This Week in Washington…

Posted on December 18, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

Look ahead: While Republicans intend to return to a regular budget process, the return of sequestration-induced cuts could spur contentious debates over funding in the next Congress.

Look ahead: Lawmakers expect to resume negotiations on a long-term agreement in the new year.

Look ahead: Authorities could issue a formal announcement as early as today.

Look ahead: While the TRIA program is expected to lapse now that the 113th Congress has adjourned, Senate Republican leaders hope to take up legislation early in the 114th Congress.

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET, ECONOMY & FINANCE

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the state will not lift its ban on fracking.
  • Colette Honorable was confirmed as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the Senate.
  • The wind production tax credit was revived retroactively in a package of tax extenders passed by the Senate, but it will be renewed only until the end of the year.
  • The Energy Information Administration predicted that in 2015, annual household spending on gasoline will be at its lowest in 11 years, thanks to lower prices and more-efficient cars.
  • In an interview, former 16-term Rep. Barney Frank says it’s time for Democrats to take up the “environmental issue,” but that they need to change their attitude.
  • A White House task force released today 15 recommendations to limit illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which it says costs between $10 billion and $23 billion a year and upsets marine ecosystems.
  • Brazilian scientists found a drug-resistant “super bacteria” in the polluted waters where the Rio de Janeiro Olympic sailing events will be held.
  • Four energy-friendly Republican freshmen have been named to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS & DEFENSE

  • Rajiv Shah, who leads the U.S. Agency for International Development, announced he will step down next year.
  • The Combined Joint Task Force, which oversees U.S. operations in Iraq and Syria, said that the U.S.-led coalition has launched 67 strikes against ISIS over the past three days.
  • The Senate confirmed Tony Blinken to serve as deputy secretary at the State Department.
  • Several countries, including the United States, pledged to help fund the International Atomic Energy Agency’s request for an additional $5.7 million to monitor Iran.
  • The United States declined to hand over Joseph Scott Pemberton, a Marine charged with the murder of a transgender Filipino, instead holding him at a U.S. facility, under a military agreement between the two countries.
  • Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesperson, said the attack in Pakistan that killed scores of schoolchildren, is “not going to change our strategy” as the United States draws down in Afghanistan.

HEALTH CARE

TECHNOLOGY

  • The hacked Sony emails reveal that officials at the State Department saw a rough cut of the movie in late June and gave it the go-ahead.
  • Apple, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, and other tech giants signed onto legal briefs in support of Microsoft that urge a federal Appeals Court to throw out a Justice Department warrant seeking access to emails stored on servers overseas.
  • A dozen online and communications companies over the past year have tussled with authorities over the right to report “zero” when disclosing the amount of national security orders received seeking customer data.
  • Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile lost a collective $45 billion last month due to increased competition among the carriers and the government’s pricey spectrum auction.
  • After a customer was raped in India, Uber announced it is planning new safety procedures, including biometric screenings of drivers.
  • Google and Verizon reached a cross-licensing deal on patents, which mirrors earlier ones Google has signed with Cisco, Samsung, and LG and aims to reduce the number of potential patents vulnerable to frivolous litigation.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “I disagree that all families are like ours. I don’t know many families that are fighting at Thanksgiving…. And I’m hoping you’ll have some of this out of your system when you come here for Christmas.” — Joy Woodhouse, calling in to C-SPAN, where her sons, left-leaning Brad and conservative Dallas, were bickering on air (Time)
  • “God is not that much of a Democrat for Ted Cruz to get nominated.” — Former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the 2016 presidential race (Reuters)
  • “It’s the end of America as we know it.” — Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., on leaving the Capitol Hill home he has shared with colleagues since the 1980s (New York Times)
  • “My formulation is this: Politicians make a lot of mistakes, the press drives me crazy, and voters are no bargain, either.” – Barney Frank (Reuters)
  • “A few years ago, I tried to watch the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ on YouTube. But I never got beyond that first partridge in a pear tree.” — Dial-up Internet subscriber Phyllis Brock, whose rural Tennessee home lacks broadband access (Fortune)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

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