Friday, December 27, 2019

Impeachment, Teachers, Natural Disaster Relief, NDAA, Border Patrol, Jones Act, SALT, Prescription Drugs, Discrimination, Boeing

Congressional spending may be even more insane than impeachment
Source: Americans for Limited Government
December 20, 2019
“Now that some of the smoke has cleared from impeachment, it cannot be lost that Congress once again failed miserably at showing any kind of fiscal discipline in passing the $1.4 trillion spending bill. It is absurd that in a time of unprecedented prosperity, Congress continues to expand domestic spending. Times of prosperity should be opportunities to cut deficits and restrain the cost of government programs, while still meeting the basic safety net needs of those left behind. The fact that Congress continues a wild spending spree bodes poorly for our nation’s ability to afford the real costs of an economic downturn that will eventually happen. The President needs to make fiscal sanity a key component of his 2020 presidential campaign so that in 2021, there will be a political will to significantly cut the exorbitant cost of government. He can start by promoting and defending his own budget, which has in the past provided a pathway to balance with trillions of cuts, when it gets released early next year.”


Congressman Brown Celebrates the Expansion of Teacher Tax Deduction
Source: Anthony Brown (D-MD, 4th)
December 20, 2019
“Teachers and school support staff dig deep into their own pockets to pay for everyday classroom supplies - and educators in high-poverty communities spend even more, said Congressman Anthony Brown. “After protecting the teachers’ tax deduction from being cut by President Trump, House Democrats are expanding it and helping teachers offset more of the costs they incur every school year. I’ll keep fighting for our schools, our educators and increasing this deduction to meet the needs of our students.”


Source: Matt Cartwright (D-PA, 8th)
December 20, 2019
“As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House-Senate NDAA Conference Committee, I’m proud to have worked with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to get the NDAA across the finish line,” said Rep. Cisneros. “With the passage of this legislation, our servicemembers and their families get the resources they need and our national security is strengthened. I’m pleased the bipartisan NDAA includes several of my provisions to improve military healthcare and service to military families, promote diversity and inclusion, repeal the unfair Widow’s Tax, and toughen our stance against our adversaries. As a Navy veteran, I will continue to fight for our servicemembers in the 39th District and around the world.”


Source: Gilbert Cisneros (D-CA, 39th)
December 20, 2019
The appropriations legislation includes language from Rep. Cartwright’s PREPARE Act (H.R. 4347), which authorizes an interagency council whose purpose is to provide recommendations on the best means of planning and preparing for extreme weather incidents. It also provides state and local stakeholders with the best information available and best practices to help them formulate emergency preparation plans tailored to their local needs.


Cole Applauds Full-Year Government Funding for FY 2020
Source: Tom Cole (R-OK, 4th)
December 20, 2019
“One of the most fundamental duties of Congress is to fund the government and to keep it open and operational. By coming to bipartisan agreement on full-year appropriations, I am very proud that lawmakers in both chambers not only prevented a government shutdown, but they avoided the need for another short-term continuing resolution. I applaud President Trump for signing these critical packages into law, responsibly providing certainty for the federal government and the thousands of supporting federal workers.”


Burgess Votes to Pass Defense Appropriations for 2020 Fiscal Year
Source: Michael Burgess (R-TX, 26th)
December 20, 2019
“While one of the appropriations bills included critical funding the other left hardworking Americans with the check. It is past time for Congress to pass twelve appropriations bills, as required by law. We can no longer afford to wait until the last minute to complete one of our most basic, and important, responsibilities. I believe I was sent to Congress to provide fiscal solutions that will rein in our national deficit while continuing to grow our economy, allowing for hard-working families to prosper. My desire is that in the coming year Congress will put aside partisan politics and get back to the business of legislating on behalf of the American people.”


The Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations packages included the following:

  • Prioritizes national security and continues to rebuild the military.
  • Provides $1.3 billion for a border wall system along our southern border.
  • Provides resources and authorities to address the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border.
  • Maintains prior pro-life funding restrictions.
  • Provides affordable alternatives to expensive Obamacare plans.

