Jim Howard

Washington correspondent

Howard covers news from Washington, D.C., of importance to the St. Louis region.  His beat includes following the legislative activities of area lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well as developments from The White House, Supreme Court and numerous federal agencies and departments.  Prior to joining St. Louis Public Radio, he was a longtime newscaster and producer at NPR in Washington.  Howard also has deep roots in the Midwest.  Earlier in his career, he was statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio, where he directed news coverage of state government and politics for a 13-station network.

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March for Life
5:43 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Abortion Debate Could Figure In Future Senate Race In Missouri

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Credit Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly may be taking a break from handling major anti-abortion legislation, but that’s not necessarily true in Washington – and that could have an impact on Missouri’s 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate.

The drama in the U.S. House centered on its decision to drop plans to vote Thursday on an abortion ban after 20 weeks, as thousands of abortion opponents participated in the annual March for Life to mark the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

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Environment
4:15 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

U.S. House Approves Keystone Pipeline; Clay, Cleaver Are Delegation's Only 'No' Votes

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City
Credit St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. House lawmakers approved construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline Friday on a mostly party-line vote of 266 to 153, with 28 Democrats joining 238 Republicans to approve passage.

The vote caps a week of quick moves by the new Republican majority to put its stamp on the 114th Congress. All of the House Republicans from Missouri and Illinois voted for the pipeline, but Missouri’s two Democratic representatives, Lacy Clay of University City and Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, voted against the measure.

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Strictly Politics
11:04 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Blunt Assumes Chairmanship Of Powerful Senate Rules Committee

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Credit St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is the new chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. 

Lawmakers have spent much of this week organizing the new Republican-led 114th Congress. Part of the  ritual requires both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses in each chamber to back resolutions on committee creation. Lawmakers then finalize those resolutions with votes in their respective chambers.

That process began on Wednesday, with Blunt confirmed as committee chairman on Thursday. 

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International Trade
10:59 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Nixon Joins Bipartisan Coalition Looking To Expand Trade To Cuba

Gov. Jay Nixon was in Washington to promote agricultural trade with Cuba.
Credit Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon was Washington Thursday to join with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, business leaders and representatives from more than 30 agricultural trade associations to push for normalized relations and greater trade with Cuba.

The public launch of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition on Cuba comes less than a month after President Barack Obama announced plans to establish normal diplomatic relations with the island country. 

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New Congress
4:19 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

McCaskill Warns GOP Not To 'Overreach' On Keystone, Other Issues

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Credit Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

With Republicans moving quickly to show Americans the GOP can be both productive and bipartisan in leading Congress, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday that if Republicans go too far in amending the Keystone XL pipeline bill, she might be forced to abandon her support for the measure.

While McCaskill differs with President Barack Obama and many in her party in backing the pipeline, she said that she would look closely at amendments Republicans might add to the pipeline bill. 

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U.S. Congress
10:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

New Congress Opens With Display Of Bipartisanship

Assistant Democratic Leader U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was sworn in on Tuesday to his fourth term as a senator by Vice President Joe Biden.
Credit U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's website

Bipartisanship appeared to be in unusually ample supply on the first day of the new Congress.  That’s not to say that Republicans and Democrats agreed on everything as the 114th Congress got underway -- they didn’t. But still there were moments of bipartisan camaraderie not seen on most days in Congress. 

One of the more significant individual displays of bipartisan friendship came in the Senate, where U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., escorted U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill,, for Durbin’s swearing-in ceremony for his fourth Senate term.

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New Congress
10:13 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Mike Bost Has Eventful First Day In Congress

Newly sworn-in U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, with his grandson Spencer Fred.
Credit Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, spent his first day Tuesday as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives with about 70 friends and relatives on hand to watch his swearing-in ceremony. 

Late in the afternoon, well-wishers packed his small office in the Longworth House Office Building across the street from the Capitol building for a congratulatory reception.

Bost has spent weeks getting ready. He's gone through training for new members, hiring staff and finding his way through the tunnels that connect his office to the Capitol.

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Legislative Priorities
1:15 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Area Lawmakers Ready For New 114th Congress

The 114th Congress is ready to introduce a wide vareity of legislative proposals.
Wikipedia

From naming local post offices for fallen service members to changing the president’s signature health-care law, area lawmakers are beginning the 114th Congress ready to introduce a wide array of legislative proposals.

Every session of Congress sees far more bills introduced than could ever be considered, and most legislative proposals last only about as long as it takes a lawmaker to issue a news release announcing the bill’s introduction.

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Environment
8:29 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

GOP-Led Congress Likely To Flex New Muscles With Keystone Pipeline Vote

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Credit St. Louis Public Radio

Eager to assert their policy differences with the president once they have control of both gavels on Capitol Hill come Jan. 6, Republicans say they plan to advance legislation backing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, by TransCanada. 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of the GOP leadership, says the president will likely have a pipeline bill "on his desk in the first three months” of the year.

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Beyond Ferguson
10:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

President Names Packnett, Local Activist And Educator, To Task Force On Policing

Brittany Packnett
Credit File photo

Brittany Packnett says she’s made a career of “listening intently and intensively” to the needs of young people.  The former third-grade teacher, current Ferguson activist and executive director of Teach for America in St. Louis will now put her listening and leadership skills to use as a member of President Barack Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing.

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