Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

Articles by Lauren

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Tuesday he is staying in the U.S. Senate despite being considered for Trump's cabinet earlier this month.

In a statement, Manchin said that "right now, I believe that I can best serve my state of West Virginia in the United States Senate."

Manchin announced his decision after reports emerged that Trump plans to nominate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) as secretary of the Department of Energy, the position that Manchin had been considered for.

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A significant change in the way the government-funded Voice of America is run could empower the Trump administration to use the media outlet as it's unofficial propaganda machine, Politico first reported.

The change–which abolished the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent federal agency that oversees VOA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia–was slipped into the 1,404th page of the National Defense Authorization Act mostly unnoticed last week. The bill already passed. It replaces the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors with a single CEO appointed by the President and subject to Senate confirmation.

“Congress unwittingly just gave President-elect Trump unchecked control of all U.S. media outlets,” said Michael Kempner, a Democratic member of the board told Politico. "No president, either Democrat or Republican, should have that kind of control. It's a public jewel. It's independence is what makes it so credible."

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Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told CNN that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has criticized him recently because Manchin is "running for a part in the Trump administration."

"Every one of my caucus members has a right to say whatever they want to say and Manchin, of course, is running for a part in the Trump administration. So maybe that's the way he got the door open," Reid said, when he was asked about Manchin's criticism of a letter he had sent about Trump's election.

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A must-pass spending bill hit a snag Thursday as some Senate Democrats are banding together against the legislation unless a year-long protection for miners health care benefits is included.

How exactly they plan to ensure the miner's get the benefits is still unclear.

The continuing resolution to fund the federal government until the end of April was expected to easily pass the House of Representatives Thursday as members were anxious to skip town and get back home for the holidays, but the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

The hold-up is over health care benefits for retired miners. The benefits help more than 20,000 coal miners and their widows. The current continuing resolution includes just a four-month extension of those benefits, and Democrats want to see more.

According to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Democrats left a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon in agreement that they would stand against any spending bill that did not include an extension of the benefits for at least a year.

"These mine workers are going to be worried going into Christmas that their health care ends on December 31st. We do four more months and they worry again in the first quarter of the year. That's not the way to live. None of us would want to live that way. Nobody wants to live that way," Brown said.

Democrats would not say if they planned to vote against cloture, the procedural vote that requires 60 votes for senators to get onto a bill. If Democrats did vote against cloture it could lead to a government shutdown.

"We haven't made a final decision on that," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters on the question of if Democrats would vote against cloture on the CR.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told the Washington Post, “I want to shut her down. I mean this is ridiculous. We need an extension to the CR until people come to their senses. You can’t throw 16,000 people out.”

Democrats also want to see a stronger "buy America" provision that requires that the U.S. government only funds projects that use American-made steel. The provision had been included, but was scrapped by House Republican leaders despite the fact that it's been a popular refrain from President-elect Donald Trump.

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When Harry Reid was growing up, he got a job working at a service station. He wanted to buy his mom teeth.

She'd been hit with a softball in the face as a young woman, and her oral health hadn't been the same for decades. He saved up his money and called it one of his life's greatest accomplishments.

On the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday it was one of dozens of stories Harry Reid—the onetime majority leader and now minority leader—shared as he said goodbye to an institution he's irrevocably helped shape over the last three decades.

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