    Butterfield Introduces Bill to Provide Electronic Equipment to American Communities
    Source: G.K. Butterfield (D-NC, 1st)
    December 20, 2019
    “In today’s digital economy, access to the Internet is absolutely essential for nearly all aspects of American life. However, all over the country, millions of Americans still do not have consistent and reliable access to broadband. The problem is especially prevalent in rural and low-income communities where the costs of computers and other devices are often a barrier to consistent access. That’s why I was proud to introduce H.R. 5495, The Federal Electronic Equipment Donation Act of 2019. My bill directs federal agencies to donate excess and surplus federal electronic equipment, including computers, computer components, printers, and fax machines to qualifying small towns, counties, schools, nonprofit organizations, and libraries. The bill also provides a preference for rural towns and counties as well as low-income areas, in an effort to deliver much needed electronic equipment to the communities that need it most.”


    Cárdenas, Correa, Escobar Call for Investigation into Reports of CBP Officials Issuing Fake Court Notices to Asylees
    Source: Troy Cardenas (D-CA, 29th)
    December 20, 2019
    “According to news reports, refugees who have been granted asylum are intentionally being given incorrect information by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials as a strategy to keep them out of the U.S. This type of behavior by a government agency is abhorrent, violates the rule of law, and is antithetical to our values and the very essence of what we stand for as a nation,” the Members wrote. “We request that DHS Inspector General answer our questions, investigate this matter, and issue a full report to the United States House of Representatives. Additionally, if the investigation finds that officials are criminally liable, we demand that they are held accountable immediately and referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution.


    Case Introduces Bills Reforming the "Jones Act"
    Source: Ed Case (D-HI, 1st)
    December 20, 2019
    “My three bills aim directly at one of the key drivers of our astronomically high cost of living in Hawai‘i and other locations in our country that are not part of the continental U.S,” said Case. “Because the Jones Act severely limits the supply of shipping to and from our communities, it has allowed a very few companies to control our very lifeline to the outside world and as a result command shipping rates way higher than the rest of the world."


    Casten Votes to Restore State and Local Tax Deduction
    Source: Sean Casten (D-IL, 6th)
    December 20, 2019
    H.R. 5377 would lift the SALT cap deduction for years 2020 and 2021. The Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 capped the SALT deduction at $10,000 for individuals and families, but not businesses. Republicans took this deduction away from working, middle class families, like those in Illinois 6th Congressional District, to provide tax breaks for corporations. The cap also threatens the ability of states and local communities to fund education and other essential public services adequately. By restoring the SALT deduction, it helps state and local governments adequately plan and fund education, child care, mass transit, health care, and many more important public services.


    Cicilline Bill to Lower Prescription Drug Costs Becomes Law
    Source: David Cicilline (D-RI, 1st)
    December 20, 2019
    “In the last election, Democrats promised to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs. Today, we are delivering on that promise,” said Cicilline. “The CREATES Act cracks down on the big pharmaceutical companies that are charging an arm and a leg for medicine that thousands of Rhode Islanders, and millions of Americans, need. No longer will these companies be able to recklessly block or delay access to generic drugs that perform the same as branded drugs, at a fraction of the cost. This is a big win for American consumers, and another example of how Democrats are delivering for the people.”


    Congressman Cleaver Calls for Investigation Into JPMorgan Chase Following Allegations of Racial Discrimination
    Source: Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO, 5th)
    December 20, 2019
    “The allegations of racial discrimination within JPMorgan Chase purported in media reports are extremely troubling,” said Congressman Cleaver. “It seems clear from the reporting and the statement released from the bank that there were practices of discriminatory behavior within a regional branch. Now, we want to know whether or not this kind of discrimination has spread throughout the entirety of the company and what the bank is doing to ensure they are complying with federal antidiscrimination laws.”


