Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rep. Norcross Takes New Actions to Support America’s Veterans

Washington, D.C. - November 30, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ, 1st) today announced new actions on behalf of America’s military veterans, supporting legislation that successfully passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Our veterans deserve platinum service, whether it’s their health care, education, in the workplace, or any other part of their lives—there should be no gray areas. Simply put-- they deserve the best for the service and sacrifices they’ve made for us,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). “These actions further ensure our veterans receive all the GI bill benefits they’re entitled to, that they’re given more options & flexibility when it comes to the health care services they receive, and give our active-duty military transitioning to the workforce greater opportunity to succeed by offering incentives to employers to hire more veterans.”

Rep. Norcross voted for passage of the following bills:

-Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2016 or the HIRE Vets Act (H.R. 3286)

-Protecting Veterans' Educational Choice Act of 2016 (H.R. 5047)

-Ethical Patient Care for Veterans Act of 2016 (H.R. 5399)

-Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2016 (H.R. 5458)

-No Hero Left Untreated Act (H.R. 5600)

Rep. Norcross has championed many additional efforts on behalf of U.S. veterans in Congress. Among them, Norcross authored and introduced the Freedom of Health Care Act in 2015 and is a sponsor of the Never Again Act.

In the New Jersey Legislature, Rep. Norcross successfully championed legislation providing in-state tuition for veterans attending New Jersey’s public colleges and universities, and led efforts on a measure that authorizes a local public contract set-aside program for businesses that are owned by or that employ veterans. Both bills were signed into law in New Jersey.

Congressman Donald Norcross is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Budget Committee, and serves as Assistant Whip in the 114th Congress.

House Judiciary Democrats Press For Hearing On Trump Conflicts

Washington, D.C. - November 30, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- The Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), wrote a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) after President-elect Donald Trump’s vague announcement this morning to leave his “…great business in total…,” requesting that the Committee hold hearings to examine the federal conflicts-of-interest and ethics provisions that may apply to the President of the United States.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “Although we do not yet know the details of his proposal, this announcement raises a number of questions, including whether Mr. Trump intends to legally transfer ownership of his assets to his children, or simply allow them to manage his assets; the extent his children will continue to be involved in his Administration and whether they will be subject to an “ethics firewall;” whether businesses, foreign governments, and others will continue to able to take actions that benefit Mr. Trump and his family; and what level if any of transparency in these matters Mr. Trump will provide.”

Previously, Mr. Trump claimed that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” However, at the request of Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a non-partisan legislative agency operating out of the Library of Congress, has prepared a list of federal ethics and conflict-of-interest rules that may and should apply to Mr. Trump when he assumes office. This list includes four criminal statutes and the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In their letter, the Members cite these rules as a cause for concern.

The letter was signed by every Democratic member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including: Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Pedro Pierluisi (D-Res.Comm.- PR), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), and Scott Peters (D-CA).

The CRS memo can be found here.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

November 30, 2016

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte


House Committee on the Judiciary

2138 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Goodlatte:

As the Committee with jurisdiction of the Ethics in Government Act, we write to urge you to hold hearings immediately to examine the issue of the federal conflicts-of-interest and ethics provisions that may apply to the President of the United States.

This request is all the more urgent in light of president-elect Trump announcement this morning that he will be “leaving [his] great business” to his children, a move he felt would be “visually important.”[1]

Although we do not yet know the details of his proposal, this announcement raises a number of questions, including whether Mr. Trump intends to legally transfer ownership of his assets to his children, or simply allow them to manage his assets; the extent his children will continue to be involved in his Administration and whether they will be subject to an “ethics firewall;” whether businesses, foreign governments, and others will continue to able to take actions that benefit Mr. Trump and his family; and what level if any of transparency in these matters Mr. Trump will provide.

Noted legal experts Norman Eisen and Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyers for Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, respectively, have already expressed concerns about Mr. Trump’s inescapable business entanglements: “unless [Mr. Trump] divests ownership, he will have an interest in the foreign government payments and benefits that flow to his business daily. That creates such a serious conflict of interest that the framers of the constitution prohibited it for presidents in the emoluments clause.”[2]

The issue is particularly important given the continued cascade of reports outlining President-Elect Donald Trump’s apparent disregard for conflicts of interest he may already face.[3] Just last week, Mr. Trump denied that it is even possible for a president to have a conflict of interest.[4] An independent report shows that understanding of the law to be mistaken.

