This Week in Washington…

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

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

  • The Ebola outbreak has killed at least 932 people in four West African countries, the World Health Organization announced. The CDC issued a “Level 1 activation” alert in response. The two American aid workers infected with Ebola arrived at Emory University hospital in Atlanta for treatment. Look ahead: The World Health Organization announced it will convene medical-ethics experts next week to discuss the use of experimental Ebola drugs.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a ban of up to one year on all agricultural imports from the U.S., E.U., Canada, and Japan in retaliation for heightened sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. Look ahead:S. exports to Russia are already plummeting, down 34 percent. As the battle over sanctions continues, both sides stand to lose.
  • Israel and Hamas are nearing the end of the longest cease-fire in the current Gaza conflict. Egyptian mediators are helping negotiate an extension of the 72-hour truce, set to expire Friday morning. Look ahead: The Palestinian Authority could gain power in the region as Israel and Hamas have already agreed to bring in the P.A. to police Gaza’s borders.
  • S. Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene was killed by an Afghan soldier Tuesday during an insider attack in Kabul. He is the highest-ranking official to be killed since the Vietnam War. Look ahead: Already some members of Congress are renewing their criticism of the president’s plan to withdraw. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel dismissed calls to reverse course in Afghanistan. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced stop in Afghanistan following the incident.
  • At least two members of Congress are calling CIA Director John Brennan to resign over revelations that the CIA spied on Senate computers. Look ahead: Will the Senate or the president push Brennan to resign?

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

  • Republicans are cashing in on the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision, giving wealthy donors the chance to write checks for six-figure sums to GOP Senate candidates this fall.
  • “Red alert” emails from congressional Democrats are bringing in big fundraising sums.
  • A Wisconsin court dealt a major blow to public-sector unions, upholding a controversial law that limits the collective-bargaining rights of public employees.
  • Democrats are ditching the “War on Women” rhetoric that helped them defeat Mitt Romney in 2012 in favor of talking specifics about women’s reproductive rights and the gender pay gap.
  • Hillary Clinton appeared on The Colbert Report to defend her memoir Hard Choices from playful criticism.

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • The hazardous bloom of blue-green algae that fouled Toledo’s water this weekend is due in part to the invasive zebra and quagga mussels that are wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • As California’s drought drags on, companies that promise to paint the grass green are cropping up all over the state.
  • Production of natural gas in the Marcellus Region, largely in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, exceed 15 billion cubic feet per day through July.
  • Three years after the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima Prefecture, the utility Tokyo Electric Power is looking to clean-coal technology to restore power to the region.
  • Nonpartisan fact-checking website Politifact rated as false a new ad sponsored by environmental billionaire Tom Steyer’s green group NextGen Climate that hits Republican Iowa Senate hopeful Joni Ernst.
  • Democratic Rep. Jared Polis agreed to pull two ballot initiatives in Colorado that would have given state residents greater say over fracking in the state amid fears that the measures would divide Democrats in the state.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

TECHNOLOGY

  • The federal government says there is a second leaker, in addition to Edward Snowden, who has accessed national security documents on surveillance issues.
  • According to classified documents, 280,000 people on the U.S. government’s database of terrorist suspects are listed as having no known connection to a terrorist group.
  • Security experts are urging Internet users to be cautious online after a Russian gang gained access to 1.2 billion passwords in an attack that one expert called “a huge breach.”
  • The Republican National Committee sent out a fundraising email asking recipients to sign a petition in support of Uber, criticizing local laws that ban the service in cities like Seattle. The business has earned mentions in other Republican speeches, including one by Marco Rubio.
  • Small businesses have struggled to continue purchasing ads on Facebook as the social network increased the average price of an ad 123 percent over the course of the last year.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “You had the audacity to try to call me today after running a campaign that was called ‘the nastiest in the country.’ I ran for office to stop people like you.” – Rep. Justin Amash, to his primary challenger, Brian Ellis, in his victory speech (com)
  • “I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, you’re a disgrace. I’m glad we can hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance.” – Amash, in the same victory speech (com)
  • “My record’s pretty clear. I’m a social conservative. But it’s not where I need to be spending my time if I’m president of the United States—if that’s the project I’m gonna be working on. It shouldn’t be. Our candidate I don’t think should be bogged down with issues that are not on the front burner of what’s facing this country.” – Texas Gov. Rick Perry (National Journal)
  • “This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else.” – Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, on whether the Republican Party needs to expand its appeal to other racial demographics (Washington Post)
  • “I said, ‘I need to take a couple more bites, and we’ll do an interview.’ And then I was told we had to leave, and I had to do the interview, so actually, I stand about 10 feet from those people who were doing sort of a kamikaze interview, and I stood 10 feet from them and did another interview.” – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, on seeming to run away when a self-identified Dreamer approached him and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa (The Hill)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • National Journal graphs when lawmakers take privately sponsored trips overseas.
  • Quartz graphs the disparity between the number of Hispanics who go to the movies and the number of Hispanics who appear in movies.
  • The Washington Post charts the political, economic, and social state of Africa.
  • The World Health Organization charts the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
  • @MetricMaps tracks the growth of the U.S. prison population from 1978 to 2012.

Future events

  • After the president’s African leadership summit, the International Association of African Non-Governmental Organizations (IAAN) is hosting the Social Accountability Summit at the Washington Marriott Hotel, Aug. 7-8 to call for good governance.
  • On Aug. 7 at 7 p.m., the Newseum hosts “The Nixon Resignation: 40 Years Later” with special guests Carl Bernstein, Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter. Brinkley and Nichter co-authored the new book, “The Nixon Tapes.”
  • The House and Senate return from recess on Monday, Sept. 8.
  • The Red State Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas, is Aug. 7-9. Honored speakers include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Former Sen. Jim DeMint.
  • The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa is Aug. 9. Cruz, Perry and Cuccinelli are also scheduled to appear here, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
  • The Iowa State Fair is bringing out all the 2016 contenders. From Aug. 7-16, the Des Moines Register‘s political soapbox will host more than a dozen speakers, including Cruz and Perry.
  • On Aug. 12 at 2 p.m., the S. Treasury Department will release its monthly account of the surplus or deficit of the federal government.
  • Newt Gingrich makes the case for improving veterans’ health by using smartphones. The American Enterprise Institute is hosting the event on 12 at noon.
  • CDC Director Tom Frieden and representatives from USAID and the State Department are testifying in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 2:00 p.m. on Aug. 7 about combatting the Ebola threat.
  • Admiral Michael S. Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, is the honored guest at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Leadership Dinner on Aug. 13. The reception begins at 6 p.m.

 

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