Archive for April, 2014

This Week in Washington…

Posted on April 25, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

  • Today’s GOP tone and agenda are set by a voting bloc of mostly white, blue-collar workers whose sensibilities skew more toward NASCAR than golf, leaving candidates from the party’s managerial wing on unsure footing as they try to communicate with a base whose experiences and outlook are fundamentally different than their own.
  • The Republican Trust Political Action Committee touts candidates in a number of Southern states who have signed the organization’s pledge to vote for an all-new House GOP leadership team.
  • Republicans have rolled out two new supersized vehicles to collect bigger-than-ever checks from their top contributors since the Supreme Court allowed donors to make contributions to an unlimited number of politicians and party committees.
  • The Democratic National Committee and outside groups are working to ensure the election of state secretaries of state who oppose GOP-backed voter-identification laws.
  • Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who turns 91 on May 3, faces a stiff challenge from former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who is backed by conservative groups including the Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Madison Project.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than $23.6 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $21.2 million in the first quarter.
  • Mitt Romney is lending campaign help this cycle, backing primary candidates in need of conservative bona fides or offering a general-election boost in a state Romney captured in 2012.
  • Republican businessman Curt Clawson garnered 38 percent of the vote in a four-way special-election primary in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.
  • The Democratic National Committee on Monday sent its formal request for proposal to 15 potential host cities for its 2016 convention.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

  • Net incomes for middle-class workers in Canada have outstripped those in the United States, despite stronger economic growth in this country, while low-income workers in many European countries earn more than their American counterparts.
  • The administration is reportedly considering candidates with a community-banking background for the Federal Reserve Board.
  • The National Bureau of Economic Research reports that the economy began expanding again in June 2009, but the pace of growth has been lackluster, a fact variously attributed to the lingering impact of the economic crisis or to “secular stagnation.”
  • The Conference Board’s index, which calculates the three-to-six-month economic outlook, saw its strongest gains since July 2011, thanks to a decline in jobless claims and a rise in housing starts.
  • Comcast, which plans to divest roughly 4 million subscribers once its merger with Time Warner Cable is completed, and Charter Communications are reportedly close to an agreement that would see Charter acquire 1.5 million subscribers directly from Comcast, and assume a minority stake in a spinoff company that would serve the remaining 2.5 million.
  • Many municipal governments are setting property-tax revenue-collection records, and using the new windfalls to finance the expansion of services such as law enforcement.
  • A GAO report found that fewer than 1 percent of large partnerships are subject to IRS audits, prompting Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., to warn that many hedge funds and private equity firms are able to evade scrutiny.
  • In a surprise move, the United Auto Workers dropped its request for a new unionization vote by workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, and instead will focus on “advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga.”