At our request, the Congressional Research Service has compiled a list of federal ethics and conflict-of-interest rules that may apply to the President-Elect when he assumes office. These rules include:

§ Article I, section 9, clause 8 of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the President from accepting any “emolument” from any foreign power.

§ 5 U.S.C. app. §§ 101-111, the Ethics in Government Act, which requires federal officials to make certain financial disclosures.

§ 5 U.S.C. § 3110, which restricts the President’s employment of his relatives.

§ 5 U.S.C. § 7342, which governs the receipt and disposition of gifts from foreign officials and heads of state.

§ 5 U.S.C. § 7353, which restricts the receipt of gifts by federal employees.

§ 18 U.S.C. § 201, which prohibits bribery of public officials.

§ 18 U.S.C. § 211, which prohibits the acceptance of gifts in connection with appointment to public office.

§ 18 U.S.C. § 219, which prohibits officers and employees of the United States from acting as agents of a foreign power.

§ 18 U.S.C. § 1905, which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information, including trade secrets and other proprietary information, learned by an official in the course of his or her official duties.

We have attached the CRS work product for your convenience. This memorandum makes clear that, in addition to the emoluments clause, a number of applicable conflict of interest laws that would apply to a President Trump and his family. In addition, our committee has received legislative referrals of legislation that would further expand these restrictions. We can certainly expect to receive additional legislative referrals in the future.

Donald Trump regularly boasts of the scale and global reach of his companies,[5] and he can be expected to face an array of situations in which his personal business interests are entwined with official policy matters. So far, however, he has indicated only that he will turn over day-to-day management of his holdings to three of his children, each of whom has played a role in his presidential transition, and who may continue to serve as informal advisors during his presidency.[6]

In the weeks since his election, a number of incidents have occurred which may well cross the lines of ethical behavior. Citing to just a few examples:

§ Mr. Trump met with Indian business partners who are seeking to capitalize on his victory to extend the Trump brand throughout India.[7]

§ Foreign diplomats booked rooms in Mr. Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel in an effort to curry favor with him.[8]

§ Mr. Trump reportedly encouraged the leader of a British political party to oppose offshore wind farm projects because such projects could block the views from one of Mr. Trump’s golf courses.[9]

Such conduct may also implicate the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits United States officials from accepting gifts from foreign powers without the consent of Congress.[10] There is concern that foreign governments and government-owned corporations may steer business to him, or offer him favorable business terms, in an effort to gain political influence with his administration.[11]

To avoid such inevitable conflicts, a broad range of scholars has urged President-Elect Trump to liquidate his assets. This viewpoint includes Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer,[12] Norman Eisen, President Barack Obama’s chief ethics lawyer,[13] conservative columnist Peggy Noonan,[14] and even the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page.[15] It would seem that allowing his children to simply continue to operate his businesses would fall far short of these standards.

The American people should never have to question whether their president is working on their behalf or rather on behalf of his own personal interests.

For all the foregoing reasons, we ask that you schedule hearings, without delay, to examine these critical issues.

[1] Drew Harwell, Trump announces he will leave business ‘in total’ – leaving open how he will avoid conflicts of interest, Wash. Post, Nov. 30, 2016.

[2] Adam Liptak, Donald Trump’s Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit, N.Y. Times, Nov. 21, 2016.

[3] See, e.g., Richard C. Paddock et al., Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President, N.Y. Times, Nov. 26, 2016; Rosalind S. Helderman & Tom Hamburger, Trump’s presidency, overseas business deals and relations with foreign governments could all become intertwined, Wash. Post, Nov. 25, 2016; Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest, The Economist, Nov. 26, 2016.

[4] Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript, N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 2016.

[5] Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript, N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 2016 (“When I filed my forms with the [F]ederal [E]lection [Commission], people said, ‘Wow that’s really a big company, that’s a big company.’ It really is big, it’s diverse, it’s all over the world.”).

[6] See Editorial, The Trump Family Political Business, Wall St. Journal, Nov. 17, 2016.

[7] Editorial, Donald Trump’s Caldron of Conflicts, N.Y. Times, Nov. 25, 2016.

[8] Jonathan O’Connell & Mary Jordan, For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be, Wash. Post, Nov. 18, 2016.