    Cleaver's Statement Following Votes to Pass Articles of Impeachment
    Source: Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO, 5th)
    December 20, 2019
    My votes to support the articles of impeachment were not based out of hate for the President, but rather out of love for this country and the values imbued in our constitution. Sadly, the President perverted the powers granted to him by the constitution in an effort to coerce a foreign government into interfering in our sacred elections. When this was discovered and courageously reported by a nonpartisan career service official, the President stonewalled Congress and our constitutional right to provide oversight of the Executive Branch, seemingly, to cover up his misdeeds.


    Source: James Comer (R-KY, 1st)
    December 23, 2019
    Kentuckians are even less supportive of the effort to remove the President from office. As I said on the House floor, the people I represent in Kentucky’s First Congressional District are appalled at the charade put on by the House in recent months. They overwhelmingly supported the President in 2016 to drain the swamp, enact change and fight on their behalf, which he has done. America’s economy is roaring like never before, the taxes of all Americans have been reduced, and President Trump recently sealed the deal on a modernized trade agreement that is great news for our farmers, middle-class workers and industries.


    Congressman Cohen Commends Boeing for Firing Muilenburg
    Source: Steve Cohen (D-TN, 9th)
    December 23, 2019
    Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, commended Boeing for its decision to fire its CEO Dennis Muilenburg for his mishandling of the company’s response to two crashes of its 737 Max aircraft that killed 346 people. Congressman Cohen demanded that Muilenburg take some responsibility for the crashes and the response at a hearing in October, asking “What does accountability mean?”


  • Thursday, December 26, 2019

    Equal Rights Amendment, Individual Healthcare Mandate, Honest Candidates, Immigrants, Gun Violence Research, Addiction, Tobacco

    Dump Netflix: Movie mocks Jesus at most holy time of year
    Source: American Family Association
    December 18, 2019
    Netflix has released a "Christmas special" movie that depicts Jesus as a homosexual and the Virgin Mary as an adulteress.


    Alabama, Louisiana, and South Dakota File Legal Challenge to Stop Activists from Illegally Rewriting the U.S. Constitutions
    Source: Alabama Attorney General's Office
    December 18, 2019
    Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Archivist of the United States — the federal officer who oversees the ratification process for constitutional amendments — seeking to prevent him from illegally adding the long-failed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution


    Fifth Circuit Court Decision Perpetuates Uncertainty For Americans, Insurance Industry
    Source: American Association of Family Physicians
    December 19, 2019
    Wednesday’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Texas v. Azar prolongs the uncertainty that millions of Americans face about whether they will have access to health care. The Fifth Circuit upheld the district court’s decision that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. However, the judges remanded the case to the lower court to analyze and explain whether any or all of the law’s other provisions are severable from the individual mandate and thus can remain operative as a law without the mandate.


    Internists Say Court’s Decision on ACA Potentially Could Put Health Care for Millions at Risk
    Source: American College of Physicians
    December 19, 2019
    The American College of Physicians (ACP) is greatly concerned that the decision of a federal appeals court that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional could place health care for millions at risk, should the courts rule that the coverage requirements and other provisions of the ACA also must be overturned because they can’t be “severed” from the mandate. The court sent back the “severability” question to a lower court. What’s at stake is whether the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections, essential benefit requirements, funding for Medicaid expansion, and other provisions will be upheld or overturned, with the health and lives of the millions of patients being at risk depending on what the courts decide.


    AOA statement on Congressional health care spending agreement
    Source: American Osteopathic Association
    December 19, 2019
    The American Osteopathic Association commends Congressional leaders on their work to achieve a bipartisan agreement on an annual appropriations and other public health legislation. The package includes funding for crucial public health programs and addresses several important public health issues.


    APA Applauds Mental Health Funding in Federal Spending Bill
    Source: American Psychiatric Association
    December 19, 2019
    This week Congress passed a $1.4 trillion fiscal year 2020 spending bill that includes several provisions that will fund medical research and treatment programs for people with mental illness and substance use disorders (SUD).