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • Ahead of a hearing next Tuesday, Republican John Shimkus of Illinois has offered up a new version of his draft proposal to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, which has not been updated since its original passage in 1976.
  • Greg Brannon, Heather Grant, Mark Harris, and Thom Tillis—Republican challengers in North Carolina’s Senate race—have all said that climate change is not a fact.
  • Large corporations have spent big so far to help Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu win reelection in a contested Louisiana Senate race as she squares off against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.
  • A federally funded report found that biofuels made from the waste from harvested corn release more greenhouse gases than gasoline.
  • On the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP and the company’s critics described the situation in the Gulf of Mexico very differently.
  • According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Energy Department waived millions in credit-subsidy fees on loan guarantees to two companies to build a pair of reactors at Georgia’s Alvin W. Vogtle nuclear plant.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • The White House announced an enrollment surge of 3.7 million people into Obamacare in March and April alone, bringing total ACA enrollment to 8 million.
  • President Obama met with state representatives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to discuss what’s coming up in 2015 for the health care law.
  • Structural changes to the health care delivery system have led to lower health spending in recent years, but the wave of new insurance enrollees under the Affordable Care Act and the increased use of the system have experts concerned about a surge in spending.
  • A Government Accountability Office report detailed outside fundraising for ACA enrollment, which administration officials said was critical because Congress authorized far less funding than requested to publicize the health care law.
  • Sixty-nine percent of Americans support the mandate that health plans cover contraception, according to a new survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Millions declined to buy insurance coverage during the first ACA enrollment period—many of those decisions to forgo coverage were rooted in cost, ideological opposition to the health care law, or confusion.
  • A flurry of merger deals signals drug companies are moving more toward specialization.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Supreme Court justices were critical of Aereo’s business practices during the oral arguments over the online TV streaming service, but expressed doubt that the company has done anything that should be illegal.
  • Netflix spoke out against the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, saying it would allow the Internet giant even greater leeway to charge companies fees to access Internet subscribers.
  • Journalist Glenn Greenwald and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg blamed Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, both vocal critics of the NSA’s spying activities, for not doing anything sooner.
  • Apple issued a rare seven-for-one stock split, driving down the cost of a single stock in order to attract individual investors.
  • Mark Zuckerberg’s group backing immigration reform, FWD.us, launched TV ads criticizing Rep. Steve King for his opposition to allowing Dream Act undocumented immigrants to serve in the military.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “I’m going to be around for the 2016 election. And if not, I’m going to vote absentee.” — Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan. (Washington Post)
  • “It’s a gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country.” — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., discussing Russia in an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
  • “You know, his (campaign) ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good, but this is a real job, and we need to have somebody who actually has leadership experience.” — Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, on his gubernatorial opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (Washington Post)
  • “I’ve learned about the underside of campaigning. It was personal. It was dishonest. It was not a competition of ideas and it was wrong. It was ambition over truth, ratings over legitimacy. But we are past this. I took the arrows and I am past this. This is over, OK?” — Curt Clawson, after winning the Republican primary in the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. (Naples Daily News)
  • “That’s some good sushi right there.” — President Obama, after visiting “the greatest sushi restaurant in the world” with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Time)
  • “As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.” — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, reading her dissenting opinion in the case over Michigan’s ban on affirmative action (Washington Post)
  • “I called Kathleen Sebelius after she retired. I’m not sure if she retired or was thrown under the bus. I wished her the best. She got a lot of criticism. Some of it was deserved. A lot of it wasn’t deserved.” — Dole, during a stop in Holton, Kansas (Politico)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The Washington Post illustrates each state’s participation rate in the Boston Marathon.
  • National Journal illustrates how often Democrats and Republicans have talked about Earth Day.
  • The New York Times graphs the leaders of the South’s most competitive Senate races.
  • The Washington Post maps which parts of the country lack indoor plumbing.
  • Bloomberg illustrates how mortality rates have shifted in the past four decades.
  • The New York Times maps Americans’ allegiances to Major League Baseball teams.

Future events

  • Thursday, April 24 – Vice President Joe Biden will attend a fundraiser for Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y.
  • Thursday, April 24 – The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a field hearing, “Access to Mental Health Care and Traumatic Brain-Injury Services: Addressing the Challenges and Barriers for Veterans,” at 3 p.m. at 3601 South Sixth Ave. in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25 – The Export-Import Bank will hold its 2014 annual conference at 2500 Calvert St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 24 – The National Capital Chapter of the World Future Society will hold a discussion, “From Lab to Reality: Five Technology Trends That Could Change Your Life,” at 7:15 p.m. at 2201 G St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 24 – Bloomberg Government will hold awebinar, “An April Checkup for the Affordable Care Act,” beginning at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, April 25 – President Obama will participate in a naturalization ceremony and a wreath laying at the National War Memorial in Seoul, Republic of Korea, before meeting with President Park Geun-Hye.
  • Friday, April 25 – The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will hold a discussion, “Revising the Electronic Communications Privacy Act: Should Congress Require a Warrant?” at noon in 2228 Rayburn.
  • Friday, April 25 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “Nationalism Versus European Integration in Central and Eastern Europe: Results, Risks, and Chances,” at 10 a.m. at 1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 25 – The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the New Development Agenda,” at 11 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 25 – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion, “Obamacare’s Rocky Start and Uncertain Future,” at 9:15 a.m. at 1150 17th St. NW.
  • Monday, April 28 – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion, “Should Anonymous Campaign Expenditures be Allowed?” at noon at 1150 17th St. NW. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is scheduled to participate.
  • Tuesday, April 29 – The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing, “Driving Innovation Through Federal Investments,” at 2:30 p.m. in G-50 Dirksen.
  • Tuesday, April 29 – The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking agenda at 10 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.
  • Tuesday, April 29 – The House Natural Resource Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing, “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Skilled Trades Workers,” at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.
  • Wednesday, April 30 – The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing, “The First Step to Cutting Red Tape: Better Analysis,” at 10 a.m. in 216 Hart.
  • Wednesday, April 30 – The Energy Department’s Office of Science will hold a meeting by teleconference of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, beginning at 11 a.m., to discuss PCAST’s big data and privacy report.

