- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on activities in Congress (all times EST):

10 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Congress and Donald Trump’s transition team are trying to come up with a solution for young immigrants brought illegally to the country as kids.

Hundreds of thousands of these immigrants gained work permits and temporary deportation relief from President Barack Obama.

Trump pledged during the campaign to undo the executive action, sparking fear among immigrants that they would lose their protections and face deportation.

Ryan was questioned on a CNN town hall Thursday night by an immigrant who could face deportation if Trump reverses Obama’s policies. Ryan told her he did not want to see her leave this country.

Ryan said, “What we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law.”


4:35 p.m.

C-SPAN says its online feed of House floor action was briefly interrupted Thursday by programming for the Russian news site RT. The network says the problem was likely a routing issue, since RT is one of the networks that C-SPAN regularly monitors.

Spokesman Howard Mortman says C-SPAN’s website was replaced by RT for about 10 minutes. He says the network is “investigating and troubleshooting this occurrence.”

The programming glitch came hours after a power outage interrupted a Senate confirmation hearing for Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA. The hearing reconvened in a different room.

The Architect of the Capitol’s office says a local power company “de-energized” a system that feeds power to the Hart Senate Office Building. The office says the company, Pepco, quickly restored the lost power.


4:20 p.m.

The House Armed Services Committee has approved legislation to permit retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as defense secretary.

The GOP-led panel voted 34-28 to pass a measure that grants Mattis a one-time exception from the law that bars former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the job.

Mattis retired from military service in 2013.

A vote on the bill in the full House is scheduled for Friday. The Senate easily passed similar legislation on Thursday, 81-17.

Before the committee voted, Republicans and Democrats criticized the Trump transition team for refusing to allow Mattis to appear before the panel. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the committee’s Republican chairman, says “short-sightedness prevailed.”


3:30 p.m.

A California lawmaker is using a poll and fundraising appeal to decide whether to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Some Democrats have said they won’t attend. The campaign committee for Congressman Tony Cardenas says in an email to potential supporters that he “needs your advice.”

The email notes Cardenas chairs a political action committee helping Hispanic lawmakers and candidates. In that role, the email says, he wants input on whether to attend the inauguration. Voters can then click on a yes-or-no option.

Below the instant poll is another option to click: Contribute.

Cardenas represents a Los Angeles-based district that includes much of the San Fernando Valley.


3:15 p.m.

The Republican-led Senate has decisively approved legislation to permit retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to run the Pentagon for Donald Trump.

The 81-17 vote came just a few hours after the Senate Armed Services Committee cleared the bill overwhelmingly.

The measure overrides a prohibition against former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top job at the Defense Department.

The House Armed Services Committee is preparing to vote on a similar bill to exempt Mattis from the rule. A vote in the full House is scheduled for Friday. The bill then would go to the president for signature.

Mattis retired from military service in 2013.

The legislation is separate from a Senate confirmation vote on Mattis serving as Trump’s defense secretary.


1:00 p.m.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to run the Pentagon.

The Republican-led panel voted 24-3 to clear the bill after Mattis testified before the committee. Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal and Elizabeth Warren opposed it.

The measure overrides a prohibition against former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the job. Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a four-star general in 2013. He had been a battlefield commander for most of his career.

The full Senate and House must approve the bill before sending it to the president.


12:30 p.m.

Gen. James Mattis says President-elect Donald Trump isn’t opposed to buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Mattis says Trump just wants the “best bang for the buck.”

Trump has attacked the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as “out of control.” The program has a nearly $400 billion price tag and is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons acquisition.

Mattis is Trump’s pick for defense secretary. The retired Marine general is telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that the jet fighter is critical to the U.S. maintaining its air superiority. The aircraft incorporates stealth technology that allows it to evade radar detection.


12 p.m.

Ben Carson is declining to guarantee that, if confirmed as housing secretary, no money from his department will benefit President-elect Donald Trump or his family.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren pressed Carson on this at the famed neurosurgeon’s confirmation hearing Thursday. She wanted assurances that “not one dollar” of Housing and Urban Development money would go to the Trumps. The family made its fortune in real estate.

Carson says it won’t be his intention to benefit an individual American. He says he will manage things to benefit all Americans.

He says if an extraordinary program benefited millions, but a particular individual were to receive $10, “am I going to say ‘no, the rest of you Americans can’t have it?’”

Carson said that “logic and common sense probably would be the best way.”


11:30 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the CIA says Russian meddling in the president election was an aggressive action taken by senior Russian leaders.

At his confirmation hearing Thursday, congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas says it’s pretty clear Russia worked to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy.

Trump has voiced skepticism that Russia was behind hacking of political sites. But he said Wednesday for the first time that he believes Russia was responsible for the hacking.


11:25 a.m.

Democratic senators are questioning how Ben Carson’s promise to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in annual spending squares with overseeing a department that serves millions of the poorest Americans.

Carson is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for housing secretary.

At Carson’s confirmation hearing, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio says the call for a 10 percent budget cut for government agencies would send hundreds of thousands of families into a tailspin.

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey questioned Carson on whether he supports the concept of rental assistance. Carson assures him that rental assistance is “essential.”

Carson says his philosophy on entitlement programs is that it’s cruel to remove them without providing an alternative.


11:15 a.m.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis says he has no intention of reversing rules that allow LGBT personnel to serve openly in the military.

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary tells the Senate Armed Services Committee he’s only concerned about making the U.S. armed forces as lethal as possible.

