Government

Government and Legislature

AP

The approval of controversial nominee Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education took a historical twist Tuesday.

Vice President Mike Pence – barely over two weeks into his term – cast a tie-breaking vote in his Constitutional role as President of the U.S. Senate.

That was the 246th time that a vice president had to resolve a Senate deadlock, but it was the only time such a vote was cast to decide a cabinet appointment.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order suspending new-refugee admissions for 120 days and blocking travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — for 90 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.

A Northern Illinois University professor was one of the hundreds of demonstrators at O’Hare International Airport last weekend. The protests were against President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions against people from majority-Muslim countries.

NIU education professor Joseph Flynn says he saw many walks of life take part in the O’Hare Airport demonstrations – including several different races and creeds and members of the LGBTQ community.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Top leaders in the Illinois Senate continue to negotiate on a "grand bargain" to end the state's budget standoff.

They left the Capitol on an 11-day break Thursday without voting on the proposals.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, is negotiating with his Republican counterpart.

He told his colleagues: When the session resumes next month, come back ready to vote.

"The problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they're going to get more difficult every day,” Cullerton said.

"United States Capitol" by Flickr User Cliff / (CC X 2.0)

GOP leaders in the House and Senate say torturing suspected terrorists is illegal, and that stand distances them from President Donald Trump's endorsement of the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques.

The U.S. has a legal ban on torture.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky tells reporters that virtually all GOP senators ``are comfortable with the state of the law on that issue.''

And House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says: ``Torture's not legal. And we agree with it not being legal.''

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