 

 

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

This Week in Washington…

Posted on April 17, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

  • Representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union gathered in Geneva reached agreement on measures to ease tensions, with the Ukrainian interim government offering concessions in exchange for a Russian pullback, after Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted his “right” to deploy troops in the country.
    Look ahead: The deal places on hold any additional U.S. or European sanctions against Russia.
  • Fundraising does matter in an off year, but it matters more with an election in November, and candidates already are distinguishing themselves—in ways both good and bad—in the first financial disclosures of 2014.
    Look ahead: Winners so far include Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and the two Democratic congressional super PACs; Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and John Walsh, D-Mont., are among the losers.
  • HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who spent much of her tenure defending the Affordable Care Act rather than touting its successes, tendered her resignation, and the president named OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace her.
    Look ahead: Democrats have mentioned Sebelius as a possible challenger to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., though friends and former colleagues have dismissed the idea.
  • The Republican establishment is seeking detente with the tea party in a bid to secure Senate control, using its considerable financial resources and making diplomatic overtures in a bid to ensure the nomination of the most electable candidates.
    Look ahead: While the GOP has been successful in persuading tea party candidates to exit key Senate races in favor of the establishment choice, challenges remain.
  • The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget would increase revenues by nearly $1.4 trillion over the next decade and reduce deficits by $1.05 trillion over the same period.
    Look ahead: While the White House budget is unlikely to pass Congress in its entirety, the CBO report could bolster Democratic messaging ahead of the midterms.

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • Former President Jimmy Carter came out in opposition to the controversial Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline.
  • Radioactive waste has started to pile up across the United States as a byproduct of the nation’s shale-oil boom.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency notched a victory when a federal appeals court upheld its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants in the face of industry challenges to the regulation.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency released a series of white papers on sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector as part of the administration’s interagency strategy on methane.
  • The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report saying that current efforts to stem carbon pollution are not enough to prevent dangerous climatic changes.
  • A federal appeals court ruled that a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act mandating disclosure of the purchase of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo violates free speech.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • Outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who spent much of her tenure defending the Affordable Care Act rather than touting its successes, tendered her resignation last week. The president nominated OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Sebelius.
  • An additional 400,000 people have enrolled in private insurance coverage through the Obamacare exchanges as of last week, Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee April 10, bringing the latest estimate to 7.5 million.
  • The Congressional Budget Office lowered by $100 billion the total estimated cost of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, and said it expects premiums to go up next year, but by less than expected.
  • The Affordable Care Act has limited impact on taxes this year, as the major changes will come with the implementation of the individual mandate penalty next tax season
  • An internal Census Bureau document detailed changes to the questions asked about health coverage, which officials said will make it difficult to determine how much of a change in the uninsured rate can be credited to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Sebelius is reportedly considering a Senate run to challenge Kansas Republican Pat Roberts—an old friend of Sebelius, who called for her removal as HHS Secretary following the botched HealthCare.gov launch. Friends and former colleagues have dismissed the idea that Sebelius would run so soon after resigning from her Cabinet position.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Google has agreed to buy Titan Aerospace, which makes solar-powered drones that are built to fly nonstop for years, and which Facebook recently passed on purchasing.
  • Netflix’s streaming speeds rose 50 percent for Comcast users in March, after the two companies reached a deal in which Netflix pays for a direct connection to Comcast’s network.
  • The Federal Communications Commission plans to limit Verizon’s and AT&T’s ability to purchase access to airwaves in an auction, ensuring that smaller cell-phone service providers, specifically Sprint and T-Mobile, a chance to participate.
  • Intuit, the company that owns TurboTax, spent $2.6 million on lobbying in 2013, some of it for lobbying against proposals to provide for a free, simpler tax-filing process.
  • Google discovered the “Heartbleed” bug in March but did not tell the government, instead patching its servers and notifying other companies before publicizing the information available on April 7.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “I am telling you, if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on his plan to spend $50 million on a new gun-control advocacy group (New York Times)
  • “In my opinion, she is the prototype of a person we would want to be president of the United States. She has a very well-defined set of values and unlike many politicians, she actually sticks by those values and fights to implement them.… In short, it don’t get no better.” — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Elizabeth Warren’s prospects as a presidential candidate (National Journal)
  • “It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first. They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.” — Jason Healey, former Air Force cyber officer, on a report that the NSA knew about the Heartbleed bug for years (Bloomberg)
  • “If somebody wants to write me a $100,000 check for my campaign, great. But 48 hours later, everybody who has the Internet will know that Mr. Smith gave me a $100,000 check.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on why he disagrees with any campaign donation limits (Bergen Record)
  • “I’m a private citizen now. I frankly recognize that I have a political background that has a biography that’s attached to it that I live with.… I think if anything at this point of my career, I’ve earned the right to say, ‘It’s none of your business.’ ” –Anthony Weiner, declining to say whether he has stopped “sexting” (USA Today)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • Vox maps the world’s most and least religiously diverse countries.
  • Bloomberg illustrates Canada’s increasing capacity to grow corn.
  • National Journal illustrates the difference in pay between male and female nonprofit executives in Washington.
  • FiveThirtyEight graphs major cities’ snowfall month by month.
  • Pew Research Center graphs the dwindling percentage of black Major League Baseball players.

