February 19, 2017
||To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
||To distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools.
||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”.
||To terminate the Department of Education.
||Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers”.
||Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule.
||Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017
||Hearing Protection Act of 2017
||Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
||Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017
Source: Most-Viewed Bills – Congress.gov Resources –
A few months ago, I wrote about how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour.
Well, all the security in the world can’t save you if someone has physical possession of your phone or laptop, and can intimidate you into giving up your password.
.. On his way through through the airport, Customs and Protection Patrol agents pulled him aside. They searched him, then detained him in a room with a bunch of other people sleeping in cots. They eventually returned and said they’d release him if he told them the password to unlock his phone.
Source: I’ll Never Bring My Phone on an International Flight Again—Neither Should You – Nextgov.com
New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance argued in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Congress was essentially abandoning its responsibility to balance privacy and national security and delegating that authority to tech firms like Apple and Google.
Vance expects fights over such end-to-end encryption systems to return during the Trump administration and he’s hoping the Trump team will have his back in the fight.
Source: New York DA to Trump: Have Our Backs Against Cop-proof Encryption – Nextgov.com
It normally takes a president more than a year to get the lion’s share of his appointees in place, leaving the management of agencies and departments in the hands of career employees who are not in position to make critical and long-term decisions.
And many of the early appointees leave government within 18 months, creating another vacuum and requiring this process to begin all over again.
No other democracy has so many political jobs, such wholesale turnover at the start of a new administration or so many top-level positions that remain vacant for such long periods of time.
As a result, every administration is impeded in achieving its policy goals, hits bumps managing large and complex government departments, and is not always fully prepared to handle the unexpected but inevitable crises.
Source: The U.S. Has Too Many Political Appointees – Bloomberg View
While a shutdown deadline has a few weeks to go, the huge measure looms as an unpleasant reality check for Trump and Republicans controlling Congress.
Despite the big power shift in Washington, the path to success — and averting a shuttering of the government — goes directly through Senate Democrats, whose votes are required to pass the measure. And any measure that satisfies Democrats and their new leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, is sure to alienate tea party Republicans. Trump’s determination to build his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border faces a fight with Democrats, too.
Source: In Trump’s future looms a familiar shutdown threat
Republicans in Congress are setting their sights on killing the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark internet privacy rules, the next target in their push to roll back Obama-era regulations.
The rules require broadband service providers to obtain permission from consumers before using certain personal information for marketing purposes.
Source: GOP sets sights on internet privacy rules | TheHill
The border-adjusted tax was included in a tax blueprint House Republicans released in June, which is a starting point for upcoming legislation.
Supporters say the border tax is a critical way to raise revenue to pay for tax rate cuts in the package and to boost American manufacturers.
But the border tax proposal is facing mounting opposition from business groups and many GOP lawmakers worried that consumers will be hit with higher prices for goods.That opposition could imperil GOP plans to pass tax reform, one of their top agenda items for 2017.
Here are some key players in the debate …
Source: 7 key players in the GOP’s border tax fight | TheHill
While the American public has an exaggerated sense of the terrorism threat, there has been a real surge in violence outside the West. Terrorism has exploded throughout much of South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Terrorist groups have eagerly exploited and exacerbated the security vacuum created by the civil wars that have killed more than one hundred thousand in Afghanistan, tens of thousands in Pakistan, tens of thousands in Nigeria, thousands in Yemen, thousands in Libya, and hundreds of thousands in Syria. Countries like Turkey, Mali, Lebanon, and others near these hotbeds have also suffered from spillover violence.
Source: What Trump should do about terrorism (but probably won’t) | Brookings Institution
Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster is a highly regarded military tactician and strategic thinker, but his selection surprised some observers who wondered how the officer, whose Army career stalled at times for his questioning of authority, would deal with a White House that has not welcomed criticism.
One subject on which Trump and McMaster could soon differ is Russia. McMaster shares the consensus view among the U.S. national security establishment that Russia is a threat and an antagonist to the United States, while the man whom McMaster is replacing, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, appeared to view it more as a potential geopolitical partner.
Source: Outspoken general named Trump’s top security adviser | Reuters
The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president.
On Wednesday (Feb 15), Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.
Mr. Feinberg, who has close ties to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment.
Source: White House Plans to Have Trump Ally Review Intelligence Agencies – The New York Times