Archive for January, 2014

This Week in Washington…

Posted on January 30, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

  • The House passed a compromise farm bill that ends direct payments to farmers, reduces the number of conservation programs operated by the Agriculture Department, and cuts about $8 billion in funding to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
  • Republicans reiterated their demands that a debt-limit increase must be paired with policy changes, while the White House repeated its criticism of Republicans’ approach.
  • House Republicans are expected to release a statement of principles on immigration Thursday; the document is expected to address issues of border security and enforcement, as well as a path to legal status—but not citizenship—for undocumented immigrants.
  • In the official Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., drew on her personal background to argue that “the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder.”
  • In the tea-party response, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, singled out the Affordable Care Act as an “inequality Godzilla” that has exacerbated the “inequality crisis” facing the country.
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., outlined his view of the origins of and the administration’s response to the financial crisis, and revisited his December proposal of “economic freedom zones” that would reduce taxes in areas of high unemployment.

POLITICS

  • Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., announced Thursday that he will retire at the close of the 113th Congress, citing frustration with the body’s rising partisanship and diminished productivity.
  • Senate Democrats are pursuing a political approach to the fight to extend unemployment benefits, asking voters to back their effort, not just by sharing their stories, but also by offering their financial support.
  • Ready for Hillary, a super PAC supporting a possible 2016 presidential bid by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, assembled a diverse group of Democrats for a series of strategy sessions over the weekend.
  • Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is seeking the seat held by Sen. Max Baucus, said Monday that he has advised Gov. Steve Bullock of his interest in an interim appointment, which would boost his chances in November.
  • Clay Pell, grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., a former Coast Guard attorney and veteran of the Obama administration, launched his gubernatorial campaign with an emphasis on infrastructure, small business, and education.
  • Former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., endorsed the reelection bid of his successor, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., declining to support Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
  • Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., tendered his resignation, despite an earlier vow to continue his work in the House after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

TECHNOLOGY

  • During his State of the Union address, President Obama announced a step forward in his proposal to improve Internet access in schools, via actions by the FCC and tech companies that will bring high-speed broadband Internet to more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years.
  • The Obama administration announced Monday that it will permit Internet companies to disclose government data requests for consumer information.
  • The NSA has tapped Rebecca Richards, a senior official within the Homeland Security Department, to serve as its inaugural civil-liberties and privacy officer, NSA chief Keith Alexander announced Wednesday.
  • Two members of Norway’s Socialist Left Party nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize, claiming the former contractor has helped to restore the balance between national security and individual freedoms.
  • Director of Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Director James Comey largely avoided giving details on the agencies’ spying activities during testimony Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, instead promising to provide more information as soon as possible.
  • Uzbekistani refugee Jamshid Muhtorov filed a motion in Denver’s federal court to toss out any evidence gathered via Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes much of the NSA’s foreign surveillance, on grounds it “fails to comply with the Fourth Amendment’s most basic requirements.”
  • Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that his department is investigating the massive data breach of customer credit and debit cards that struck Target late last year.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.” — President Obama, on women’s workplace issues, in his State of the Union address (National Journal)
  • “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” — Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., to a reporter who asked about an investigation into his campaign fundraising. (The New York Times)
  • “If he wants to move forward with this unilateral activity, he better be prepared for the lawsuit that the United States Congress will bring to him.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., after Obama’s State of the Union speech (National Journal)
  • “Freeway [driving] is pretty easy to accomplish. Everybody’s going the same direction, there’s a little weaving, but you don’t have cars backing out of driveways, or kids and dogs running across the street.” — Audi spokesman Brad Stertz, on how close America is to having self-driving cars (National Journal)
  • “It’s not as if I’m bringing this up 20 years later. I was asked a direct question. However, if I’m asked a direct question, I’ll usually answer it. And I think that one of the things that have moved forward, one of the things that was rotten about the old patriarchal system we did have, was that bosses took advantage of young women in the workplace.” — Sen. Rand Paul on why he brought up the issue of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky (Talking Points Memo)
  • “Further involving the telecom providers in the extended storage of this data for intelligence purposes would not only make that data subject to discovery in civil lawsuits, but it would also make it more vulnerable to theft by hackers or foreign intelligence organizations. Another powerful reason to be against private companies taking responsibility for an inherently governmental function.” — Sen. Jay Rockefeller on why he does not support the NSA allowing a third party to store data it has collected (Roll Call)

CHARTS AND GRAPHS

  • Slate maps where public schools teach creationism.
  • The Wall Street Journal maps states’ minimum wages.
  • WBEZ charts the expansion of the city of Chicago from 1837 to the present.
  • Gallup maps which states prefer which party, and which Democrats are losing ground.
  • Pew graphs the waning interest, especially among Democrats, in reducing the federal budget.
  • Quartz graphs mayonnaise’s dominance of the American condiment market.
  • Cameron Beccario’s “Earth” visualizes the polar vortex.