Future events

  • Thursday, April 17 – Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join host Marvin Kalb for a discussion of the First Amendment at 6 p.m. at 529 14th St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 17 – Women in Public Affairs at George Washington will hold a discussion, “Women as Leaders and Agents of Change,” at 6 p.m. at 1957 E St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 17 – The University of Maryland School of Public Policy will hold the Brody Forum, “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America,” at 5 p.m. in Van Munching Hall in College Park.
  • Thursday, April 17 – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, Asia Program, and Global Europe Program will hold adiscussion, “Aging and Security: What Can Governments Do About Falling Birth Rates?” at 4 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Thursday, April 17 – Georgetown University will hold a discussion, “Orders of Exclusion: U.S. Power Politics and International Organization in the 20th Century,” at 3 p.m. at 3600 N St. NW.
  • Friday, April 18 – The George Washington University Sustainable Urban Planning program will hold a research symposium, “Urban Quality of Life,” including the economic value and how various population groups are affected by place-to-place differences in living conditions, at 2:30 p.m. at 1957 E St. NW.
  • Friday, April 18 – Politico Pro will host an Energy Twitter chat, beginning at 12:30 p.m., on the Environmental Protection Agency, climate regulations, and the outlook for 2014.
  • Friday, April 18 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “Europe’s Energy Future, Russia, Ukraine: A Comedy of Errors?” at 12:30 p.m. at 1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 18 – The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy will hold a conference-call briefing, beginning at 1 p.m., on H.R. 3899, the “Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.”
  • Friday, April 18 – The White House will hold an afternoon event to present the 2013 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the U.S. States Naval Academy football team, for being “the service academy with the best overall record against the other two service academies.”
  • Monday, April 21 – The White House will hold the 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, focused on promoting health and wellness with the theme, “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape.”
  • Monday, April 21 – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion, “Navigating the Oil Frontier: The Implications of the Tight Oil Boom on Arctic and Ultra-Deepwater Oil Development,” at 8 a.m. at 525 New Jersey Ave. NW.
  • Monday, April 21 – The Heritage Foundation will hold a discussion, “Propaganda, Disinformation, and Dirty Tricks: The Resurgence of Russian Political Warfare,” at 10 a.m. at 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
  • Monday, April 21 – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program will hold a discussion, “America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East,” at 4 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Monday, April 21 – The Aspen Institute will hold a book discussion on The Second Machine Age: Work Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies at noon at 1 Dupont Circle NW.
  • Tuesday, April 22 – The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s Science and Space Subcommittee will hold a field hearing, “Leading the Way: Adapting to South Florida’s Changing Coastline,” at 10 a.m. at 1700 Convention Center Dr. in Miami Beach.
  • Tuesday, April 22 – The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a field hearing, “Construction Conundrums: A Review of Continued Delays and Cost Overruns at the Replacement Aurora, Colo., VAMC,” at 11 a.m. at 200 East Colfax Ave. in Denver.
  • Tuesday, April 22 – The Digital Diplomacy Coalition and the United Nations Foundation will hold a summit, “The Future of Diplomacy,” including the “nexus between technology and social media and how they are changing modern diplomacy,” at 8 a.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, April 22 to Thursday, April 24 – Explore Mars and the George Washington University Space Policy Institute will hold the “Humans to Mars Summit” at 730 21st St. NW. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is scheduled to participate.
  • Tuesday, April 22 – The Georgetown University Law Center will hold a discussion, “Privacy Principles in the Era of Massive Data,” at 10 a.m. at 600 New Jersey Ave. NW.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

