic Assemblyman said in a statement that he can do more for the Mohawk Valley region by staying in the New York Legislature.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has only been in Congress for a year, but says he’s seen a lot of changes in what many Americans view as a dysfunctional arm of government. 

After Katko took his oath of office last January, and started learning the ropes in Washington, he says the atmosphere was highly politically charged. A push to defund the Department of Homeland Security over immigration policy was just one of those very partisan issues that lawmakers faced.

"It was divisive. And some of those early votes, I was pulling my hair out, what the heck’s going on here.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Updated at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday 

According to federal lawmakers, mass transit funding for northeast states has been restored in the transportation funding bill. More than $94 million was earmarked for New York in 2014 for mass transit services, under the High Density States program. Centro in the Syracuse-area received more than $2 million. That funding was cut from the House version of the transportation bill. But U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that not only was the funding restored, and additional $18.5 million over the next 5 years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A report out of the House Task Force on Foreign Fighters is getting more attention following the Paris Terror attacks.  Central New York Rep. John Katko, who’s a co-chair of the group, hopes it means Washington will take some of their advice about how best stop the flow of foreign fighters between Syria and their home countries.

SU professional and technical writing / via Flickr

A six-year highway funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would remove $564 million from New York's current federal transportation funding.

A last-minute amendment to the House bill would move $1.6 billion in funding from seven Northeastern states to a general discretionary fund for use by the entire nation. Current law allows these high density areas to receive the extra funding because they account for half of all transit in the country. Sen. Charles Schumer said the loss of funding for New York is a travesty for the state's transit system.

Sean MacEntee / Flicr

 

A bill introduced this week in Congress tackles student privacy online. It would limit how educational technology companies can use the data they collect. In New York, similar rules are already in place, and they’re at work every day at one upstate school where technology is everywhere.

Sarah Latimer directs technology at Chenango Valley schools, and she thinks about privacy a lot.

“We’ve kind of had that conversation ongoing in New York for a little while now,” she says. “It’s been a very hot topic.”

Katko named to chair a House subcommittee

Jan 5, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Rep.-elect John Katko has been appointed to become chairman of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives.

The Syracuse-area Republican will officially be sworn in tomorrow along with the rest of the freshman class of lawmakers. But not every newcomer to Congress gets to become a chairman.

Katko was already named to the House Homeland Security Committee, and now has been named the head of its Subcommittee on Transportation Security. The committee focuses on safety of passenger and baggage screening, surface transportation and transportation security regulations.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna will start his third term in Congress in January. But the 114th Congress will be a different dynamic for the 22nd Congressional District Republican.

First, Hanna will have two new congressional representatives in neighboring districts. Gone are Democrats Rep. Dan Maffei  and Rep. Bill Owens. In their place are freshman Republicans John Katko in the Syracuse-centric 24th Congressional District, and Elise Stefanik in the North Country's  21st District.

Hanna says he already given some advice to the newcomers.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Congressman-elect John Katko is finding out more about what his responsibilities will be when he is sworn in to the House of Representatives in January.

It won't become official until next week, but preliminarily it appears that Katko will serve on two committees, Homeland Security and the Transportation and Infrastructure committees. The first plays to the Republican's experience as a former federal prosecutor, as Katko dealt with border issues while working in El Paso.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse-area Congressman-elect John Katko is heading to Washington, D.C. today to begin a week-long orientation session for freshman lawmakers.

The Republican has named a 12-member transition team, which includes former GOP Rep. Jim Walsh.

The team will hire staff and create an agenda for Katko’s first 100 days in office. The transition committee draws from the public and private sector, including Ryan McMahon, chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, former House of Representatives staff members and a personnel recruiter.

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

Despite a bipartisan bill making its way through Congress to keep road and bridge projects funded, there’s still concerns about the long-term health of the highway fund. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has passed short-term funding that was based on a budget gimmick. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. But several lawmakers in the region say Congress is failing voters by avoiding a long-term solution.

While more fuel-efficient cars and trucks may be good for your wallet and the environment, they may not be so good for roads.

Pages