[9] Danny Hakim & Eric Lipton, With a Meeting, Trump Renewed a British Wind Farm Fight, N.Y. Times, Nov. 21, 2016.

[10] U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 9, cl. 8 (“no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States] shall, without Consent of Congress, accept ... any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.").

[11] See Adam Liptak, Donald Trump’s Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit, N.Y. Times, Nov. 21, 2016; Ailsa Chang, Trump’s International Business Dealings Could Violate the Constitution, Nat. Pub. Radio, Nov. 22, 2016.

[12] Richard W. Painter, Trump must address conflicts of interest, CNN, Nov. 18, 2016.

[13] Richard W. Painter & Norman Eisen, Trump’s ‘blind trust’ is neither blind nor trustworthy, Wash. Post, Nov. 15, 2016.

[14] Peggy Noonan, No More Business As Usual, Mr. Trump, Wall St. Journal, Nov. 24, 2016.

[15] Editorial, The Trump Family Political Business, Wall St. Journal, Nov. 17, 2016.


Washington, D.C. - November 30, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) applauded House passage of the Working to Integrate Networks Guaranteeing Member Access Now (WINGMAN) Act, legislation he joined U.S. Representative Ted Yoho (FL-03) in introducing. The WINGMAN Act provides read-only access to Congressional offices working to help veterans receive the benefits they have earned.

"Representing approximately 65,000 veterans in Florida's 18th District, I have made it a top priority during my four years in office to help our brave men and women who fought for our nation receive the best service and care they have earned and deserve. The WINGMAN Act would do just that by cutting through bureaucratic red tape to reduce delays in the VA's electronic claims process," said Murphy. "It is great to see this common-sense measure pass the House with strong bipartisan support. I thank Congressman Yoho for his leadership and partnership in this effort and now call on the Senate to swiftly follow suit so this bill can be signed into law to better serve our veterans."

"I have said it before and it bears repeating, we owe our nation’s Veterans everything. They deserve quality care in a timely manner. Making them wait months for the benefits they most desperately need is unacceptable. The passage of WINGMAN will help correct this,” Yoho said. “I appreciate Rep. Murphy support and the support of our House colleagues who came together in a bipartisan effort to better the lives of all our Veterans.”

Currently, only the VA and certified Veteran Service Officers have access to a veteran’s claims files. The WINGMAN Act, which has over 130 bipartisan cosponsors, would grant read-only access for Congressional office advocates who are currently acting as a “middle man” between the VA and veterans. Responses to Congressional offices are often delayed because of the volume of requests to the VA. Furthermore, corresponding with offices to provide updates takes VA officials away from making more timely decisions on claims. Granting access to certified constituent advocates will give veterans faster responses and will reduce the number of requests for information by Congressional caseworkers to the VA.

Rep. Messer: Congress reaffirms opposition to anti-Israel action by the UN

Washington, D.C. - November 30, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) issued the following statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H. Con. Res 165, which affirms Congress’ opposition to any action by the UN Security Council that imposes a unilateral, one-sided solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

“The U.S. must stand up for Israel and be a voice for achieving lasting peace in the region. One-sided, force-fed solutions by the UN will only aggravate tensions. I join my colleagues in urging the Obama administration to block any unilateral action by the UN to recognize a Palestinian state or impose other anti-Israel solutions to this conflict as his term comes to end.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res 165 on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nunes Introduces FY 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill

Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has introduced the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (H.R. 6393) in the House of Representatives.

This bipartisan legislation provides the Intelligence Community authorization needed to protect and defend the United States. It is similar to H.R. 5077, which passed the House in May 2016 by a 371-35 margin, and also reflects negotiations with the Senate. The bill supports critical national security programs such as those protecting Americans against terrorism and cyberattacks. Among other things, the legislation:

  • Sustains critical capabilities to fight terrorism and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Shines a light on Guantanamo transfers by requiring declassification reviews of intelligence on past terrorist activities of individuals transferred out of Guantanamo Bay.
  • Strengthens Congressional oversight of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) by setting authorization requirements for the PCLOB and directing PCLOB to keep Congress fully informed of its activities in a timely way.
  • Caps fees for mandatory declassification reviews to match costs of similar Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Updates Intelligence Community whistleblowing procedures.
  • Clarifies eligibility for death benefits for Central Intelligence Agency personnel.
  • Improves Intelligence Community reporting to Congress.