This Week in Washington…

Posted on April 11, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

  • Strategists surveyed from both parties believe this year’s election results will depend on two distinct groups of female voters: single women targeted by Democrats, and married women sought after by Republicans.
  • The president continued his emphasis on voting rights, telling supporters at a joint DSCC/DCCC fundraiser that there are “active efforts to deter people from voting.”
  • Ready for Hillary, a super PAC working to build support for a potential Clinton presidential bid, raked in more than $1.7 million in the first quarter of the year, bringing its total haul to more than $5.75 million since it launched a little over a year ago.
  • Vice President Joe Biden raised his political profile this week, featuring prominently in a DNC video opposing efforts to tighten voting restrictions, and resuming use of his @JoeBiden Twitter account, which is managed by the DNC.
  • The ongoing struggle between Republican establishment and antiestablishment groups, magnified by tea-party challenges to incumbent members of Congress, has entered the public sphere.
  • Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown told supporters in an email Monday that he will formally launch his challenge to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., at an event in Portsmouth this evening.
  • Following last week’s 5-4 decision to overturn limits on aggregate donations by individuals, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Iowa’s ban on direct donations by corporations.
  • Ted Kennedy Jr., son of the longtime Massachusetts senator, will seek a seat in the Connecticut state Senate.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • A California Senate panel narrowly passed a bill that would place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the state, although many Democrats withheld their votes saying they’d like to see more discussion before approving an outright ban.
  • The Senate voted to confirm Neil Kornze to become the director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management.
  • The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration handed out penalties for pipeline violations to the tune of $9.78 million in 2013.
  • David Cameron has intensified a push to increase fracking across Europe as a result of the tensions with Russia.
  • Royal Dutch Shell joined a host of other corporations in asking international policymakers to limit carbon emissions to one trillion tons.
  • Mining company Rio Tinto is giving away its stake in the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

TECHNOLOGY

  • Researchers discovered a bug they’re calling “heartbleed” that could expose Internet users’ sensitive information like passwords and goes through a kind of software that most websites use.
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is worried that Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable could lead to discrimination against conservative viewpoints, which Lee said Comcast-owned NBCUniversal already does.
  • Comcast has promised faster Internet speeds if the Federal Communications Commission approves the merger, saying it could upgrade Time Warner Cable’s network.
  • Robocoin, which brands itself as the “world’s first bitcoin ATM,” set up a bitcoin kiosk at the Capitol to teach members of Congress about the virtual currency.
  • Conservative lawmakers including Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., are pointing to former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s resignation as an example of excessive political correctness, with Wolf saying “any American who values the First Amendment should be deeply troubled that this man was essentially driven from his job because of his personal beliefs.”
  • Technology industry leaders are frustrated with the White House for subtly comparing the NSA’s data-collection practices with those of private companies like Google, implying the government shouldn’t receive any more scrutiny than tech companies.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “I’m not going to make a decision for a while, because I’m actually enjoying my life. I’m actually having fun.” — Hillary Clinton, on running for president in 2016 (National Journal)
  • “It was subtle. The use thereof, or the trying thereof, inhaling or not. … Experimentation.” — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, on hinting that he might have tried pot (National Journal)
  • “Good luck with your asparagus.” — Attorney General Eric Holder, to Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, referring to an instance in which Gohmert misused the word asparagus (The Wire)
  • “Someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally … and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Fox News (National Journal)
  • “No one is feeding this to their pets. They are buying raw milk for themselves and their families. And they are doing it because we have some very stupid laws out there.” — Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, on people buying unpasteurized milk that is labeled for pets (National Journal)
  • “Rats are usually people that were with other rats. I was not and am not a rat, because I wasn’t with the rats. I’m a cat. I chase rats.” — Rev. Al Sharpton, on recording conversations with mobsters in the 1980s (New York Observer)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • Vox.com maps the legal status of marijuana in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • CNBC charts the best and worst tippers in America, as compiled by GrubHub.
  • The Washington Post charts the depth of the underwater search for Flight 370.
  • Quartz maps which European countries get the most natural gas from Russia.
  • FiveThirtyEight charts the drop in international inflation rates since 1980.
  • Pew Charitable Trusts ranks the quality of states’ election administration.