    ASAM Commends Congress for Strengthening Addiction Treatment Workforce
    Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine
    December 19, 2019
    The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) commended Congress for expanding funding to strengthen the nation’s addiction treatment workforce in a bipartisan, end-of-year appropriations package that passed last Thursday. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865) includes significant funding for policies that bolster the addiction treatment workforce to help increase access to care for people living with addiction.


    ASCO Applauds Congress for Raising Minimum Age to Purchase Tobacco and Boosting Cancer Research Funding
    Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
    December 19, 2019
    The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) applauds Congress for working across party lines to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. A longtime advocate on this issue, ASCO believes this important change will delay and reduce the use of tobacco and help prevent tobacco-related cancers. A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine predicted that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 would, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and cut smoking-related deaths by 10 percent. We commend Congress for taking this important step and look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and regulators in service of our longstanding commitment to reducing and eventually eliminating tobacco-related cancers.


    ADF: Federal Equal Rights amendment is legally suspect, threatens equal opportunities for women
    Source: American Immigration Lawyer’s Association
    December 20, 2019
    Litigators from the Justice Action Center (JAC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and Innovation Law Lab, with pro bono counsel Sidley Austin LLP and Latino Network as the organizational plaintiff, welcomed the Ninth Circuit 2-1 decision to refuse the federal government an administrative stay pending appeal of the preliminary nationwide injunction in Doe v. Trump. The administration had sought an emergency stay of the injunction granted on November 26, 2019, by the U.S. District Court in Portland, OR. The stay would have immediately implemented President Trump’s October 4 proclamation requiring legal immigrants to prove they hold an “approved” health insurance plan, or can pay for health care out of pocket, in order to be allowed entry to the U.S. This unconstitutional health care ban would affect approximately 375,000 people each year, immediately separate families from loved ones, harm businesses seeking to employ international talent, and undermine our nation’s commitment to equal rights. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the U.S. District Court in Portland, OR, and the proclamation remains enjoined.


    Trump's Attempt to Make Legal Immigrants Prove They Have Health Insurance Thwarted
    Source: Alliance Defending Freedom
    December 20, 2019
    Even though it pretends to protect women, a federal ERA could be used to allow boys to compete in girls’ sports, unfairly taking away opportunities and denying girls a fair playing field in athletics. It could also threaten women’s homeless shelters who seek to provide a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking. Instead, ERA proponents are actively striving to redefine “sex” as a subjective belief that has nothing to do with the biological reality of being male or female. Additionally, the ERA could also require Americans to pay for abortions with their hard-earned tax dollars, including abortions up to the moment of birth—a move that most Americans oppose. Women knew the ERA was a bad idea in the 1970’s, and it’s an even worse idea today.


    20 ALEC Lawmakers Say NO to Importing Price Controls and Socialized Medicine to America
    Source: American Legislative Exchange Council
    December 20, 2019
    For months, some in Congress have tried to advance socialist healthcare policies that have failed overseas and would leave Americans with fewer treatment options. In doing so, they are rejecting free-market principles that have led to lifesaving and life-enhancing medical discoveries. With passage of H.R. 3 in the U.S. House of Representatives, these lawmakers have led us one step closer to a command-and-control, single-payer healthcare system that imposes European-style price controls on America’s medical innovations and cures.


    APA Commends Congress for Allocating Federal Funds for Gun Violence Research
    Source: American Psychological Association
    December 20, 2019
    The support from Congress is a key step in allowing agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to take a public health approach by conducting research on the causes of gun violence that can lead us to evidence-based solutions that will ultimately save lives.


    You can’t buy honesty
    Source: American Economic Association
    December 23, 2019
    Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares. It consistently tops Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. And while the country isn’t perfect, the government manages to attract an honest workforce that rarely takes bribes or kickbacks.

    The fact that they pay their public servants less than private sector wages could be part of the reason, according to a paper in the November issue of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.


    Tuesday, December 24, 2019

    Impeachment, USCMA, Nominations, and Teachers

    New Boston, TX - December 24, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH, 3rd) voted to impeach Trump. She said, "We are a nation of laws, based on the principle that no one is above the law, but this president believes he can do anything he wants. As the record shows and the irrefutable testimonies by Trump Administration officials make crystal clear, President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2020 Election, abused the power of the presidency, and tried to cover it all up."

