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November 30, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has returned to his Washington office two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19, his team announced Monday.

While Grassley wasn't the first lawmaker to contract the virus, many people were concerned about the diagnosis because the senator is 87. It turned out, however, that he remained asymptomatic throughout the course of his infection and was able to keep working remotely.

Still, Grassley didn't let his fortunate situation reshape his stance on the severity of the pandemic. In a statement, he noted that the disease "affects people differently" and "more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized." So, Grassley said, he'll "continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing."

He also repeated his previous calls for Congress to pass a "long overdue," bipartisan relief bill to "help families, businesses, and communities get through this crisis." Tim O'Donnell

February 22, 2019

Jussie Smollett returned to work the day of his arrest and reportedly told Empire's cast and crew he's innocent.

Chicago police on Thursday arrested Smollett after a grand jury charged him with one count of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. Authorities said in a press conference that Smollett had staged an attack against himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary on Empire.

Empire is currently in the middle of production on the end of its fifth season. Smollett returned to work Thursday after paying a $10,000 bond, and according to CNN, he apologized to the cast and crew in a meeting. But he continued to maintain his innocence, which left one source in attendance "shocked and dismayed," CNN writes.

Fox said prior to Smollett's arrest that he is not being written off Empire after reports his scenes were being scaled back. But the network said Thursday, "We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options."

Smollett has not commented publicly since being charged, but his lawyers said in a statement Thursday that he "fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing." Chicago police say they have evidence that Smollett orchestrated the supposed hate crime, including a check written to the men he said attacked him. Brendan Morrow

November 7, 2017

The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday that the Trump administration would allow states to impose work requirements on non-disabled Medicaid enrollees, The Washington Post reports. In a speech to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, CMS administrator Seema Verma told the audience that "the thought that a program that was designed for our most vulnerable citizens should be used as a vehicle to serve working age, able-bodied adults does not make sense."

Verma blamed the Obama administration for fighting "state-led reforms that would've allowed the Medicaid program to evolve": Under former President Barack Obama, the qualifications for Medicaid coverage expanded to 138 percent of the federal poverty level for non-disabled individuals. States were also allowed to seek a federal waiver from work participation requirements for healthy enrollees.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act argue that the Medicaid expansion and work requirement waivers put disabled individuals at a disadvantage because they encouraged able-bodied adults to enroll for Medicaid. Eight states — New Hampshire being the most recent — have submitted requests to the CMS to reimpose work or community service requirements for healthy Medicaid enrollees. A CMS official told Kaiser Health News that these decisions would likely be ruled on by the end of the year. Kelly O'Meara Morales

September 5, 2017

Congress ends its five-week August break on Tuesday, returning to Washington with a full agenda for September, including raising the debt ceiling, funding the federal government, and reauthorizing programs like children's health insurance payments and a national flood insurance program. But first, lawmakers will vote on immediate aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. The House will vote on President Trump's initial $7.9 billion request first, then the Senate will vote, possibly tacking on raising the federal borrowing limit. House GOP conservatives object to linking the two pieces of legislation.

Congress may also start grappling with Trump's expected decision to end the DACA immigration program for immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children. Trump is reportedly planning to leave a six-month window for Congress to act if lawmakers wants to keep the DREAMers from losing their jobs or being deported. Peter Weber

June 2, 2017

Only 20 per­cent of U.S. companies allow staff to clock out early for "Summer Fridays," down from 63 per­cent in 2012, according to a survey of hundreds of firms. Sixty-two percent offer more flexible schedules in the summertime, down from 75 per­cent five years ago. And less than one-third of companies allow a more casual dress code during the summer — down from more than half in 2012.

But this lessened freedom during summers may lead to more flexibility all year round. "One theory is that many companies are already offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and relaxed dress codes throughout the year," said Cynthia Kong, a senior public relations manager for OfficeTeam. Shivani Ishwar

January 6, 2017

Hillary Clinton is leaving the woods to head to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for what will be just her second public appearance in the capital since losing the election in November. Specifically, she will be returning to her old work place — the State Department — to speak at the ceremonial opening of the Hillary Clinton Pavilion, named in her honor.

The Hillary Clinton Pavilion is one of four new exhibition halls at the State Department and it will house artifacts pertaining to diplomatic history. The other halls are named for James A. Baker and Henry Kissinger, as well as the current Secretary of State John Kerry.

The glass-fronted center is designed to be a welcoming corner off the rest of the more-imposing State Department building, and it cost about $50 million to build. Most of the money was raised during the four years Clinton served as secretary of state.

Clinton will speak Tuesday alongside former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. Jeva Lange

May 4, 2016

There was a time when Marco Rubio didn't work hard to hide his hatred of being a U.S. senator, although "I don't know that 'hate' is the right word," he told The Washington Post last October. "I'm frustrated."

Oh, but how times have changed. For one, Rubio has dropped out of the presidential race. He is spending more time fishing and on his boat in Florida. He has decided against running for reelection, or for governor, or for really anything else before 2020.

Oh, and he kind of loves his job.

"Since I'm not running for reelection, there's a lot of things I want to get done. I'm actually enjoying it very much. It's kind of been the most enjoyable and productive I've been," Rubio told Politico.

While Rubio has stayed out of the spotlight in recent weeks by avoiding the garbage fire that is the current Republican race, he has been quietly getting work done on the Senate floor, including urging aid for Puerto Rico and breaking with party lines to back President Obama's call for $1.9 billion in federal funding to fight the Zika epidemic. Politico reports Rubio is also working to limit some U.S. benefits for Cuban immigrants, and he has as taken on a bigger role in protecting the Everglades.

"I feel positive about being able to get good results down the stretch. None of them are the kind of things that will dominate headlines. I'm honored to serve in the Senate. I've enjoyed my work there, despite the lack of progress in the process," Rubio said. Jeva Lange

June 30, 2014

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returned to office Monday following a two-month stay in a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse.

Canadian outlet CBC News reports that Ford has returned to City Hall after a year of public scandals, including the release of a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine as well as incidents of public drunkenness.

Following those incidents, Toronto's city council took away the majority of Ford's mayoral powers, including his budget. But even if he's just a nominal mayor, Ford isn't going down without a fight. The mayor said that voters can decide his mayoral fate at the October 27 election, but he plans to stay in office until then.

Ford delivered a speech to the media this afternoon, saying that his stay in rehab has "saved his life." He has previously likened his rehab experience to a childhood football camp. Ford also said that he was "ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated" by his actions under the influence.

Rob Ford's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, said his brother is excited to be back in office and that he "looks the same, but a little lighter." Ford's main opponents in the fall election, John Tory and Olivia Chow, have scheduled news conferences later this afternoon. Meghan DeMaria

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