Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 Farm Bill Strengthens SNAP-Education, Lacks Focus on Diet Quality

Washington, D.C. - December 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- The following is a statement on the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force co-chairs former secretaries of agriculture Dan Glickman and Ann Veneman and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D.:

“The 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress contains major wins for SNAP-Education, healthy food incentives, and innovative nutrition pilots. These are important issues that are consistent with recommendations by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force released earlier this year. However, we believe more needs to be done in the 116th Congress to make diet quality a priority in the program.

“This legislation directs USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to provide key technical assistance to support states in implementing and evaluating SNAP-Education. Given adequate appropriations, these changes will be a major step towards strengthening the nation’s largest and most important federal nutrition education and obesity prevention program.

“Also commendable in the bipartisan legislation is the funding increase for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI). FINI’s funds increase from $100 million to $250 million over five years. With these additional funds, FINI will be able to support more projects that incentivize fruits and vegetables to SNAP participants. Equally encouraging is the $4 million per year for the new Harvesting Health pilot project to prescribe fruits and vegetables to low-income individuals that suffer from or are at-risk of developing a diet-related health condition. Innovative pilots like this are key to mitigating the costs of the diet-related disease crisis currently threatening our health care system, economy, and national security.

“Among these successes, there were also missed opportunities. Although this new Farm Bill supports fruit and vegetables incentives, research has shown that positive incentives combined with targeted disincentives for foods devoid of nutritional value, like sugar-sweetened beverages, are the most effective way of consistently improving diets. Exploring combined incentives and disincentives can still be done through robust pilots and research.

“Furthermore, we wish the 2018 Farm Bill had made diet-quality an explicit SNAP priority. SNAP’s current core objectives—fiscal integrity and food security—are critically important, but the primary focus of the program should be on nutrition. Luckily, this can still be done through voluntary internal policy change at the USDA, which we would wholeheartedly support.

“Despite these shortcomings, we applaud the committees’ bipartisan work and encourage the 116th Congress to create more bipartisan legislation that improves nutrition, promotes better health outcomes, and reduces healthcare costs while continuing to effectively meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Related News:

Bread for the World Applauds Passage of the Farm Bill

AEM Hails Farm Bill Passage

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. - December 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) issued the following statement praising Congress’s passage of the 2018 Farm Bill:

“This is a win-win for the 1.3 million men and women of our industry and the broader U.S. economy,” said John Lagemann, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Deere & Company and AEM Chair. “Farm policies have a major impact on the health of the agriculture economy, which is a key driver of equipment manufacturing employment. We applaud Congress on its bipartisan effort to pass this much-needed legislation and look forward to President Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law.”

The 2018 Farm Bill now heads to White House for President Trump’s signature.

"The U.S. agriculture economy is the backbone of rural America, which underscores why passing pro-agriculture and pro-manufacturing policies are so important,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “By signing the 2018 Farm Bill, President Trump will help preserve and expand programs important to the health of the farm economy and strengthen the U.S. agriculture equipment industry.”

Earlier this year, AEM sent Members of the U.S Senate a letter urging elected officials to pass the bill by highlighting the strong connection farm tractor and combine sales have with farm net cash income and showing how amendments harming crop insurance could negatively impact the agricultural economy.

The Agriculture Improvement Act includes the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018, which is designed to improve rural broadband infrastructure, as well as policies that support production agriculture, conservation programs, research, expansion to foreign markets, and crop insurance – which helps protect up to 298 million acres of farmland a year.

There are 320,000 agricultural equipment manufacturing workers in the U.S. and the agricultural equipment manufacturing industry generates $102 billion in sales activity each year.

Funding the wall is a national security priority, ALG launches

Washington, D.C. - December 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Congress to work on funding the southern border wall in the December spending bill:

“Funding the wall is a national security priority that can no longer be ignored. It is quite frankly absurd that Republicans in Congress have punted this issue for almost two years always claiming that they would get to ‘tomorrow’. Now there is no tomorrow. Congress should appropriate the funds necessary to build the wall and secure the border using a lockbox to ensure that future Congresses cannot rescind that decision. The truth is that if Republicans in Congress had fought for and won wall funding during the past two years, the nation would not find itself with Nancy Pelosi ready to become House Speaker in 2019. Failed leadership on the nation’s priorities caused a failed campaign in November by Republicans. Now the GOP has one last chance to get it right and if the Democrats choose to shut down the government in protest, that decision is on their heads.

“To support building the wall, Americans for Limited Government has launched to urge activists to contact Congress now.”


“Don’t back down on the gov’t shutdown and the wall, Mr. President,” By Robert Romano, Dec. 12, 2018

Small modular nuclear reactors cut costs for a diverse portfolio

American Public Power Association
December 12, 2018
Recent scholarly studies cast doubt on whether wind and solar power alone can address global climate change without support from nuclear power.

One of the reports, “The Future of Nuclear Power in a Carbon-Constrained World,” written by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, acknowledges concerns about the costs of nuclear power but says that a generation portfolio that does not include nuclear power, particularly new, alternative nuclear technologies, could ultimately raise the cost of fighting global climate change.


HHS seeks input on how to improve HIPAA rules

American Hospital Association

Washington, D.C. - December 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights will accept comments through Feb. 11 on potential changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules to promote coordinated, value-based care, according to a request for information released today.

In addition to broad input on the HIPAA rules, the RFI seeks comments on specific areas of the Privacy Rule, including encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination; facilitating parental involvement in care; addressing the opioid crisis and serious mental illness; accounting for disclosures of protected health information; and changing the requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices.

“In addressing the opioid crisis, we’ve heard stories about how the Privacy Rule can get in the way of patients and families getting the help they need,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “We’ve also heard how the Rule may impede other forms of care coordination that can drive value. I look forward to hearing from the public on potential improvements to HIPAA, while maintaining the important safeguards for patients’ health information.”

The AHA plans to submit comments.

Christian teacher fired for not caving to transgender student demands

American Family Association
December 12, 2018
According to, a teacher at West Point High School in Virginia was fired just last Thursday over his religious objections to using male pronouns when referring to a student who is biologically female but identifies as male.


Court orders end to abortion-pill mandate for six Christian organizations

Alliance Defending Freedom

Denver, CO - December 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- A federal district court issued an order Tuesday that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s abortion-pill mandate against six Christian organizations represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The order also declares that the mandate violates the organizations’ rights protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The previous administration’s mandate forces most employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. The current administration’s Department of Justice abandoned its defense of the flawed mandate.

“Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government. Tuesday’s order fully affirms that freedom and provides permanent protection from the mandate,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor.