  • For more information on H.R. 6393 click here.

    Censorship in Social Media Leaves Users in Frustration

    San Francisco, CA - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- User reports of censorship of social media posts show a deep frustration with companies’ content moderation policies, according to an analysis by, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact.

    In “Censorship in Context: Insights from Crowdsourced Data on Social Media Censorship,” researchers analyzed reports of content takedowns received from users of Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from April to November of 2016. At a time when many are asking for more content moderation—like calls for Facebook to crack down on “fake news”—election-related censorship complaints focused on the desire of users to speak their minds and share information about a tight election without worrying that their posts will disappear.

    “Social media is where we receive news, debate, and organize. These companies have enormous impact on the public sphere, yet they are still private entities with the ability to curate the information we see and the information we don’t see at their sole discretion,” said Jillian C. York, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression and co-founder of “The user base is what powers these social media tools, yet users are feeling like they don’t have any control or understanding of the system.”

    “Censorship in Context” recommends best practices for social media content moderation, including transparency in how company policies are enforced and any available remedies. The researchers also urge strengthening systems of redress when content is removed in error, and doing a better job of educating users about what is acceptable on a given platform and what isn’t.

    “Many people depend on Facebook to talk to friends, family, clients, and fans, and to debate the issues of the day,” said Project Strategist Sarah Myers West. “While these companies have the right to set their own rules, the least they can do is to tell everyone how they’re enforced.” was launched in November of 2015 to spot trends in content removals and learn how these takedowns impact different communities. The site also includes a guide to appealing a content takedown and hosts a collection of news reports on content moderation practices.

    For more information, visit:

    On Nomination of Seema Verma for CMS Administrator

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- Senator Daniel Coats - (R - IN), issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Seema Verma to serve as the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the new Trump Administration:

    “Ms. Verma’s leadership and success with health care reform in Indiana makes her a highly-qualified appointment to the Trump Administration. There is much work to be done to undo the harm caused by President Obama’s disastrous health care law, and in Indiana we’ve been able to make progress through HIP and HIP 2.0 that ensures Hoosiers have access to the health care they need at an affordable price. Her knowledge of the intricacies of our health care system will be an invaluable asset. I applaud her past accomplishments and wish her future success as she undertakes an enormous and important role in the new Administration.”

    Overtime Rules Blocked by Texas Court

    The Overtime Rule would have made it mandatory to pay overtime to certain salaried employees. The case was brought by 21 states that argued the administration exceeded its statutory authority in raising the salary limit. There is not a clear timetable yet for the judge to rule on whether this rule may take effect at a later time.

    The Department of Labor website posted their reaction to the Texas Ruling, saying:
    cvertime Final Rule on December 1, 2016. The case was heard in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division (State of Nevada ET AL v. United States Department of Labor ET AL No: 4:16-CV-00731). The rule updated the standard salary level and provided a method to keep the salary level current to better effectuate Congress’s intent to exempt bona fide white collar workers from overtime protections.

    Since 1940, the Department’s regulations have generally required each of three tests to be met for the FLSA’s executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) exemption to apply: (1) the employee must be paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (“salary basis test”); (2) the amount of salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount (“salary level test”); and (3) the employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the regulations (“duties test”). The Department has always recognized that the salary level test works in tandem with the duties tests to identify bona fide EAP employees. The Department has updated the salary level requirements seven times since 1938.

    The Department strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The Department’s Overtime Final Rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options.

    U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown- (D - OH) released the following statement in response to a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocks new Department of Labor overtime rules for workers making less than $47,476 annually. More than 130,000 hardworking Ohioans would have been eligible for overtime pay under the new rules, which were set to take effect Dec. 1.

    "Using taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit to take hard-earned money out of the pockets of American workers is shameful,” said Brown. “But, the fight is far from over and we will continue fighting to make sure American workers are paid for the hours they work."

    The Economic Policy Institute (who is currently fighting for a $15 minimum wage) had this to say:

    "A United States District Court in Texas issued an injunction against the Obama administration’s changes to the overtime rule, arguing the Labor Department does not have the authority it has exercised since 1938, under 10 presidents, including FDR and George W. Bush, to set a minimum salary requirement for overtime exemption.

