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Maya Rao

Reporter | Washington Bureau
phone: 651-925-5043
Maya Rao wrote for The Press of Atlantic City and The Philadelphia Inquirer before moving to Minnesota in January 2012.
Recent content from Maya Rao
Sen. Tina Smith stands behind her work with Planned Parenthood

Sen. Tina Smith stands behind her work with Planned Parenthood

Senator's tenure as a Planned Parenthood executive is a lightning rod for critics.
For Minnesota, a shutdown could have major implications

For Minnesota, a shutdown could have major implications

Smith, other lawmakers from state express frustration.
Minnesota Poll: State split on Russia meddling, Trump ties

Minnesota Poll: State split on Russia meddling, Trump ties

Half of Minnesota residents are very or somewhat concerned about Russian interference in U.S. elections, but there's less certainty around the question of whether people connected to President Donald Trump engaged in improper coordination.
Minnesota farmers, food stamp users have much on line in next farm bill

Minnesota farmers, food stamp users have much on line in next farm bill

Peterson is worried about GOP attempts to cut food assistance, crop insurance.
Tina Smith takes office in U.S. Senate, ready to get to work

Tina Smith takes office in U.S. Senate, ready to get to work

She stood at the front of the Senate chamber alongside Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, also a Democrat, as Vice President Mike Pence administered their oaths of office.
Franken submits resignation letter; Smith ready to step in

Franken submits resignation letter; Smith ready to step in

Minnesota's ascendant senator, who will be sworn in Wednesday, also begins her campaign.
Tina Smith prepares for crash course in the U.S. Senate

Tina Smith prepares for crash course in the U.S. Senate

She'll be learning Senate ropes even as she dives into campaign mode.
Minnesota's attorney general to sue over net neutrality

Minnesota's attorney general to sue over net neutrality

DFLer Lori Swanson says FCC's net neutrality rules repeal bad for consumers.
Push for gun permits across state lines concerns state's cops

Push for gun permits across state lines concerns state's cops

Reciprocity bill passed the U.S. House but draws ire of some in law enforcement.
Klobuchar, Smith will put state in small group with two female senators

Klobuchar, Smith will put state in small group with two female senators

WASHINGTON – Members of the public, says Sen. Amy Klobuchar, would sometimes mistake her for the wife of Sen. Al Franken. For Klobuchar, the…
Tax plan would have dramatic effect in Minnesota

Tax plan would have dramatic effect in Minnesota

The state's businesses stand to get large tax cuts, while limits on deductions for state and local taxes could pinch individuals and families who itemize.

Concealed-carry reciprocity divides delegation

WASHINGTON – The stream of calls for U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign on Wednesday drowned out some important news for Minnesotans. The U.S.…
As Sen. Al Franken prepares to leave Senate, he leaves real accomplishments, much undone

As Sen. Al Franken prepares to leave Senate, he leaves real accomplishments, much undone

WASHINGTON – Sen. Al Franken’s decision to quit the U.S. Senate leaves Minnesota suddenly without its most high-profile politician, a feisty Democratic brawler who…
As Al Franken begins Senate exit, debate builds over his successor

As Al Franken begins Senate exit, debate builds over his successor

Now that Sen. Al Franken has announced he will resign in the coming weeks, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is facing a high-pressure decision over appointing a replacement.
Sen. Al Franken will announce plans on Senate floor at 10:45 a.m.

Sen. Al Franken will announce plans on Senate floor at 10:45 a.m.

The Minnesota senator, who called the latest anonymous accusation "preposterous," is set to speak about his future. It comes after Democratic leaders united Wednesday to tell him it was time to go.
Senate Ethics Committee has opened inquiry into Al Franken

Senate Ethics Committee has opened inquiry into Al Franken

Also, a new accuser, an Army veteran, told CNN that a 2003 encounter came while posing for a photo with Franken, who was on a USO tour.
Controversial measures to clear way for more Minn. mining sparks debate in U.S. House

Controversial measures to clear way for more Minn. mining sparks debate in U.S. House

Minnesota congressmen say mining measures not threat to Boundary Waters.
Dismay, support, confusion follow Franken apology for behavior