“These faith-based organizations no longer have to fear being forced to pay fines for simply abiding by the Christian beliefs that they teach and espouse, and they are no longer required to fill out forms authorizing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization,” Baylor explained. “The government has many other ways to ensure access to these items without forcing people of faith to violate their deepest convictions.”

The six organizations—Association of Christian Schools International, Samaritan Ministries International, Taylor University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and ADF—specifically object to providing coverage for abortifacients.

“First, plaintiffs have demonstrated that requiring them to comply with [the mandate], to the extent such compliance conflicts with plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs, violates plaintiffs’ rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act…. Second, plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm unless defendants are enjoined from interfering with plaintiffs’ practice of their religious beliefs.…,” the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado wrote in its order in Association of Christian Schools International v. Azar, adding that “the public interest in the vindication of religious freedom favors the entry of a permanent injunction.”

Other federal district courts have issued similar orders in recent months for Christian organizations in Oklahoma, Indiana, California, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. ADF attorneys and allied attorneys continue to litigate numerous other lawsuits against the mandate.

Friday, December 7, 2018

BIC Files Lawsuit to Stop Importation and Sale of Unlawful, Imitation Pocket Lighters

BIC Corporation
December 6, 2018
BIC, a recognized world leader in manufacturing safe, high-quality stationery, lighters and shavers, announced that it has filed lawsuits before the International Trade Commission ("ITC") and the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York to stop the importation and/or sale in the United States of low-quality, Chinese-made knock-off pocket lighters that imitate the iconic design of BIC's lighters. This infringement of BIC's registered trademarks not only negatively impacts the brand equity and reputation that the Company has earned in connection with its pocket lighter over the past 45 years, but more importantly has allowed the defendants to introduce products into the marketplace likely to confuse and mislead the American consumer.


Consumer Watchdog Calls On Pelosi To Stop Lame-Duck Preemption of New California Privacy and Auto Safety Laws; Industry Deal Threatens To Undo CA's Robot Car and Privacy Standards

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Pelosi To Stop Lame-Duck Preemption of New California Privacy and Auto Safety Laws; Industry Deal Threatens To Undo CA's Robot Car and Privacy Standards
Consumer Watchdog
December 6, 2018
New amendments to SB 1885, the AV START Act, give automakers a specific exemption from state privacy law and give exclusive jurisdiction to Trump's Federal Trade Commission. The self-driving car bill is expected to be added to the federal spending bill, which would circumvent the current hold on the legislation by Senator Feinstein and four other senators.


Pitt unconstitutionally assesses student club $5,500+ for Ben Shapiro event

Source: Alliance Defending Freedom

Pittsburgh, PA - December 7, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to the University of Pittsburgh on behalf of Young America’s Foundation and a student group assessed unconstitutional fees for a Nov. 14 YAF-sponsored event featuring New York Times bestselling author and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

Just two days before the event, the university informed sponsoring student organization College Republicans that the event would be cancelled if they didn’t agree to pay more than $5,500 in security costs based on the possibility of “controversy” and “protests” in opposition to Shapiro. The letter asks the university to rescind the fee assessment and modify its policy.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear: Public universities can’t enact policies that stifle free speech simply because administrators fear protestors might show up or students might be offended,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Larcomb. “The reason for that is simple: Speech isn’t free if the speaker can be forced to pay money simply because somebody may object. The Supreme Court has specifically stated that security fees, such as the ones Pitt has assessed, aren’t constitutionally permissible.”

Students followed the university’s policies and procedures for scheduling the Shapiro event, notifying the university of their plans several months in advance. In addition, YAF previously signed a contract with the university on Oct. 18 on Shapiro’s behalf, stating unequivocally that the university would provide Pitt Police Security and “all house personnel necessary” for the event. Nonetheless, two days before the event, the university breached its contract with YAF and assessed an additional fee based on the anticipated content and views of Shapiro’s speech and the prediction that students would find offense and conduct protests.

As the ADF letter explains, “The Supreme Court made clear, ‘[s]peech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob.’ Imposing security fees based on the beliefs offered by YAF, College Republicans and their speaker—Ben Shapiro—is viewpoint discrimination.”

The letter continues: “Further, university guidelines allow for the assessment of fees based on the potential negative reactions of listeners. Per university guidelines, school administrators must consider ‘prior security concerns at speaker’s past presentations’ and ‘other events taking place on campus.’ Both of these factors are content-based because both require university officials to factor safety concerns created by protestors at the University of Pittsburgh and at other universities. ‘Listeners’ reaction to speech is not a content-neutral basis for regulation.’ As a result, Pitt’s own policy codifies an unconstitutional heckler’s veto that stifles minority viewpoints.”

“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, educators, and voters. That’s why it’s so important that public colleges and universities demonstrate the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “Pitt should be modeling this for its students, and a good first step would be to end its unconstitutional policy that threatens to silence minority viewpoints.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Calls For Emergency Hearing On Allegations Of Election Fraud In North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District

Schaumburg, IL - December 7, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL, 8th) of the Oversight Committee issued the following statement in response to the reports of election fraud in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District:

“As credible reports of concerted election fraud emerge from North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, it is imperative that Chairman Gowdy call an emergency hearing of the Oversight Committee before the end of this term. The right to vote, and to have that vote fairly counted, is a fundamental, bedrock principle of our democracy. In North Carolina, we have witnessed substantial evidence of an effort to deny that right to seniors and voters of color in order to steal an election. The facts must come to light and if these allegations are proven, they must be answered for and prevented from happening again.”

Bill Johnson Statement on Meeting with Mary Barra

Washington, D.C. - December 7, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Bill Johnson (R-OH, 6th) released the following statement after the Ohio Congressional delegation, including Johnson, met with General Motors CEO Mary Barra:

I asked her directly how GM got into this overcapacity issue after the American taxpayers – the same taxpayers who are now losing their jobs - bailed them out. I also specifically asked Barra why GM can’t put a new product in Lordstown. I think it’s fair to say that over the years they’ve had to make previous plant and assembly line modifications to bring in other product lines - why can’t they do that now. After all, they haven’t been producing the Cruze alone in Lordstown since 1966.

The bottom line is that this isn’t about Mary Barra or a group of politicians. This is about the workers and the families affected by General Motors’ decision, and along with my colleagues, I will keep fighting until GM brings a new product to Lordstown or a new company comes in and takes advantage of the existing facility and highly-skilled workforce.

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Congressmen Hurd, Gonzalez and Senator Cornyn Introduce Legislation to Help Identify Remains of Missing Migrants

Washington, D.C. - December 7, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressmen Will Hurd (TX-23) and Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce the Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act of 2018, a bill to help local jurisdictions improve the recording and reporting of missing persons and unidentified remains found in South Texas.

