Ocasio-Cortez takes time off for ‘self-help,’ laments loss of yoga sessions due to politics

Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t yet started her new job, but she’s already taking a break. The Democratic Socialist said Monday that she’s taking time a week off for “self-care” after feeling burned out and lamented that her political activity changed her lifestyle. “I am starting a week of self-care where I am taking the week off … Continue reading “Ocasio-Cortez takes time off for ‘self-help,’ laments loss of yoga sessions due to politics”

Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t yet started her new job, but she’s already taking a break.

The Democratic Socialist said Monday that she’s taking time a week off for “self-care” after feeling burned out and lamented that her political activity changed her lifestyle.

“I am starting a week of self-care where I am taking the week off and taking care of me. I don't know how to do that though, so I would appreciate any and all self-care tips,” she said in an Instagram video.

“For working people, immigrants, & the poor, self-care is political — not because we want it to be, but bc of the inevitable shaming of someone doing a face mask while financially stressed. So I’ve decided to take others along with me on IG as I learn what self-care even means and why it’s important,” she added on Twitter.

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Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated powerful New York Democrat Joe Crowley earlier this year during the primary election and easily cruised to victory in general election as she had no real opposition, went on to say that since her entry into politics and activism, she had to give up her more comfortable lifestyle.

“Before the campaign, I used to practice yoga 3-4x/week, eat nutritiously, read and write for leisure,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram. “As soon as everything kicked up, that all went out the window. I went from doing yoga and making wild rice and salmon dinners to eating fast food for dinner and falling asleep in my jeans and makeup.”

"Before the campaign, I used to practice yoga 3-4x/week, eat nutritiously, read and write for leisure. As soon as everything kicked up, that all went out the window. I went from doing yoga and making wild rice and salmon dinners to eating fast food for dinner and falling asleep in my jeans and makeup."

— Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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“I keep things raw and honest on here since I believe public servants do a disservice to our communities by pretending to be perfect,” she added. “It makes things harder for others who aspire to run someday if they think they have to be superhuman before they even try.”

The New York Democrat revealed that she decided to spend “a few days in the middle of nowhere” in upstate New York.

Ocasio-Cortez, together with other newly-elected lawmakers, will start her term on Jan. 3.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Inside Nancy Pelosi’s battle for House Speaker: What to know about the vote and position

When Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, she became the first woman to ever serve in that role. And with Democrats regaining the majority in Congress after the midterm elections, she's one step closer to getting her old job back.

House Democrats officially nominated Pelosi, 78, to lead them in the new Congress on Nov. 28. She ran unopposed as the nominee despite unrest from those in her party clamoring for new leadership.

Pelosi’s supporters argued her leadership and acumen as a skilled strategist and tireless fundraiser is needed to combat Republicans and President Trump. But her detractors said it’s time for a change and a new generation of guidance.

It wouldn’t be unusual for Pelosi to take back the role – plenty of past Speakers served in the position at various nonconsecutive points in their political careers.

Here’s a look at what Pelosi needs to do to secure the job – and the opposition that has already mounted against her.

What is the role?

The Speaker is in charge of three types of duties – institutional, representative and party leader – according to the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House.

Institutional: The Speaker acts as the presiding officer and administration head of the House.Representative: The Speaker acts as an elected member of the House.Party Leader: The Speaker acts as the leader of the majority party in the House.

The Speaker is tasked with nominating chairs and members for the Rules Committee and House Administration Committee. He or she also appoints speakers pro tempore and members for joint House and Senate conference committees.

The Speaker will also act as a liaison to the president and the Senate.

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Additionally, the House Speaker is in line after the vice president to succeed the president if necessary.

Didn’t she do this before?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was the first woman to serve as House Speaker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

She did – and was the first woman to hold the position when she was elected in 2007.

Pelosi has served in Congress since 1987. She was the Speaker from 2007 to 2011. Currently, Pelosi is the House Minority Leader, a position she’s held since 2011.

How many votes does she need?

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution gives Congress the ability to select their own Speaker. It does not, however, mandate that the Speaker has to be a member of Congress – although historically that has been the case.

When the new Congress convenes in January – with Democrats in the majority – members will hold a vote on the next Speaker. Each party will be able to nominate a candidate, and lawmakers will cast their votes by a roll call vote, the Office of the Clerk explains.