    This is an extreme and unsupportable decision and is a clear overreach by the Court. For 78 years the Department of Labor has used salary as well as duties to determine overtime eligibility. Congress has amended the Fair Labor Standards Act many times and has never objected to the salary test.

    The law is clear on this. The District Court’s ruling is wrong. It is also a disappointment to millions of workers who are forced to work long hours with no extra compensation, and is a blow to those Americans who care deeply about raising wages and lessening inequality."

    Ohio U Terror Attack

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael T. McCaul (R-TX, 10th) issued the following statement in response to the attack at The Ohio State University yesterday morning:

    Chairman McCaul: “Our thoughts go out to the victims, their families, and the community at Ohio State University. I commend the first responders, whose swift action today undoubtedly saved lives. We owe these patriots for their courage and willingness to run into harm's way. Today’s attack has the hallmarks of terror. And while we do not yet have confirmation of terrorist connections, this is the type of indiscriminate violence our enemies are urging their followers to use against us. Whatever the case, we will continue to monitor the investigation to ensure any potential accomplices or instigators are found and brought to justice.”


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper - (D - DE), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and a graduate of The Ohio State University, reacted to the incident at Ohio State earlier today in which eight individuals were injured, and one assailant killed, in an attack on the Columbus, Ohio campus.

    “The victims of the attack at Ohio State today, along with their families, are in my thoughts and prayers. I am heartened by reports that none of the victims appear to have sustained life-threatening injuries. The quick reaction by school officials and campus police and their preparedness for these kinds of emergencies helped to keep students away from the scene and mitigate this threat before more people could be harmed. I encourage university officials and state and local police to continue working together to gather information and fully investigate this attack. I will continue to monitor this situation as the investigation moves forward and I stand with my fellow Buckeyes as they come together as a community in this difficult time.”

    On Price Nomination to HHS Secretary

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant (R-TX, 24th) issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Budget Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA, 6th) as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    “Congratulations to Dr. Tom Price on being selected as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services,” said Marchant. “Tom Price is the most qualified member of Congress I know to fill this position. I’ve had the honor of calling Tom a close personal friend and classmate, as well as a fellow Ways and Means member. Dr. Price has fought as hard as anyone to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions. With his ideology of putting patients first, Congress could not ask for a better partner in addressing our nation’s health care challenges. I commend President-elect Trump for his selection and look forward to working with Dr. Price in his new role.”


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN, 4th) released the following statement on President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be Secretary of Health and Human Services:

    “The nomination of Republican Chairman Tom Price to be Secretary of Health and Human Services is clear proof that the guarantee of Medicare for seniors will be a top target for the Trump administration.

    “Chairman Price has repeatedly supported budgets that would turn Medicare into a voucher program, raising costs for seniors and potentially leaving some uninsured. On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump claimed to oppose these proposals, but the Price appointment shows he is now embracing the Republican Party’s radical Medicare privatization agenda.

    “In addition to his work to dismantle the promises we have made to seniors with Medicare, Chairman Price has sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act and slash funding for Medicaid. He has also attacked women’s health care, including misguided and dangerous attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and limit millions of women’s access to preventive health care.

    “In the coming months, I will strongly oppose the Trump-Republican health care proposals in Congress. At the same time, seniors — and all Americans who care about quality, affordable health care — will need to rally together and fight to protect Medicare and all of our vital health care programs.”


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) released the following statement on President-Elect Trump’s nomination of Representative Tom Price (R-GA) as Secretary of Health and Human Services

    “As a fellow physician, Dr. Price understands the problems of Obamacare and is committed to fulfilling the promise of repealing it. I look forward to working with Tom on what comes next for health care."

    During his time in the House of Representatives, Dr. Cassidy worked closely with Dr. Price and plans to continue this relationship in future health care reform initiatives.


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

    “I offer my congratulations to U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) on his selection as HHS Secretary. We have worked closely with him throughout his 11 years in Congress and have found him to be a committed conservative who has led the way in the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. He has been a strong advocate for legislation that would ensure Americans are not forced to subsidize elective abortion, and has worked to halt overbearing HHS mandates.

    “I applaud President-Elect Trump for selecting a HHS secretary who is well-suited to implement an alternative to Obamacare and reverse the damage done by President Obama’s worst policy failure. As a doctor who worked in private practice for two decades, Dr. Price will pursue a health care system that is market-focused and patient-driven,” concluded Perkins.


