September 1, 2019 – Most-Viewed Bills | Congress.gov

September 1, 2019

1. H.R.5 [116th] Equality Act
2. H.R.1044 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
3. S.386 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
4. H.R.3289 [116th] Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019
5. H.R.2500 [116th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
6. H.R.1296 [116th] Assault Weapons Ban of 2019
7. H.R.838 [116th] Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety Act of 2019
8. H.R.6 [116th] American Dream and Promise Act of 2019
9. H.R.8  [116th] Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
10. H.R.40 [116th] Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act

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

Inside the movement to kick 3.1 million people off food stamps | Vox

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The FGA (Foundation for Government Accountability), a right-leaning think tank based in Naples, Florida, paid travel and lodging expenses for many of the conservative leaders in attendance, including Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and three White House aides.

While the public officials were being pampered in Florida, hundreds of thousands of people on the SNAP rolls in West Virginia were wondering how they would feed their families.

A month after the FGA’s Disney gala, dozens of them gathered in a hallway at the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, the state capital, to wait in line for their allotment at the food pantry hosted there so they could supplement their SNAP budgets — at most $192 per month for a single person.

Source: Inside the movement to kick 3.1 million people off food stamps – Vox

Insurance Companies Are Fueling Ransomware Attacks | Defense One

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Without asking questions or deliberating, the mayor and the council unanimously approved paying the ransom. The six-figure payment, one of several that U.S. cities have handed over to hackers in recent months to retrieve files, made national headlines.

Left unmentioned in Helfenberger’s briefing was that the city’s IT staff, together with an outside vendor, had been pursuing an alternative approach. Since the attack, they had been attempting to recover backup files that were deleted during the incident.

On Beazley’s recommendation, the city chose to pay the ransom because the cost of a prolonged recovery from backups would have exceeded its $1 million coverage limit, and because it wanted to resume normal services as quickly as possible.

Source: Insurance Companies Are Fueling Ransomware Attacks – Defense One

Pentagon Shelves Neutral Particle Beam Research | Defense One


Defense officials are taking a step back from one of its most ambitious research goals: launching a massive neutral-particle-beam generator, essentially a ray gun, into space to fry the electronics of enemy missiles.

The funds will go instead toward more fundamental research aimed at making lasers more powerful, according to Michael Griffin, defense undersecretary for research and engineering.

It marks a return to Earth for one of the biggest ideas that the Department has broached in recent years. Griffin first publicly floated the idea of a neutral particle beam in space in March 2018, while highlighting potential directed-energy weapons beyond high-powered lasers.

Source: Pentagon Shelves Neutral Particle Beam Research – Defense One

Enemy missiles are a mounting worry — so why isn’t Washington reacting? | TheHill


Given the cascade of international news, you might be have overlooked ominous developments regarding missile and nuclear proliferation. However, reports from North Korea and Iran raise disturbing questions that policymakers must confront.

Since at least 2001, fighting proliferation has been a major preoccupation of U.S. governments. In other words, counter-proliferation is a bilateral task and a priority in advancing U.S. and international security.

Source: Enemy missiles are a mounting worry — so why isn’t Washington reacting? | TheHill

Peaceful Iceland amazed at weapons in Pence security detail


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s arrival in Iceland with military jets and armed personnel set eyes popping Wednesday in a nation consistently ranked as the world’s most peaceful.

The size and standards of the vice president’s security detail also required adjustments. The guards protecting Pence got backup from a police force that only allows elite “Viking SWAT” members carry guns.

Source: Peaceful Iceland amazed at weapons in Pence security detail

Matteo Salvini is out but not down


Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s popular far-right party the League, was ousted from power last week amid the formation of a new coalition government between the Five Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party (PD), replacing the Five Star-League alliance.

News headlines describe Salvini as a victim of his own ego, saying he has scored an own goal.

Yet, the League’s leader is out but not down.

Source: Matteo Salvini is out but not down

Recession risks rise for Germany as industrial orders plunge – Reuters


Weaker demand from abroad drove a bigger-than-expected drop in German industrial orders in July, suggesting that struggling manufacturers could tip Europe’s biggest economy into a recession in the third quarter.

Germany’s export-reliant economy is suffering from slower global growth and business uncertainty caused by U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ trade policies and Britain’s planned, but delayed, exit from the European Union.

Source: Recession risks rise for Germany as industrial orders plunge – Reuters

Italy swears in new coalition, seen bolstering EU ties | Reuters


A new Italian government was sworn into office on Thursday, with the pro-European Democratic Party (PD) flanking the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in an unlikely alliance that has been cheered on by financial markets.

The administration looks certain to seek a much less conflictual relationship with the European Union than the previous coalition comprising 5-Star and the far-right League, which constantly railed against EU budget and migration rules.

Source: Italy swears in new coalition, seen bolstering EU ties – Reuters

Hong Kong leader says China ‘respects and supports’ withdrawal of extradition bill | Reuters

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday that China “understands, respects and supports” her government’s move to formally withdraw an extradition bill, part of measures she hoped would help the city “move forward” from months of unrest.

In a press conference, Lam was repeatedly questioned on why it took her so long to withdraw the bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China despite increasingly violent protests, but she skirted the questions.

Source: Hong Kong leader says China ‘respects and supports’ withdrawal of extradition bill – Reuters

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