Future events

  • Thursday, January 30 – President Obama will deliver remarks on expanding economic opportunity and strengthening the middle class at McGavock High School in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Friday, January 31 – The Washington International Trade Association will hold a discussion of the “Congressional Trade Agenda” at 8:30 a.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • Tuesday, February 4 – The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining Recommendations to Reform FISA Authorities,” at 10 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn.
  • Wednesday, February 5 – The Heritage Foundation will hold a discussion, “The Second Term Curse? A Look at the Final Three Years of the Obama Presidency,” at noon at 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE.
  • Thursday, January 30 – The Center for Economic Policy Research will hold a discussion, “Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy,” at 3 p.m. in 2253 Rayburn.
  • The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Data,” at 3 p.m. in 538 Dirksen.
  • Thursday, January 30 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “International Consequences of the U.S. Oil and Gas Boom,” at 4:30 p.m. at 1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
  • Tuesday, February 4 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing, “Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis,” at 10 a.m. in 406 Dirksen.
  • Tuesday, February 4 – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will hold a discussion, “The Future of Electric Utilities,” at 1 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
  • Friday, January 31 – The Middle East Institute will hold a conference, “Saving Syria’s Civilians: Urgent Priorities and Policies,” at 9 a.m. at 529 14th Street NW.
  • Friday, January 31 – The Hudson Institute will hold a discussion, “The United States, Iran, and the Post-Geneva Middle East: What’s Next after the Joint Plan of Action is Implemented?” at noon at 1015 15th Street NW.
  • Tuesday, February 4 – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion, “On Leadership: Foreign Policy in Congress,” at 10 a.m. at 1225 I Street NW.
  • Friday, January 31 – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will hold a discussion, “Where We Are Now? State of Exchanges and Enrollment,” at 9 a.m. at 529 14th Street NW.
  • Monday, February 3 to Tuesday, February 4 – Academy Health will hold its 2014 National Health Policy Conference at 1000 H Street NW.
  • Monday, February 3 – Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will hold a news conference to discuss the status of the James Webb Space Telescope at 9 a.m. at 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Tuesday, February 4 – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing, “Privacy in the Digital Age: Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime,” at 10:15 a.m. in 226 Dirksen.
  • Thursday, February 6 – National Journal will host the “Dialing In on the IP Transition” policy summit, underwritten by Neustar, at 8 a.m. at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
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Planning to Fail, Failing to Plan…

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Since nearly 50 percent of new businesses fail within five years, a well-thought-out business plan can dramatically turn the odds in your favor.

My good friend, Hal Shelton, has just published a book “The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: a Pro Shares a Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results”. It is available at www.amazon.com/dp/0989946002

In this easy-to-follow book, you  will:

  1. discover why she needs a business plan and the best style for her situation,
  2. receive step-by-step guidance for creating each section of her plan,
  3. be able to write the plan as she goes using worksheets in every chapter
  4. get proven strategies for obtaining bank loans and attracting investors, and
  5. most importantly, be able to spend less time writing her plan and more time setting up the business.

I have known Hal for several years; he has the background and experience that makes this book a must-read for small business owners. He has been a C-suite executive at for profit and nonprofit companies, a board member at for profit and nonprofits, an angel investor and a certified SCORE mentor and in this role he has assisted over 1,000 clients.

 

I highly recommend this book to you and to anyone you know who is thinking of starting a for profit business or nonprofit. Developing a plan to guide you to a successful business operation is critical.  To learn more about the book and Hal, visit his web site at www.secretsofbusinessplans.com.   Pass it on!

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Tighter Reins on Phone Surveillance, but Data Collection Continues

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By James Scott

President Obama announced changes to the way the National Security Administration (NSA) collects and uses telephone data, but he left the program in place and said the information on millions of American phone calls can stay in the hands of the NSA, for now at least.

Obama said the telephone data collection had to continue because it is critical to detecting terrorist activity and foiling terror plots. The steps he announced will not silence privacy critics, but they do add another layer of protections for American’s electronic privacy.

This is reasonable. The threat posed by the metadata to privacy in America has been greatly overstated, prompting fears that the government was listening in on every conversation and keeping track of everything every American does online.

What the metadata program does is allow the NSA to see what numbers are calling what numbers, when and for how long. And they can only look across two degrees of separation, or call hops as they are called. One of the reforms Obama announced was the decrease in the number of allowable hops from three to two.

The other thing he did was to require NSA requests for metadata to be approved beforehand by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Such requests were already being reviewed by FISC, but not until after the information was already accessed.

Obama also said intelligence authorities would be banned from eavesdropping on the communications of allied leaders.

This, predictably, did little to silence critics of the program, which was made public by leaks from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Opponents say the NSA cannot be trusted with communications data and wonder why they should believe that government is capable of policing itself.

Obama put off acting on one recommendation that goes directly to those concerns. He indicated his administration would eventually take the data out of the hands of the NSA and store it with a third party, perhaps the telephone companies. He asked the Department of Justice for a recommendation.

This probably wouldn’t change anything, since the third party would be required to turn over the information to the NSA whenever a transfer is approved by the FISC. And it also might lead to even greater privacy risks since the data would then be in the hands of more entities.

But it wasn’t all criticism from those active in the fight for digital privacy rights. In a tweet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a leveled-headed assessment that many Americans probably agree with:

“Today, Obama took several steps toward reforming NSA surveillance, but there’s a long way to go. Now it’s up Congress & courts.”

