Congress returned from a two week recess this week and since then there has been a lot of action in Washington. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia came together on a compromise to expand background checks on gun sales. President Obama released his budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year, and the so-called Gang of 8 continued their work towards comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

    All of this action provoked all kinds of questions.

    Ann Gaddis Allen wrote in on Facebook: It's still like nursery school! Will they ever grow up and get along?

    Douglas Hill asked: What are the honest odds that, though these bills are drawn by bipartisan groups, they will pass either house?

    Jeffrey Howlett tweeted: Why is banning assault weapons and high capacity clips not even up for debate?

    And Carol Kinner Kay had a question about the proposals in the president’s budget, saying: I want to know how they think cutting SS

    Read More »from Now that Congress is getting along, will it make any difference?
  • Paul Ryan: Won’t hand out voting card to get deal on guns

    Power Players

    With the Senate poised to start voting on its first gun measures of the year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) says he is carefully watching the legislation, particularly the compromise reached on background checks with Senators Pat Toomey (R- Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D -W.Va.).

    Ryan and Toomey were elected to Congress at the same time and were roommates on Capitol Hill, but Ryan tells Power Players he would not automatically follow his lead on guns.

    “I don’t give my voting card based on someone’s name. I vote for something if I think it’s the right thing to do,” Ryan said.

    Ryan said he’s concerned that Congress will rush to legislate on guns and miss an opportunity to address related issues like mental illness.

    “We need to look at the root cause of these problems, and I hope that we can do that. I am worried that we won't,” Ryan said.

    On the president’s budget, Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, was skeptical that the president has presented a true compromise that

    Read More »from Paul Ryan: Won’t hand out voting card to get deal on guns
  • Guess who’s not coming to dinner? Sen. Bernie Sanders says liberals want face time with Obama

    Top Line

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn't like what President Obama's budget could do to Social Security benefits. And he's not that happy that the White House is hosting a dozen Republican Senators for dinner tonight -- while progressives' invitations appear to have been lost in the mail.

    Asked whether Obama ought to reach out more to liberals, including those like Sanders who are eager to chew up his budget, the senator joked: “Am I anxious to get a good free dinner? Absolutely, I am always open for a good free dinner.”

    But "that invitation has not been offered," Sanders told Top Line in an interview on Pennsylvania Avenue just outside the White House gates. "He hasn't reached out to me, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't reached out to progressives, and that is disappointing.”

    Sanders is part of a group of progressive members of Congress, and interest groups, opposing the president’s budget. Following his interview with Top Line, he joined a rally in front of the White House

    Read More »from Guess who’s not coming to dinner? Sen. Bernie Sanders says liberals want face time with Obama


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