U.S. Congress

As House Republicans poured out of the closed-door meeting where Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told them he won't run for re-election this year, there was a constant theme: Things are on track. All is well. And a sitting speaker's decision to call it quits after less than three years in charge of the House chamber shouldn't be taken — at all — as a sign the GOP is facing an increasingly challenging election cycle.

"I go back to my district and people couldn't be more ecstatic about the things we're doing," Florida Rep. Brian Mast said. "I'm not concerned about it at all."

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and will retire in January.

"You all know I did not seek this job," Ryan said, addressing reporters. "I took it reluctantly. ... I have no regrets."

Ryan, 48, cited wanting to be around his adolescent children more often.

Embattled Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, announced Friday that he has resigned from Congress, months after reports surfaced that he had used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim by a former staffer.

"While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it's time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve," the four-term congressman said in a statement.

Javier Manjarres, the political consultant behind the conservative Shark Tank blog, is running for Congress against Parkland-area Rep. Ted Deutch.

Manjarres, whose interest in running against Deutch has been known for months, announced his candidacy Tuesday morning. In a press release touting his blue-collar background and “size 11 Ariat boots,” he criticized Deutch’s politics and accused him of trying to capitalize on February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Donna Shalala Is Running For Congress In Bid To Replace Ros-Lehtinen

Mar 6, 2018
Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

Donna Shalala, the former University of Miami president and Health and Human Services secretary, is officially running as a Democrat to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, according to Federal Election Commission paperwork filed Monday.

Shalala, 77, has never run for elected office, but her presence shakes up a crowded Democratic primary in a district that includes most of Miami Beach, downtown Miami and coastal Miami-Dade County. The district favors Democrats, as Hillary Clinton defeated President Donald Trump by 19.7 percentage points there in 2016.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The Senate voted to begin debate on immigration Monday, launching an unusual process that could lead to a bipartisan immigration fix — or leave Congress with no solution for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who stand to lose legal protections by March 5.

In the aftermath of the January 2011 shooting attack against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., lawmakers used the State of the Union that month to send a message to the nation: What unites us is greater than what divides us. Lawmakers voluntarily scrambled the partisan seating chart in the U.S. House chamber that year to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

If you're trying to tamp down on allegations of sexual harassment, it's probably not a good idea to say the staffer who is making the claim was a "soul mate."

House Speaker Paul Ryan has ordered an ethics investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan after a report Saturday that Meehan used taxpayer funds to settle a harassment complaint.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday referred to African nations as "s***hole countries" during a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of senators, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the conversation.

A group of House and Senate lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday to overhaul the system for filing and settling harassment claims from congressional employees.

"Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a leading co-sponsor of the ME TOO Congress Act, named after the #MeToo social media awareness campaign for victims of sexual harassment and assault.

Sen. Rand Paul calls it an "unfortunate event." Police are calling it assault — and many people are trying to figure out why Paul's neighbor, a fellow medical doctor, might allegedly have attacked him with enough force to fracture five ribs. Paul was reportedly tackled while he was mowing the grass at his home in Bowling Green, Ky.

Police who were called to Paul's home shortly after 3 p.m. local time on Friday say they arrested Paul's neighbor, 59-year-old Rene Boucher, and charged him with fourth-degree assault.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Not much of significance has gotten through this Congress, despite the House, Senate and White House all being controlled by the same party — Republicans.

President Trump says, don't blame him.

"We're not getting the job done. And I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest," Trump said during short remarks in a Cabinet meeting.

He then shifted away from "we" to "they."

"They're not getting the job done," the president said of Congress.

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

With President Trump's announcement on Tuesday that his administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the White House made clear it wants a legislative solution from Congress to protect the roughly 800,000 "DREAMers," who came to the U.S. illegally as children and now could face the possibility of deportation.

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