June 16, 2019 – Most-Viewed Bills | Congress.gov

June 16, 2019

1. S.1824 [116th] A bill to amend the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to require a report on how the People’s Republic of China exploits Hong Kong to circumvent the laws of the United States.
2. H.R.1044 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
3. H.R.1327 [116th] Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act
4. H.R.6 [116th] American Dream and Promise Act of 2019
5. H.R.5 [116th] Equality Act
6. H.R.2740  [116th] Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020
7. S.386 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
8. H.R.5428 [115th] Stand with UK against Russia Violations Act
9. S.597 [116th] Marijuana Justice Act of 2019
10. H.R.299 [116th] Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019

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

Court Packing Won’t Happen, but Calling Out the Court as Partisan Can Work Just as Well | Pacific Standard


More than any other president in recent history, Donald Trump is content to let his cabinet seats sit empty. At one point this year, almost 40 percent of key leadership positions that require Senate confirmation were unfilled, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit focused on good governance.

But while Trump is content with major staffing vacancies, he’s been filling the federal judiciary at record speed, appointing over 100 judges in his first term alone.

Source: Court Packing Won’t Happen, but Calling Out the Court as Partisan Can Work Just as Well – Pacific Standard

More scrutiny of OTAs in defense bill | FCW


Lawmakers want more insight into how the Defense Department uses rapid contracting authorities, specifically other transaction agreements or OTAs.

The House Armed Services Committee passed its 2020 defense authorization bill early June 13 with a provision requiring annual reporting to congressional defense committees on prototype projects chosen for an OTA, their purpose, the parties involved and how much was paid.

Source: More scrutiny of OTAs in defense bill — FCW

Warner: U.S. needs a better plan to confront supply chain threat from China | FCW


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) warned in a speech June 17 that while U.S. policymakers have slowly come to recognize the long-term threat that China poses to a range of technology and cybersecurity issues, they currently lack a cohesive strategy to effectively confront Beijing over the next few years.

“Here I think we need a lot of work, and frankly I’ve seen very little articulate development from the administration on that short-term strategy,” said Warner. “I will acknowledge that Trump administration has done the right thing vis-a-vis China in saying the status quo was not working, but if the status quo is not working, [the president’s] got to offer an alternative.”

Source: Warner: U.S. needs a better plan to confront supply chain threat from China — FCW

Trump’s Efforts at Election Tampering Are Growing Bolder | Defense One

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“I’m actually a very honest guy,” Donald Trump told George Stephanopoulos in an interview aired Monday. And while that claim holds no water in general, Trump was jarringly honest on one topic: his willingness to welcome foreign interference in the 2020 election.

“It’s not an interference, they have information—I think I’d take it,” Trump said.

“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI—if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘Oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it.”

Source: Trump’s Efforts at Election Tampering Are Growing Bolder – Defense One

Deepfakes are coming and lawmakers are looking for answers | FCW

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Deep fakes are coming, and policymakers and experts are still grappling with what to do about them. But some in Congress want to address the problem of highly realistic fake audio and video before the next election, and they want social media platforms to play a part.

“Now is the time for social media companies to put in place policies to protect users from this kind of misinformation, not in 2021 after viral deep fakes have polluted the 2020 elections,” House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said during a June 13 hearing. “By then it will be too late.”

Source: Deepfakes are coming and lawmakers are looking for answers — FCW

CenturyLink Commends Senate Committee on Nationwide Broadband Mapping Proposal | ExecutiveBiz

CenturyLink has commended four lawmakers representing the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for their legislative proposal to improve the government’s knowledge of broadband data challenges via a mapping project.

David Bartlett, vice president of federal government affairs at CenturyLink, said in a statement released Friday the company applauds the introduction of the Broadband DATA Act by Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Gary Peters, D-Mich.; John Thune, R-S.D.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Source: CenturyLink Commends Senate Committee on Nationwide Broadband Mapping Proposal | ExecutiveBiz

The Self-Destruction of American Power

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U.S. hegemony in the post–Cold War era was like nothing the world had seen since the Roman Empire.

So which was it that eroded American hegemony—the rise of new challengers or imperial overreach? As with any large and complex historical phenomenon, it was probably all of the above. China’s rise was one of those tectonic shifts in international life that would have eroded any hegemon’s unrivaled power, no matter how skillful its diplomacy.

The return of Russia, however, was a more complex affair. It’s easy to forget now, but in the early 1990s, leaders in Moscow were determined to turn their country into a liberal democracy, a European nation, and an ally of sorts of the West. Eduard Shevardnadze, who was foreign minister during the final years of the Soviet Union, supported the United States’ 1990–91 war against Iraq. And after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia’s first foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, was an even more ardent liberal, an internationalist, and a vigorous supporter of human rights.

Who lost Russia is a question for another article.

But it is worth noting that although Washington gave Moscow some status and respect—expanding the G-7 into the G-8, for example—it never truly took Russia’s security concerns seriously. It enlarged NATO fast and furiously, a process that might have been necessary for countries such as Poland, historically insecure and threatened by Russia, but one that has continued on unthinkingly, with little concern for Russian sensitivities, and now even extends to Macedonia.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive behavior makes every action taken against his country seem justified, but it’s worth asking, What forces produced the rise of Putin and his foreign policy in the first place?

The greatest error the United States committed during its unipolar moment, with Russia and more generally, was to simply stop paying attention.

Source: The Self-Destruction of American Power

The 2020 census citizenship question fight, explained | Vox

The government claims the question is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act. The evidence suggests that’s not the real reason.

The government’s justification for the question sounds simple enough: Asking about citizenship will provide more information about who is in the United States, and more information is always good. It claims it’s simply reinstating a question that’s been part of every census except 2010’s (although it hasn’t been on the short form used by every respondent since 1950).

But critics are skeptical that the Trump administration intends to use citizenship data for good reasons. And they are seriously concerned that adding a single citizenship question to the 2020 census could scare away millions of immigrants from filling out their mandatory surveys — throwing off the count of who’s present in America that’s used to determine congressional apportionment for the next decade, allocate federal funding for infrastructure, and serve as the basis for huge amounts of American research.

Source: The 2020 census citizenship question fight, explained – Vox

House panel approves contempt citations against Barr, Ross | Reuters


The U.S. House Oversight Committee voted on Wednesday to approve contempt of Congress citations against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas related to the U.S. Census.

By a 24-15 vote, the panel recommended that the full House of Representatives find Barr and Ross in contempt for refusing to cooperate with an investigation of the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.

Source: House panel approves contempt citations against Barr, Ross – Reuters