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services:

    Tom Price is an excellent choice to serve at the helm of the Department of Health and Human Services. He is a principled, conservative reformer who knows better than most the difficult challenges facing our nation’s important entitlement programs and health care system. He also understands that work is the best tool to fight poverty. He will play an invaluable role in delivering patient-centered health care, strengthening our social safety net, and helping more families achieve a lifetime of success. Tom is a close friend, and I congratulate him on this nomination.

    Rep. Meadows Introduces the ALLOW Act

    Washington, D.C. - November 15, 2016 (The Ponder News) -- On Monday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC, 11th) introduced the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act—a bill that will make targeted changes to federal licensure policy by reducing unnecessary licensing requirements.

    Some of the most significant burdens on innovation in the job market are heavy licensing barriers placed on small business owners, entrepreneurs, and young Americans entering the workforce. Since 1950, the number of Americans working in jobs that require a license has increased by 500%, with government officials often citing health and safety concerns as the reason for the increased requirements. Acquiring a license can be a both lengthy and costly process, while studies show that most of the health and safety concerns can be address through much less burdensome means, such as certification, registration, and others.

    The ALLOW Act will limit the creation of occupational license requirements on federal installments, including areas on army bases and those in the District of Columbia, to those circumstances where licensure is the least restrictive means of protecting public health, safety, or welfare.

    “Anytime we look at regulations like licensing requirements, we should have a goal to be as efficient as possible while avoiding unnecessary restrictions on hard-working Americans,” Rep. Meadows said. “And I think when we look at licensing regulations, it’s very clear that many of the rules and requirements go beyond protecting health and safety standards and instead serve as a barrier to jobs for otherwise qualified people. My hope is that this bill can refocus our licensing requirements on only the most pertinent situations.”

    Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA, 7th) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

    “Too many hardworking Americans are barred from work due to unnecessary and duplicative rules and regulations,” said Rep. Brat. “I co-sponsored this legislation because it cuts through some of that red tape and will help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and young people to secure jobs.”

    Sunday, November 27, 2016

    Motor Sports Endangered by EPA

    H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 or “RPM Act” was introduced by Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC, 10th) in March as a response to attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate modified motor vehicles used for racing.

    At the time, the EPA had proposed a rule under the Clean Air Act that would have made it illegal for automotive enthusiasts to use modified street vehicles—like the late model car McHenry drove today—as race cars even though Congress never intended for race cars to be subject to the Clean Air Act.

    In response to the introduction of the RPM Act, the EPA on April 15th withdrew its proposed regulation. Despite the EPA decision to withdraw the proposed rule, McHenry continues to advocate for Congressional action on the RPM Act to ensure this misguided regulation is stopped for good. - See more by clicking HERE

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    Other Newsmaker Headlines

    AAPS Doctors Urge Donald Trump to “Fire” Architects of Healthcare “Reform”

    State, hospitals, and nuns challenge new transgender regulation

    Kline: Private Capital Must Play Role in Infrastructure Plan

    Gangster Disciple Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison

    Interior Department Officials to Remove Liens on Tribal Lands Returning More Than $14 Million in Proceeds to Tribes

    How Trump's Plan to Deport Criminal Illegal Aliens Would Work



    Headlines from the Senate

    Ayotte Congratulates Sessions on Nomination to Be Attorney General

    After Efforts by Blumenthal, Murphy, & DeLauro, Defense Department Seeks to End Reliance on Russian-Made Helicopters for Afghan Forces

    Blunt Statement on Senator Jeff Sessions

    Booker Statement on President-elect Trump’s Intention to Nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

    Senate Intel Chairman Burr Statement on Nomination of Pompeo to CIA

    Cantwell Calls for FTC Investigation into Reports that Office Depot Pushes Unnecessary Computer Repairs on Consumers

    Cardin Statement on Trump National Security Positions

    IRS Warns of Fake Tax Bills

    Cassidy Comments on Administration's Plan to Halt Arctic Resource Exploration

    Headlines from The House

    Jeff Sessions was Trump's selection as United States Attorney General

    Bill against Midnight Rules was passed

    The Midnight Rules Relief Act, H.R 5982, amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow Congress to pass one piece of legislation disapproving multiple regulations issued by a president in their final year of office

