Midday Newsmaker: Senator Chris Van Hollen (D, Md)
Tom's guest today is Senator Chris Van Hollen. The Democratic junior senator from Maryland, who was first elected to the US Senate in 2016 after representing Maryland's 8th District in the House since 2003, is leading a bipartisan effort to thwart continuing efforts by Russia and others to influence American elections. Over the weekend, one of Mr. Van Hollen’s Senate colleagues from Louisiana, Sen. John Kennedy, repeated a claim that Ukraine, a strategic partner and putative U.S. ally, had acted to interfere in the 2016 election. That claim has been dismissed as Russian disinformation by the US intelligence community and by a host of others, but it is repeatedly advanced by Republicans in both the House and Senate.
And with an impeachment inquiry into President Trump hovering over the legislature like a dark cloud, what of the other business that the Senate could be acting on? Issues like gun safety, the federal minimum wage, prescription drug prices, immigration, and locally, legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay: all appear to be on hold while the impeachment drama plays out.
Senator Van Hollen serves on the all-important Appropriations Committee, as well as the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Budget Committee.