To get the gavel, Pelosi needs to win an “absolute majority” of votes cast on the House floor. She was officially nominated for the role by House Democrats on Nov. 28.

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If just 17 Democrats vote against Pelosi on the floor, she would not have the votes – at least from her party – to secure the leadership post.

The roll call vote is repeated until someone receives a majority.

The longest election for Speaker lasted two months and took 133 ballots in 1856, according to the U.S. House archives. Then, Rep. Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts emerged victoriously.

Who’s opposing her?

Multiple Democrats have already said they do not support Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker, including 16 who signed onto a letter calling for a leadership change. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Pelosi faced opposition from several in her own party in her bid for Speaker. Ahead of her nomination, 16 House Democrats circulated a letter calling for “new leadership” and promising to vote against her, although a couple lawmakers have seemingly walked back that pledge.

Among those who signed onto the letter were Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Linda Sanchez of California. Multiple incoming lawmakers, including Reps.-elect Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Ben McAdams of Utah, also signed the letter.

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But in December, Pelosi struck a deal with Democrats and agreed to serve no more than four years as leader – virtually ensuring she will be elected to the Speaker role when the new Congress convenes next month.

Has Trump weighed in?

Trump has tweeted multiple times his supposed support for Pelosi for Speaker.

“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats. If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes,” Trump said on Nov. 7. “She has earned this great honor!”

“I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it – but there are those in her party who are trying to take it away. She will win!” Trump said again on Nov. 17.

The president also told reporters: “I like her. Can you believe it? She’s tough and she’s smart, but she deserves to be Speaker.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

CIA’s Haspel briefs House leaders on Khashoggi killing as Senate prepares to vote on Saudi rebuke

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed House leaders on Wednesday about the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, as the Senate prepares for a possible vote on two measures that would admonish Saudi Arabia for its role in the slaying.

The closed-door meeting, which was attended by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi among others, comes a day before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are to brief the full House on the killing.

Pompeo and Mattis briefed the Senate last month and told senators there was "no direct reporting" and "no smoking gun" to connect Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to Khashoggi's death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. But a smaller group of senators leaving a separate briefing with Haspel days later said there was "zero chance" the crown prince wasn't involved.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday on a resolution calling on the U.S. to pull assistance from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a measure that gained momentum after Khashoggi's death. While a handful of Republicans support the resolution, which was sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Lee and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, McConnell and most other Republicans oppose it.

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"I think every single member of this body shares grave concerns about the murder of Khashoggi and wants accountability," McConnell said. "We also want to preserve a 70-year partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and we want to ensure it continues to serve American interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region."

Human rights groups say the war in Yemen is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing. Sanders tweeted that "we must finally end US involvement in this humanitarian and strategic disaster."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, is preparing a separate resolution condemning the activist's killing. McConnell urged senators to vote for Corker's measure, which he said "does a good job capturing bipartisan concerns about both the war in Yemen and the behavior of our Saudi partners more broadly." Corker has not released the full text of that resolution.

Senators have been enraged over Khashoggi's killing in October and over President Trump's equivocating on who is to blame. Pressed on a response to Saudi Arabia, the president has said the United States "intends to remain a steadfast partner" of the country, touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the U.S. and thanked the country for plunging oil prices.

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Pompeo on Wednesday was questioned by the hosts of “Fox & Friends” on the killing but would not answer directly regarding the culpability of the Saudi crown prince.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia decides who is running the country,” Pompeo said. “I think this is what the president said yesterday. We are working closely with the kingdom to make sure that America is protected. That’s our interest there."

Pompeo called into question reporting about the CIA’s “high confidence" about the Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi's murder. Pompeo previously led the CIA.

“Some of the reporting that you have seen on that has been inaccurate,” Pompeo said.

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Khashoggi, who had lived in the U.S. and wrote for The Washington Post, had been critical of the Saudi regime. He was killed in what U.S. officials have described as an elaborate plot as he visited a consulate in Istanbul for marriage paperwork.

Saudi prosecutors have said a 15-man team sent to Istanbul killed Khashoggi with tranquilizers and then dismembered his body, which has not been found. Those findings came after Saudi authorities spent days denying Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Deal struck on Capitol Hill sexual-harassment reform legislation

Congress reached an agreement Wednesday over a new sexual harassment policy aimed at holding lawmakers personally responsible for harassment and retaliation.