    Don Beyer (D-VA, 8th) also voted to impeach on those grounds.

    Yet, no proof of this exists. Tax dollars have been spent trying to prove this, and other accusations against him, and through it all, the Democrats have found NOTHING except that he is hated enough to want impeached.

    Thank God for some Republicans who stand up and call a spade a spade:

    Congressman Vern Buchanan spoke on the House floor Wednesday against the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

    “Madam Speaker, I will vote today against both articles of impeachment because they are without merit and set a dangerous precedent for our country. This political vendetta is an abuse of the impeachment process and would subvert the votes of 63 million Americans. Just because the President’s opponents are afraid he will win reelection is no excuse for weaponizing impeachment. No president in history has ever been impeached 10 months before an election. Elections are the heart of our democracy. Our founding fathers devised a simple way to remove a president that you disagree with — it’s called an election — and we have one coming up in less than a year. Let the people decide.”

    On Thursday, December 19, 2019, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL, 5th) and 8 conservative House colleagues sent a letter to United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to adopt the Federal Rules of Evidence for the Senate’s President Trump impeachment trial.

    Also on Thursday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed in a bipartisan manner the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). that vote follows months of negotiations by House Democrats to secure improvements to the original USMCA negotiated by the Trump Administration.

    “I’m pleased to see that House Democrats were able to secure important changes to the original USMCA draft,” said Ami Bera (D-CA, 7th). “The version of USMCA that passed (today) includes strong protections for American workers, important enforcement mechanisms to ensure all countries are compliant, and key environmental protections.

    The revised version of USMCA is a win for the U.S. economy and American families, and will bring important jobs to California.”

    I wonder if she will admit that the idea came from Trump?

    Rob Bishop (R-UT, 1st) noted the irony of this in his statement:

    “It is about time!

    Despite USMCA’s bipartisan and bicameral support, Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring it to the floor in what can only be described as an attempt to deny President Trump any victories until she could impeach him.

    I am pleased the House passed the trade deal with Canada and Mexico. This is a vast improvement over NAFTA. This bill is good for Utah and the country. It is just too bad it took so long for Democrat leadership to do the right thing.”

    Passage of the USMCA is a win for every sector of our economy, including:

  • Agriculture: The USMCA reduces Canadian and Mexican tariffs on American agricultural goods and eliminates other unfair trading practices – helping our farmers and ranchers sell more of their goods abroad.
  • Autoworkers and Manufacturers: The USMCA creates new requirements for producing auto parts in North America and ensuring those parts are made in high-wage areas – supporting U.S. autoworkers and giving U.S. automakers an edge over foreign competitors.
  • Digital Trade: The agreement creates the strongest standard for digital trade in any international agreement to date. This chapter will provide certainty for our tech sector, protect our privacy, and encourage cross-border growth of digital transactions and e-commerce.
  • Small Businesses and Consumers: Both Canada and Mexico are increasing their de minimis thresholds, or the maximum value of a good shipped across the border before tariffs are applied. This will make it easier for consumers and small businesses to participate in cross-border trade.
  • Intellectual Property: The USMCA modernizes NAFTA’s IP chapter and creates new enforcement mechanisms to protect American innovators and investors.

    “Due to the efforts of House Democrats in the House Trade Working Group, we were able to negotiate with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer a revised USMCA agreement. The revisions make enforcement more effective and fair by fixing loopholes that would have allowed Mexico and Canada to avoid accountability with regards to their trade obligations. This revised USMCA strengthens standards on protecting workers’ rights and introduces penalties on goods and services that are not produced in compliance with key labor standards," said Sanford D. Bishop, Jr (D-GA, 2nd).