Dismay, support, confusion follow Franken apology for behavior

As some former allies call for a resignation, the woman who reported that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped at her without permission in 2006 said he has sent her a personal apology.
Franken apologizes to accuser; President Trump weighs in

Franken apologizes to accuser; President Trump weighs in

Leeann Tweeden said Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a USO tour in 2006. Sen. Klobuchar has called for an ethics investigation of Franken.
Minn. higher education leaders raise alarms about GOP tax plan

Minn. higher education leaders raise alarms about GOP tax plan

As tax overhaul speeds through Congress, campus leaders in Minnesota say it has big downsides for student debtors, research capacity, building projects.
Sex harassment allegations are challenging State Capitol culture

Sex harassment allegations are challenging State Capitol culture

Those who regularly pass through the Capitol share stories of a proverbial small world that can enable untoward behavior.
Veterans, especially in rural Minnesota, look on as lawmakers try to overhaul health care

Veterans, especially in rural Minnesota, look on as lawmakers try to overhaul health care

Lawmakers working to fix much-maligned Choice Program.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken call for action on opioid overdose reversal drug

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken call for action on opioid overdose reversal drug

WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump announced that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken called on…
Tax reform could add up to billions for Minnesota's biggest companies

Tax reform could add up to billions for Minnesota's biggest companies

Minnesota's biggest companies would see billions in relief – but what about workers?
Paulsen backs bump stock ban, angering gun control opponents

Paulsen backs bump stock ban, angering gun control opponents

The Minnesota Republican's decision to cosponsor the measure to ban a device that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire at the rate of machine guns has drawn the ire of gun-control opponents.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushes for transparency in online political ads

Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushes for transparency in online political ads

The stronger proposed disclosure rules from Minnesota's Klobuchar and colleagues are aimed at diluting Russian interference in elections.
Klobuchar, other lawmakers dined with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

Klobuchar, other lawmakers dined with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

Minnesota senator, others from Judiciary panel discussed criminal justice reform with Trump, Kushner
Sen. Al Franken to donate campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein

Sen. Al Franken to donate campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein

Minnesota senator will give away contributions from Hollywood producer accused of sexually harassing women
Few signs that Vegas shooting will shake up the gun debate

Few signs that Vegas shooting will shake up the gun debate

Minnesota Republicans in Congress aren't interested in talking guns after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, while Democrats say some response is necessary.
GOP tax overhaul takes aim at widely used deductions

GOP tax overhaul takes aim at widely used deductions

Deductions on one-third of federal returns filed from Minnesota are on the chopping block.
Lawmakers call for swift, apolitical fix in Cuba attacks

Lawmakers call for swift, apolitical fix in Cuba attacks

WASHINGTON – The bipartisan Cuba Working Group in the U.S. House on Friday praised the federal government’s decision to withdraw all nonessential personnel from…
Minnesota Republicans, businesses praise GOP tax plan

Minnesota Republicans, businesses praise GOP tax plan

As Trump rolls out tax proposal, plan wins praise from GOP's Paulsen, skepticism from Democrats

Stephen Censky, a Minnesota native, set to for influential USDA slot

A Minnesota native awaits confirmation for No 2. post at the agency.
Minnesota gets $6 million from feds to fight opioids

Minnesota gets $6 million from feds to fight opioids

Nearly $250,000 will go to the White Earth Band of Ojibwe to combat drug overdoses.
Paulsen jumps into BWCA mining ban debate, backs moratorium

Paulsen jumps into BWCA mining ban debate, backs moratorium

Paulsen breaks GOP ranks as House votes to lift mining ban.
FCC's decision on 'net neutrality' looms; advocates push back

FCC's decision on 'net neutrality' looms; advocates push back

Foes, including Sen. Al Franken, say looser rules could lead to blocked content and higher prices.
Minnesota's Keith Ellison, in Democratic leadership role, central in party's rebuilding effort

Minnesota's Keith Ellison, in Democratic leadership role, central in party's rebuilding effort

Personal contact is key to building party, Ellison says.
Passage of 'Forever GI' Bill is touted as a way to get things done in D.C. in polarizing times

Passage of 'Forever GI' Bill is touted as a way to get things done in D.C. in polarizing times

Expanded college program zips through the U.S. House and Senate, but a health care battle awaits.
Franken introduces bill to save children trapped in hot cars

Franken introduces bill to save children trapped in hot cars

The measure would require newly manufactured cars to come with sensors that alert the driver if a child is still in the back seat after the vehicle is turned off.

