Christopher S Murphy

These two Democratic presidential contenders voted for a gas tax increase
Both Sanders and Biden voted for the last federal gas tax hike 26 years ago

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at the Exxon gas station at Second and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast in Washington in 2007 for a news conference on price-gouging at the gas pumps, voted for a federal gas tax increase in 1993 — the last time it was raised. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

When he meets with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday, a key question will be whether President Donald Trump backs an increase in the federal gas tax the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pressing him to support.

Trump reportedly backed an increase in private meetings before, but the 2020 election could be a reason for hesitation.

Iran escalations bring war powers debates back to the Capitol
Sen. Tim Kaine expects debate behind closed doors at the Armed Services Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch says President Donald Trump “doesn’t need any more authority than what he’s got” to respond to a potential attack. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)k

A Senate briefing by the Trump administration Tuesday about the escalation in tensions with Iran appears certain to kick off another round of sparring over the president’s war powers.

When asked last week whether President Donald Trump could strike Iran using existing authorities from the authorization for use of military force that was enacted after 9/11, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reflected on the history of disputes between the executive and legislative branches.

Klobuchar plan to combat addiction draws on experience with her dad
Policy proposal comes as part of her 2020 presidential campaign platform

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., unveiled a mental health policy proposal on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s mental health plan, unveiled Friday morning, draws on proposals from several of her Senate colleagues — and it’s also a highly personal quest for the senator.

One of the early major proposals of the Minnesota Democrat’s 2020 White House campaign, it calls for aggressive investments to support mental health and treatment for addiction, including an increased focus on early intervention. It also draws on her experience with her father’s alcoholism.

Senate vote upholds Trump veto of Yemen resolution
The vote didn't reach the two-thirds majority needed to overturn President Donald Trump’s veto last month

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, center, Tim Scott, R-S.C., left, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conduct a news conference in the Capitol on December 19, 2018. Lee was one of several lawmakers who gave impassioned pleas to override a veto by President Donald Trump on a resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Yemen civil war. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Thursday voted to uphold a presidential veto of a resolution that would have ordered an end to U.S. military participation in the civil war in Yemen.

The vote came despite impassioned bipartisan pleas from lawmakers like Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who argued Saudi Arabia does not deserve “unflinching, unwavering, unquestioning” U.S. support for its involvement in the war.

Road trip: Romney and Murphy the newest Senate Middle East travel team
Leaders of the Middle East subcommittee returned from countries including Israel and Iraq

Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, left, and Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., arrive for a briefing in the Capitol to discuss a recent congressional delegation trip to the Middle East. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the leaders of the Senate subcommittee focused on foreign policy in the Middle East, Sens. Mitt Romney and Christopher S. Murphy might be spending a lot of time together overseas in the coming years.

The Republican from Utah and Democrat from Connecticut are back at the Capitol this week after spending the second half of the spring recess meeting with regional leaders in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Iraq.

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Chris Murphy says ‘double standard’ exists between physical and cybersecurity in the Senate
Connecticut Democrat pressed sergeant-at-arms on securing senators' personal devices

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., calls how the Senate handles cybersecurity a "double standard." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want to fix what they’re calling a “double standard” between how physical and cyber security are handled by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.

At a Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy pressed Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger on threats to lawmakers and staff’s personal digital devices, including smartphones.

Sen. Chris Murphy calls college athlete compensation a ‘civil rights issue’
UConn fan released first in a series of reports on the college sports industry

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., calls inequity in college sports a “civil rights issue.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Basketball fans across the country are stressing over their March Madness brackets for the NCAA tournament, but Connecticut Democrat Sen. Christopher S. Murphy is instead stressing the staggering inequity in college sports that he calls “a civil rights issue.”

Murphy released a report Thursday morning, titled Madness, Inc.: How is everyone getting rich off college sports — except the players, which is the first in a series he plans to put out on the state of the multi billion-dollar collegiate athletics industry. He plans to dig into how advertisers, executives, coaches, and college administrators reap the benefits from college sports, while the athletes who are competing receive no monetary compensation.

GAO says Architect of the Capitol needs workforce management changes
Government watchdog points to 2017 layoffs and urges formalized process to collect information on staffing needs

The Government Accountability Office says the Architect of the Capitol needs to revamp some workforce practices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Architect of the Capitol’s construction division is designed to provide flexible labor options across the agency, but the Government Accountability Office says AOC needs to institute a formal process for collecting information on projects and priorities to better manage the temporary staff. In recent years employees in the construction division were given little notice of layoffs due to lack of work in certain jurisdictions.

In a report released this week, the GAO says AOC has missed opportunities to obtain information critical to making informed decisions about project staffing.

Asked about gas tax, Chao says ‘nothing is off the table’
Transportation secretary also says the Trump administration has ‘learned from the past’

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao indicated there could be support from the White House for higher gas taxes as she fielded questions at a Senate Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee meeting on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Wednesday that the administration “has learned from the past” that it should consult with Congress before proposing an infrastructure plan, but stopped short of saying when consultations would start.

Appearing before the Senate’s Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee, Chao indicated there could be support from the White House for higher gas taxes and fees on airplane tickets, but she also renewed the administration’s call to cut red tape in project approvals and find ways to attract private-sector funding from pension funds and endowments.