Odds and Ends 

Congress Wanted Answers From Trump on Coronavirus. He Blew Them Off.

The morning of Feb. 12, members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee filed into their Capitol Hill committee chambers for a scheduled hearing about the rapidly growing outbreak of the novel coronavirus. On that day, the number of total coronavirus cases in the world had crossed 60,000 and more than 1,000 were dead from the disease, nearly all in mainland China. But there were 14 cases in the United States, and top officials from the Centers for Disease Control were warning the coronavirus could gain a foothold. Against that backdrop,…

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Odds and Ends 

TRACED Act signed into law, putting robocallers on notice

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, a bipartisan bit of legislation that should make life harder for the villains behind robocalls, was signed into law today by the president. It’s still possible to get things done in D.C. after all! We’ve covered the TRACED Act several times previously, as robocalls are, in addition to being horribly annoying, a uniquely annoying high-tech threat. Using clever targeting and spoofing technology, scammers are placing millions of calls that at best irritate and at worst take advantage of the vulnerable. The new law won’t end that…

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Headlines 

Trump’s National Security Impeachment Defense Is a Red Herring

As the US Senate launches the first impeachment trial of a US president in the 21st century—and only the third in the history of the country—Donald Trump’s defense team has offered new hints about how they plan to block the Democrats’ case that the president abused the power of his office. They plan to argue that “national security” prevents a full airing of the evidence. The telltale phrase appears all over the president’s defense and the government’s response to the impeachment charges. As Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene of Axios…

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Congress Finally Agrees to Cover Sonic Attack Victims Medical Bills

Over 40 U.S. government officials and family members who suffered mysterious brain injuries during their service overseas will finally receive guaranteed, long-term medical care thanks to a deal included in Congress year-end spending bill. In 2018, U.S. officials serving at embassies in Cuba and China began to report strange sensations of sound and pressure, causing symptoms consistent with traumatic brain injury. Who or what caused the sickness remains unconfirmed, despite efforts from the CIA, FBI, and other branches of the Trump administration to figure it out. The governments of those…

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Odds and Ends 

Mark Zuckerberg Will Do a Reluctant Second Round With Congress

hearing is set for October 23 and will examine Facebook's potential influence on financial services and housing. But with Congressional cameos from major tech CEOs as rare as they arethey generally send product leads or lawyers to represent them in questioningZucks grilling is likely to cover a range of issues, from Facebook's bad habit of buying up competitors to its supposed anti-conservative bias, a favorite pet topic of House Republicans. A Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast that Mark looks forward to testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and…

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Odds and Ends 

Witness: GOP Candidate Bragged He Liked to Fuck People Up

One of the newest candidates running for the House in 2020 is a former professional wrestler who appears to be misleading both the media and voters about his arrest for battery at a Waffle House. Former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Daniel Rodimer launched a Republican bid for a battleground House seat in Nevada last week, promising to tag team Washington D.C. with President Donald Trump. Rodimer isnt a political novice; hes run for state office before. And he has told the Nevada Independent during a failed state senate run in…

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Odds and Ends 

Hill Aides to Shoot With Gun Lobbyists After Mass Shootings

Just days after mass shootings left at least 31 people dead, a bipartisan group of congressional staffers is set to go on an outing to shoot skeet alongside gun lobbyists. The event comes every year, but its timing has a major gun safety advocate frustrated and troubled. The Congressional Sportsmens Foundation, a bipartisan group that supports hunters and anglers, organizes the yearly event. According to the foundations website says. Additionally, this yearly event allows members of the Congressional Sportsmens Caucus, Democrats against the Republicans in a friendly skeet, trap, and…

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Odds and Ends 

Senate Intelligence Committee releases first volume of its investigation into Russian election hacking

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the first volume of its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. Helmed by Select Committee Chairman Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who serves as Vice Chairman, the committee’s report Russian Efforts Against Election InfrastructureThrough two and a half years the committee has held 15 open hearings, interviewed over 200 witnesses, and reviewed nearly 400,000 documents, according to a statement and will be publishing other volumes from its investigation…

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The government is about to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic filing system

Thanks to pressure from tax preparation industry, Congress is getting ready to ban the Internal Revenue Service from ever building a free electronic tax filing system. As ProPublica reports, the effort is a bipartisan one. The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Massachusetts Democrat, Richard Neal, passed the Taxpayer First Act. The bill would make changes to the IRS and is sponsored by Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis and Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania. One of its stipulations would make it illegal for the IRS to create its…

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Headlines 

‘SNL’ pays tribute to the ‘Women of Congress’ and pantsuits

After a midterm election which brought a record number of women to Congress, some Congresswomen are being treated like celebrities. Saturday Night Live knows this fanbase well. This sketch from the Feb. 9 episode imagines the newly elected women of Congress as Charlie’s Angels dressed in white (the traditional color of women’s suffragists). There’s Kate McKinnon as Nancy “Madame Clap back” Pelosi and Leslie Jones as Maxine “Don’t Go Chasing” Waters. This is the kind of hardcore Pantsuit Nation feminism we can all get behind. Read more: https://mashable.com/video/snl-women-of-congress/

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Odds and Ends 

Elon Musk Unmasked as Top Donor to House Republican PAC

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been revealed as a top donor to a Republican PAC aimed at keeping control of Congress. Filings published by ProPublica this weekend show Musk contributed $38,900 to the Protect the House PAC, joining the likes of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair in the PACs top 50 donors. The PAC raised more than $8 million in the second quarter for Republican lawmakers hoping to fend off Democratic challengers. Musk has a

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Headlines 

Reps. Khanna and Ratcliffe: Its Time to Modernize Government Websites

It’s no secret that the federal government is way behind the private sector when it comes to modernization and technology. Because of these outdated systems, many federal agencies rank staggeringly behind the private sector when it comes to customer service. WIRED OPINION ABOUT US Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) (@RepRatcliffe) is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure. US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) (@RepRoKhanna) represents the Silicon Valley and serves on the Budget and House Armed Services Committees. In data collected last year, Healthcare.gov and USAJobs.gov were…

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Headlines 

Americas Southwest Border Is Not Out of Control

President Donald Trump’s vision of the U.S. southwestern border verges on the apocalyptic. “Caravans are heading here,” he claims. “Deadly ravages of drugs, gangs and crime [are] pouring across our border,” while legal loopholes allow in murderers and thieves who have “transformed once-peaceful neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.” Never mind the studies showing that illegal immigrants commit crimes at rates less likely to be incarcerated than people born in the U.S. And ignore, for the moment, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s own put it this week, look instead at the historical record of…

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Headlines 

Michael Bloomberg: Why Im Supporting Democrats in 2018

I’ve never much liked political parties. I’ve always believed that we should put country before party. Too many politicians practice the reverse, with terrible consequences for the American people. But although I don’t believe in partisanship, I very much believe in the importance of politics and elections. That’s how we make change and progress in a democracy. Over the years, I have supported candidates in both parties who were willing to break with partisanship and the special interests and seek common ground around solutions to make America better. I’ve focused…

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Headlines 

TrumpsHomeland Security Secretary Defends His Family Separation Policy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called on Congress to change laws she said force the government to separate immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S. border unlawfully and called Democrats who say the Trump administration is using the controversy for political leverage “very cowardly.” Nielsen both defended President Donald Trump’s family separation policy at a White House briefing on Monday and maintained that it wasn’t his creation, but rather a consequence of the government’s prosecution of immigrants apprehended illegally crossing the border. “Parents who entered illegally are, by definition,…

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