Senate Democrats set their conditions for tax reform ahead of GOP's push in Congress

The Democrats' letter to Trump and GOP leaders asks for no cuts for wealthiest 1 percent.
Congressional Republicans regroup to focus on taxes

Congressional Republicans regroup to focus on taxes

"I think it's obvious that there were some lessons learned from health care," said U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who voted for the health care bill in the House.
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer pushes to restore mineral rights

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer pushes to restore mineral rights

The Sixth District Republican's move comes in response to the Obama administration's 11th-hour decision not to renew mining leases for Twin Metals in northeastern Minnesota.
House committee passes bill to trim EPA spending, but by far less than proposed by Trump

House committee passes bill to trim EPA spending, but by far less than proposed by Trump

Agency faces 6.5 percent cut in bill headed to the House.
Despite Minnesota GOP support, ban on transgender medical funding fails

Despite Minnesota GOP support, ban on transgender medical funding fails

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Thursday unexpectedly defeated a GOP-sponsored prohibition on military funding for transgender medical expenses. The amendment by Rep. Vicky…
Rep. Rick Nolan touts his PolyMet land-swap bill

Rep. Rick Nolan touts his PolyMet land-swap bill

The congressman testified on bill to exchange forest and mining firm's acreage.
Rep. Nolan tries to balance mining support, climate change opposition

Rep. Nolan tries to balance mining support, climate change opposition

He delicately balances support for PolyMet land swap and climate change work.
Hazelden Betty Ford to hold opioid town hall in D.C.

Hazelden Betty Ford to hold opioid town hall in D.C.

WASHINGTON – As lawmakers wrangle over the opioid crisis, the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy is sponsoring a town hall next Wednesday…

Another DFLer announces bid to succeed Rep. Tim Walz

Daniel Feehan, an Iraq war veteran, is fifth DFLer to enter the race.
Red Lake among tribes alarmed by proposed cuts to BIA programs

Red Lake among tribes alarmed by proposed cuts to BIA programs

Anti-suicide initiative among programs that would be cut, Red Lake leader says.
As GOP seeks looser financial rules, Emmer focuses on small banks

As GOP seeks looser financial rules, Emmer focuses on small banks

Emmer, saying the Dodd-Frank Act goes too far, is supporting measures that he says would ease the regulatory burden on small banks.
Rep. Rick Nolan first Minnesotan to join Climate Solutions Caucus

Rep. Rick Nolan first Minnesotan to join Climate Solutions Caucus

Nolan also recruited Rep. David Joyce, an Ohio Republican, to join him.
Opioid-linked deaths on rise, but federal response uncertain under Trump

Opioid-linked deaths on rise, but federal response uncertain under Trump

Treatment advocates and public officials in Minnesota are looking to Washington with concern that federal spending reductions could damage efforts to stem the crisis.
Minnesota, big user of food stamps, worries over Trump's proposed cuts

Minnesota, big user of food stamps, worries over Trump's proposed cuts

Minn. advocates organize against proposed cuts.
Gov. Mark Dayton supports President Trump's paid family leave plan

Gov. Mark Dayton supports President Trump's paid family leave plan

Governor says state should adopt proposal for six weeks of paid leave for new parents.
Klobuchar wants Senate briefing on Russian vote hacking attempts

Klobuchar wants Senate briefing on Russian vote hacking attempts

Minnesota senator wants briefing after new round of reports on Russian hacks into U.S. election process
Franken's new book takes on Trump, Republican colleagues (with jokes)

Franken's new book takes on Trump, Republican colleagues (with jokes)

"Al Franken, Giant of the Senate," hit bookstores Tuesday.
Franken rules out running for president in 2020

