This Week in Washington…

Posted on March 14, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • Two more abortion clinics in Texas announced their closure. The clinics are the only providers that remain in rural Texas, and their closure—in response to the strict antiabortion law passed by the state Legislature—brings the total number of abortion facilities in the state down to 20. Only six facilities are likely to remain when the final provision of the law goes into effect in September.
  • Gary Cohen, a top official tasked with implementing the ACA, will resign as director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight when the health law’s first open-enrollment period concludes at the end of March.
  • CMS already named Hewlett-Packard as the replacement for the original HealthCare.gov host, Terremark, several months ago, but the agency announced Friday that it will extend Terremark’s contract up to seven months to ensure smooth transition at the end of the open enrollment period March 31.
  • A new survey finds that a large group still dislikes the health care law, and Democrats may not have time to repair the negative impression before midterm elections.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it will abandon changes that conservatives said would undermine its drug coverage under Medicare Part D.
  • The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Monday, found that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months of 2013.
  • Over 4.2 million enrolled in private insurance coverage through the ACA as of March 1. More than 2.6 million people have signed up through the federal marketplace, and more than 1.6 million have enrolled in state-based marketplaces, according to the latest enrollment numbers from the Health and Human Services Department.

TECHNOLOGY

  • The NSA has used a Facebook look-alike site to implant malware onto people’s computers as part of a surveillance program uncovered by documents released by Edward Snowden.
  • U.S. officials say Ukrainian computer systems are being attacked by hackers, but have not commented publicly on the possibility of Russian involvement.
  • World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, who has been critical of government surveillance practices, is marking the Web’s 25th birthday by calling for a Web “Magna Carta” protecting users’ rights.
  • Top university researchers say “the Web you know,” such as Facebook or Google, accounts for just 1 percent of the Internet, while dynamic pages on the “Deep Web” make up the rest.
  • California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is beginning to plan regulations for driverless cars, raising such questions as whether a driver needs to be behind the wheel of a car driven by a computer, and how the state will determine which self-driving cars are safe.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “I think we are going to crush them everywhere. I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on conservative activist groups threatening Republican incumbents in the Senate with primary challenges (New York Times)
  • “I feel a little like a pedestrian in a Godzilla movie.” — Andrew Romanoff, Democratic challenger in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, on the enormous outside spending in close midterm races (National Journal)
  • “There is a bogus poll out there. I can sense the people of my state. When I travel around, which I do constantly, they like me, and I am very grateful.” — Sen. John McCain, on a poll that found he has a 30 percent job approval rating in Arizona (The Hill)
  • “I have very good news tonight. No more commercials.” — David Jolly, after being elected to Florida’s 13th Congressional District after a special election characterized by massive outside spending (Tampa Bay Times)
  • “I think it’s horsesh–. I think The Washington Post is acting like some kind of an Internet blog or something instead of doing real reporting.” — Burns Strider, a longtime Hillary Clinton aide, on the Washington Post reporting that a Clinton ally asked “shadow campaign” financier Jeffrey Thompson to aid Clinton’s 2008 campaign (National Journal)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The New York Times visualizes key developments in the Ukraine crisis.
  • The Guardian illustrates the claimed sightings of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
  • The Washington Post graphs the advantage that campaign donors have over constituents when they want to meet with members of Congress.
  • Pew Research Center graphs the generational divide on same-sex marriage.
  • Time charts the productivity of the 113th Congress.
  • Bloomberg illustrates China’s plan to push its pollution westward.
  • Slate maps the meat preferences of all 50 states.

Future events

  • Tuesday, March 18 – President Obama will award 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
  • Thursday, March 13 – The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on “The Economic Report of the President 2014” at 2:30 p.m. in 1100 Longworth.
  • Thursday, March 13 – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a meeting, “Roundtable – Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Perspectives of the Non-Federal Partners,” at 2:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn.
  • Tuesday, March 18 – The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a field hearing, “Reviving Our Economy: How Career and Technical Education Can Strengthen the Workforce,” at 7050 West Shelbourne Ave. in Las Vegas.
  • Friday, March 14 – The Heritage Foundation will hold a discussion, “Dereliction of Duty: State Attorneys General Failing to Defend Marriage Laws in Court,” at noon at 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
  • Friday, March 14 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “Mobilizing the Anti-Immigration Vote? The 2014 European Parliament Elections,” at 3 p.m. at 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Thursday, March 13 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “The Status Quo Crisis: Global Financial Governance After the 2007-2008 Financial Meltdown,” at 4:30 p.m. at 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, March 18 – The Atlantic will host its third annual Economy Summit at 9 a.m. at 1001 16th St. NW.
  • Tuesday, March 18 – The Aspen Institute’s Manufacturing program, Women in Science, and the Bertelsmann Foundation will hold a discussion, “Filling the Skills Gap in Manufacturing: The Untapped Resource,” focusing on increasing the role of women in the manufacturing workforce, at noon at 1 Dupont Cir. NW.
  • Wednesday, March 19 – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a discussion of the “budgetary implications of the federal government’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” at 9 a.m. at 1225 I St. NW.
  • Thursday, March 13 – The Brookings Institution will host a discussion, “Restructuring the Electricity Sector in Japan: Will It Enhance Energy Security?” at 3:30 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Thursday, March 13 – Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will host a discussion, “The Future of Energy: North American Energy Security,” at 5:30 p.m. at 501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, March 18 – Resources for the Future will host a lecture by Nobel Laureate Robert Engle, “A Financial Approach to Environmental Risk,” at 12:45 p.m. at 1616 P St. NW.
  • Wednesday, March 19 – The Woodrow Wilson Center and George Mason University will host a discussion, “Managing Our Planet: The State and Fate of the Arctic,” at 3 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Thursday, March 13 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion, “Aid Effectiveness and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Agenda,” at 4 p.m. at 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW.
  • Friday, March 14 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “Mobilizing the Anti-Immigration Vote? The 2014 European Parliament Elections,” at 3 p.m. at 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Monday, March 17 – The Woodrow Wilson Center will host a discussion, “Beyond the Arab Spring: U.S. Engagement in a Changing Middle East,” at 11:30 a.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Wednesday, March 12 to Friday, March 14 – The Partnership for a Healthier America holds its third “Building a Healthier Future Summit” at 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW.
  • Monday, March 17 – The Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a discussion, “U.S. Global Health Diplomacy and the Role of Ambassadors,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1330 G St. NW.
  • Friday, March 14 – The New America Foundation will host a discussion, “Civil Rights and Big Data,” at 9 a.m. at 1899 L St. NW.
  • Tuesday, March 18 – The New America Foundation will host a discussion, “Super Wi-Fi, Incentive Auctions and the Emerging Unlicensed Economy,” at 12:15 p.m. at 1899 L St. NW.

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