Thursday, July 27, 2017


Shared News Report

Fast food giant Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 outlets, and switched to halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers.

It has confirmed turkey ham and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to halal rules.


Look Who Trump Will Donate His 2nd Quarter Salary To!


Not only is President Trump working harder than any president we’ve ever had, he’s doing it all for free.

President Trump has refused to accept a salary, and instead, donates it to charity.


President Trump is donating his second-quarter salary, totaling $100,000, to the U.S. Department of Education.


Congress fails to repeal Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement on his vote against the amendment to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan:

“I agree with President Trump that we should repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act at the same time. In 2015, we could have waited two years for relief, but we cannot now, when Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie McPeak says the state’s individual insurance market is ‘very near collapse.’ We have 350,000 Tennesseans who buy insurance in the individual market—songwriters, small businessmen and women, farmers—who are worried today that they may have zero options for insurance in just six months.

“In addition, I don’t think Tennesseans would be comfortable canceling insurance for 22 million Americans, and trusting Congress to find a replacement in two years. Pilots like to know where they’re going to land when they take off, and we should too.”

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) issued the below statement following today’s vote on President Trump and Senate Republicans’ latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

“Tonight is a victory for the millions of Americans who will not lose health coverage because Senate Republicans failed to pass their latest disgraceful attempt at a health repeal bill.”

“This is also a victory for the thousands upon thousands of Americans across the country who rallied, marched, and called their Senator to demand the right to affordable, quality health care. Your voices were heard. Tonight’s failed vote is a testament to your power – the power of the people, which we all know is greater than the people in power.”

“In the United States, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make or where you live – you should have access to quality, affordable health care, because health care is a human right.”

“The fight isn’t over. Republicans in both chambers have made it clear they’ll stop at nothing to enact their dangerous agenda. If we don’t stop them, they'll strip health coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. We must remain vigilant and continue speaking up and out against those who would prefer to play politics with the nation’s health care system rather than earnestly work to improve it.”


Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced an amendment to the health care repeal bill to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The amendment, led by Senator Baldwin and Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), would direct Congress to eliminate all the provisions in the partisan repeal legislation that threaten to make health care unaffordable for those with pre-existing conditions.

“People are speaking out in opposition to this repeal effort because health care is personal. It’s personal for me too because when I was young, I had a childhood illness and was branded as a child with a pre-existing condition. I’ve heard from Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions who are scared that the protections they have today won’t be there tomorrow if Republicans pass repeal legislation,” said Senator Baldwin. “The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people's health care away. My amendment will protect access to affordable health care for the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. This a guarantee that we must protect.”

Following Tuesday’s vote to begin debate, the Senate is currently considering amendments on the health care repeal legislation. Senators Baldwin and Hirono will introduce this amendment today and will push for a vote this week.

Specifically, this amendment would “eliminate provisions that threaten to make health care unaffordable for those with pre-existing conditions.” The current Republican health care repeal legislation would weaken guaranteed protections, rollback coverage of essential services, and could throw people with pre-existing conditions, struggling with a sickness, into a high-cost pool that could price them out of the health insurance they have today.

Norcross Provision to Help Vets Struggling with the Disease of Addiction Included in House Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) successfully included a provision in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act that helps veterans struggling with the disease of addiction by directing the Department of Defense to set aside $5 million to study the connection between opioid addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Our vets dedicate their lives to protecting us. The least we can do is dedicate money to help them fight the disease of addiction,” said Congressman Norcross. “We must do all we can for vets struggling with PTSD and opioid abuse – and I’m glad my commonsense provision is now part of the Appropriations Act.”

Norcross is the Vice-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, a group of lawmakers from across the political spectrum who are united against the public health crisis. The growing opioid epidemic causes 75,000 drug overdose deaths a year and, according to the American Medical Association, veterans with PTSD are at particular risk of abusing opioids.

Noem Introduces Legislation to Reduce Poverty, Promote Financial Independence

Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Kristi Noem has introduced two bills that aim to improve the outcomes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the country’s primary assistance program for low-income individuals and families.

“The best poverty reduction program out there is a good job,” said Noem. “Unfortunately, today’s programs too often perpetuate poverty rather than opportunity. This legislation aims to bring greater integrity and accountability to the TANF program while reaffirming its core mission: offering upward mobility and the opportunity for greater financial independence to hardworking Americans.”