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Christie’s Lost Luster

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By James Scott

With his resounding reelection as governor of a blue state on Nov. 5, it was hard to imagine New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s national profile getting any bigger. Well take a look at him now.

There’s no point in rehashing the details of the scandal called bridgegate, since you undoubtedly know those already. The question that’s on everybody’s mind right now, though, is how will the scandal that’s engulfed his administration as New Jersey governor affect Christie as frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Polls show most people believe the embattled governor when he says the bridge closure was carried out by aides without his knowledge. Still, in a hypothetical race against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, he has lost ground and now trails the former secretary of state by 13 points.

But it could be the Republican Party that has the most to lose if Christie flames out. Yes, he has his flaws as we know better now than ever, but he also had, and still has, the potential to bring a dose of moderation to a Republican party that is being driving by an extremist minority on right-wing.

They used to be called New Jersey Republicans, or Northeast Republicans, moderate GOP politicians who were fiscally conservative, but strayed from the right wing on social issues like guns, abortion and the environment. Think Tom Kean or Christie Whitman.

Even as Christie has sought to maneuver himself a bit to the right, he is still light-years away from the tea party. This kind of moderate thinking is exactly what the GOP needs going into 2016, after two straight defeats at the polls. Clearly, the party needs to take a closer look at who’s manning the tiller and seek a more centrist course. Christie’s more moderate voice was refreshing and it was being heard.

But it’s kind of hard to be a national leader when you’re the go-to butt of jokes on late night television and 20 of your top aides are under subpoena to testify about a scandal that has you at its center.

One thing the governor needs to do now if his White House ambitions are to survive is hire some nationally-tested professionals to shape his image going forward. His loyalty to his Jersey chums is fine, but isn’t that part of what got him in his predicament to begin with?

As we’ve seen, the scandal that started in Fort Lee is not just a New Jersey scandal. It has attracted national, even international, media attention. Its dominance of the Sunday morning talk shows has been remarkable, overshadowing a range of worthy national and international stories.

But we’re a couple months into this thing and, yes, the media attention should start to fade soon, if it isn’t already. If the scandal ends with those aides, and so far there has been no indication otherwise, Christie’s national profile and his White House aspiration could well survive.

A lot of GOP heavyweights already have said they see little harm coming from the scandal, if Christie is telling the truth. There’s a lot on the line for Christie, but even more for a Republican Party that is desperately in need of a New Jersey Republican.

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Compromise Takes Center Stage as Congress Passes Spending Bill

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Turner GPA Staff

Attempting to gain distance from their “do nothing” label, the U.S. Congress finally agreed on $1.1 trillion spending package, which President Barack Obama quickly signed into law on January 17.

The 1,582 page-long budget bill, which passed with unprecedented bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, will keep the government up and running through September 30.  Passage of the compromise bill, came just three months after a disastrous 16-day government shutdown forced by Republicans opposed to Obamacare.

“Across the board, our government is going to be operating without, hopefully, too many glitches over the next year,” said Obama during the signing ceremony.

The new budget includes funding for every federal agency, scales back the sequester (restoring $45 billion in automatic cuts required under sequestration), and continues spending for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. It also trims some $23 billion from the U.S. $17 trillion debt over the next 10 years.

True to its nature as a compromise bill, the budget, as pointed out in several reports, “freezes appropriations…at the post-sequester level” for Obamacare but gives the White House the “flexibility to find the financing it needs to implement the health exchanges…” Further, the spending bill provides significant funding for pre-kindergarten education, an Obama domestic priority, including $8.6 billion for Head Start.

The Republicans were able to reduce funding to two of “their least-favorite agencies”—the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with a strong majority of 359 to 67.  In the Senate the measure passed by a vote of 72 to 26.

With 2014 being an all important election year and the hyper-partisanship that surrounds the occasion, the spending bill may very well be the largest piece of policy coming out of Congress this year.

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This Week in Washington…

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

  • President Obama is expected to highlight income inequality in his fifth State of the Union address, offering policy prescriptions including an increase in the federal minimum wage.
  • Top administration officials are meeting with lawmakers in both parties to secure their backing for trade-promotion authority.
  • Citing a new report from the White House Council on Women and Girls which found that college women are at the highest risk of sexual assault or rape, President Obama on Wednesday signed a presidential memorandum creating a task force to protect students.
  • In a 112-page report submitted Wednesday, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration said that Americans should not have to wait longer than 30 minutes to cast a ballot, and warned that aging voting equipment could present major problems in the coming years.
  • The president is scheduled to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands on March 24-25, followed by a U.S.-E.U. summit in Brussels and bilateral talks with Belgian officials and the NATO secretary general and meetings with the Italian president and prime minister in Future events
  • Tuesday, January 28 – President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m.