“Until we address the root causes of mass migration flows from Central America, individuals will continue to make the perilous journey north,” said Hurd, who represents more of the U.S.-Mexico border than any other Member of Congress. “This bipartisan bill helps prevent tragic deaths along the border by expanding CBP’s rescue and apprehension capabilities. In addition, it mitigates the burdens placed on state and local governments to identify perished individuals with the dignity they deserve. I am proud to join my fellow Texans Rep. Gonzalez and Sen. Cornyn in providing a solution for this very real challenge faced by law enforcement agencies across my district.”

“Our nation has a chance to put more resources into helping identify the remains of missing persons, and to bring closure to families who know not whether to grieve, or continue the search,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “This piece of legislation would provide much-needed resources directed at finding answers for families across the U.S. Southwest Border. Passing this bill will help our ranchers and farmers, our counties, and our local sheriffs. I thank Congressman Hurd and Senator Cornyn for coming together to craft this bipartisan and bicameral piece of legislation.”

“Our border communities have experienced the very real consequences of the treacherous journey travelled by many seeking to come to this country,” said Sen. Cornyn. “My hope is that this bill will help local communities identify those who have gone missing, process unidentified remains, and invest in forensic equipment to provide closure to families in the United States and abroad.”

The Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act of 2018:

  • expands eligibility to apply for grants under Jennifer’s Law to state and local governments, accredited government-funded CODIS forensic laboratories, medical examiners, accredited publicly-funded toxicology, crime, and university forensic anthropology center laboratories, and non-profit organizations that work with state and county forensic offices for entry of data into CODIS of NamUS
    --authorizes use of grant funds to cover costs
    --incurred since FY17 for transportation, processing, identification, and reporting of missing persons and unidentified remains
    --of hiring additional DNA case analysts and technicians, fingerprint examiners, and forensic odontologists and anthropologists needed to support identification efforts
  • of purchasing state-of-the-art forensic and DNA-typing and analytical equipment
  • adds privacy protections for biological family reference samples uploaded into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) by precluding disclosure of such information to Federal or state law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes
  • expands CBP’s legal authority to purchase and deployment of up to 170 self-powering 9-1-1 cellular relay rescue beacons to mitigate migrant deaths on the southern border
  • requires reporting to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the National and Missing Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) regarding missing persons and deceased individuals found in each applicant’s jurisdiction
  • adds reporting requirements for the NamUS Program regarding the number of unidentified person cases, anthropology cases, suspected border crossing cases, and associations made
  • adds reporting requirements for CBP and GAO on unidentified remains and use of rescue beacons

    Endorsements: National Criminal Justice Association; South Texans’ Property Rights Association; Texas Border Coalition; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Church World Service; Colibri Center for Human Rights; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces; Franciscan Action Network; Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers); Hope Border Institute; Kino Border Initiative; La Frontera Ministries International, Inc.; Latin America Working Group (LAWG); Leadership Conference of Women Religious; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Justice Team; South Texas Human Rights Center; Southern Border Communities Coalition; Washington Office on Latin America.

  • Hastings Leads Letter to USDA Secretary Purdue Urging Common Sense Reforms to Livestock Indemnity Program

    Washington, D.C. - December 7, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL, 20th), along with Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-VA), and Salud Carbajal (D-CA) sent the following letter to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue III, urging common sense reforms which promote the humane treatment of farm animals and the responsible use of taxpayer dollars in the Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program.

    A copy of the letter is below:

    December 4, 2018

    The Honorable Sonny Perdue III
    Secretary of Agriculture
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20250

    Dear Secretary Perdue:

    We believe the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program should implement common sense changes to the information collected from farmers prior to providing reimbursement for animals that have died as a result of adverse weather events.

    The Humane Farming Association informed us that, from 2013 to 2017, USDA’s LIP issued payments of approximately $199 million to farmers and ranchers for animal deaths due primarily to adverse weather events. The total animal deaths included a staggering 277,471 livestock and 6,686,168 poultry. Despite the large amount of taxpayer dollars and animal loss involved, the LIP does not currently ask farmers applying for reimbursement to answer any questions regarding the shelter, care, or treatment provided to animals that died due to adverse weather events. Furthermore, since the cap was removed in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, there is now no limit on the amount of LIP compensation that a qualifying farmer can receive.

    Moreover, the Humane Farming Association informed us that many animals are provided little to no shelter and subjected to prolonged suffering and agonizing deaths that could be preventable if proper weather precautions and disaster management plans were encouraged by the FSA’s LIP. For example, in the summer of 2017 in California’s central valley, thousands of dairy cows died from heat stroke due to a lack of adequate protections from the heat such as sufficient shade, fans, and misters. In the aftermath, three counties in California declared states of emergency, because they were not able to render the dead fast enough.

    When no adequate protection is put in place during adverse weather events, producers are reimbursed for dead livestock at 75 percent of the animals’ market value. We believe this represents a clear disincentive for farmers to take the necessary steps to have a disaster management plan and provide their animals with protections from adverse weather events. Without this compensation, we believe many producers would no doubt make an effort to provide for their animals. Instead, we believe massive numbers of neglected livestock are dying painfully and needlessly while taxpayers foot the bill.

    For these reasons, we believe that producers applying for compensation under LIP be required to provide detailed information regarding the precautionary measures that the producer took to avoid the death of livestock during adverse weather events. We believe LIP applicants should be required to provide direct proof, including but not limited to photos, videos, or records, of preparations made to provide for the well-being of animals in their care during adverse weather events. In addition to the Livestock Death Loss Documentation required by LIP, which requires applicants to document the number and kind of livestock that died, we believe the FSA should require that applicants answer specific questions regarding the preparations that were made to protect animals from death from adverse weather events. These questions could include:

  • What was the producer’s disaster management plan in the case of an adverse weather event?
  • What steps were taken by the producer to keep animals from suffering from or dying as a result of exposure to heat, cold, or other elements?
  • What type of shelter did the producer provide to animals prior to the eligible adverse weather event?
  • What percentage of a producer’s animals did that shelter accommodate?
  • Were transport vehicles available to evacuate the animals out of harm’s way?
  • Were emergency food/water supplies available to accommodate animals that did not have access to normal food/water sources?Was veterinary assistance available to treat or humanely euthanize animals?

    We believe all farm animals deserve to be given an adequate level of humane treatment and care including proper food, water, and shelter. Furthermore, we believe farmers should not be rewarded with taxpayer dollars for not providing these most basic levels of humane treatment. For these reasons, we respectfully request that, if LIP compensation is made available, the FSA should only provide it to those producers who not only put in place adverse weather protections for their livestock, but also document those protections.

