Governors ask Trump, Congress to do more on opioid crisis

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Less than three months after President Donald Trump declared the U.S. opioid crisis a public health emergency, the nation’s governors are calling on his administration and Congress to provide more money and coordination for the fight against the drugs, which are killing more than 90 Americans a day. The list of more than two dozen recommendations made Thursday by the National Governors Association is the first

House votes to avert federal shutdown, Senate chances dim

WASHINGTON — On the edge of a government shutdown, a divided House voted late Thursday to keep the government open past a Friday deadline — setting up an eleventh-hour standoff in the Senate, where Democrats have vowed to kill the measure. The partisan roadblock in the GOP-controlled Senate left just a day and little hope for negotiators searching for a way to avoid shuttering federal offices and keeping thousands of

What happens when the government shuts down

WASHINGTON — The world won’t end if a dysfunctional Washington can’t find a way to pass a funding bill before this weekend. That’s the truth about a government “shutdown”: The government doesn’t shut down. It’s a crummy way to run a government, sure, but Social Security checks will still go out. Troops will remain at their posts. Doctors and hospitals will get their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. In fact, virtually

Trump says his border wall views have “never changed,” contradicting Kelly

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump publicly pushed back Thursday against a characterization by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the president’s views on a southern border wall had “evolved” and privately fumed about the episode. “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” the president said in a morning tweet. “Parts will be, of necessity, see through

Senate passes bill to renew foreign surveillance program

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to renew a critical foreign intelligence collection program dubbed the “holy grail” because it allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad. The Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize the controversial program for six years. The bill, which already has been passed by the House, now heads to the White House, where President Donald Trump has said he will

Facing congressional inaction, states — and Denver — move to ban bump stocks

States and municipalities nationwide are attempting to ban bump stocks — devices used to make rifles fire more rapidly — after Congress failed to act on bipartisan resolve to restrict them following their use in a Las Vegas massacre last year. At least 15 states are considering laws that would ban bump stocks, as is Denver. Columbia, South Carolina, barred them last year. The devices already are illegal in California,

With DACA and looming shutdown intertwined, Bennet and Gardner in a last-ditch effort to save immigration deal

WASHINGTON — It may be a long shot, but Colorado’s two U.S. senators said Thursday that they still were trying to marshal support on Capitol Hill for a bipartisan immigration deal that could help avert a looming government shutdown. Speaking to a roomful of reporters, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner said they have reached out to dozens of lawmakers in the House and Senate this week to make

Congress members may soon be barred from using taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment cases

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill mandating that members of Congress pay sexual harassment settlements themselves was introduced Thursday as part of an effort to reform the House’s current, secretive method of dealing with workplace complaints. The bill comes after seven members of Congress have either resigned or said they would not seek reelection in recent months, which has led to a public outcry over sexual harassment and use of taxpayer

Congress nears showdown votes on averting federal shutdown

WASHINGTON — A divided Congress barreled toward a possible election-year government shutdown Thursday, facing showdown votes in the House and Senate to keep federal offices open and hundreds of thousands of workers on the job. Weeks of argument over immigration, big spending and more remained unresolved, and Republican leaders were straining to win passage of stopgap legislation that would stave off a shutdown until Feb. 16 to give bargainers more

Polis, Buck butt heads on spending bill amendment to protect state-legal marijuana

The recent “groundswell” of support for a spending bill amendment protecting state-legal marijuana proposed by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis wasn’t enough to move a powerful Congressional committee — or even a Republican from his own state serving on it. Polis attempted to push the provision known as the McClintock-Polis Amendment into the continuing resolution to fund the government during an emergency meeting of the House Rules committee late Wednesday night.

Trump insists his views on a border wall have not “evolved”

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump insisted Thursday his views on a border wall with Mexico have not evolved, pushing back against his own chief of staff’s comments to lawmakers. Trump said on Twitter: “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” Some Democrats who met with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday say Kelly told them

Potential shutdown would hit hardest at Colorado Springs military bases

Hurried shutdown planning meetings began at military bases across the Pikes Peak region Wednesday as leaders prepared for federal budget gridlock that would come if a deal isn’t approved by Friday. The biggest impact of a federal shutdown would hit at the five bases, where as many as 6,000 civilian employees face furloughs, troops could see pay delays and amenities like military grocery stores and daycare centers shutter until a

Trump upends GOP strategy to avoid shutdown with call to settle childhood insurance impasse

WASHINGTON – President Trump upended the GOP’s strategy to avert a shutdown early Thursday when he declared that an extension of a federal health insurance program for children “should be part of a long term solution” and not a stopgap spending plan. That directly contradicts the thinking of congressional Republicans, who were eager to force Democrats to choose between a popular health care program they have pushed to renew for

Trump protecting medical providers who oppose abortion

WASHINGTON — Moving to solidify its credentials with social conservatives, the Trump administration is creating an office to protect the religious rights of medical providers, including those who oppose abortion. The announcement Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Service drew immediate criticism from Democrats who said it could undermine the rights of women, gays and transgender people. The new division will be part of the HHS Office of

Congressmen: Rescinding marijuana banking guidance would be “dangerous and imprudent”

Longtime congressional proponents of marijuana banking provisions are urging the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to keep intact marijuana banking guidance. FinCEN guidelines established in 2014 — outlining how financial institutions should approach banking services with marijuana-related businesses — provided stability for a burgeoning new industry, U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Denny Heck, D-Wash., wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to FinCEN leadership. “Leaving your guidance unchanged will

Fed survey finds solid growth and rising wages

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the economy was growing at a moderate pace at the start of the year, with the majority of business contacts optimistic about prospects for 2018. In its latest survey of business conditions nationwide, the Fed said that wages were rising at a modest pace. Some Fed districts were seeing a broader range of industries giving pay raises, especially in areas where employers

Bob Dole gets Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON — Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole knew the art of the deal before President Donald Trump published the 1987 book of the same name. The two shared a stage under the Capitol dome Wednesday as Dole, 94, accepted Congress’ highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, for his World War II service and decades of work in the House and Senate. Trump, meanwhile, was mired in a pitched

John Kelly: Some of Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration, border wall “uninformed”

WASHINGTON – White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that the United States will never construct a physical wall along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and that some of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were “uninformed.” The comments put Kelly at odds with Trump, who repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would build a border wall that Mexico would pay

“Very strong” Democratic sentiment to oppose GOP budget bill

WASHINGTON — Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Wednesday there’s “very, very strong” sentiment among Democrats in the chamber to oppose GOP-drafted legislation to keep the government’s doors open, comments that could indicate the chances are increasing that the government could shut down at midnight Friday night. Democrats’ votes are needed to advance the stopgap measure through the Senate, but they have been rebuffed in their demands to add protections

“A matter of frustration” led most of the National Park System Advisory Board to resign

Frustration. That’s what led nine of 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board to resign Monday, joining a chorus of irked panelists across the country who have spent the year waiting to advise the Trump administration on public lands. “It was, for many members, a matter of frustration that things really were not getting done,” said Judy Burke, the former mayor Grand Lake at the western gateway to