The bipartisan agreement markss the largest overhaul of the sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill since 1995.

A joint statement from Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and ranking member Robert Brady, D-Pa., along with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., confirmed a bipartisan agreement was reached. "We believe this is a strong step towards creating a new standard in Congress that will set a positive example in our nation, but there is still more work to be done," their statement read.

The new rules would hold members of the Senate and House personally liable, requiring them to pay for awards and settlements stemming from acts of harassment and related retaliation they personally commit. This also applies

The deal has bolstered reporting efforts of such incidents, making it easier to make claims. Also, anyone making a claim is granted access to counsel.

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Other measures in the agreement require mandatory training for all lawmakers and staff, the creation of the Office of Employee Advocacy and setting minimum requirements for each office with respect to anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.

“This bipartisan, bicameral agreement sends a clear message that harassment in any form will not be tolerated by the Congress,” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R- Mo., said in a statement. "The reforms in this agreement will, most importantly, strengthen protections for victims and hold Members of Congress personally accountable for their misconduct."

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Sources told Fox News that lawmakers are trying to get an agreement in the Senate Wednesday night, in which case the House would likely approve the measure Thursday.

The policy change comes as some members of Congress were forced to resign last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.

David Bossie: An unhinged pack of liberal Democrats wants to impeach Trump. Republicans must fight back

An unhinged pack of liberal Democrats is poised to take over the House of Representatives in less than 30 days, and its members have made relentless investigations of President Trump their top priority.

Democratic House members are now lobbying to get seats on the Judiciary Committee because they’ve apparently already decided to try to impeach President Trump before sending one document request to the White House. If you think the last two years on Capitol Hill have been a hyper-partisan mess, you best buckle up.

After eight long years in the political wilderness, these House Democrats are about to take things straight into the gutter. They have no choice; their radical base wants impeachment at any cost, as do some of their biggest donors.

The last time impeachment was being discussed so frequently in Washington was back in 1998, when I served as the chief investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. This committee will be chaired by Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., starting in January.

During my time working for the committee, we were charged with the task of investigating President Bill Clinton and his administration for the Republican majority headed by Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

And investigate we did.

The chairman of the committee back then was Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and he was determined to get to the bottom of some of the most egregious Clinton scandals of the day. These included investigating whether China tried to influence the 1996 presidential election by funneling illegal campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

The top Democrat on the committee was Rep. Henry Waxman of California. Twenty years later I can say that he and his tough professional staff were the best of the best in their passionate defense of the Clinton White House. I called them a pack of killers.

Incoming Republican ranking members Doug Collins of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Devin Nunes of California should all study the way former Rep. Waxman’s minority committee members ran their operation in 1997 and 1998, because two decades later the rules are the same.

The first rule the Republicans should follow is to go out and hire seasoned staff with lots of legal and communications experience. The ranking Republican members of the House Judiciary, Oversight, and Intelligence Committees are the top defenders of President Trump on Capitol Hill and they must now find their own pack of killers.

They should not believe for one minute that their current legislative staff will suffice, because in a matter of months they’re going to be engaged in hand-to-hand combat, the likes of which they’ve never seen.

Let’s not be naïve; incoming Democratic committee chairmen Jerrold Nadler of New York, Adam Schiff of California, and the aforementioned Elijah Cummings are coming to take down a presidency by any means necessary.

The second rule is to keep the scope of any inquiry limited to avenues of legitimate congressional oversight, which in this case are activities of the Trump administration since Donald Trump became president on January 20, 2017.

In our system of checks and balances, the legislative branch is charged with acting as a check on the executive branch. However, that does not mean investigating a president’s personal life, business dealings and tax returns from years and years ago.

The third rule is never give an inch, because the majority will always take a mile. This means, in addition to limiting the scope of any inquiry, these Republicans must question the need for every hearing, contest the reason for every subpoena, and stick to the message. The message is that Democrats are not interested in legitimate fact-finding, because they’ve already decided on the outcome: impeachment.

