- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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

6:05 p.m.

A congressman from Florida remains hospitalized one week after being wheeled from the Capitol in a stretcher.

Rep. John Rutherford’s chief of staff says doctors are pleased with his recovery but they want to eliminate all of the inflammation that resulted from an allergic reaction.

Kelly Simpson says doctors expect to release the Republican congressman in the next several days.

Simpson says Rutherford suffered an acute digestive flare-up that stemmed from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic he was taking for a cold.

Rutherford, 64, represents Florida’s 4th Congressional District. He was elected in November after serving 41 years in law enforcement.

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3:35 p.m.

Rep. Terri Sewell, an African-American Democrat who represents Selma, Alabama, has issued a public invitation to President-elect Donald Trump and Georgia Rep. John Lewis to end their feud and cross the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge together as a sign of unity.

Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement who shed blood along with other freedom marchers at Selma, has declared he does not consider Trump to be legitimately elected and is boycotting his inauguration. That has sparked several angry responses from Trump.

Sewell also says she will not attend Friday’s swearing-in.

She has issued a statement, however, welcoming Trump to her district so that he and Lewis could “walk hand-in-hand across that bridge as one nation, indivisible and united.”

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2:30 p.m.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has overwhelmingly approved President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary.

The Republican-led panel voted 26-1 Wednesday to recommend that the full Senate consider the choice of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to run the Pentagon.

Mattis retired from military service in 2013 after a 41-year career in uniform.

Congress last week approved legislation that grants a one-time exception for Mattis from the law that bars former service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top Pentagon job. The restriction is meant to preserve civilian control of the military.

The committee’s vote means that when Mattis is formally nominated by Trump the appointment will be sent directly to the Senate for a confirmation vote

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2 p.m.

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is suggesting the congressman in line to become the next health secretary used his position to help a company he’d bought stock in.

But Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price says he did nothing wrong and that his broker decided to make the purchase.

The tense exchange came during Wednesday’s Senate Health committee hearing on Donald Trump’s designee.

The dispute flared over Price’s purchase last year of shares in Zimmer Biomet. It makes medical devices. Warren asked Price if he took actions “to advance your plan to help the company that you now owned stock in.”

Price responded, “I’m offended by that insinuation.”

Warren says Price’s actions included introducing a bill that would have blocked regulations that could have harmed the company.

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1:51 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is using a Senate hearing to highlight the difference between many Democrats’ goal of universal health care coverage and the more modest target Republicans are setting.

The Senate Health committee held a hearing Wednesday on Donald Trump’s pick of Georgia Rep. Tom Price to become health secretary.

Price said the administration wants “every American to have access” to top quality health care.

Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, said access is different from guaranteed coverage. The unsuccessful 2016 Democratic presidential candidate says he has access to buying a $10 million home but “I don’t have the money to do that.”

Price said Republicans want to give everyone “the financial feasibility” of buying coverage they want, not what the government requires them to buy.

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1:11 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is suggesting that Donald Trump’s nominee for budget director, Mick Mulvaney, should be disqualified from consideration.

It comes after the New York Times reported that Mulvaney acknowledged failing to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee.

Mulvaney, a conservative congressman from South Carolina, made the acknowledgement in a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Budget Committee ahead of his confirmation hearing. He said he paid the money after discovering the issue as part of his confirmation review.

Similar tax problems have sunk previous nominees.

In a statement Schumer said: “If failure to pay taxes was disqualifying for Democratic nominees, then the same should be true for Republican nominees.”

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12:50 p.m.

Sen. Tim Kaine is lecturing President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.N. ambassador on the finer points of the Iran nuclear deal.

Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and the party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, says South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley made several mistakes about the landmark agreement during her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

For example, Kaine says there are restrictions in the international accord that last more than 10 years. And he rejected Haley’s contention that the U.S. gave Iran tens of billions of dollars once the deal was implemented. He says the money belonged to Iran. Kaine says the assets had been frozen until last year when sanctions were lifted as part of the deal.

Kaine is encouraging Haley to read the Iran nuclear agreement.

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12:34 p.m.

A Democratic senator is challenging Donald Trump’s choice for health secretary for his past ownership in tobacco company stock.

The exchange occurred between Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, the would-be health secretary. It was one of the testier moments of Wednesday’s Senate Health committee hearing on Price.

Price is an orthopedic surgeon. Franken asked how he squared his ownership of tobacco stock and his vote against a 2009 bill bolstering tobacco regulations with his doctor’s oath to do no harm.

Price said he assumed the stocks were part of broader mutual funds or pension plans he owned.

Franken then asked if Price knew the country’s leading cause of preventable death. Price deferred, saying “you’ve obviously got it on the page in front of you.”

Franken said the answer is smoking.

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12:14 p.m.

Donald Trump’s choice to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that climate change is real, breaking with both the president-elect and his own past statements.

Pressed by Democrats at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he disagreed with Trump’s past statements that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to harm the economic competitiveness of the United States.

Pruitt has previously cast doubt on the extensive body of scientific evidence showing that the planet is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame. In a 2016 opinion article, Pruitt suggested that the debate over global warming “is far from settled.”

Pruitt’s comments came less than an hour after federal scientists affirmed that 2016 was officially the hottest year in recorded history.

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12:09 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says lawmakers shouldn’t worry too much about Donald Trump’s penchant for incendiary comments.

Haley, the president-elect’s pick to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that what Trump says after he’s sworn and huddles with his national security team will be what matters.

She sidestepped a question from Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, who listed a number of Trump’s more provocative remarks, including calling NATO obsolete and downplaying Moscow’s meddling in America’s 2016 election.

Haley says it is natural for there to be nervousness when a new administration comes into office.

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12:07 p.m.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is echoing President-elect Donald Trump’s tough talk about trade with China.

Ross says “It’s a little weird that we have very low tariffs and China has very high tariffs.”

Ross is appearing before a Senate committee holding a confirmation hearing on his nomination to lead the Commerce Department.

Lawmakers are asking Ross about the barriers facing American companies as they seek to export goods around the world. He says the first thing the U.S. has to do is deal with unfair barriers that other countries impose on U.S. industries

Ross says American ingenuity, management and labor can compete effectively if it’s a fair fight. He says “in a lot of cases, it’s not a fair fight.”

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