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.
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