Pro-Obamacare group targets swing Republicans on taxes

A pro-Obamacare coalition that spent big during this year’s health care battle is going back on the airwaves, urging the three GOP senators who tanked their party’s Obamacare repeal plan to vote against the massive Republican tax bill.

The left-leaning Save My Care group is focusing on Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska now that Senate GOP leaders have added a repeal of Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate to their tax bill. Next week’s six-figure ad buy from Save My Care comes as liberal activists nationwide seize on the tax bill’s Obamacare attack to mobilize their grass roots against the legislation.

The McCain-focused ad praises the Arizona Republican for having "been a hero for Arizona and the country" by opposing the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill in July, according to an advance copy shared with POLITICO, and the Alaska ad uses similar language Continue reading “Pro-Obamacare group targets swing Republicans on taxes”

Franken apologizes after woman says he groped her

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for an Ethics Committee investigation of Sen. Al Franken after allegations that he groped a woman in 2006.

"As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this," he said. "Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else."

ORIGINAL:

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) apologized Thursday after a female broadcaster said the lawmaker groped and kissed her without her consent during a 2006 trip overseas.

Leeann Tweeden, a radio anchor for Los Angeles’ KABC, wrote Thursday that Franken’s misconduct took place while they toured the Middle East to entertain military personnel in 2006.

According to Tweeden, Franken crafted a performance skit during the trip to make the anchor kiss him against her will. Continue reading “Franken apologizes after woman says he groped her”

Dems seize on GOP’s Obamacare attack to awaken the left on taxes

Senate Republicans’ decision to strike at Obamacare in their tax legislation may be just what Democrats and progressive organizers need to rally an otherwise distracted base.

The liberal activists who besieged the GOP’s health bill have yet to rise up as fiercely against the tax plan. They haven’t been helped with headlines dominated by the Roy Moore scandal and a Russia probe drawing closer to President Donald Trump.

But the GOP bid to repeal Obamacare’s mandate that individuals buy insurance gives them a powerful opportunity to engage the grassroots, liberal leaders say. And that’s good news for Democrats, who are eager to rev up their supporters as Republicans race to finish their tax bill by Christmas.

Republicans “have fired up our grassroots like we couldn’t have imagined,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in an interview. “This is a major tactical error.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Continue reading “Dems seize on GOP’s Obamacare attack to awaken the left on taxes”

Ryan: Harassment training to be required for House members, aides

House members and aides will be required to undergo anti-harassment training, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Tuesday amid broad calls to crack down on sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill.

Ryan’s move, which echoes action taken by the Senate last week, came hours after female lawmakers publicly shared knowledge of sexually harassing behavior by at least two sitting members of the House. Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) made their disclosures at a House Administration Committee hearing on the Hill’s harassment policy, which lawmakers as well as aides have decried as opaque and punitive for victims.

"Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and staff," Ryan said in a statement. "Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution."

Senators Continue reading “Ryan: Harassment training to be required for House members, aides”

Burr: Still weighing public hearing with Donald Trump Jr.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Tuesday that he is still deciding whether to hold a public hearing with Donald Trump Jr. as part of the panel’s probe into whether any associates of the president colluded with Russians in the 2016 election.

“We’ve still got some preliminary work to work through, and then we will make a decision as to whether we invite him in for an interview or for a public hearing,” Burr told POLITICO.

Hearing from President Donald Trump’s eldest son took on new importance Monday after Trump Jr. confirmed that he had traded online messages with Wikileaks in the run-up to the 2016 election.

After a report on the exchanges in The Atlantic, Trump Jr. tweeted his correspondence with Wikileaks, which U.S. intelligence officials say acted on Moscow’s behalf by releasing hacked emails last year, and accused “one of the congressional Continue reading “Burr: Still weighing public hearing with Donald Trump Jr.”

Two members of Congress engaged in sexual harassment, lawmakers say

Two female lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, shared stories at a hearing Tuesday about male members of Congress who engaged in sexual harassment, though they declined to name them.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who has long pressed for a stronger congressional anti-harassment system, testified before a House Administration Committee hearing on misconduct that she is aware of two sitting lawmakers, one in each party, who have perpetrated sexual misdeeds. Before Speier spoke, however, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) said a member "decided to expose himself" to a young female aide sent to drop off materials at his home.

The young staffer was "greeted with a member in a towel," Comstock told fellow lawmakers, who "invited her in" before committing the offense.

"She left, she found another job," Comstock said. "But that kind of situation — what are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with Continue reading “Two members of Congress engaged in sexual harassment, lawmakers say”

Congress yet to act on flawed anti-harassment system

Senators in both parties are touting their move last week to require sexual harassment training for all members and aides.

What they don’t mention is that many Senate offices already required training or were moving toward it — and that their vote did nothing to reform a system for handling complaints that critics say deters victims from coming forward.

Now, some lawmakers are fighting to ensure that the Senate’s unanimous approval of mandatory training doesn’t make further reforms harder by offering political cover to members who would prefer to move on. Bipartisan talks on an overhaul of the Capitol’s harassment policy, which critics in and out of Congress say is stacked against victims, remain in their early stages.

“It’s a really important conversation that the country is having” about harassment, said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who’s waged underdog battles for GOP support to beef up sexual assault protections Continue reading “Congress yet to act on flawed anti-harassment system”