    “This was an unprecedented vote for an unprecedented trade agreement. This agreement got more Democratic votes than Republican votes, and we were able to thwart the efforts of big drug companies for the first time ever in a trade agreement. This should be a sign that the days of giving big pharma sweetheart deals are over. Protecting our workers and environment, addressing climate change, and putting people ahead of profit will be at the center of all new trade agreements as long as Democrats are in charge,” said Earl Blumenauer (D-OR, 3rd).

    “With today’s vote, The House is delivering much-needed certainty to the nearly 70,000 Illinoisans whose jobs depend on fair and free trade with Canada and Mexico,” said Mike Bost (R-IL, 12th). “USMCA will strengthen exports for farmers across my district and is a bright spot in what has been one of the worst years in decades for agriculture. Despite a year of unnecessary delays, I’m glad that we are finally moving forward on this historic agreement.”

    “Illinois Farm Bureau greatly appreciates Representative Bost’s vocal leadership for USCMA and for recognizing the value of expanded trade between the U.S. and its neighbors,” said Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert, Jr., who farms in the 12th District. “The largest export market for Illinois corn is Mexico. This modernized trade agreement maintains our tariff free access to that vital market and opens up the Canadian market for more sales of dairy and wheat from the 12th District. Thanks to Rep. Bost’s leadership Illinois farmers can begin to reap the benefits of expanded trade under USMCA.”

    “While we did not achieve all the environmental standards we had hoped for, we did successfully include language that will allow the Paris Climate agreement and other future international environmental agreements to be added by the parties at a later date. As a member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, I will continue to work to address this issue,” said Julia Brownley (D-CA, 26th).

    Now we know why the Democrats so overwhelmingly supported a Trump idea.

    Once enacted, USMCA is expected to help create over 176,000 American jobs, $68 billion in new economic activity, and $2.2 billion in annual agriculture exports.

    Also on Thursday, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Arizona State University Professor Sethuraman Panchanathan to serve as the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    “President Trump has made an inspired choice with his nomination of Dr. Panchanathan—or “Panch,” as we all know him—to head the NSF. During his time at ASU, Panch was instrumental in turning Arizona’s largest institution of higher learning into one of the most innovative universities in the country. His passion for new and exciting ideas is infectious, and I am confident that he will bring this rejuvenating spirit to an organization that could benefit from fresh direction. As a Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I look forward to working with him on future projects,” said Andy Biggs (R-AZ, 5th).

    On Friday, December 20, 2019, Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD, 4th) celebrated the inclusion of language from his standalone legislation, the “Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act,” in the “Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act.” The legislation passed the House of Representatives. The original provision doubled the teachers’ tax deduction for classroom expenses from $250 to $500. The deduction was increased to $1,000 on the floor.

    Reportedly, more than 9 in 10 public-school teachers are not reimbursed for classroom expenses which can include everything from pens to books, crafts and science materials. Teachers in high-poverty schools spent nearly 40 percent more than their peers elsewhere, with one in 10 spending $1,000 or more. In Maryland, nearly 80,000 educators benefit from this deduction.

  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    Black Colleges, Appropriations, Veterans, Trade, Cameroon

    Today's News from the House of Representatives

    Adams Leads Effort to Investigate the Administration’s Failure to Uphold Promise to HBCUs
    Source: Alma Adams (D-NC, 12th)
    December 17, 2019
    Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) unveiled a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report she commissioned to investigate whether the Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing adequate support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help students become successful small business owners. The report raises several deficiencies in SBA’s efforts to work with HBCUs, despite President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order to promote engagement with HBCUs, strengthen HBCU participation in federal programs, and direct federal agencies to identify priorities for working with HBCUs.


    Allred Votes for Bipartisan Appropriations Bills Making Critical Investments in Health Care and Election Security
    Source: Colin Allred (D-TX, 32)
    December 17, 2019
    “I am encouraged that leaders in both parties were able to come together and forge a bipartisan compromise to keep our government open and working for the American people.