    Thank you for your attention to our request and we look forward to your response.


    Alcee L. Hastings
    Member of Congress

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz
    Member of Congress

    Brendan F. Boyle
    Member of Congress

    James P. McGovern
    Member of Congress

    Earl Blumenauer
    Member of Congress

    Donald S. Beyer Jr.
    Member of Congress

    Salud Carbajal
    Member of Congress

    Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

  • Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Gibbs Introduces Legislation to End Obama-Era WOTUS Rule Permanently

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- On Thursday afternoon, Congressman Bob Gibbs co-sponsored the introduction of the Regulatory Certainty for Navigable Waters Act, which will fully repeal the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States Rule issued in 2015. Gibbs has been at the forefront of stopping this bureaucratic overreach since its inception. Previously, he filed an amicus brief in support of states suing the EPA over WOTUS, led the passage of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act in 2015 to stop the WOTUS rule process, and introduced a resolution urging the repeal of this rule.

    After introduction of the Regulatory Certainty for Navigable Waters Act, Congressman Gibbs released the following statement:

    “It’s time to put this issue to rest. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was clouded by an illegal promotion process during the public comment period, has been challenged by a wide range of stakeholders as well as a majority of states, and put on hold by multiple judicial jurisdictions. Since January 2017, Congress has been working with the Trump Administration to roll back the regulatory overreach of Obama-era bureaucrats and repealing WOTUS is a large part of that.

    “Having fought the over- expansive WOTUS rule tooth and nail since it was first proposed, I am co-sponsoring this bill to fully repeal it and set in law the appropriate definition of a Waters of the United States. This definition does not expand federal jurisdiction beyond congressional intent, is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Rapanos decision, and will treat states and stakeholders as partners rather than adversaries. This legislation will provide the certainty the agriculture needs and the finality the American people deserve.”

    The text of the Regulatory Certainty for Navigable Waters Act can be found here.

    Foxx Cosponsors Bill to Fund the Wall

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC, 5th) cosponsored H.R. 7059, the Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act. The bill appropriates the full amount of funding requested by President Trump to construct a wall along the Southern border, including technology and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, it affirms Congressional opposition to abolishing ICE, supports border patrol agents, penalizes sanctuary cities and combats transnational crimes including human and drug trafficking.

    Rep. Foxx stated, “As a nation built upon the rule of law, it is crucial for our national security and integrity that we strengthen and secure our Southern border. Congress should fully cooperate with President Trump’s request for border wall funding because national security is the number one job of the federal government. To keep America safe, we must go further to prevent illegal immigration and other crimes carried out across our Southern border. I am proud to cosponsor the Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act because it gives priority to our national security, will make our country safer and ensure our immigration system is fairer for those who desire to come here lawfully.”

    Landmark Bipartisan Carbon Fee Legislation Introduced

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Congressman John K. Delaney (D-MD-06), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08), and Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) introduced bipartisan legislation to price carbon and return 100% of the net revenue as a rebate to American families.

    The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA) will help reduce U.S. carbon pollution by 40% in 12 years, with 91% reduction target by 2050 (vs. 2015 levels). This would be achieved by pricing carbon at $15 per metric ton of CO2e and increasing the price by $10 every year. The Treasury Department would return 100% of the net revenue back to the American people, a policy highlighted by a Treasury Department report as helping lower- and middle-income families.

    A one-pager on the legislation can be found here, and the text of the legislation can be found here.

    A wide range of groups support the legislation, including: Citizens Climate Lobby, Climate Leadership Council, The Nature Conservancy, Alliance for Market Solutions, RepublicEn, Conservation Hawks, National Wildlife Federation, National Audobon Society, Conserve America, World Resources Institute, and Applied Ecology for Tropical Resources Program Inc. - ECOTROPICS.

    "This aggressive carbon pricing scheme introduced by members from both parties marks an important opportunity to begin to seriously address the immediate threat of climate change," said Congressman Deutch. "The status quo is unsustainable; the time to act is right now."

    “To let the free market price out coal we should consider value pricing carbon," Congressman Rooney said. "A revenue-neutral carbon fee is an efficient, market- driven incentive to move toward natural gas and away from coal, and to support emerging alternate sources of energy.”

    “If we’re ever going to really mitigate climate change and prevent this looming catastrophe, it’s going to be with legislation like this – a big solution with bipartisan support. Incentives really matter and a carbon tax creates powerful market incentives in the private sector to reduce emissions in the short term and develop alternative energy sources in the long term. This is why I’ve authored my own carbon tax legislation and am proud to cosponsor this bill. The stakes are too high for us not to act and too high for us to be afraid to implement the solutions we know we need. This legislation is a blueprint for how we can combat climate change and bring people together around innovative policy solutions,” said Congressman Delaney.

    “Since my first day in Congress, I have committed to finding solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change," Congressman Fitzpatrick said. "We must take a bipartisan, market-driven approach to reduce carbon emissions, which are contributing to atmospheric change, rising sea levels, and more intense natural disasters. I am confident that bipartisan efforts to preserve our environment and protect our way of life for future generations will ultimately succeed.”

    "Since organizing Florida's first national climate change summit more than 10 years ago, it’s clear that reducing our carbon dependency is the key to winning this fight. The devastating findings released in last week's report show that the clock is ticking and continued inaction would be catastrophic – for our environment, our economy, and peoples’ health," said Congressman Crist. "We are taking an historic step with introduction of this bipartisan legislation; Congress must act with the urgency this crisis demands."

    "This policy has the enthusiastic support of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and our more than 100,000 supporters across the country," said Danny Richter, CCL's VP for Government Affairs. "Those supporters are everyday Americans who are concerned about climate change and want to see Congress work together on a bipartisan solution like this one. We will continue working in districts across America to build support for this policy in this Congress and the next."

    "The introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act provides a clear proof of concept that a conservative-inspired carbon dividends framework can attract bipartisan support," Climate Leadership Council Chairman and CEO Ted Halstead said. "It is no coincidence that the first bipartisan climate bill in nearly a decade is based on carbon dividends. A carbon dividends plan that returns all revenues to the American people is uniquely capable of appealing to all sides of the climate debate.”

    “This is an ambitious, bipartisan proposal that will help kickstart an essential debate over America’s response to climate change – a debate made all the more urgent by the stark findings of the National Climate Assessment,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “We and many companies we work with believe strongly that a price on carbon is a critical element of any comprehensive effort to decarbonize the U.S. economy. C2ES applauds Reps. Deutch, Crist, Delaney, Fitzpatrick, and Rooney for their leadership on this vital issue.”