Next year will mark the fourth since “Partisan Peter” Strzok of the FBI and his colleagues began their disgraceful witch hunt of President Trump’s campaign in July 2016. The American people already have investigation fatigue and are sick and tired of their government wasting tens of millions in taxpayer dollars on the never-ending anti-Trump political hit job.

What the American people really want is for the Democratic House, the Republican Senate and President Trump’s White House to work together to solve difficult problems through innovative policies.

Unfortunately, the incoming Democratic majority in the House is being held hostage by the crazed resistance movement its left-wing donors. Let’s see how badly they squander their two years in power.

David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United, a Fox News contributor and the former deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump for President. He is the author of “Let Trump Be Trump”  and co-author of “Trump’s Enemies.”

Leslie Marshall: Democrats will soon run the House – Here are 3 things they SHOULDN’T do (and 4 they should)

Democrats have reclaimed their majority in the House of Representatives, having gained 40 seats in the November midterm elections. That gain brings the House Democrats’ total number of seats to 235. Republicans will have 199. So, what should House Democrats do with that majority come January?

First, I will tell you what they SHOULDN’T do.

1. Impeach President Donald Trump

Although 77 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of all voters want President Trump to be impeached, the Democrats should steer clear of this. Instead, they should focus on how to beat him in the 2020 election. If impeached, the president would not be removed from office because Democrats do not have the two-thirds majority needed to remove him. It would be a political disaster as Republicans learned in 1998 when they impeached President Bill Clinton. After Clinton’s impeachment, the GOP lost five House seats and rather than Bill Clinton resigning, it was House Speaker Newt Gingrich who did.

2. Investigate Ivanka’s emails

It would be beyond hypocritical for Democrats to waste taxpayer time and money slapping Ivanka Trump on the wrist for using her personal email account while in the White House. Investigation after investigation, committee after committee, found that Hillary Clinton was foolish to use her private email account while Secretary of State, but a criminal case was never pursued. The same conclusion would bear out with Ivanka and the Democrats shouldn’t touch this.

3. Abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Talking about abolishing ICE may have gotten some far-left self-proclaimed socialists elected in November, but this idea doesn’t have mass appeal. The voters want and the nation needs comprehensive immigration reform – not an abolishment of one of its federal agencies.

So, now that you know what the Democrats shouldn’t do, what issues SHOULD they tackle?

1. Reform Health Care

First and foremost, Democrats must reform health care. Exit polls show that was the top priority for most voters on both sides of the political aisle. The new majority knows it must stop any further efforts by Republicans and the Trump administration to roll back and undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Voters want their pre-existing conditions covered and the ACA does that.

But Democrats also must attempt to fix the ACA’s problems by offering a bill to stabilize the ObamaCare insurance markets. And they must prevent any attempt to overhaul Medicaid and Medicare.

Furthermore, if Democrats tackle drug pricing, it would offer them an opportunity to work on a bipartisan level with Senate Republicans and the Trump administration. That could score them points going forward to 2020, since voters are tired of the gridlock and a do-nothing Congress.

2. Tackle Immigration Reform

The voters want, and the United States needs, comprehensive immigration reform. Voters seemed to reject the president’s threat to deport 800,000 young immigrants, the separation of children from their parents, and Trump’s border wall. But what exit polls also showed is that about half of the voters actually like the president’s tough stance on immigration. That is where Democrats again could reach across the aisle and work in a bipartisan manner.

Democrats and Republicans agree that we need to secure our southern border. That can be done by putting more money into the hiring of border patrol agents and using more state of the art protection devices (such as a cyber wall, which can detect attempts at tunneling underground which a wall cannot address).

Democrats should also permanently protect the DREAMers – the young immigrants who were brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own. And they should provide a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this nation and a part of our economy.

3. Work on Gun Control

Democrats in the House have already pledged to use their new majority to pass gun control legislation. They must offer a bill that would expand background checks on gun purchases. Even if this gets blocked in the Senate, passing any type of gun control legislation in the lower chamber would be a win for the Democrats and reflect poorly on the GOP. According to the polls, an overwhelming majority of Americans support expanded background checks on gun sales. They also favor laws to prevent people with mental illness from being able to purchase guns.

4. Pass the Equal Rights Amendment

After the midterm elections last month, exit polls showed that the treatment of women was an issue to voters. Democrats would win points among women by finally passing an equal rights amendment. The Constitution’s insertion of “male” in the second section of the 14th amendment (“…the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State”) is archaic.