    House Passes Amata-Cosponsored Veterans’ Bill To Report On Overcoming Barriers To Benefits
    Source: Aumua Amata (R - American Samoa, At Large)
    December 17, 2019
    This Act requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a three-year study of disability and pension benefits provided to Veterans who served in special missions, including pilots and divers, and who served on reserve components of the Armed Forces while on active duty. This multi-year study will examine disability and pension data from 2008 to 2018 to identify any barriers that exist specific to these veterans. Next, the study will focus on possible ways to overcome these barriers.


    Amodei Statement on Government Funding Packages for Fiscal Year 2020
    Source: Mark Amodei (R-NV, 2nd)
    December 17, 2019
    "Look at what we can actually accomplish when we make it a priority,” said Rep. Amodei. “In terms of the reforms, funding priorities, and responsible spending reductions included in these bills, Nevadans can certainly claim a number of victories. More specifically, these packages will increase funding for Department of Interior (DOI) operations including wildland fire management, Lake Tahoe restoration efforts, hazardous fuels reductions, watershed restoration, and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. The Interior portion of these bills also allocates $12 million for radium cleanup efforts, which the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) would be eligible to receive."


    Source: Mark Amodei (R-NV, 2nd)
    December 17, 2019
    "Look at what we can actually accomplish when we make it a priority,” said Rep. Amodei. “In terms of the reforms, funding priorities, and responsible spending reductions included in these bills, Nevadans can certainly claim a number of victories. More specifically, these packages will increase funding for Department of Interior (DOI) operations including wildland fire management, Lake Tahoe restoration efforts, hazardous fuels reductions, watershed restoration, and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. The Interior portion of these bills also allocates $12 million for radium cleanup efforts, which the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) would be eligible to receive."


    Axne Votes to Fund our Military, Increase Grants for Local Police, Invest in Cancer Research, and Protect our Elections
    Source: Cynthia Axne (D-IA, 3rd)
    December 17, 2019
    The bill passed by the House today, H.R. 1158, provides funding for the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Commerce, and other key executive branch agencies tasked with protecting our nation and its citizens.


    Rep. Bass Statement on Kidnapped Candidates In Cameroon
    Source: Karen Bass (D-CA, 37th)
    December 17, 2019
    “I am alarmed by the recent kidnapping of local official and parliamentary candidates by armed separatists. These actions are counterproductive and not conducive to solving the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Those advocating for independence must understand that preying on innocent Cameroonians who simply want to exercise their civic duties will not help them get any closer to an independent state. I encourage separatists to commit to peacefully resolving the conflict in order for the country to have open and fair elections for all in 2020.”


    Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    Social Workers, Guns, China, Energy, Biogenic Carbon Emissions, Epstein,

    Today's News from the U.S. Senate

    Murkowski, Sinema Bill Improves Workplace Safety for Social Workers and Health Professionals
    Source: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R - AK)
    November 19, 2019
    U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen workplace protections for social workers and behavioral and home health professionals. The Senators’ bipartisan Protecting Social Workers and Health Professionals from Workplace Violence Act of 2019 establishes a grant program to fund workplace safety programs for social workers and health professionals, ensuring these public servants can continue doing their jobs safely.


    Source: Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
    November 19, 2019
    “We represented an unlikely trio of senators to be at the center of these deliberations. There aren’t many controversial issues upon which the three of us — a conservative Republican, a progressive Democrat and a conservative Democrat — could find agreement,” the senators wrote.


    In Stunning Admission, FBI Says It Should Have Addressed Chinese Talent Recruitment Programs Sooner
    Source: Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
    November 19, 2019
    During a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) bipartisan hearing entitled “Securing the U.S. Research Enterprise from China’s Talent Recruitment Plans” chaired by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) John Brown confirmed that the FBI should have taken more rapid and comprehensive action in addressing China’s strategic plan to acquire knowledge and intellectual property from researchers, scientists, and the U.S. private sector through their talent recruitment programs. The hearing focused on the new bipartisan report which documents how American taxpayers have been unwittingly funding the rise of China’s economy and military over the last two decades while federal agencies have done little to stop it


    Risch Energy Bills Advance to the Full Senate
    Source: Senator James E. Risch (R-ID)
    November 19, 2019
    “Strengthening our cybersecurity technologies and nuclear energy hybrid systems are important components to ensuring U.S. energy leadership at home and abroad,” said Senator Risch. “I thank Chairman Murkowski for bringing these important bills before the committee and I look forward to seeing them advance to the full Senate for a vote.”