CONGRESS

  • Despite being adamantly opposed to hiking the debt ceiling without spending cuts, some Republicans are showing signs of surrender on the issue, amid deep skepticism that they can win cuts from Democrats.
  • The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, designed to prevent conflicts of interest and shed light on lawmakers who negotiate for post-Capitol Hill work while still in office, has been worn thin by a series of administrative rulings and narrow interpretation.
  • Congressional Republicans have touted small cuts aimed at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but most of the funding for the law is mandatory, not discretionary, leaving GOP appropriators with few options when it comes to depleting the law’s resources.
  • While the Obama administration is already sounding alarms about the debt ceiling, Republicans appear ready to demand another round of spending cuts, according to lawmakers.
  • House Republicans are quietly discussing the option of not writing a budget in 2014, a maneuver that would free up time on the legislative calendar and protect GOP lawmakers from a potentially damaging vote in an election year.
  • House Republicans plan to offer a statement of principles on immigration that would include legal status for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, but would not offer a path to citizenship.

POLITICS

  • A federal grand jury handed up a 12-count indictment against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, in connection with the couple’s receipt and disclosure of gifts provided by Jonnie Williams, then CEO of dietary-supplement maker Star Scientific.
  • Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he will not defend the commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage.
  • Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor, faced criticism this week following a report revealing inaccuracies in her personal biography.
  • A number of Republican lawmakers addressed the annual March for Life, held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision—this year’s focus was on adoption as an alternative to abortion.
  • Sen. David Vitter, R-La., announced his gubernatorial candidacy this week, highlighting education, tax reform, and government accountability as priorities and telling supporters that the post would be his “last political job, elected or appointed, period.”
  • Neel Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official who helped oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program, launched a challenge to California Gov. Jerry Brown, citing jobs and education as top priorities.
  • A bipartisan, bicameral proposal would amend Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to require states to undergo preclearance changes if five or more voting-rights violations have occurred within the last 15 years in the state, or a locality within the state, with at least one violation being committed by the state itself.
  • Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is battling a recurrence of prostate cancer, announced plans to retire at the end of this year, emphasizing that his decision was not prompted by health concerns.
  • Republicans hope to capitalize on the president’s struggles, picking up Senate seats in states he won in 2012, and outside groups are already launching costly advertising campaigns in key markets.
  • Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., announced his bid for the seat held by retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, and conservative groups are already pushing back.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • HHS official Gary Cohen testified that the back end of the Affordable Care Act site is still being built, and a temporary system is in place that allows insurers to calculate what they are owed.
  • Former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning are featured in new ads touting health coverage under the ACA.
  • The House passed a bill Thursday that would require weekly reports on enrollment and operation of the insurance exchanges.
  • Early estimates of enrollees on the ACA exchanges suggest the majority already had health coverage.
  • Employers are supposed to offer equal coverage to all employees, regardless of how much they are paid, but regulations have yet to be developed, leading the administration to delay enforcement of the requirement.
  • A new resolution introduced in the Republican National Committee encourages Republicans to “fight back” against the war-on-women narrative.
  • Target announced plans to drop coverage for part-time workers, and transition those working fewer than 30 hours a week to the ACA exchanges.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Lobbying associations representing the retail and banking industries are pointing fingers over who’s to blame over the breach last month that exposed the credit-card numbers of as many as 110 million Target customers.
  • America greeted President Obama’s speech last week announcing reforms to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs with collective indifference and broad skepticism, according to a new wide-ranging Pew Research Center/USA Today poll.
  • Twelve firms—including three NFL teams—settled with the FTC over charges that they falsely indicated they were covered under the U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor Agreement, which lets American companies send European user data to the U.S. without breaking E.U. law.
  • Local and federal law-enforcement officials demanded data on Verizon customers 321,545 times last year, the company revealed Wednesday.
  • Edward Snowden denied allegations lobbed from some lawmakers that he might be a Russian spy, saying in an interview that he acted alone when he downloaded classified NSA documents.
  • Microsoft announced Wednesday it would offer customers in foreign countries the option to have their data stored outside U.S. borders in an attempt to placate growing concerns that such information might be vulnerable to NSA access.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit-card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.” –Maureen McDonnell, in an email to an aide who expressed concerns about a business executive buying her gown for her husband’s inauguration. (The Washington Post)
  • “You live in New York, I live in Syria.” — Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, in a heated exchange at the International Conference on Syria. (The New York Times)
  • “As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” — President Obama. (The New Yorker)
  • “The reforms I’m proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe.” — Obama, outlining reforms to the National Security Agency. (National Journal)
  • “The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice.” — Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., in a controversial memoir released last month. (The Washington Post)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • Peakbagger.com graphs the rise and fall in populations of the U.S.’s largest metropolitan areas since 1790.
  • Quartz graphs the new Web domains like .coffee and .ninja that are on the way.
  • The Atlantic Cities maps the whooping cough outbreak.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek charts the increase in Super Bowl advertising costs.
  • The Washington Post maps the ways Roe v. Wade changed abortion rights.

