Pelosi to announce her decision today
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says she'll announce today whether she'll continue in her current position or step down after her party failed to gain the 25 seats it needed to win the House majority. When a few undecided races are called, Democrats will gain less than half of that number. But Pelosi, who raised millions of dollars to put Democrats back in power, has refused to say whether she'll relinquish or keep her leadership post, serve out the two-year term to which she was just elected, or retire.
Ryan: Losing election 'a bit of a shock'
The polling and other data and all the smart people watching the election gave Rep. Paul Ryan an optimistic view on the night of last week's election. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost, his running mate felt "a bit of a shock." "Going into Boston that day, we felt like we had a pretty darn good chance of winning," Ryan told ABC News in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when we didn't win, but that's just the way these things go." Ryan said President Barack Obama deserves to be congratulated for having "a fantastic ground game." "He won fair and square," Ryan said of Obama. "He got more votes, and that's the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that." Had he been at the top of the ticket, Ryan said, he would have run exactly the kind of campaign that Romney oversaw. Ryan said he and Romney "felt very good about the race we ran."
Jackson no longer a Mayo Clinic patient
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday, clinic spokesman Nick Hanson said. "He is no longer a patient here," Hanson said. "I don't know where he is." The Illinois Democrat, who is reportedly under federal investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds, has been on a leave of absence from Congress since June. He won re-election a week ago, issuing a statement of thanks from Mayo. Jackson suffers from bipolar disorder. He re-entered Mayo in October after spending weeks there last summer. He initially was treated at Sierra Tucson in Arizona after beginning his leave of absence.
Leaders introduce newest lawmakers
House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell surrounded themselves with the triumphant faces of newly elected lawmakers Tuesday. But the glow of victory couldn't hide the leaders' own Election Day failures. Pelosi, the onetime House speaker and the first woman to hold the office, touted the diversity of her caucus, even though her quest to flip 25 seats and gain control of the House failed by two-thirds. McConnell declared his caucus was "ready to get started"— as a minority yet again and under a president whose defeat he had named as his top priority. "The election's behind us," McConnell emphasized with a tight smile. What lay ahead looked to be a bitter end to a presidential and congressional election year that consumed $6 billion in campaign cash, bombarded voters with political ads and changed nothing about who holds the presidency or which parties control Congress. Voters dashed the hopes of out-of-power veterans like Pelosi and McConnell while electing a dozen new senators and at least 82 new House members.
King expects to make caucus choice today
Independent Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine says he probably won't keep people guessing long about which party he will align himself with. The former governor said he's trying to make a decision on which party to caucus with in time for the leadership votes both parties will hold today. It's widely assumed he will caucus with Democrats, especially after GOP and conservative super PACs spent millions of dollars to attack him during the campaign. King is in orientation sessions for freshman lawmakers and has talked to both Democrats and Republicans. King will replace retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, a prominent GOP centrist.
Senate approves whistle-blower bill
The Senate has given final congressional approval to a bill that would significantly expand protections for federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse and make it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the whistle-blowers. The whistle-blower protection measure was sent to the president Tuesday by a voice vote. The legislation closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct. The new legislation, however, would go beyond restoring protections, to expand whistle-blower rights and clarify protections that were not explicitly clear. For instance, the bill would clarify that whistle-blowers could challenge the consequences of government policy decisions.