Future events

  • Thursday, April 10 – The National Press Club Communications and Marketing Commission will hold a dinner conversation with former White House press secretary Mike McCurry at 6:30 p.m. at 529 14th St. NW.
  • Friday, April 11 – President Obama will address the 16th Annual Convention of the National Action Network in New York City.
  • Friday, April 11 – First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host former first lady Rosalynn Carter, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and military and veteran caregivers “to announce commitments that will strengthen the support provided to the friends and loved ones caring for our wounded warriors.”
  • Thursday, April 10 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s European Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Transatlantic Security Challenges: Central and Eastern Europe,” at 3 p.m. in 419 Dirksen.
  • Friday, April 11 – The Heritage Foundation will hold a book discussion on Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It at noon at 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
  • Thursday, April 10 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion, “Food, Jobs, and Technology: Public-Private Partnerships and the post-2015 Development Agenda,” at 3:30 p.m. at 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 11 – The New America Foundation will host a book discussion on The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World, at 12:15 p.m. at 1899 L St. NW. could trigger U.S. sanctions.
  • Thursday, April 10 – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program will hold a discussion, “Assessing the Rebalance: The Evolution of U.S. Interests in Asia,” at 4 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Thursday, April 10 – The Brookings Institution and the Delegation of the European Union to the U.S. will hold a discussion, “Aid in Fragile States: Improving Our Response to Global Humanitarian Crises,” at 5 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 11 – The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “The Future of U.S. Health Care Spending,” at 8:30 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Wednesday, April 16 – The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “Treating Congestive Heart Failure and the Role of Payment Reform,” at 10 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 11 – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion, “Bitcoin: The Future of Currency?” at 10:30 a.m. at 1030 15th St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 17 – The Cato Institute will hold a discussion, “Libertarianism #ThroughGlass: Using Google Glass to Change Policy,” at noon at 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

This Week in Washington…

Posted on April 3, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimated that 14.7 of every 1,000 8-year-olds have been identified with autism spectrum disorder—30 percent higher than a 2012 estimate and more than twice as high a rate as in a 2007 report.
  • Maryland will replace its broken $125.5 million ACA health exchange with Connecticut’s system.
  • The Senate passed a “doc fix” patch on a 64-35 vote to delay for one year a 24 percent cut to physician reimbursements under Medicare, with many of the Republicans who backed a motion to proceed opposing final passage. The vote to postpone the cuts marks the 17th such action in 11 years.
  • A new ABC News/Washington Post pollfound that 49 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act, while 48 percent are opposed. The support is the highest on record since August 2009. Thirty-six percent of conservatives support the law, up from 17 percent in the fall.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that 80-90 percent of ACA enrollees have paid their premiums. New data from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association says that 15-20 percent have not paid.
  • A last-minute frenzy brought high traffic and website issues on the final day of ACA enrollment.
  • The White House announced Tuesday that 7.1 million Americans have enrolled in private insurance plans on the health law’s exchanges, surpassing CBO’s original target.

