Washington (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released the following statement on Wednesday containing a transcript of his remarks about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan made on the Senate floor. Kagan is scheduled to meet with McConnell Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Read the statement after the jump.
Washington (CNN) – With Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary less than a week away, the contest between Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak is now a statistical dead heat, according to separate polls released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University and Franklin and Marshall College.
Specter, who is seeking a sixth term, left the GOP last year in part to increase his re-election prospects. But the former Republican is now facing a stiff primary challenge Sestak, a former Navy admiral who has sought to portray Specter as unreliable vote Democratic vote in the Senate.
Sestak trails Specter by two points among likely Democratic primary voters, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. Forty-four percent say they will vote for Specter, while 42 percent are backing Sestak. Another 14 percent are undecided. Specter's two-point lead is down from a 21-point advantage in a Quinnipiac poll released April 7.
"Sen. Arlen Specter has a history of winning close elections and he'll need that to continue because his once commanding lead is gone. His margin over Sestak is too close to call," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The Franklin and Marshall College survey also indicates the race has narrowed to within the margin of error, with Sestak leading among likely Democratic primary voters by a margin of two percentage points - 38 percent for Sestak to Specter's 36 percent. About one in four likely voters are undecided.
Washington (CNN) – West Virginia Rep. Alan Mollohan lost Tuesday in the Democratic primary, the second congressional incumbent to fall in less than a week.
Mollohan, who was first elected to Congress in 1982, was dogged by ethical questions that opened the door for state Sen. Mike Oliverio to challenge the entrenched Democrat. Unofficial results posted on the West Virginia Secretary of State's website Wednesday morning shows that Oliverio received 33,174 votes to Mollohan's 26,007.
"For more than 25 years, Representative Alan Mollohan has been fighting to preserve West Virginia jobs, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life for the families he represents," Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "We thank him for his tireless service to the people of West Virginia, especially his dedication to strengthening economic development and high-tech and aerospace services.
"This was a tough and spirited primary process and we are confident that this historically Democratic seat will remain Democratic this November," Van Hollen added.
As of early Wednesday, Mollohan had not issued a written statement regarding his loss, but The Charleston Gazette quoted the 14-term Democrat as saying that the anti-incumbent mood in the country helped lead to his defeat.
"It's true there is definitely a wave out there, a national mood and wave," the congressman said to the newspaper.
Washington (CNN) - Executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton are back in the hot seat Wednesday as a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee questions them about the Gulf Coast oil spill.
The three companies have primarily blamed each other for the accident last month that left 11 workers dead and oil still spewing into the Gulf.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Unemployed? Owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth? Your state might one day pay your mortgage.
Giving people free money to cover their home loans is just one of the radical ways that four states - Florida, Michigan, California and Arizona - plan to use $1.4 billion the Obama administration is sending their way to help the unemployed and underwater avoid foreclosure.
Many consumer advocates have said the government should help cover the payments of these troubled homeowners, lest the mortgage crisis continue spinning out of control and dragging down everyone's property values. But other housing experts warn that paying off loans creates a moral hazard and could actually dissuade people from looking for work.
Innovative programs, however, are exactly what the administration was hoping for when it unveiled the Hardest Hit Fund initiative in February. Officials are looking to help the unemployed and underwater, who are now at the heart of the crisis. Despite the administration's best efforts to stabilize the market, home prices are still sliding and foreclosure filings are at record highs.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The federal government unveiled details this week about how people up to age 26 can get covered by their parents' health insurance policies, as part of the health care reform law.
Consumers now have details about how one of the law's most-buzzed about provisions will actually work - and how much it will cost them.
Expanding health coverage to twentysomethings is welcome relief for an age group that accounts for the majority of uninsured Americans.
Roughly 30% of young adults up to age 26 have no health insurance at all. That's three times the rate of uninsured children, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS estimates that about 1.2 million young adults will elect to stay on a parent's health plan in 2011 as a result of the reform.
Here's what you need to know about the new regulations.
(CNNMoney.com) - Want to reward - or bribe - your workers for healthy lifestyle choices? Provisions in the new reform law offer aid, and even some cash, to small businesses that run wellness and prevention programs for their employees.
Starting next year, the law authorizes grants totaling $200 million over five years for small companies that start wellness programs focused on efforts such as nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management. Companies with fewer than 100 employees qualify for the grants, which will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, but only new wellness initiatives - those launched after March 23, 2010, the date the heath reform bill was enacted - are eligible.
The law has another boon for prevention efforts: Beginning in 2014, employers will be able to offer reward payments of up to 30% of the cost of insurance coverage (up from the current 20%) to workers who participate in such programs and meet certain health-related benchmarks.
Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business have opposed the most prominent aspects of President Obama's health care reform, while labor unions and organizations like AARP have been among its biggest cheerleaders. But on the discount provision, the two sides switch teams.
Washington (CNN) - Over a hundred U.S. military veterans gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill to press Congress for quick repeal of the law banning gays from serving in the military.
Gay, lesbian and straight veterans and supporters converged on steps of the U.S. Capitol for a group photograph with Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, who is the main sponsor of a bill that would officially repeal the law, known as "don't ask, don't tell."
Event participants visited their respective congressional representatives to urge them to repeal the law without waiting for the completion of a Pentagon study that is looking at how the change would be implemented.
Eric Alva, a retired Marine with the group Human Rights Campaign, one of the event's organizers, came from San Antonio, Texas, to visit his congressman, Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas.
Washington (CNN) - The Congressional Budget Office has doubled the estimated increases of some costs resulting from the sweeping health care reform legislation passed this year.
A CBO report sent Tuesday to Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said the estimated rise in discretionary spending - which is spending requiring annual congressional authorization - over the first 10 years under the new legislation could exceed
On March 11, exactly two months earlier, the non-partisan CBO reported the estimated increase for discretionary spending could exceed $55 billion.
Washington (CNN) - A new book reveals an unusually personal–and apparently awkward–moment during the first encounter between First Lady Michelle Obama and France's First Lady, Carla Bruni.
The book's author, Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter, writes that Bruni, "delighted in telling friends that she shocked Michelle Obama at their first meeting."
Alter describes the meeting between the first ladies in which Bruni boasted that she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, "once kept another foreign leader waiting while they finished having sex."
"Bruni wanted to know if, like the Sarkozys, Michelle and the president had ever kept anyone waiting that way," Alter writes. "Michelle laughed nervously and said no."
The book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," was obtained by CNN in advance of it's May 18 release.