Lautenberg renews call for ban on flavored cigars

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) reiterated his call for a ban on flavored cigars, which he said are used by the tobacco industry as a way to lure children into smoking.

Lautenberg released a statement calling for a ban on Thursday, the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report that said cigar smoking is popular among high school students. The report said 11.7 percent of black high school students smoked cigars in 2011, up from 7.1 percent in 2009, and that large-cigar use jumped 233 percent from 2000 to 2011.


Gillibrand calls on senators to fight House language blocking new lightbulb standards

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called on Senate Democrats to reject language in a 2013 House spending bill that would prevent the Department of Energy from enforcing a 2007 law that sets federal efficiency standards for lightbulbs.

"I vigorously oppose this House provision because it would cost jobs, hurt investment, and prevent consumer savings in in New York and across the country and I urge you to ensure it is not included in any upcoming appropriations agreement," Gillibrand wrote to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Energy and Water Development subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).


Mack: Sen. Nelson 'wants to talk about Hooters'

Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) released a new campaign ad on Thursday blasting Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for running an ad against Mack that highlights Mack's past work for a management company that owned several Hooters restaurants in Florida. Mack is trying to win Nelson's Senate seat this year.

Mack's ad, titled "What Matters," says he wants to talk about issues that matter to Americans, while Nelson "wants to talk about Hooters and what I did as a kid."


Sen. Conrad leads congressional meetings with debt-crisis countries in Europe

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is leading a congressional delegation in a five-country tour of Europe this week to assess the European debt crisis.

Conrad's group was in Spain on Wednesday, to meet with the Bank of Spain and various businesspeople, and was scheduled to travel to Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal before leaving Europe on Friday. Each of those countries has struggled with sovereign debt, which has led to a rolling crisis every year for the past several years as these countries struggle to restructure their debt.


New Jersey delegation calls for gun control after Colorado, Wisconsin shootings

Members of New Jersey's delegation to Congress resumed their call for tougher gun control laws on Tuesday, in statements that were a reaction to shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.

As they have in the past, members called for laws that limit access to excessive amounts of ammunition.

"Now is the time to put common-sense solutions in place and stop the killing," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said Tuesday. "We owe our communities sensible reforms so murderers and terrorists can't create stockpiles of high-capacity magazines and ammunition without raising red flags."


Senate GOP says Obama administration violating law on admissibility of immigrants

Senate Republicans warned the Obama administration on Monday that it appears to be violating U.S. law on the admissibility of immigrants by failing to assess how likely these individuals will require government assistance such as food stamps.

Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said they recently became aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging enrollment of Mexican citizens in USDA's welfare programs.