Future events

  • Thursday, January 23 – The Library of Congress will hold the annual Maguire lecture on “Ethics, Politics, and Institutions: A Moral Vocabulary for Modern Democracy,” on how “contemporary politics is plagued by a shrinking moral vocabulary,” at 3 p.m. at 10 First Street SE.
  • Thursday, January 23 – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a book discussion on Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions: The Monetization of the Internet, at 5:30 p.m. at 1150 17th Street NW.
  • Thursday, January 23 to Saturday, January 25 – Families USA holds a conference, “Health Action 2014: Making the Promise Real,” at 400 New Jersey Avenue NW.
  • Friday, January 24 – Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich.; former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will participate in a discussion on the economic case for passing immigration reform in 2014, at 1:30 p.m. at 529 14th Street NW.
  • Friday, January 24 – The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy will hold an event, “Tracing the Revolution: Three Years of Upheaval in Egypt,” at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • Monday, January 27 to Wednesday, January 29 – The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement will hold the Tactical Power Sources Summit on “Revolutionizing the Future of Battlefield Energy” at 300 Army Navy Drive in Arlington.
  • Monday, January 27 to Wednesday, January 29 – The National Council for Science and the Environment will hold the 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment with the theme “Building Climate Solutions,” at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington.
  • Monday, January 27 – The International Foundation for Electoral Systems will hold a discussion, “Revolution or Resolution: Is Ukraine Poised for Change?” at 12:30 p.m. at 1850 K Street NW.
  • Monday, January 27 – The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “How the Affordable Care Act Changes the Distribution of Income,” at 10 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
  • Monday, January 27 – The Hudson Institute will hold a discussion on telecommunications policy at noon at 1015 15th Street NW. FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly is scheduled to participate.
  • Tuesday, January 28 – The Brookings Institution and the Economic Club of Minnesota will hold a discussion, “The 20th Anniversary of NAFTA and the Future of Free Trade” at 9 a.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • Tuesday, January 28 – The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing, “A Progress Report on the War on Poverty: Expanding Economic Opportunity,” at 10 a.m. in 210 Cannon.
  • Tuesday, January 28 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be ambassador to China; Arnold Chacon to be director general of the Foreign Service; and Daniel Bennett Smith to be assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research, at 10 a.m. in 419 Dirksen.
  • Wednesday, January 29 — National Journal and The Atlantic will hold the 12th annual “State of the Union Congressional Debrief” at 8 a.m. at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

 

 

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This Week in Washington…

Posted on January 16, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

  • During a closed-door session at the White House on Wednesday, the president sought to present a united front with Senate Democrats, urging members to delay action on new sanctions against Iran.
  • President Obama and the first lady will host college and university presidents, as well as officials from nonprofits, state governments, and the private sector, at the White House on Thursday for an event focused on “expanding college opportunity.”
  • Obama nominated community-bank founder Maria Contreras-Sweet to chair the Small Business Administration, filling the final vacancy in his Cabinet and addressing concerns about the lack of diversity among his top appointees.
  • The president will outline his plans to reform the National Security Agency in a speech Friday at the Justice Department.
  • In a visit to Raleigh on Wednesday, Obama announced the formation of a “manufacturing innovation institute” to be led by North Carolina State University and backed by $70 million from the Energy Department and matching funds from non-federal government sources.
  • The Justice Department on Friday announced plans to recognize the 1,300 same-sex marriages performed in Utah before the U.S. Supreme Court halted the practice pending the outcome of an appeal by the state government.

CONGRESS

POLITICS

  • As Democrats point to encouraging economic data ahead of the midterm elections, Republicans plan to emphasize the underlying instability of the national economy, in a shift away from their previous focus on the struggles of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Recently, lobbyists-turned-candidates have taken starring roles in key Senate, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns. It’s odd timing for lobbyists to seek office, because they’re closely linked to the country’s dysfunctional and unpopular politics.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s troubles continued this week, as recently released documents appear to indicate attempts by gubernatorial aides to conceal their involvement in the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
  • Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who on Thursday announced a challenge to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., could offer his party the best opportunity to oust a popular, well-funded incumbent.
  • This week saw retirement announcements from Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Jim Moran, D-Va., and Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
  • Former lobbyist and congressional aide David Jolly captured 45 percent of the vote in the GOP special-election primary in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, and he will square off March 11 against 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission, concerned that the Volcker rule lacks sufficient enforcement mechanisms, may seek additional regulatory tools to police Wall Street.
  • The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the national economy continued its moderate expansion from late November through the end of 2013, with two-thirds of the 12 districts surveyed reporting gains in hiring.
  • The news that the U.S. economy added only 74,000 jobs in December appeared to contradict recent pronouncements about the recovery, but economists said the report could have been an aberration, with inclement weather causing some distortions.
  • The Commerce Department reported an uptick in retail sales during December, signaling an accelerating economy that should continue to improve in 2014.
  • A new report from the National Association of Counties finds that while the national economy shows signs of marked improvement, approximately half of U.S. counties have yet to recover from the recession.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sidestepped questions Tuesday about whether he would allow a bill to increase sanctions against Iran come up for a vote.
  • A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to formally end the Iraq War.
  • The Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, were preventable, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report.
  • Robert Martinage, the Navy’s second-in-command, stepped down Wednesday after Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asked for his resignation due to a lack of confidence in his abilities.
  • Thirty-four nuclear-missile crew members at an Air Force base in Montana have been linked to a cheating scandal.
  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon has endorsed vice chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, to succeed him in the panel’s top spot.

