July 8, 2018 – Most-Viewed Bills | Congress.gov

July 8, 2018

1. H.R.4760 [115th] Securing America’s Future Act of 2018
2. H.R.5428 [115th] Stand with UK against Russia Violations Act
3. H.R.5515 [115th] John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019
4. H.R.2 [115th] Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
5. H.R.1 [115th] An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.
6. H.R.299 [115th] Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017
7. H.R.6136 [115th] Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018
8. S.2155 [115th] Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act
9. H.R.38 [115th] Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
10. H.J.Res.69 [115th] Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska”.

Source: Most-Viewed Bills – Congress.gov Resources –

Lessons Learned From 25 Years of Negotiating with North Korea


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is resetting expectations for a denuclearization timeline for North Korea, saying Monday that it will take ‘decades’ to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.

It seems obvious, but it’s a simple question: How does North Korea define denuclearization? This is the core issue with North Korea and for some reason, denuclearization wasn’t highlighted in the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration. Rather, it was buried in the penultimate paragraph: “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”

Source: Lessons Learned From 25 Years of Negotiating with North Korea

A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh | The New York Times


Everyone would have to understand that in honestly answering, Judge Kavanaugh would not be making a pledge — a pledge would be a violation of judicial independence.

In the future, he would of course be free to change his mind if confronted with new arguments or new facts, or even if he merely comes to see a matter differently with the weight of judgment on his shoulders. But honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless.

The compromise I’m proposing would depart from recent confirmation practice. But the current confirmation process is badly broken, alternating between rubber stamps and witch hunts.

My proposal would enable each constitutional actor to once again play its proper constitutional role: The Senate could become a venue for serious constitutional conversation, and the nominee could demonstrate his or her consummate legal skill.

Source: Opinion | A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh – The New York Times

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, answer the Senate’s questions | The Washington Post


A nominee’s willingness to accept, in public and under oath, the correctness of previously contested but no longer controversial constitutional cases and issues is critical to the success of the confirmation process.

Nominees avoid offering opinions on current disputes, but their affirmation of the contemporary constitutional canon is an important way in which we as a society validate the Supreme Court’s constitutional choices over time. It is a way of saying that certain issues are settled, even if people in an earlier era disagreed.

In a system such as ours, which gives Supreme Court justices tremendous power, this is an essential check on how that power is exercised.

Our founders almost certainly saw this indirect control over the court as a feature and not a bug. The entire structure of the federal government is one of checks and balances. By putting the appointment of Supreme Court justices in the hands of elected officials, they ensured that the court is part of that system.

Source: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, answer the Senate’s questions – The Washington Post

Brett Kavanaugh: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee a justice in waiting


More than anyone else in conservative legal circles today, Kavanaugh, 53, has been viewed as a Supreme Court justice-in-waiting.

While waiting, he has written some 300 opinions and sent 41 of his law clerks to similar posts at the high court — far more than any of his competitors for the nomination.

“There is no one in America more qualified for this position,” Trump said in introducing Kavanaugh and his family to a packed East Room at the White House filled with Republican and conservative supporters.

Source: Brett Kavanaugh: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee a justice in waiting

Trump’s Supreme Court pick is very normal — and very scary | Vox


The attacks on norms that many fear will outlast Trump’s presidency started long before he took office. And Kavanaugh supports them.

His positions pose an immediate threat to voting rights and democratic regulation of the economy.

They validate the years-long sequence of norm-shredding maneuvers by Mitch McConnell and total abdication of congressional oversight responsibilities that have brought us to this point. Normal is as bad as not normal, or even worse.

But if you insist on viewing all of politics primarily through the lens of normal vs. not normal, you willfully blind yourself to the real threat.

Putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is very normal Republican politics, and that’s exactly the problem.

Source: Trump’s Supreme Court pick is very normal — and very scary – Vox

Dems strategy on Trump pick: Unify around health care | TheHill


In sharp contrast to the Obama era, Charles Schumer (N.Y.) thinks health care is the Democrats’ best weapon. By putting the charged issue of women’s reproductive rights within the broader framework of access to health care, the matter is likely to be less polarizing in red states.

Source: Dems strategy on Trump pick: Unify around health care | TheHill

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Really Matters | Time


“The stakes for our democracy are has high as they have ever been, if not higher,” said Nan Aron, the president of Alliance for Justice. “We will not accept Donald Trump’s vision for America or the court,” she said.

That’s the same kind of hyperbolic language that Trump himself likes to employ as he extols his own decisions, many of which turn out to be a lot less than advertised.

But in this case, both Trump and his critics agree about the size of the stakes.

Source: Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Really Matters | Time

Trump’s meaningless NATO spending debate


Alas, those who would advise Europeans to accede to Trump’s demands are not really paying attention to what Trump says he wants and how he operates. Sure, there are good reasons for Europeans to spend more on defense (though even here the issue is really spending more wisely rather than spending more). But regardless, there is no satisfying Trump’s demands about European spending.

Trump’s focus on trade means that Europe cannot conceivably meet his demands on defense spending. If the Europeans parked a brand-new aircraft carrier off the coast of Mar-a-Lago and tossed the keys onto the 18th green, Trump would simply charge them greens fees.

In the end, he doesn’t believe in the idea that America should defend Europe, so why should the United States pay anything at all? He is only interested in it if it brings in a profit.

Source: Trump’s meaningless NATO spending debate

The enormous cost of toxic stress: Repairing damage to refugee and separated children


When traumatic experiences are imposed on young children, the impact on their bodies and brains can last a lifetime, even if those children cannot consciously remember the events that terrified them.

When children are in stressful environments, they, like adults, become anxious and frightened. Hormones and brain chemicals associated with stress change the brain in ways that affect how the individual functions socially, emotionally, and intellectually. It even affects the way a person’s immune system functions.

This stress makes the amygdala, the hub of the fight or flight response, activate more strongly. It impairs the ability of the brain’s prefrontal cortex to calm down the amygdala. It also impairs brain circuits that allow us to control our own behavior so that we can avoid distractions and temptations.

Furthermore, stress increases the chances we will seek those temptations, because it reduces the brain’s ability to experience reward, so that we need stronger stimulation for us to feel good.

Source: The enormous cost of toxic stress: Repairing damage to refugee and separated children