TECHNOLOGY

  • NASA announced it has suspended all contact with the Russian government over the annexation of Crimea, in keeping with a State Department directive—with the exception of the International Space Station.
  • The Federal Communications Commission denied Netflix’s request for net-neutrality rules that ban Internet providers from charging services extra to reach users.
  • National Intelligence Director James Clapper confirmed that the National Security Agency spied on Americans using a loophole in a law that was only meant to apply to foreigners, which Sens. Mark Udall and Ron Wyden called “unacceptable.”
  • Amazon launched Fire TV, a video streaming service that allows users to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other sites’ videos and could eventually allow users to buy products straight from commercials.
  • The Federal Communications Commission voted to ban multiple TV stations in a single market from sharing advertising staffs, saying it effectively allows one company to control multiple stations, which is not allowed.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “It’s a lonely road from now until I win the primary—then it’ll be a lovefest.” — Congressional hopeful Steven Burke, who is challenging Democratic favorite Aaron Woolf in a primary election in New York’s 21st Congressional District (Denton Publications)
  • “If you don’t have baggage they’ll create baggage for you. That’s politics in America today.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on why the Bridgegate scandal won’t affect his decision on whether to run for president (New York Daily News)
  • “You don’t know anything about anything.” — Sen. Barbara Boxer, to GM CEO Mary Barra, who has distanced herself from the company’s actions regarding a faulty ignition switch (The Hill)
  • “I’ll stipulate it’s a tough climate for us right now. It’s a tough climate.” — Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, declining to predict whether Democrats could win the House in November (National Journal)
  • “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects.” — Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion on the Supreme Courts’ controversial ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC (Washington Post)
  • “Investigations may go on and on and on. We have to clear every little thing. At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident.” — Malaysia Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar, on the continuing search for missing flight MH370 (CBS News)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The Washington Post maps the east-west divide in the D.C. mayoral election.
  • Quartz charts the rising cost of winning a congressional election.
  • FiveThirtyEight graphs the percentage of young people living at home in the U.S. and Europe.
  • The Washington Post maps the age of congressional delegations in the 113th Congress.
  • NBC News maps where texting and driving is legal and illegal.
  • The Washington Post illustrates what caused the deadly mudslide in Washington state.

Future events

  • Thursday, April 3 – President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Leadership to discuss the president’s recent trip to Europe and the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
  • Friday, April 4 – The R Street Institute and CREW will host a discussion, “Lawmaking in the Open,” focusing on methods used to publish congressional information on the Internet, at 10:30 a.m. in 1310 Longworth.
  • Wednesday, April 9 – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger and the Impact on Consumers,” at 10 a.m. in 226 Dirksen.
  • Wednesday, April 9 – The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing, “Election Administration: Making Voter Rolls More Complete and More Accurate,” at 10 a.m. in 301 Russell.
  • Thursday, April 3 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold a discussion, “The Global Financial Crisis and its Long Aftermath,” at 4:30 p.m. at 1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 4 – The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research will hold a discussion, “Major surgery needed: A call for structural reform of the U.S. corporate income tax,” at 9 a.m. at 1150 17th St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 3 – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion, “Crisis in Ukraine: The Energy Factor,” at 5:45 p.m. at 1030 15th St. NW.
  • Monday, April 7 – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Project and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will hold a workshop, “State, Regional and Company Approaches to Reduce Power Sector GHG (greenhouse gas) Emissions,” at 9 a.m. at 1000 H St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 3 – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion, “Between East and West,” focusing on the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea, at 4 p.m. at 1030 15th St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 3 – American University’s School of Public Affairs will hold a Janus Forum debate, “The NSA and Privacy,” at 8 p.m. at 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, April 8 – The United States Institute of Peace and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace will hold a discussion, “Mapping Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Architecture and Planning in Conflict Resolution,” at 9 a.m. at 2301 Constitution Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 4 – The American Psychiatric Association will hold a discussion, “Integrated Primary and Mental Health Care: Reconnecting the Brain and the Body,” at 10 a.m. at 529 14th St. NW.
  • Thursday, April 3 – The New America Foundation will hold a book discussion on The Global War for Internet Governance at 4 p.m. at 1899 L St. NW.
  • Friday, April 4 – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will hold the 2014 SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference, “Technology in Action: Changing the Way Women Live and Work,” at 8:15 a.m. at 1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, April 4 – The Hudson Institute’s Center for the Economics of the Internet will hold a discussion on the future of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers at 11 a.m. at 1015 15th St. NW.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...