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As the 115th Congress is sworn in Tuesday, Republicans will be poised to control Washington with a stronger hand than they have in a decade — with the Senate, House and the White House in GOP control once President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

This past November, Republicans held their congressional losses to a minimum, helped by an unexpectedly strong GOP wave behind Trump. After losing just two Senate seats, they'll hold a 52-48 edge (two independents caucus with Democrats). In the House, Republicans lost six seats, giving them a 241-194 majority.

Congress is back in session on Tuesday, and leaders of both houses say their first order of business will be to repeal Obamacare.

If they do that, it will be a slap in the face to President Obama just three weeks before he leaves the White House. The Affordable Care is the outgoing president's signature achievement, marked by an elaborate signing ceremony in March 2010 at the White House, with lofty speeches from the vice president and Obama himself.

Washington ‘Faithless’ Electors Facing $1,000 Fines

Dec 29, 2016

The four members of Washington's electoral college who voted for people other than Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine earlier this month will each be fined $1,000.

Democratic senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee say Donald Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency should reveal his connections with energy insiders before his confirmation hearings get underway.

In the letter dated Tuesday, the senators told Scott Pruitt, currently Oklahoma's attorney general, they were concerned about his close ties to energy lobbyists and wanted him to disclose lists of donors who contributed to a nonprofit organization that took funds from a network connected to the Koch brothers.

Some politicians seem to have nine lives, constantly evading scandal and overcoming the odds. But this past year, now-President-elect Donald Trump may have had more than that.

Many things he did would have been the death knell for any other candidate's political hopes — mocking a disabled reporter, bragging about groping, disparaging a Gold Star family and even boasting about his manhood during a national debate.

President-elect Donald Trump is lashing out in defense of his charitable foundation as he prepares to shutter it before taking the oath of office next month.

And in doing so, Trump incorrectly stated the charitable reach of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

In a series of tweets Monday evening, Trump said he had given millions to the foundation he began in 1987 and that all of the money raised went to "wonderful charities."

The face of Washington state government is about to get a makeover. Five new statewide elected officials will take office in January -- a record in modern times.

The Republican Party heads into 2017 with more power than it has had for a long time.

For the Democrats, it's a different matter.

Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential race and Democratic failures further down the ballot have the party searching for a way forward.

Here are five things Democrats need to do, as they look for a path out of the political wilderness:

1. Be clear about how bad things are — and are not — for the Democratic Party.

One of President-elect Donald Trump's top aides unexpectedly announced over the holiday weekend that he will not accept a position at the White House.

Trump rounded out his White House communications team last week — installing several trusted campaign advisers to senior West Wing positions.

Among them was Jason Miller who was named director of communications.

The U.N. Security Council has approved a resolution condemning construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, after the U.S. abstained from the vote rather than vetoing the resolution outright.

In explaining the U.S. abstention, Ambassador Samantha Power said the move doesn't signal diminished U.S. support for Israel; she later added that the continued construction of settlements "seriously undermines Israel's security."

Power said, "The United States has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for nearly five decades."

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has asked the State Department to list its workers who focus on gender equality and ending violence against women, in what's being seen as an echo of an earlier request for the Energy Department to list employees who work on climate change.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers expects the Trump administration and Congress to act soon to deal with the Affordable Care Act and possibly change Medicare.

Now that Republicans will actually have the numbers to do away with Obamacare, McMorris Rodgers says some provisions of the landmark law will likely be spared.

President-elect Donald Trump is rounding out his White House team — installing several trusted campaign advisers to senior West Wing positions.

Kellyanne Conway will serve as counselor to the president, the transition team announced on Thursday. Sean Spicer will be press secretary, and Jason Miller has been named director of communications.

There were two major assumptions about Latino voters throughout the presidential campaign:

(1) a record number of Latinos would show up on Election Day to oppose Donald Trump's candidacy and

(2) the anti-immigration rhetoric that launched Trump's campaign would push conservative-leaning Hispanics to flee the Republican Party.