    An independent report from Columbia University's Carbon Tax Research Initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy compared carbon fee proposals and found that the EICDA "would lead to larger emissions reductions, carbon tax revenues and impacts on energy markets by the late 2020s compared to the other carbon tax proposals," "would likely cause emissions to fall below the targets the plan lays out through at least 2030," "would rapidly decarbonize the US power sector," and "low- and middle-income households would receive more in rebates than they pay in taxes."


    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed rule to lower prescription drug costs and increase transparency surrounding Medicare Parts C and D. Included in the proposal is the bulk of the Phair Pricing Act, which Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced in May 2018 to lower drug costs to Medicare patients at the point of sale.

    “Too often, prescription drug middlemen use abusive reimbursement schemes to inflate patient prices and unfairly cripple community health care providers. I’ve seen how much this ultimately leaves communities with higher costs and less access to quality care. President Trump’s administration is taking an incredibly tangible step to ensure that patients at the counter feel the savings that middlemen claim to negotiate on their behalves but have often kept in their own coffers,” said Collins.

    Congressman Cleaver Calls For Federal Facial Recognition Technology Testing Standards

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II sent a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), encouraging NIST to endorse industry standards and ethical best practices for the independent testing of demographic-based biases in facial recognition technology. NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

    In the letter to Dr. Walter Copan, NIST Director and U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Congressman Cleaver wrote:

    “Facial recognition is a powerful tool that is permeating American life, and yet, the propensity of the technology to misidentify individuals, particularly in regard to variances in skin-type and gender, is well-documented,” said Congressman Cleaver. “The potential for illegal discrimination and/or unfair practices resulting from such bias continues to concern lawmakers.”

    Congressman Cleaver has been a prominent voice in growing calls for diversity and regulatory reform in the rapidly-expanding tech industry:

    • In August 2018, Congressman Cleaver called on the Department of Justice to investigate law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technologies.

    • In August 2018, following a year-long investigation into FinTech small business lending practices, Congressman Cleaver announced his findings and called for the implementations of industry-wide practices to prevent discriminatory lending.

    • In May 2018, Congressman Cleaver sent a letter to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, inquiring about the company’s “Rekognition” technology.

    • In May 2018, with the support of Congresswomen Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Congressman Cleaver wrote a letter to Amazon expressing frustration at the company’s refusal to institute a “Rooney Rule” that would improve the board’s racial diversity.

    • In February 2018, Congressman Cleaver urged cryptocurrency companies to do more in efforts to prevent extremists from using cryptocurrency to fund campaigns of hate and violence.

    • In November 2017, along with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congressman Cleaver demanded the Internet Association—a trade association representing tech behemoths like Amazon, Facebook, and Google—address gender and racial biases among its members.

    • In October 2017, in conjunction with Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congressman Cleaver penned a letter to Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, encouraging them to take immediate action to combat the racially divisive content on their platforms.

    “As technology and the tech industry as a whole continue to evolve, it is imperative that standards are created to ensure that technology is being used responsibly and without the potential for discrimination. I look forward to the opportunity to work with NIST on formulating these recommended guidelines,” said Congressman Cleaver.

    Read the full letter here.

    Congresswoman Cheney Commends President Trump for INF Treaty Decision

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Liz Cheney leads a group of House colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump thanking him for his decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Please find her statement and the letter below.

    “Russia continues to violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a fact recognized by Administrations of both parties. Under these circumstances, the United States is the only nation limited by the requirements of this treaty. In today’s security environment, that is an indefensible situation. The security of our nation requires that we fully develop capabilities to deter or, if necessary, defeat our adversaries. President Trump deserves tremendous credit for recognizing that, after several years of Russian violations, the INF Treaty no longer serves the national security interests of our nation.”

    View letter

    Castro Statement on Cohen Guilty Plea

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX, 20th), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and First Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, today released the following statement:

    “Today’s guilty plea from Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about Moscow Trump Tower shows that his plea arrangement struck in August has indeed turned into cooperation. This news comes on top of Paul Manafort, former Trump Campaign Chairman, being caught lying to federal prosecutors as well as Roger Stone’s key tipster Jerome Corsi also admitting to lying to Congress. Altogether, these developments demonstrate the great lengths Trump allies were willing to go to protect the President.

    “It’s critical we bring back Michael Cohen, and others who have potentially lied like Roger Stone before the Committee, in addition to accelerating the pace for Republican colleagues to release transcripts from our interviews. The House Intelligence Committee must also zero-in on whether the Russians have any financial leverage over President Trump, and we must build pressure across the board for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from this investigation immediately.

    “In just one week, we’ve see Michael Cohen plead guilty to lying to Congress, Jerome Corsi publically admit to lying to Congress, Paul Manafort caught for lying to Mueller, reports that Roger Stone and Julian Assange may have met right before a Wikileaks dump, the President provide written statements on the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting and Roger Stone’s Wikileaks knowledge, and Mueller zeroing in on late-night phone calls between Roger Stone and the President. Now more than ever, we need to protect Mueller from any potential firing. I urge House and Senate Republican leaders to bring legislation to protect Mueller to the floor immediately. We shouldn’t have to wait until January for Congress to protect U.S. national security, our democracy, and the rule of law.”

    Congressman Cohen Will Reintroduce Constitutional Amendment to Limit the President’s Pardon Power

    Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN, 9th), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, announced today his intention to reintroduce his constitutional amendment to limit the President’s pardon power when the new Congress convenes in January.

    Last year, following the indictment of Paul Manafort, Congressman Cohen introduced H. J. Res. 120, a constitutional amendment that would prohibit presidents from pardoning themselves, as well as members of their family, their administration and campaign staff.

    “President Trump’s overtures to his convicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pose a dangerous threat to the rule of law and are not what the Founders intended when they included the pardon power in the Constitution. The pardon power is supposed to serve justice, not thwart it. It was never meant to immunize presidents’ families and close advisors against laws the rest of us must obey. That’s what kings and dictators do, and if there is one thing the Founders made clear, it was that we don’t have kings in the United States of America.”

    “Manafort is not the only convicted former Trump advisor facing serious questions about the legality of their conduct. Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos have all been convicted or pleaded guilty, and questions remain about the conduct of Roger Stone and even Trump’s son and son-in-law. We need to limit the scope of the pardon power to protect the rule of law.”

    The amendment would apply to the current as well as future presidents.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Buchanan Outlines End-of-Year Priorities

    Washington, D.C. - November 13, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Vern Buchanan today outlined his legislative priorities for the final four weeks of the 115th Congress – a list that includes environmental protection, retirement security and animal welfare.

    “This is going to be a very active lame-duck session and I intend to fight for local priorities, including more funding for red tide research, helping start-up small businesses and banning the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

    “These are all bipartisan measures with strong support,” said Buchanan, who was named one of the most bipartisan members of Congress this year by the non-partisan Lugar Center.