Franken rules out running for president in 2020

Minnesota senator, on the presidential wishlist of some Democrats nationally, categorically rules out run
$4.1 trillion Trump budget plan would reshape aid to Minnesota

$4.1 trillion Trump budget plan would reshape aid to Minnesota

The proposal also excludes further federal funding for the $1.9 billion Southwest Light Rail Transit project. Its first hearing is Wednesday before the House Budget Committee, which includes U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.
Target CEO Brian Cornell to testify in DC against import tax

Target CEO Brian Cornell to testify in DC against import tax

Proposed rule could drive price increases for retailers.
Rep. Nolan meets Trump officials to revive copper mining near BWCA

Rep. Nolan meets Trump officials to revive copper mining near BWCA

The DFL congressman sees a chance that the administration will undo Obama decision.
Minn. GOP in D.C. back health care measure amid blowback

Minn. GOP in D.C. back health care measure amid blowback

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen is defending his heavily scrutinized vote for the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act. He and fellow Minnesota Republicans Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis say it's an effort to bring down health insurance costs.
Minnesota native running for Virginia governor defends Confederacy

Minnesota native running for Virginia governor defends Confederacy

Corey Stewart, a Duluth native running for governor of Virginia, stirs up national controversy over defense of Confederate flag.
Ellison's failed bid to run DNC was costly venture

Ellison's failed bid to run DNC was costly venture

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's unsuccessful bid to chair the Democratic National Committee wasn't cheap.
Poll: Trump has 40% approval rating among Minnesotans

Poll: Trump has 40% approval rating among Minnesotans

As Donald Trump reaches Day 100 as president, the poll shows a stark divide: Most Minnesotans outside the Twin Cities area continue to back him.
GOP's Erik Paulsen spent big on last cycle, on track to do so again

GOP's Erik Paulsen spent big on last cycle, on track to do so again

In the previous election cycle, Paulsen spent far more defending his congressional seat last year than any other Minnesotan in Congress.

Ellison, Sanders, Democrats make new push for $15-an-hour minimum wage

Proposal reflects growing support among Democrats for higher base wage, but lacks GOP support.
Affordable housing advocates fear proposed HUD cuts would be devastating to Minnesota

Affordable housing advocates fear proposed HUD cuts would be devastating to Minnesota

Reduced federal spending on housing would affect constituencies as diverse as working families, seniors and people with disabilities, and those with criminal histories.
Senators push United Airlines for answers on overbooking

Senators push United Airlines for answers on overbooking

Minnesota Sens. Klobuchar, Franken are among those questioning airline's policy.
For Ellison, role with national Dems a chance to rebuild local parties

For Ellison, role with national Dems a chance to rebuild local parties

In DNC role, he's helping to rebuild the party from the ground up.
Rep. Jason Lewis charts own path on Capitol Hill

Rep. Jason Lewis charts own path on Capitol Hill

Approaching 100 days in office, Lewis' new congressional career is unfolding during an unusually chaotic era in Washington.
Midwestern farm interests closely watching Trump's ag secretary nominee

Midwestern farm interests closely watching Trump's ag secretary nominee

WASHINGTON – As Sonny Perdue moves toward becoming President Donald Trump's secretary of agriculture, Minnesota's congressional delegation and business leaders are hoping the former…
Walz's run for gov. raises stakes for southern Minn. seat

Walz's run for gov. raises stakes for southern Minn. seat

Republicans see a chance to reclaim the First District seat in the U.S. House, but Democrats say they'll fight to hold it.
Rural Minn. hospitals fear fallout as work visas slow

Rural Minn. hospitals fear fallout as work visas slow

As populations age in rural parts of the state and region, hospitals and clinics increasingly rely on immigrant doctors
Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen voice disappointment over GOP health care bill failure

Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen voice disappointment over GOP health care bill failure

The Minnesota congressmen say they'll keep working on the issue.
Supreme Court hears dispute over St. Croix property

Supreme Court hears dispute over St. Croix property

Justices posed tough questions to attorneys for the landowners and to the government regulators who blocked the transaction.
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