Neither of those assumptions entirely panned out as expected.

Prediction 1: The Surge?

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

After more than a year of delays, Texas health officials are moving to block the women's health provider Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds beginning next month.

In October 2015, Texas officials told Planned Parenthood that the state intended to bar the organization from the public insurance program. Planned Parenthood responded with a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the state.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The North Carolina Legislature began a special session on Wednesday morning to vote on the repeal of a controversial state law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT people, but the effort failed by day's end as the Legislature adjourned without passing any bill.

President-elect Donald Trump is adding another billionaire to the top ranks of his administration.

Trump plans to nominate a wealthy financial executive, Vincent Viola, to be secretary of the Army. Viola would be at least the fourth Trump nominee with a net worth in the billions. And that's not counting Trump's own 10-figure fortune.

President-elect Donald Trump has financial stakes in hundreds of companies. But one line of business is particularly important to him: golf courses.

He owns more than a dozen courses, which provide the Trump Organization with major streams of revenue and bolster his "luxury" brand image.

But they also created conflicts of interest. As president, he will be able to steer environmental and labor policies that could boost the income from his golf courses.

They may not change history. But four Washington electors made history Monday when they broke ranks and voted for alternative candidates for president and vice president. This hasn’t happened in Washington in 40 years.

Meanwhile, all seven of Oregon’s Electoral College votes went to Hillary Clinton. Clinton easily won each state’s popular vote last month.

Monday is the day when members of the Electoral College cast their votes for president. It's usually a routine event, but this year's political turmoil means the voting is getting extra attention.

Every so often, we answer questions from our politics podcast mailbag online. This week, we answer a question from a listener wondering about so-called "faithless electors."


I had a question about a Washington Post opinion article written recently by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig.

Chris Lehman

In the wake of last month's defeat of a proposed corporate tax increase, the union-funded group that sponsored the measure unveiled a new set of revenue-raising proposals Tuesday. But after Measure 97 went down big time in November, this proposal is rather different.

"You'll see some changes in the measure that reflect some of the things that we heard from voters,” Andrea Paluso said at a state capitol press conference on behalf of the group "A Better Oregon."

Mike Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas and Donald Trump's pick to run the CIA, is no stranger to Russian intrigue.

After graduating first in his class from West Point in 1986, he headed to Europe. There, according to his official bio, he served as a cavalry officer, "patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall."

President-elect Donald Trump has apparently passed over Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his pick for Interior Secretary. The Washington state congresswoman posted a vague statement on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As a court deadline looms, Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday proposed that the state spend $2.7 billion over the next two years to fully fund the state's basic education obligations and to increase salaries for teachers.

Updated 7:51 a.m. ET Dec. 14 with official announcement of Perry's nomination.

It's a good thing former Texas Gov. Rick Perry once forgot he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, because President-elect Donald Trump is nominating him to lead the agency.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plans to propose significant new investments in education and mental health. The Democrat will roll out his priorities for Washington’s next two-year budget at a series of events beginning Tuesday.

Seattle Ethics and Elections Comission

Registered voters in Seattle have begun receiving notices about 'democracy vouchers,' the result of an initiative passed last year to change the way local campaigns are financed.

Seattle voters approved a property tax that is expected to raise $3 million each year for 10 years to pay for each registered voter and other eligible adults to receive four $25 vouchers. 

On July 27, Donald Trump created one of the most surreal moments of the presidential campaign, when he encouraged Russians to hack his opponent's email.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you'll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said, speaking about Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private email account from her time as secretary of state. "I think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

So it was a bit of a surprise when on Monday morning, he implied in a tweet that hacking hadn't been a major topic during the election:

Donald Trump may have run into the first example of how the equal branches of government work — and he's not even president yet.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the man who controls the agenda in the upper chamber, differed with Trump in a Monday morning press conference, saying he believes Russian involvement in the U.S. election needs to be investigated.

He added, "I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community, and especially the Central Intelligence Agency."

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