- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on Congress (all times local):


1:36 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says it would be a terrible precedent to put expedited procedures for confirming President-elect Donald Trump’s defense secretary pick in a stop-gap spending bill.

Congress has to change the law to allow retired Gen. James Mattis, to fill the civilian job. Mattis’ nomination would then need Senate confirmation next year.

Republicans want to put fast-track steps to changing the law in the catchall spending bill Congress will vote on this week.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pelosi decried the move and said it was troubling that Republicans were working so hard to shield Trump’s nominee from scrutiny and debate of Congress and the American people.


1:10 p.m.

House Democrats say Vice President Joe Biden told them to be more empathetic about the concerns of working-class Americans.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois said Biden told them at a closed-door meeting that if acknowledging people’s feelings isn’t in the first page of a speech, the speech is no good.

Biden said unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was a victim of sexism - at least in part. “He really thinks there’s a double standard there” Schakowsky said.

Schakowsky said California Rep. Jackie Speier suggested Biden run for Democratic National Committee chair but Biden laughed it off. Other Democrats said there was no discussion of Biden running for president in 2020.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Biden “talked about our commitment to working people in this country.”


11:20 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden is joking about his own talk about seeking the presidency in 2020.

On his way into a meeting with House Democrats on Tuesday, Biden said “I’m going to announce right now” in response to shouted questions about whether he should be taken seriously about running again.

The 74-year-old vice president said Monday night that he would run, a comment he did walk back, but just a bit.

Biden said, “I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.”

Biden will turn 78 shortly after the 2020 election. Ronald Reagan was a few days short of 78 when he left office in January 1989, making him the oldest person to serve as president.

The vice president decided to not seek the White House in 2015 and instead backed this year’s eventual Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

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