    The 115th Congress has already been Buchanan's most successful session since he was first elected in 2006. Buchanan's 16th legislative initiative, designed to reduce opioid addiction, was recently signed by President Trump.

    Specifically, Buchanan said he will work over the next four weeks to:

  • Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program, which expired September 30, is widely regarded as a critical tool for funding conservation efforts throughout the United States. Earlier this year, Buchanan led a bipartisan Florida delegation letter calling for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Ensure retirement security. Buchanan will continue to push for Senate passage of his bill, the Retirement Security for American Workers Act, to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to employees. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, up to 35 percent of private-sector workers over the age of 22 work for a company that doesn’t offer a retirement plan.
  • Fight red tide. Buchanan has called for passage of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act which provides more than $100 million to combat Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide. Earlier this year his proposal to increase funding for red tide research was signed into law.
  • Protect police and other first responders. Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act, which increases penalties on cop killers, passed the House with bipartisan support and now needs Senate approval. Ambush-style attacks on police have increased in recent years and contributed to 128 law enforcement fatalities last year alone.
  • Crack down on sanctuary cities. Two bills Buchanan cosponsored passed the U.S. House and need Senate approval – the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law. The bills would cut federal funds for sanctuary cities and toughen penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported.
  • Protect dogs and cats. Buchanan’s bill the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act outlaws the slaughter of dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in the United States. Dogs and cats provide love and companionship to millions of people and should not be slaughtered and sold as food. The bill passed the House in September.
  • Help start-up businesses. Noting that only 50 percent of small businesses survive past their first five years, Buchanan’s legislation, the American Innovation Act, will help businesses stay afloat and grow by making it significantly less costly to start a new business. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate.


    Washington, D.C. - November 13, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) praised President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States [1] and Department of Homeland Security’s newly released asylum rule.

    Congressman Brooks said, “Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens furtively thumb their noses at America’s sovereignty by clandestinely violating our borders and laws. Now, Central American caravans openly and brazenly seek to do the same. This outrageous conduct cannot be, and should not be, tolerated by America. As a sovereign nation, the American people have every right to expect their government to secure our borders.”

    Brooks continued, “Illegal immigration hurts American workers and taxpayers. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal aliens are a net $116 billion annual cost to American taxpayers.[2] That’s $300 in additional taxes each man, woman and child in America is forced to pay for people whose first act on American soil is to violate American law.”

    Brooks concluded, “Fraud and abuse plague America’s asylum system. Let me make this clear: no one has a right to demand asylum from any nation. Asylum and sanctuary is a discretionary benefit given by nations to those with clear justification.[3] Too often, illegal aliens are coached by attorneys to say ‘magic words’ that help them take advantage of America’s generosity. Their exploitation of America’s already generous immigration laws must stop! As such, I support President Trump’s steps to close asylum loopholes and stop the damage to America caused by illegal aliens’ wrongful conduct.”

    Key information on illegal immigration and asylum:

    • So far in FY18, 500,000 people apprehended attempting to cross the border, about 100,000 at checkpoints and 400,000 in the interior.[4]

    • According to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[i]n recent weeks, United States officials have each day encountered an average of approximately 2,000 inadmissible aliens at the southern border.”[5]

    • According to data provided by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, “[o]ver the past decade, the overall percentage of aliens subject to expedited removal and referred, as part of the initial screening process, for a credible-fear interview jumped from approximately 5% to above 40%, and the total number of credible-fear referrals for interviews increased from about 5,000 a year in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2008 to about 97,000 in FY 2018.”[6]

    • Last year, nearly half of the completed cases that involved aliens who claimed credible fear resulted in the alien failing to show up at a hearing or even to file an application for asylum. [7]


    [2] Federation for Immigration Reform: “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers”, by Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley, September 27, 2017.

    [3] See INA 208(b)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(1)(A) (the “Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General may grant asylum to an alien” who applies in accordance with the required procedures and meets the definition of a “refugee”);

    [4] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Southwest Border Migration Fy2018;


    [6]; see also

    [7] Id.

    Monday, November 12, 2018

    North Korea May be Continuing Ballistic Missile Program

    Washington, D.C. - October 23, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Senator Edward J.Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after a new New York Times report reveals that North Korea may be continuing to expand its ballistic missile program. At a July 25 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Senator Markey to “fear not” when the Senator expressed serious concerns that President Donald Trump was being fooled by North Korea.

    “President Trump is getting played by Kim Jong Un,” said Senator Markey. “We cannot have another summit with North Korea — not with President Trump, not with the Secretary of State — unless and until the Kim regime takes concrete, tangible actions to halt and roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Without these verifiable steps, we can only assume that Kim Jong Un is not serious about denuclearization, only serious about stringing along a gullible American president.”

    Israel Attacked by Rockets

    Washington, D.C. - November 12, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) has released the following statement after more than 200 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip:

    “The escalation in violence on the Israel-Gaza border is deeply disturbing, and I am relieved that Israel’s missile defense programs were able to avert civilian fatalities from this disgraceful terror attack. I urge calm so the situation does not further escalate, and I still remain hopeful for a long-term, peaceful solution to this tragic conflict. But the only way we will accomplish that is through negotiations that create conditions for safety and economic security – not through rocket attacks or any other acts of terrorism.”

    Sunday, November 11, 2018

    Veterans Day and MORE NEWS

    Happy Veterans Day

    Senator Burr Statement on 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day


    Cotton Statement on Veterans Day

    Sen. Cruz: ‘We Pause to Honor the Selfless Service and Unyielding Courage of the Men and Women of Our Armed Forces’


    Fischer Statement on Veterans Day 2018



    Enzi statement on midterm election

    More News from the Lawmakers

    Congress Passes America’s Water Infrastructure Act

    Bennet, Gardner Receive Update on Polio-Like Disease at Children’s Hospital Colorado

    Cardin Calls on President Trump to Follow the Law and Withdraw His Latest Anti-Immigration Policy

    Cassidy: Polish Natural Gas Deal Will Weaken Putin

    Feinstein, Harris, Pelosi to Justice Department: Don’t Close Environmental Protections Office

    Feinstein: Tools to Reduce Mass Shootings Available, Just Lacking Republican Leadership


    Daines Announces $100,000 for Bridger Photonics in Bozeman

    Durbin Calls For Investigation Into Trump Administration's Delay Of Notifying Lake County Residents About Cancer-Causing Pollution

    Statements on Firing of AG Sessions

    Booker Statement on Trump Firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)
    November 7, 2018
    “Jeff Sessions’ firing at the hands of the President is an alarming development that brings us one step closer to a constitutional crisis. I’m concerned that President Trump made this decision based on his fear of being implicated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and frustration with Sessions’ recusal from that investigation."