Every constitution worldwide since 1950 has guaranteed that men and women are treated as equal citizens. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated: “Just like freedom of speech [and] freedom of the press, a fundamental tenet of our society should be the equal citizenship stature of men and women, and that’s what the Equal Rights Amendment would do.”

Democrats need to listen to the voices of the voters and get to work putting forth legislation that will address their needs.

Leslie Marshall joined Fox News Channel as a contributor in 2009; providing analysis on both political and social issues from a liberal point of view. A nationally syndicated talk host, whose program, “The Leslie Marshall Show” can be heard on radio, stream, “Tune In,” “The Progressive Voices Radio Network,” and “The Armed Forces Radio Network.”

California Dem Ted Lieu say he would ‘love to regulate’ speech, bemoans US Constitution that prohibits him

California Democrat Ted Lieu bemoaned on Wednesday that though he would “love to be able to regulate the content of speech,” including that on Fox News, he can’t do it because of the U.S. Constitution.

Lieu made the comments during an interview about the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, where he dismissed the allegations that the tech giant amplifies negative stories about Republican lawmakers, saying “if you want positive search results, do positive things."

CNN host Brianna Keilar praised Lieu for his performance but asked whether other Democrats should have used the committee to press Google on conspiracy theories that spread on their platforms.

“It's a very good point you make. I would love if I could have more than five minutes to question witnesses. Unfortunately, I don't get that opportunity,” Lieu said of the committee hearings.

“However, I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that's simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it's better the government does not regulate the content of speech,” he continued.

"I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that’s simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it’s better the government does not regulate the content of speech."

— California Democrat Ted Lieu

Lieu added that private companies should self-regulate their platforms and said the government shouldn’t interfere.

After his remarks aired, Lieu came under fire on social media, prompting him to go on a Twitter spree to clarify his views, including that he would like to regulate Fox News.

One Twitter user had accused him of being “a poster child for the tyranny.”

Lieu insisted that he’s actually defending the First Amendment rather than showing his desire to regulate speech.

“My whole point is that government officials always want to regulate speech, see e.g. the Republican Judiciary hearing alleging Google is biased against Republicans,” he wrote in another tweet. “But thank goodness the First Amendment prevents me, @POTUS and Republicans from doing so.”

“I agree there are serious issues, but the speech issues are protected by the First Amendment,” the Democrat added. “Would I like to regulate Fox News? Yes, but I can't because the First Amendment stops me. And that's ultimately a good thing in the long run.”

Lieu has become somewhat a foe of President Trump following his election, often taking to social media to throw jabs at the president.

He’s among the Democrats who’s been flirting with the idea of impeaching Trump over the perceived collusion between Russia and the campaign. He also tried to kick-start earlier this year the impeachment process of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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Lieu also raised eyebrows in summer after playing on House floor an audio recording of the crying migrant children separated from their families as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy.”

Last year, Lieu was slammed for walking out of a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting at a Texas church.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Bipartisan support grows on the Hill for reform of burn pit vet support system

Congressional members from both sides of the aisle came together on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to fast-track a benefits package that would provide assistance to veterans who became ill after their exposure to burn pits.

Reps. Brian Mast, R-Fl,  and Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hi, joined advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) at the Capitol Triangle, where they made the case for pushing forward help for the tens of thousands of veterans who have become gravely ill due to contact with the crude method of waste disposal used during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“Too many of our post 9/11 veterans, after facing prolonged exposure to toxic burn pits, are suffering from debilitating and deadly illnesses,” Gabbard said during the press conference near the Capitol Building. “This is still not being addressed, even after how we have seen our Vietnam veterans suffered from Agent Orange exposure.”

“The result of our government failing to acknowledge and address their illnesses. .. We can’t allow another generation of veterans to suffer in the same way and be cast aside.”

Gabbard also said that they are pushing for approval of the Burn Pits Accountability Act, which would ensure the evaluation of the exposure of U.S. service members to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals. Her efforts championing this cause have led to bi-partisan support by 147 co-sponsors on the Hill and 25 military and veteran organizations.

Mast, who is one of the co-sponsors, also expressed the need for the bill to go forward.