HEALTH CARE

  • The Obama administration has chosen Accenture to replace CGI Federal as the lead contractor on HealthCare.gov.
  • Maryland state officials did not heed warnings regarding the insurance exchange website a year before it launched.
  • Insurers are seeking a break from spending rules that would penalize them for extra administrative costs due to problems with HealthCare.gov.
  • Nearly 1.8 million people selected an insurance plan on the federal and state exchanges in December, but just 24 percent of enrollees to date are between the ages of 18 and 34, raising concerns about the burdens imposed by older, less healthy enrollees.
  • The Supreme Court refused to hear arguments on a lower-court ruling that struck down Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban.
  • During oral arguments Wednesday, Supreme Court justices suggested that the Massachusetts law restricting protesters around abortion clinics could violate the First Amendment.

TECHNOLOGY

  • A federal court on Tuesday overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s network-neutrality regulations, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s effort to ensure the openness of the Internet.
  • The NSA is using radio waves to infiltrate computers worldwide (although not in the U.S.) to use technology that allows the agency to control data even when a breached computer is not connected to the Internet.
  • Sens. Thomas Carper, D-Del., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced a new data-security bill intending to protect consumers from identity theft or fraud in the wake of recent breaches involving Target and Neiman Marcus.
  • A federal District Court judge wrote to Congress this week arguing that a privacy advocate on the judicial body responsible for approving the National Security Agency’s foreign-surveillance orders is “unnecessary” and potentially “counterproductive.”
  • Apple agreed Wednesday to refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made digital purchases without their permission as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit cofounded by Daniel Ellsberg, announced Edward Snowden’s appointment Tuesday to its board of directors, which already includes Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two of the journalists to whom Snowden entrusted his secret documents.

OTHER NEWS

  • American Hustle and Gravity led the Academy Award nominations announced Thursday, with 10 nods apiece, including Best Picture, while 12 Years a Slave picked up nine nominations.
  • New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball this week, following arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s ruling that Rodriguez should be suspended for the entire 2014 season, including the postseason, over his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs.
  • A federal judge on Tuesday rejected the concussion settlement agreement reached by the National Football League and more than 4,500 former players, citing concerns that “not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their [families] … will be paid.”
  • An argument over texting in a Tampa-area movie theater ended in a fatal shooting Monday, with a retired Tampa police officer accused in the killing.
  • Authorities filed assault charges against a 12-year-old New Mexico boy who is accused of shooting two other students at a middle school in Roswell.

QUOTES

  • “This can be described very charitably as a mixed bag. This is a 1,500-page bill that nobody has actually read.” — Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., on the omnibus spending bill passed by the House. (The Hill)
  • “Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we are entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better. Much better.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, addressing the George Washington Bridge scandal in his State of the State speech. (The Washington Post)
  • “One of the reasons I chose firing squad as opposed to any other form of execution is because, frankly, it’s one of the cheapest for the state.” — Wyoming state Sen. Bruce Burns, on proposing an alternative method of execution in the wake of lethal-injection drug shortages. (National Journal)
  • “I felt he came to have doubts about whether his own strategy could succeed, and I think that some of the early reporting suggested that he made the decision in December or November of 2009 believing it wouldn’t work. I don’t believe that for a second. President Obama would never do that, in my view. I think when he made that decision in November of 2009, he believed that strategy would work.” — Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on Obama’s decisions on the war in Afghanistan. (National Journal)
  • “U.S. military assets were not positioned to respond in time to save the four Americans killed.” — a Senate committee report on the 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. (The New York Times)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The Washington Post graphs Cyber Command’s rising budget.
  • Gallup charts people’s views on the country’s biggest problems, led by politicians themselves.
  • Pew finds that opinions on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have barely changed.
  • Quartz maps where the world’s biggest coffee drinkers are.
  • ·       The Washington Post graphs how Obamacare enrollment rates compare to previous rates under the state law in Massachusetts.

Future events

  • Thursday, Jan. 16 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Robert Barber to be ambassador to the Republic of Iceland; George James Tsunis to be ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway; and Colleen Bradley Bell to be ambassador to Hungary, at 2:30 p.m. in 419 Dirksen.
  • Thursday, Jan. 16 – Politico will host a discussion on policy, politics, and the new book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, at 6 p.m. at 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW. Author and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will participate.
  • Friday, Jan. 17 — Secretary of State John Kerry, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade will host the North American Ministerial for discussions on advancing North American prosperity, North America’s leadership on energy and climate change, international engagement, and citizen security, at 8 a.m. at 2201 C St. NW.
  • Friday, January 17 – President Obama will outline his proposed changes to the National Security Agency during an event at the Justice Department.
  • Friday, Jan. 17 – The Aspen Institute will hold abook discussion on The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs & Boost Profits, at noon at 1 Dupont Circle NW.
  • Friday, Jan. 17 – The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research will hold a discussion, “Tech Policy 2014: The Year Ahead,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1150 17th St. NW.
  • Friday, Jan. 17 – The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus will hold a discussion, “Court Strikes Down FCC Open Internet Rules, What Does It Mean for the Net?” at noon in 2226 Rayburn.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21 – The Hudson Institute will hold a discussion on telecommunications policy at noon at 1015 15th St. NW. FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly will participate.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21 – National Journal Live will hold a “Conversation With Charlie Cook” at 1:30 p.m. in 345 Cannon.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21 – The Center for the New Energy Economy will hold a briefing on a new report, “Powering Forward: Presidential and Executive Agency Actions to Drive Clean Energy in America,” at 9:30 a.m. at 529 14th St. NW.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22 – National Football League Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith will deliver a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon address, “The Most Recent Collective-Bargaining Agreement and Players’ Concerns Over Concussion-Related Injuries,” at 12:30 p.m. at 529 14th St. NW.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22 – The Commonwealth Fund will hold a webinar, beginning at 2 p.m., “The Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces: What’s the Experience So Far?”