The Improving Employment Outcomes of TANF Recipients Act, aims to increase the employment, job retention, and earnings of TANF recipients. To accomplish this, Noem’s bill would base a portion of the TANF block grant on a state’s success in helping TANF recipients enter, retain, and advance in employment.

Meanwhile, the TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act, aims to bring more accountability to the program. More specifically, TANF currently requires states to ensure 50% of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one. If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50% threshold can be decreased. In extreme cases, the threshold can be reduced to 0%.

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels. As a result, those states don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities in order to continue receiving full federal funding. Under Noem’s legislation, states would no longer count spending by third parties as state spending, meaning states would need to engage more adults in work-related activities in exchange for federal benefits, as the program was originally intended.

Of note, South Dakota does not count third-party spending as state spending in order to reduce the portion of TANF recipients engaged in work-related activities.

“We need to ensure other states follow South Dakota’s example,” said Noem. “By continuing to engage participants in work activities at the level intended, South Dakota has upheld the integrity of the program and ensured the support we provide through TANF is support that really helps struggling families.”


Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) introduced an amendment to H.R. 3219, the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, to combat veteran suicide. As the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) David Shulkin, M.D. recently noted, an average of fourteen out of twenty veterans committing suicide every day do not receive services from the VA. Congressman Murphy's amendment would allow VA funds to help more veterans access evidence-based care.

"It is tragically clear that we need to find new, better ways outside of the traditional system to reach and treat our veterans; the current system does not work for many and no one system can work for all," said Murphy, a Navy psychologist who currently treats veterans suffering from PTSD/Traumatic Brain Injury at Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda.

"Allowing public-private partnership pilot programs to deliver innovative, evidence-based, accountable, forward-looking models of care to those who have served is crucial to improving veterans mental health care and turning the tide on veteran suicide."

Specifically, Murphy's amendment calls for greater ability for treatments to address the veteran suicide crisis by connecting veterans with community and non-profit mental health networks in order to provide expedited access to evidence-based mental health care services. Murphy’s amendment to the appropriations bill also gives VA Secretary Shulkin the authority to create an expedited credentialing process for veteran mental health networks to ensure they are delivering evidenced-based therapies with same-day access to care while demonstrating effective clinical patient outcomes.

Read the full text of the amendment here.

Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series Act of 2017 Approved by Homeland Security Committee

Washington, D.C. - July 27, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The House Committee on Homeland Security today approved H.R. 3284, the Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Daniel Donovan, R-N.Y. The bill authorizes funding for workshops to be held in cities across the country to train state officials, local officials, and the private and non-profit sectors on ways to prevent and respond to complex terrorist attacks. Orlando hosted a workshop in October 2014.

“Protecting our communities must be a top priority, and the Homeland Security Committee’s approval of our bipartisan bill is a step towards achieving that goal,” said Murphy. “The lessons Orlando learned during its 2014 workshop were critical in the emergency response to the ISIS-inspired Pulse nightclub attack last year. As we work to include Orlando on the list of cities that receive Urban Area Security Initiative funding, these training workshops are another way to help keep central Florida safe.”

Only cities that have received counter-terrorism funding through the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program are eligible to host a workshop. UASI provides grants to cities to buy homeland security equipment, conduct training exercises, strengthen emergency response, and enhance security at vulnerable locations. Orlando received UASI funding in the past—so it is eligible to host a workshop—but has not received funding since 2015 due to a flawed formula. Murphy has been separately working with fellow central Florida representatives Val Demings, D-Fla, and Darren Soto, D-Fla, in an effort to get Orlando back on the list of cities that receive UASI funding.

During workshops, participants:
  • Review existing preparedness and response plans related to a complex terrorist attack and identify gaps in capabilities; Identify federal, state, and local resources available to address such gaps;
  • Improve situational awareness, recognize best practices, and encourage information sharing;
  • Examine health care system and clinical challenges unique to a complex terrorist attack that employs small arms and explosives;
  • Examine the roles of the community and bystanders in a complex terrorist attack;
  • Discuss a framework for immediate medical management of wounded near an attack site; and
  • Identify and share best practices and lessons learned from case studies in medical preparedness.

  • One of Eight People Leaked Closed Door Testimony -- Trey Gowdy Not Happy

    USA Politics Today

    Discussed Gowdy on CNN’s Outfront, “About eight hours ago, Adam Schiff and I looked Dan Coats in the eyes and we assured him that there would be no selective leaking of his testimony to us. And I’ll be damned if eight hours later, there aren’t three different leaks with what he told us.”