Mattis says: “I’m not concerned about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”

He also says he doesn’t expect to reverse a 2015 decision by the Obama administration to open all front-line combat jobs to women.

Mattis said Thursday he’ll be focused on getting the U.S. military into “its most lethal stance.”


11:12 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says a painting that depicts a police officer as a pig violates House rules and should not be hung in the Capitol.

Ryan waded into the partisan controversy in an interview Thursday on the Mike Gallagher radio show.

The painting by a high schooler has turned into a flashpoint. It shows events in Ferguson, Missouri, and won an annual competition in Democratic Congressman William Lacy Clay’s St. Louis district.

It was hung in a walkway in the Capitol complex. Offended GOP lawmakers took it down, but Clay kept putting it back up.

Ryan says the painting is “disgusting” and cites House rules saying artwork should not be sensationalistic or gruesome.

The speaker says, “It’s not as if you have a constitutional right to hang whatever painting you want.”


11:10 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the top U.S. health official will sell off stock holdings to avoid any conflicts of interest, or the appearance of a conflict.

Rep. Tom Price’s ethics agreement and financial disclosure were posted online Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics.

The Georgia Republican is nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services, where he’s expected to play a leading role in efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law.

A senior Democratic lawmaker and a consumer advocacy group have questions about Price’s stock trades in health care.

If confirmed by the Senate, Price says, he’ll divest himself of stock in more than 40 companies. He’ll also resign a position with the American Medical Association.


11:05 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary says clear boundaries are needed in the cyber world so potential adversaries know what America won’t tolerate.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis says “a lot of crises and wars are started from miscalculation.”

He’s testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. His remarks come a week after an intelligence report detailed allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential election.


10:59 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for housing secretary says he chuckles when people question how his career as a neurosurgeon applies to running a government agency.

Ben Carson says the brain is capable of amazing things.

Carson says at his Senate confirmation hearing that a good CEO doesn’t know everything about running a particular business. But he says a good CEO knows how to pick people and use their talents.

Carson says he’s been fortunate to move from the bottom up in life. He says true compassion is putting people in a situation where they can feel good about where they are going.


10:50 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be defense secretary is telling senators the military isn’t robust enough to deal with the wide range of threats the U.S. is facing.

James Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general. He’s testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Senator John McCain of Arizona says he thinks deterrence is critical, and that requires the strongest armed forces. McCain asked Mattis, “Do we have that?”

Mattis responded, “No sir.”

Trump pledged during the presidential campaign to rebuild the military services and eliminate the strict, across-the-board spending limits that have constrained the defense budget.


10:41 a.m.

Electricity is out in two Senate office buildings, interrupting a hearing for President elect-Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director.

A spokesman for the Architect of the Capitol says power is out in most of the Hart Senate Office Building and in some of the adjacent Dirksen building. Crews are working to restore power.

The confirmation hearing for congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas is being moved to a new room.


10:37 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for defense secretary says Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to break NATO.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that America’s key alliances are under the biggest attack since World War II.

He says “history isn’t a straitjacket,” but that it is a guide for dealing with Moscow. Mattis says there have been many attempts by the U.S. over the years to reset relations with Russia, but the list of successes is short.

Mattis is recommending the U.S. to take military, economic and diplomatic steps “to defend ourselves where we must.”


10:36 a.m.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is introducing Ben Carson as having the values, compassion and drive needed to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson is appearing before a Senate committee for his confirmation hearing. Rubio ran against Carson for the Republican presidential nomination. He says he got to know Carson well during the election.

Rubio says Carson is a leader who knows how to overcome tough obstacles. He says people have literally put their lives in his hands as a neurosurgeon.


10:30 a.m.

The lights went out in a Senate hearing room when the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee mentioned Russia.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner was delivering opening remarks for the confirmation hearing for Republican congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Donald Trump’s pick to run the CIA.

The committee went into recess as senators waited for the lights to come back on.

Warner’s remarks were on the committee’s promise to review the intelligence behind an assessment that Russia, and specifically President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the presidential election in an effort to get Trump elected.


10:40 a.m.

Donald Trump’s pick to run the CIA is taking a tough stand against Russia and distancing himself from the president-elect.

Congressman Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh) is a four-term Kansas conservative. Pompeo is appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee amid a testy standoff between Trump and the spy community over Russian activities during the presidential election.

Pompeo says in opening remarks that Russia has reasserted itself aggressively by invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe and doing what he calls “nothing” to help defeat Islamic State militants.

Trump is calling for warmer relations with Moscow.

Ironically, the lights in the committee room went out when Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia mentioned Russia in his opening statement.


9:58 a.m.

The top Democrat in the Senate says he will oppose the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says in a statement that although the Alabama senator is a colleague and friend, Schumer has no confidence that Sessions has the ability to defend the rights of all Americans.

Schumer also says he doubts that Sessions can be an independent check on the incoming Trump administration. He says he is deeply concerned about Sessions’ views on immigration.

Schumer worked on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 that had a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally. Sessions opposed the bill.


9:14 a.m.

A congressman who was wheeled out of the Capitol in a stretcher on Wednesday night is recuperating in a Washington area hospital, and tests show that “acute digestive flare-up” is responsible for his discomfort.

That’s the word from the chief of staff for freshman Rep. John Rutherford, a Florida Republican who previously served as sheriff in Jacksonville.

Aide Kelly Simpson says Rutherford is on his way to “a full and swift recovery” and that doctors report Rutherford’s vital signs look good. The lawmaker is expected to remain briefly in the hospital to treat inflammation.

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