 

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This Week in Washington…

Posted on January 9, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

  • House action on a bill funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year is appearing less likely this week, but appropriators on both sides of the Capitol remain optimistic that an omnibus package can be approved before the current continuing resolution expires next Wednesday. Look ahead: Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said that while six bills are virtually complete, a final omnibus bill is unlikely before the weekend.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expressed optimism about the farm bill, saying this week that negotiators are “just tying up loose ends.”
    Look ahead: Major differences remain ahead of a scheduled Thursday meeting of farm-bill conferees, with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., suggesting that a number of amendment votes will be necessary before final passage.
  • President Obama is expected to shift his focus toward income inequality during his second term, outlining his plans during the upcoming State of the Union address.
    Look ahead: The president will announce five “promise zones” in which the administration will use federal funds to aid community initiatives.
  • The president is meeting Thursday with leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees—and with a trio of congressional critics of the National Security Agency—to discuss the agency’s surveillance programs.
    Look ahead: The president is expected to increase oversight of the National Intelligence Priorities Framework and restrict the NSA’s access to Americans’ phone records, according to sources.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is “cautiously optimistic” that members can craft a compromise agreement to fund the temporary extension of unemployment benefits proposed by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.
    Look ahead: The bill is expected to clear a procedural hurdle, but Republicans will stop the measure cold during the next cloture vote if Reid does not allow an open amendment process.

WHITE HOUSE

  • President Obama is meeting Thursday with the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees and top congressional critics of the National Security Agency.
  • In a speech this afternoon, the president will designate five “promise zones,” pairing federal funding with private-sector programs to address employment, education, and housing.
  • Obama is expected to turn his attention to income inequality during his second term, using his State of the Union address to outline specific proposals, including an increase in the federal minimum wage.
  • The Justice Department will propose a regulation to identify those barred from possessing firearms for mental health reasons, while a proposed regulation from the Health and Human Services Department would enable states to disclose information to the federal background-check system.
  • The Justice Department will issue guidelines for banks governing their interaction with legalized marijuana businesses in states such as Colorado.

CONGRESS

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is “cautiously optimistic” that members can craft a compromise agreement to fund the temporary extension of unemployment benefits proposed by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.
  • The bipartisan measure to extend emergency unemployment compensation by three months, which includes no offsets for its $6.5 billion cost, was advanced on a 60-37 roll-call vote, with six Republicans joining Democrats in support of cloture.
  • House action on a bill funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year is appearing less likely this week, but appropriators on both sides of the Capitol remain optimistic that an omnibus package can be approved before the current continuing resolution expires next Wednesday.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expressed optimism about the farm bill Tuesday, but House Speaker John Boehner reiterated his opposition to “supply management” provisions offered by House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said that while six bills are virtually complete, a final omnibus bill is unlikely before the weekend.
  • A minimum-wage increase won’t have the vetting of a committee vote before it comes to the Senate floor, likely in February, a move designed to limit the number of “embarrassing amendments” Republicans can offer.

POLITICS

BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will meet today with Senate Democrats and is expected to address the issues facing the central bank in 2014, including the efforts to taper the Fed’s monthly bond purchases.
  • On a 56-26 vote Monday, the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve.
  • The Federal Reserve’s decision to reduce its monthly bond purchases was based on the belief that “the marginal efficacy of purchases was likely declining as purchases continue,” according to minutes of the Dec. 17-18 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, released Wednesday.
  • JPMorgan Chase has entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with federal authorities, and will pay $2.6 billion to resolve charges related to Bernie Madoff—$2.24 billion of which will be used to compensate Madoff’s victims.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he believes the Keystone XL oil pipeline will eventually be built.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency may be easing off efforts to enforce penalties against drillers ahead of the 2014 midterm elections due to the fact that fracking has proven to be one of the few bright spots in the economy.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, came out in support of lifting the de facto ban on oil exports.
  • Natural-gas prices were higher in 2013 compared with the previous year, with New England and New York seeing the largest price increases due to cold weather.
  • Financial-services giant Goldman Sachs sold its share in a company that’s leading the charge to build a controversial coal-export terminal in Washington state.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s draft regulation to limit carbon emissions from new power plants was published in the Federal Register, triggering the start of the 60-day comment period.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • More than 100,000 people who applied for coverage via HealthCare.gov—and were informed of their eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP—still lack coverage.
  • The administration urged the Supreme Court to reject the challenge filed by an order of Roman Catholic nuns against the ACA requirement that many employers provide coverage for birth control.
  • More than 70 provisions in 22 states were enacted nationwide to limit access to abortion services in 2013.
  • Spending grew 3.7 percent in 2012, in line with the historical trend in a post-recession period, according to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services analysis of the data.
  • Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., announced Monday that he is suing the Obama administration over the federal insurance subsidies for lawmakers and their staffers.
  • The new IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, said that ACA implementation costs could force reshuffling.
  • Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed paying for an extension of unemployment benefits by delaying the individual mandate for one year, while Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said he will propose an amendment to replace the Senate plan with new tax breaks and an ACA exemption.
  • In light of the50th anniversary of the landmark surgeon general’s report, national medical associations are lobbying to bring the smoking rate below 10 percent.