    Boozman Statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Resignation
    Senator John Boozman (R-AR)
    November 7, 2018
    “Jeff Sessions has served our country with integrity and distinction throughout his career as a U.S. Attorney, U.S. Senator for Alabama and as Attorney General in the Trump administration. I have always respected and admired his unwavering commitment to the rule of law. I thank Jeff for his decades of service to the nation, and particularly for his strong advocacy and leadership of the men and women of America’s law enforcement.”


    Casey Statement on Attorney General Sessions’ Forced Resignation
    Senator Robert P.Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
    November 7, 2018
    “Pressuring and forcing Attorney General Sessions to resign is an unacceptable effort to interfere with the chain of command in the Russia investigation. This is part of President Trump’s pattern of obstructing Special Counsel Mueller’s independent investigation. He has attempted to fire, demand loyalty of and interfere with any official investigating Russia’s attack on our nation during the 2016 election. Now, President Trump is removing his own Attorney General in order to install a lapdog who will do what he has called for repeatedly- end or hamstring an independent investigation that is vital to our national security. Congress must immediately act to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation from interference by this Administration.”


    Sen. Coons’ statement on AG Sessions’ forced resignation, appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting AG
    Senator Christopher A .Coons (D - DE)
    November 7, 2018
    President Trump has repeatedly attacked both the Attorney General and the Department of Justice over the Mueller investigation,” said Senator Coons. “I am deeply concerned that President Trump, both in forcing Attorney General Sessions’ resignation and effectively stripping Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of his authority to supervise the Mueller investigation, is now in position to easily interfere with or even end the Mueller investigation. That is a red line which President Trump has been warned not to cross by Republicans and Democrats alike for months.


    Cornyn Statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
    November 7, 2018
    “Attorney General Sessions has selflessly dedicated more than 40 years to serving the people of Alabama and the nation. As our country’s top law enforcement official, he has been integral in fighting the opioid epidemic, keeping violent criminals off our streets, and supporting victims. Those who know him understand his commitment to the rule of law, and his deep and abiding concern for our country.”


    Ernst Statement on New DoJ Leadership
    Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
    November 7, 2018
    “Jeff Sessions has always been a strong leader who has served our nation and the state of Alabama well, both in the United States Senate and as the U.S. Attorney General. He should be commended for prosecuting the largest number of violent offenders and firearm defendants in our nation’s history; taking on violent gangs like MS-13 and restoring immigration enforcement to the United States. He also has been on the forefront of the charge against our nation’s opioid epidemic, by increasing prosecutions and stopping illegal drugs at the border. Our nation owes him a debt of gratitude for his service and commitment to the rule of law.


    Feinstein, Nadler, Schiff, Cummings Send Letters to Top Officials Demanding Preservation of Records Following Firing of Attorney General Sessions
    Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    November 8, 2018
    “Committees of the United States Congress are conducting investigations parallel to those of the Special Counsel’s office, and preservation of records is critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay." the members wrote in their letters. "Committees will also be investigating Attorney General Sessions’ departure. We therefore ask that you immediately provide us with all orders, notices, and guidance regarding preservation of information related to these matters and investigations.”


    Monday, November 5, 2018

    Iran Sanctions, Shooting at Sutherland Springs and LOTS MORE!

    Today's News from the Lawmakers

    Sen. Cruz: ‘The Strength of the Sutherland Springs Community Resounds Across the World’


    Bennet, Gardner, Polis, Buck Urge FEMA to Reimburse Counties for Flood Disaster Recovery Projects


    Cotton Statement on Iran Sanctions


    Nev 4

    Cornyn Statement on First Anniversary of Sutherland Springs Shooting

    Nov 2


    Senators to FBI: Provide Documents on President Trump’s Possible Involvement in FBI Headquarters Project


    Menendez, Watson Coleman and New Jersey Democrats Release New Report on the Impact of President Trump’s Tax Law on New Jersey Homeowners

    Thompson Statement on October Jobs Report

    Cantwell, Colleagues Call for Additional Funding to Ensure Effective Responses to Massive Wildfires

    Webster Praises Reimposing Iran Sanctions

    Congressman Joe Wilson Supports Decision to Reimpose Sanctions on Iran

    Donnelly on March of Dimes Report Showing Large Swaths of Indiana Lack Maternity Care

    Nov 1

    Brown Statement on the Federal Reserve's Proposal to Weaken Rules for Large U.S. Banks

    Rep. Walters Calls for Continued Protections for Sex Trafficking Survivors in Trade Agreements


    New Data Show Cost of Administration’s Efforts to Sabotage Healthcare Markets

    Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    Graham Backs Trump Birthright Citizenship Effort

    Source: Senator Lindsey Graham (R - SC)

    Washington, D.C. - October 30, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on reports that President Trump plans to issue an executive order eliminating birthright citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants on American soil.

    “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship.

    “I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship.

    “The United States is one of two developed countries in the world who grant citizenship based on location of birth. This policy is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end.

    “In addition, I plan to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order from President Trump.”

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Economy, Bomb Suspect, Banking and MORE

    Today's News from the Lawmakers


    Latta Statement On 3rd Quarter Economic Growth

    Suspicious Explosive Devices

    All House Oversight Committee Members Unite To Issue Joint Statement on Terrorist Attacks

    Rep. Loudermilk Praises Law Enforcement, Emphasizes Civility

    Rep. Lujan Grisham Reaction to Acts of Political Violence


    MacArthur Statement on Arrest Made in Connection to Suspicious Packages


    The Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act of 2018, H.R. 6751

    Luetkemeyer Doubles Down on Calls to Investigate Operation Choke Point

    What is Operation Choke Point?

    Rep. Meeks Sends Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter Urging Banking Regulator to Continue Work on Economic Inclusion.

    In Other News...

    Congressman McCarthy on Congress' Action to Counter Foreign Aggression

    MacArthur, SBA Announce Disaster Assistance for Brick Flood Victims


    In Case You Missed It...

    Mast’s EAA Southern Storage Reservoir Legislation Signed Into Law By President

    ICYMI: NYC Members Introduce Legislation for Commemorative Stamp Honoring 150th Anniversary of Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Lynch Sends Letter to President Trump in Opposition to Privatization of War in Afghanistan

    The Ponder happens to agree with Lynch. Do we really want mercenaries who will work for who pays them the most to do our dirty work? American wars should be fought by Americans who are willing to sacrifice everything for their country, regardless of the pay scale. Freedom is priceless. The pay is a bonus. This is why I salute our brothers and sisters in arms. They don't do it for the pay, although they deserve the highest pay for what they do. They don't do it to glorify themselves or to become the best, because they are ALREADY the best! Real heroes don't do it for the pay. They do it because it is the right thing to do.

