This Week in Washington…

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

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET & ECONOMY

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HEALTH CARE

  • Administration officials acknowledged Sept. 4 that hackers infiltrated gov in July, but maintain that no consumer data was compromised during the attack, which involved the upload of malicious code to a test server.
  • Workers found six more dangerous agents, including ricin, improperly stored in NIH and FDA labs, following the July discovery of smallpox vials in federal facilities.
  • The Government Accountability Office estimated that the state’s private-option plan will cost nearly 25 percent more than providing the coverage through traditional Medicaid, saying that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not ensure that the program would be budget-neutral when approving it.
  • The Health and Human Services Department announced $60 million in ACA Navigator grants in 2015.
  • Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe unveiled his “alternative” to Medicaid expansion, which the state’s Republican Legislature had repeatedly denied—a significantly scaled-back program that would cover about 250,000 Virginians, compared to 400,000 who could gain coverage under Medicaid.
  • The average premium for employer-based coverage rose by only 3 percent this year, a major improvement over double digit hikes in the 1990s, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of the employer insurance market. But employers are shifting more health care costs to employees, with higher deductibles.
  • Ebola infections are increasing exponentially in West Africa, with nearly 4,300 cases reported, due in part to a surge of infections in Liberia, where the World Health Organization estimated more than 500 new cases were reported in a week. The death toll in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal is thought to have exceeded 2,200.
  • Resource commitments have picked up in the last week, but international efforts to control the outbreak have been slow moving; what’s urgently needed is more funding, more personnel, and better coordination.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Senators unveiled draft legislation that would reduce the leverage of broadcast stations like NBC or Fox in negotiations with providers, aiming to ultimately lower people’s cable bills.
  • Netflix, Reddit, Digg, and other major websites took part in a protest calling for net-neutrality regulations by displaying a “loading” icon saying that without rules stopping Internet providers from hindering Internet traffic, the Web page could still be loading.
  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech that Internet access on smartphones is a “key component” of what the commission is looking to protect with its net-neutrality rules, indicating that those rules could be expanded to cover cell-phone service.
  • Sources on and off Capitol Hill say NSA reform legislation is not a high priority as the Senate calendar gets filled with debates over a continuing resolution and the Import-Export Bank.
  • Dozens of left-leaning organizations called on Google to end its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council shortly after the conservative group expressed support for the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger.

Look ahead

  • The FCC will hold a vote later this month aimed at ending the NFL’s blackout rules that don’t allow TV stations to air games that haven’t sold out.
  • The iPhone 6 will store credit-card information using a service called Apple Pay, and hopes to overcome fears about data breaches by storing information on a separate chip that keeps the data away from iCloud.

Future events

  • Monday, Sept. 15 — The Brookings Institution will hold a forum, “The Future of Civilian Robotics,” focusing on the legal and regulatory aspects of civilian robotics, at 2 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 – The Center for American Progress will hold a discussion, “Wired for the Future: U.S.-Japan Cooperation for the New Internet Economy,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1333 H St. NW.

OTHER NEWS

  • The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of running back Ray Rice, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely, following the release Monday of a video showing him punching then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
  • Comedian Joan Rivers died Sept. 4, after going into cardiac arrest during an outpatient procedure at a New York physician’s office.
  • Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson announced plans to sell his franchise amid revelations that he sent a racially insensitive email regarding the team’s fan base.
  • South African Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled Olympian Oscar Pistorius “negligent” in the Feb. 14, 2013 death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but said the state had failed to prove premeditated murder; a final verdict on the charge of culpable homicide is expected Friday.
  • Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child; son George was born in July 2013.

QUOTES

  • “A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.” – Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., on what House Republicans want President Obama to do about ISIS (New York Times)
  • “We lived in a soulless suburb. It wasn’t the right place for us, and we needed a change.” — New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in her memoir, on Arlington, Va. (Washington City Paper)
  • “I’ve seen the ugly in Washington, D.C. I’ve been caught by its trappings.” – Iowa Republican congressional candidate David Young, as shown in a Democratic campaign ad (DCCC TV ad)
  • “I grew up watching Saturday Night Live, I love Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live over the years has had some of the most tremendous political satire. Who can forget in 2008, Saturday Night Live‘s wickedly funny characterization of the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?” – Sen. Ted Cruz, arguing against a bill that he said could lead to censorship of political speech (Politico)
  • “Whenever we can, we follow the law.” – IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing (The Hill)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The Washington Post graphs net job growth under presidents since Eisenhower.
  • FiveThirtyEight maps which U.S. high schools use Native American mascots.
  • The New York Times charts the popularity of Sunday show guests since the start of 2009.
  • MarketWatch charts the proliferation of dollar stores across the United States.
  • Quartz graphs the disparity in people’s views on immigration after learning how many immigrants are in their country.
  • Oxford University researchers map the areas at risk of Ebola emergence via animal-to-human transmission.
  • The New York Times charts the financial well-being of American families.

Future events

  • Friday, Sept. 12 – President Obama will deliver remarks at an AmeriCorps pledge ceremony marking the program’s 20th anniversary on the South Lawn of the White House.
  • Monday, Sept. 15 – President Obama will confer the Medal of Honor upon retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and to Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat for conspicuous gallantry during combat operations in Vietnam.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Atlantic will host a “Women of Washington” conversation with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., at 8:30 a.m. at 101 Constitution Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing, “U.S. Policy Toward Iraq and Syria and the Threat Posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” at 9:30 a.m. in 216 Hart.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The University of Maryland will hold a forum, “Managing Congressional Polarization,” at noon at 7621 Mowatt Ln. in College Park.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Sunlight Foundation and ReThink Media will hold a discussion, “The Price We Pay for Money’s Influence on Politics,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1110 Vermont Ave. NW.
  • Monday, Sept. 15 — The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “Childhood Food Insecurity in the U.S.: Trends, Causes, and Policy Options,” at 9 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Monday, Sept. 15 to Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold its 2014 Housing Summit, “Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy,” at 999 Ninth St. NW.
  • Thursday, Sept. 11 — The World Resources Institute will hold a briefing on a new report, “Global Shale and Water Risk,” at 4 p.m. at 10 G St. NE.
  • Friday, Sept. 12 — The Law & Economics Center at George Mason University School of Law will hold a public policy conference, “Administration Unbound? Delegation, Deference, and Discretion,” at 8 a.m. at 3301 Fairfax Dr. in Arlington.
  • Friday, Sept. 12 — The Center for American Progress will hold a discussion, “Defeating ISIS: Building a Framework to Support a Reliable and Effective Opposition to Assad and ISIS,” at noon at 1333 H St. NW.
  • Monday, Sept. 15 — The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion, “After the Summit: NATO’s Path Forward,” at 11 a.m. at 1030 15th St. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Big Cities Health Coalition will hold a briefing, “The Opioid Epidemic: Reporting from the Front Lines of America’s Big Cities,” at 9 a.m. in G-11 Dirksen.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion, “Building Better Health: Innovative Strategies from America’s Business Leaders—A Report from the CEO Council on Health and Innovation,” at 1:30 p.m. at 1225 I St. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 — The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing, “Harnessing the Power of Telehealth: Promises and Challenges,” at 2 p.m. in 562 Dirksen.
  • Monday, Sept. 15 — The Brookings Institution will hold a forum, “The Future of Civilian Robotics,” focusing on the legal and regulatory aspects of civilian robotics, at 2 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16 – The Center for American Progress will hold a discussion, “Wired for the Future: U.S.-Japan Cooperation for the New Internet Economy,” at 9:30 a.m. at 1333 H St. NW.

 

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