    "No U.S. Financing for Iran Act"


    Long statement on Obama administration's five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas lease sales



    Luetkemeyer Supports Bill to Ensure Congress Can Stop Midnight Regulations

    Lujan Grisham Joins Colleagues in Request to President-Elect to Withdraw Bannon Appointment


    Lynch Again Calls on FERC to Halt Pipeline Projects in West Roxbury and Weymouth Following Pipeline Explosions

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016

    Interesting Headlines (November 15)


    Jordan statement on IRS denying Albuquerque Tea Party non-profit status


    Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas Statement Denouncing Planned Ku Klux Klan Victory Parade in North Carolina

    Hurd Fights to Hold Iran Accountable

    Hudson, Butterfield Bipartisan Life-Saving EMS Bill Passes House

    Hill Statement on Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Contributions Act
    What this is doing is assessing the total $ made from the sale of hunting, fishing, and camping (etc) equipment like guns, tents, flashlights, etc. in order to note the feasibility of taxing these items in order to pay for the care of wildlife refuges without charging Americans more for the use of these areas. Of course, it doesn't say that.

    Hastings Urges House Leadership to Bring H.Res.752, Condemning the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China, and Urging China to End the Dog Meat Trade to the Floor For a Vote

    House Passes Guthrie Bill to Help Local Industry
    The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act (H.R. 985), a bill introduced by Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) to allow the concrete masonry industry to conduct research, education, and promotion regarding their products.

    Reps. Grijalva, Huffman, 21 Members of Congress, Recommend Steps to President Obama to Deescalate Tensions at Dakota Access Pipeline

    Rep. Tom Graves Statement on House GOP Leadership Elections

    Goodlatte Statement on Secret Service Inspector General Report

    Gohmert’s Statement on Speaker Ryan Caucus Vote

    Wednesday, November 9, 2016

    Other Interesting News Releases for November 9

    Four WWII Veteran Judges, All in 90s, Still Going Strong

    ActionAid USA Reaction To U.S. Elections

    ALPA Congratulates President-Elect Donald Trump, New Congress

    AAM (Alliance for American Manufacturing) Statement on Donald Trump’s Election

    Free Market and Limited Government Principles Prevail Across the Nation



    American Life League Statement on the 2016 Presidential Election

    APA (American Psychiatric Association) Congratulates President-Elect Donald Trump on Winning the Election; Pledges to Work With New Administration

    ATA (American Trucking Association) Congratulates President-elect Trump

    Interesting stuff from House Members November 9, 2016

    Click the Headlines to read the articles

    Cohen Praises DOJ for Sending Election Monitors to Shelby County


    Cooper Statement on Presidential Election

    Courtney Announces EPA Has Issued A Final Rule Establishing A New Eastern Long Island Sound Dredging Disposal Site


    Cárdenas: "DOJ Allegations Against AT&T Are Troubling"

    Rep. Peter DeFazio Statement on 2016 Presidential Election Results

    DeGette, Brooks Seek Details from FDA on Cybersecurity for Medical Devices

    Dingell on Death of Second Recruit at Parris Island: “We Must Get to Root of this Issue”

    On Secretary Clinton's Speech Today

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    FaceBook Discrimination?, FBI Director

    Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II joined Congresswoman Robin Kelly and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members in sending a letter to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The letter addresses reports of advertisers on Facebook, using a customization feature that excludes racial and ethnic groups when placing housing advertisements online. The customization feature allows for an “Ethnic Affinities” selection. By allowing online advertisers to promote or market a certain community for home sales, Facebook is therefore promoting restrictive housing practices. “This is a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and it is our strong desire to see Facebook address this issue immediately,” stated the letter, signed by Congressman Cleaver, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Congresswoman Yvette Clark (D-NY). “Facebook may not have intentionally created this feature to separate communities, but there are minority families who have not seen or heard of the housing opportunities and sales that are being marketed and made available to others. Everyone should have the same opportunity to see what’s available to them,” said Congressman Cleaver. The Members are asking Mr. Zuckerberg to correct this customization feature in online housing advertisements. It is also important that technology industries like Facebook include more African Americans and minorities within their workforce to promote diversity and prevent future discriminatory practices.


    Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today called on James Comey to resign as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Read more...