    Thursday, October 25, 2018

    Mail Bombs, Opiods, Healthcare and More News...

    There are too many headlines for me to individually post, but here are the latest:

    Suspicious Explosive Devices

    Faso Statement on Discovery of Explosive Devices

    Congressman Al Green's Statement on Bomb Threats

    Griffith Statement on Political Violence


    Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Condemns Attempts to send Potential Explosive Devices to the Homes of Former Presidents Clinton and Obama, and to CNN

    Rep. Jeffries Statement on Acts of Domestic Terror Targeted At Perceived Adversaries of the Current Administration

    Statement from Congressman John Katko on Threats Made Today

    Congressman Krishnamoorthi On Mail Bombs To CNN And Public Figures: “Our Opposition To Political Violence Is A Fundamental Tenet Of Our Democracy”

    Isn't it funny how this happened JUST before the election?


    Kelly-Backed Opioid Package Signed into Law

    Fitzpatrick Opioid Legislation Signed into Law


    Hill: ‘Today Marks Successful Progress in Our Fight Against Opioid Epidemic’



    Kuster Statement on Signing of Comprehensive Opioid Legislation

    Isn't it funny how everyone wants to take credit?


    Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act Signed into Law

    Harris Commends President Trump for Signing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act Into Law

    Other News

    Congressman Frelinghuysen statement on viral outbreak in Haskell, NJ

    Congressman Matt Gaetz Issues Statement in Response to Deputy AG Rosenstein Suggesting to Secretly Record President Trump, Invoke 25th Amendment


    Hollingsworth Highlights National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

    National Capital Region Democrats To Zinke: Extend Comment Period For Rule Limiting Free Speech On The National Mal

    Congresswoman Johnson Receives Top Voter Score From The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


    Rep. Ron Kind Announces Nearly $79,000 Grant to Stevens Point Fire Department

    Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Russian Indicted for Election Interference

    Related News: Read the criminal complaint against Russian charged with election interference

    Washington, D.C. - October 23, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY, 16th), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Friday, made the following statement regarding the indictment of a Russian woman, Elena A. Khusyaynova, for attempting to interfere in the upcoming election:

    “Today’s (Friday's) announcement is an important reminder that Russia is continuing its efforts to undermine the sanctity of our democracy and must face consequences for these actions.

    “We must also shore up the security of our electoral system. The only people who should get a say in our elections are Americans. At the start of the next Congress, I intend to reintroduce the SECURE Our Democracy Act which would punish any foreign interference in our elections.”

    The Ponder wants to know: Does this "security" include photo IDs of voters? Not saying you are wrong for wanting better election security, and I agree that only U.S. Citizens should be involved in the U.S. election process, but it is hypocritical to address one problem without also addressing the other.

    Thursday, October 18, 2018


    New York, NY - October 18, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Adrianno Espaillat (D-NY, 13th) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s tweet, this morning, threatening to end USAID support for Honduras.

    “President Trump is the epitome of ‘man's inhumanity to man’ as he threatens, yet again, another policy that would devastate individuals fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras, their home country, in search of a better life here in the United States,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).

    “First, the President separated children from their families, in some cases only months old, orphaned, and now this. The Trump Administration has continuously put forth policies aimed against immigrant communities and against vulnerable women, men, and children seeking asylum in the United States. Our nation is the land of hope, freedom and opportunity.

    “I vow to continue to fight the hate-based rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies from this administration and will champion our efforts to protect the rights of people seeking protection from persecution and asylum here in the United States,” he concluded.

    President Signs Peters, Risch, Evans Bill Helping Small Businesses Access Patent Protection

    Washington, D.C. - October 18, 2018 - (The Ponder News) -- President Donald J. Trump has signed into law legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and James Risch (R-ID), Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee and Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-02) aimed at helping small businesses safeguard their intellectual property with expanded education on obtaining and protecting patents. The Small Business Innovation Protection Act will build upon existing outreach programs run by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to better inform small businesses on domestic and international intellectual property protections.

    “Michigan’s small businesses are creating some of the most innovative goods and services in the world, but many have difficulty navigating the domestic and international patent system with limited resources and expertise,” said Senator Peters. “Under this new law, entrepreneurs who can’t afford a team of patent lawyers will have more assistance in protecting their intellectual property so they can continue to grow their businesses here at home.”

    “Idaho has become a hot-spot for tech start-ups, filled with new ideas to grow their small businesses,” said Chairman Risch. “Now these innovative entrepreneurs will have easier access to information on protecting their intellectual property as they navigate the market and manage their businesses, earning back the money they spent on their inventions and creating more jobs. This was truly a bipartisan, bicameral effort and I’m glad the President has made it law.”

    Congressman Dwight Evans, D-PA, who introduced the legislation in the House as H.R. 2655, thanked Sens. Peters and Risch for their collaboration and said, “We know that small businesses are critical to job creation and the overall economic strength of our country, both in the middle neighborhoods in cities like Philadelphia, and in the new and growing tech-based economy. Creating and supporting their growth is essential to helping entrepreneurs prosper.”

    “Small businesses drive American innovation and job creation, and intellectual property is often the ‘secret sauce’ that give them an edge when they’re fledgling companies,” said Frank Cullen, Vice President of U.S. Policy, U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). “This legislation will help small business owners better understand the important role IP plays in their company’s success, and in turn, help them better leverage and protect those key assets. We commend Sen. Gary Peters and Sen. Risch, as well as all those who supported this measure, for helping make our nation’s small businesses more competitive by increasing IP educational programs and resources at the Small Business Administration and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

    U.S. intellectual property is estimated to be worth over $5 trillion, and sixty percent of all U.S. exports are driven through intellectual property-intensive industries. Patent protection helps innovators recoup the cost of research and development, profit off their inventions, hire new employees, and bolster their local economy.

    Small businesses that do not register in foreign markets, such as China, receive no intellectual property protections. The Small Business Innovation Protection Act will help educate small businesses on the need and resources available to best secure an international patent.

    The Small Business Innovation Protection Act directs the SBA and USPTO to maximize current intellectual property education and training programs in order to reach more small businesses. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require the SBA and USPTO to develop partnerships in order to develop high quality training relating to domestic and international intellectual property protection by leveraging existing training materials developed for small business and inventor education, which may be conducted in person or online; and
  • Require the SBA and USPTO to enter partnerships in order to increase the effectiveness of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) by providing training that addresses small business concerns related to domestic and international intellectual property protections which may be conducted in person or online.