Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says it's slow-going, but she sees progress at the U.S. Capitol among lawmakers working to end the partial government shutdown, now in its fourth week. 

A group of Native American protesters went to the offices of SAExploration in Houston today to object to work the company wants to do in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hundreds of furloughed federal workers in Alaska are filing unemployment claims. They'll have to pay back any benefits they receive once they get retroactive pay.

"I've got a lot of people who are saying 'Lisa, you've got to stand with the president. ...'" Murkowski said on the Senate floor. "And then I have an equal number that are saying, 'Please, please, do something to help reopen this government.'"

Republicans in Congress remain mostly united behind President Trump and his rejection of legislation to re-open government departments unless it includes $5 billion for a border wall. But the Alaska delegation is split on this.

In Congress, several Republicans are talking about voting with the Democrats to reopen most of the unfunded departments. Among Alaska's delegation to Congress, two say they're warm to the idea, and one isn't saying. 

Trump has been floating the idea of building a wall using military construction dollars. Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn’t on board with that. With 5,700 Alaskans unsure whether they'll miss a payday, she wants to see Congress pass the less controversial bills to at least shrink the number of workers affected.

One of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's first priorities of the year is to pass a 680-page public lands bill. Murkowski nearly passed it last month but was thwarted by a single senator.

Gerard Derrick James, 45, was arrested Thursday, according to the D.C. Metropolitan Police. They say video footage shows James picked up his ringing cell phone just before impact.

For a number of reasons, the effects of this shutdown are more subtle than in the past.

D.C. Metropolitan Police say 61-year-old Monica Adams Carlson of Skagway, and 85-year-old Cora Louise Adams of Washington state were struck in a crosswalk on Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Trump is congratulating the U.S. Senate for passing a criminal justice reform bill that shortens sentences for some federal inmates. But both Alaska senators voted against it.

The national school lunch program has for decades required school districts to buy American-made food. But twice-frozen Russian pollock, processed in China, is on the lunch tray in many U.S. schools. Sen. Dan Sullivan pressed Congress to close that loophole.

What can opponents of drilling in the Arctic Refuge expect to accomplish with control of just one chamber of Congress? Momentum.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says disaster funds for Alaska will likely be included early next year in a bill with aid for the victims of the California wildfires. "So Alaska is not alone in this," she said.

When Alaska Congressman Don Young thinks of the 41st president, he remembers a nice guy who could be fierce with a racquet.

You probably don't have earthquake insurance. Fewer than 20 percent of Alaska homeowners do. But if your property was damaged, you may still have options to get compensation.

If Congress grants President Trump $5 billion for border security, it may come at the expense of a top Alaska priority — a polar icebreaker. 

Some contributors asked for refunds after the Mississippi senator seemed to make light of lynching. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski made a maximum campaign contribution.

Medicaid has an old rule that says it won't pay for substance abuse treatment if a facility has more than 16 beds. Alaska can now ignore that restriction.