“The bottom line is this,” he said. “All of our veterans are reliable. That’s one of the easiest things we can say about anyone that puts the uniform on. When we call upon them, they are there…but that’s not the reliability they see out of our governmental affairs.”

The recent headaches with delayed GI bill payments were also mentioned at Wednesday’s press conference. Both Gabbard and Mast said that the issue, which left hundreds of vets with delayed or incorrect payments due to the VA’s aging computer systems, needed to be addressed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie immediately, charging it has hindered the financial security of those veterans who were affected by the snafu.

"The VA's response around the late and incorrect GI Bill payments has been slow, insufficient, and incomplete,” Melissa Bryant, Chief Policy Officer for IAVA, said in a statement.

Perry Chiaramonte is a producer with Fox News Channel’s Investigative Unit. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych

Trump critic Tulsi Gabbard is latest Dem to be ‘seriously considering’ 2020 run: reports

The list of Democrats eyeing the White House may be getting longer: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is said to be "seriously considering" a 2020 presidential bid, according to reports.

Gabbard, the first Hindu-American elected to Congress, paid a visit to New Hampshire last week, a state that has held the nation's first presidential primary every four years, the Hawaii Civil Beat reported.

“As I have throughout my life in making the different decisions that I’ve made, I am thinking about how I can best be of service to the people of this country,” Gabbard said, according to the paper.

Gabbard, who was recently re-elected to a fourth term representing the Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, said she did not have any timetable for deciding on a White House bid, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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She was a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East.

Gabbard, 37, strongly supports the House of Representatives' "Medicare for all" bill and getting big money out of politics, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Last month, Gabbard made headlines for referring to President Trump as "Saudi Arabia's b—-," after the president argued for the importance of a strong U.S-Saudi relationship amid calls for him to take a tougher stance on the kingdom in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

But Gabbard has herself faced criticism for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 in Damascus.

Gabbard also faced criticism during her re-election campaign for shying away from debating her primary opponent, continuing a pattern that has developed since she was first elected to Congress.

Ironically, Gabbard resigned from her position with the Democratic National Committee in 2016 because she believed the party hadn't scheduled enough debates among its presidential candidates that year.

Also said to be considering a 2020 presidential run is Texas Democrat Julian Castro, former President Obama's housing chief.

Castro, 44, launched a 2020 presidential exploratory committee this week.

“Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait. We’re going to work,” Castro, 44, said in a video. “That’s why I’m exploring a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.”

An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

The former San Antonio mayor said his official decision will be announced on Jan. 12. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also potential presidential candidates.

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Another well-funded set, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Bloomberg and Steyer, believe they can afford to wait slightly longer to announce their intentions given their fundraising prowess.

Previously mulling a 2020 presidential bid was firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti, politically famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels.

He announced early this month that he will not run for the White House in 2020, citing family concerns for his decision.

“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020. I do not make this decision lightly—I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also bowed out of the 2020 presidential contest last week, citing the "cruelty of our elections process" and the effect it would have on his loved ones.

"After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I've decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me," Patrick, 62, posted on his Facebook page.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Nate Silver blasted for claiming Ocasio-Cortez criticism rooted in sexism, racism

FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver took heat Tuesday night for a tweet claiming Republicans are so critical of incoming Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because of her “race and gender.”

Ever since she scored a major upset in her New York congressional primary, Ocasio-Cortez has become a household name. But conservative pundits and GOP lawmakers have heavily scrutinized her tweets and public statements over various inaccuracies.

Silver argued that the animosity toward the self-described Democratic Socialist is based in bigotry.

Responding to another tweet about how Republicans were more fixated on the 28-year-old congresswoman-elect than the Oval Office showdown between President Trump and top congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, Silver said:

“There are lots of reasons Ocasio-Cortez drives certain Republicans crazy, foremost among them her race and gender. But it's also that she's quintessentially a New Yorker and DC political culture is formal and prudish when NYC mostly isn't those things.”

That sparked a fiery reaction.

Silver eventually offered up this clarification:

“Put differently, New Yorkers are very good at trolling, and Washington has extreme troll-vulnerability. It's always made for a mismatch but more pronounced now that we're in the Golden Age of Trolling. We may need to move the capital back to Philly to keep it a fair fight.”