TECHNOLOGY

  • President Obama convened a series of meetings this week on reforming the NSA, including one Thursday with a small group of hand-picked lawmakers, ahead of an anticipated announcement later this month outlining planned changes.
  • FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said Congress should not wait for her agency before tackling patent-litigation reform, she said during an address in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
  • Federal agencies have inconsistent standards for protecting personal data from being breached, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler addressed AT&T’s controversial new “sponsored data” program at CES, leaving the door open for the agency to intervene if the service interferes with Internet operations or is abused as an anticompetitive practice.
  • Reps. Frank Upton and Greg Walden released a white paper highlighting flaws in the Communications Act they claim is outdated and in need of modernization.
  • Online review site Yelp is gaining influence in Washington to match the growing influence it has acquired in Silicon Valley, hiring a former staffer for Darrell Issa as its first in-house lobbyist.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “Oh, yeah, name these Republicans. The ones cheating on their third wives while they’re talking about traditional family values? Those ones?” — former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, on “family values” Republicans. (Slate)
  • “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” — Bridget Anne Kelly, a staffer to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in an email that implicates his administration in a political retribution scandal. (Bergen Record)
  • “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.” — Gov. Chris Christie, in a statement responding to news of the email. (The New York Times)
  • “I think Enzi would have dropped out if she hadn’t announced so early. But Enzi did not want to be seen as being shoved out.” — Donor to Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., on why Liz Cheney’s aggressive campaign backfired. (Huffington Post)
  • “Really, this is the first time in the history of rock ‘n’ roll that any music fans have been labeled as a ‘gang’ and that’s probably because it makes no damn sense!” — The Insane Clown Posse on why they are suing the FBI. (National Journal)
  • “Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American Dream.” — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in a speech on anti-poverty programs.

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • Pew charts historical income distribution.
  • Gallup charts the growing number of Americans who identify as Independents.
  • NASA tracks the path of its most recently discovered near-earth asteroid.
  • Pew finds that Republicans are more excited about the 2014 elections than Democrats.
  • Al Jazeera charts how poverty demographics have changed.
  • The University of North Carolina’s MPA blog charts the nation’s five largest mass-transit systems.

Future events

  • Thursday, January 9 – President Obama will hold an event to announce “promise zones” at 2 p.m. in the East Room of the White House.
  • Tuesday, January 14 – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing, “Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Questionable Application of Sequestration to the Secure Rural Schools Program and the Costs to States, Local Economies, and Rural School Children,” at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.
  • Tuesday, January 14 – The House Financial Services Committee’s Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “How Prospective and Current Homeowners Will Be Harmed by the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage Rule,” at 10 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.
  • Tuesday, January – The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government,” at 10:30 a.m. in 342 Dirksen.
  • Wednesday, January 15 – The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the impact and potential unintended consequences of the recently finalized Volcker Rule, at 10 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.
  • Friday, January 10 – the Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on the employment situation for December 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in G-50 Dirksen.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama will attend Democratic National Committee events in Los Angeles on Jan. 29 and San Francisco on Jan. 30, and join House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event in San Francisco on Jan. 31.
  • Thursday, January 16 – The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on income inequality in the United States at 10 a.m. in 216 Hart.
  • Friday, January 10 – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “The Science Behind Discovery: Seismic Exploration and the Future of the Atlantic OCS,” at 9:30 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.
  • Friday, January 10 – The National Academy of Sciences will hold awebinar, beginning at 2 p.m., on a new report, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises.”
  • Thursday, January 9 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold adiscussion, “Writing NATO’s Next Chapter,” focusing on “Norwegian defense priorities, its future modernization plans and aspirations for a post-Afghanistan and NATO,” at 2:30 p.m. at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW.
  • Friday, January 10 – The International Institute for Strategic Studies will hold adiscussion, “Toppling Qaddafi: Libya and the Limits of Liberal Intervention,” at 10 a.m. at 2121 K Street NW.
  • Monday, January 13 – The Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families will hold a Social Mobility Summit at 9 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are scheduled to participate.
  • Monday, January 13 – The Society for International Development, Washington, D.C., Chapter, will hold a discussion, “Measuring Child Wellbeing: Tools and Challenges,” at noon at 1101 15th Street NW.
  • Tuesday, January 14 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Health Policy Center will hold a discussion, “Universal Health Coverage in Emerging Economies: Improving Health While Preserving Wealth,” at 8:30 a.m. at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to examine the privacy and safety issues relevant to integration of commercial drones into national airspace at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 15. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is among the witnesses.
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