    Rounds and Thune Join Colleagues to Call on EPA to Provide Clarity on Biogenic Carbon Emissions
    Source: Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)
    November 19, 2019
    U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) joined a number of their colleagues to send a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting clarity on the regulatory treatment of biogenic carbon emissions produced from feedstocks such as corn and soybeans. This clarity will remove an obstacle to investment in rural America.


    Sasse Statement on Arrests of Epstein's Guards
    Source: Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
    November 19, 2019
    “These arrests are important, but they’re not the end of this: These guards aren’t the only ones who should stand trial - every one of Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators should be spending the rest of their lives behind bars.”


    Friday, November 15, 2019

    Employment, Television, Paris Climate Agreement, Obamacare, Drug Sentencing, Impeachment, Small Business

    News from our Elected Officials

    Coons, Isakson, Kaine, Portman introduce bill to help unemployed Americans find good jobs, call for swift Senate passage
    Source: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    November 14, 2019
    U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced legislation to help more unemployed Americans reenter the workforce. The Building on Reemployment Improvements to Deliver Good Employment (BRIDGE) for Workers Act would give states more flexibility in administering existing unemployment benefits to help more Americans find good-paying jobs.


    Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Urges VH1 To Cancel Television Series Glorifying Work Of Drug Cartels
    Source: Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)
    November 14, 2019
    U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked VH1 to cancel Cartel Crew, which glorifies the lives of people with ties to the worst drug lords in history. The latest cast addition is Emma Coronel Aispuro, who is married to the now imprisoned leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.


    King Continues to Stress Need for U.S. to Reenter Paris Climate Agreement
    Source: Senator Angus S. King Jr. (I-ME)
    November 14, 2019
    U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) advocated for the United States to reassert its global leadership on climate issues and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Senator King’s comments came during a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee featuring testimony from current Acting Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, nominee to be the Secretary of Energy.


    Senator Lankford Reintroduces Bill to Remove Obamacare Ban on Physician-Owned Hospitals to Provide Greater Access to Patients
    Source: Senator James Lankford (R-OK)
    November 14, 2019
    Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today reintroduced the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act, which removes the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ban on the creation and expansion of new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) and allows POHs to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Lifting this ban will increase competition among hospitals, lower costs, and expand access to quality care for more Americans, especially those with Medicare and Medicaid.


    Sens. Lee, Durbin Introduce Smarter Sentencing Act
    Source: Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
    November 14, 2019
    “Our current federal sentencing laws are out of date and often counterproductive,” said Sen. Lee. “The Smarter Sentencing Act is a commonsense solution that will greatly reduce the financial and, more importantly, the human cost imposed on society by the broken status quo. The SSA will give judges the flexibility and discretion they need to impose stiff sentences on the most serious drug lords and cartel bosses, while enabling nonviolent offenders to return more quickly to their families and communities.”


    Democrats Focus on Impeachment Instead of Defense Funding
    Source: Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
    November 14, 2019
    “We want to pass the USMCA and the 176,000 new American jobs it would create. But Speaker Pelosi continues to block it. The far left objects to their passing anything the president likes.”


    McSally Introduces Bills to Help Small Businesses Contract with the Federal Government
    Source: Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ)
    November 14, 2019
    “With small businesses comprising over 99 percent of our country’s businesses, our economy depends on their success,” McSally said. “When Arizona small business owners told me they were being forced to shoulder the cost of federal work for up to a month, I knew Congress had to act. Small businesses rely on quick, reliable payments so they can in turn pay their staff and fund new ventures. My bill speeds up payment processing times so that small businesses can continue to serve as the backbone of our economy.”


    Tuesday, November 5, 2019

    National Security, Substance Abuse, Drug Cartel, Space, Big Pharma, Military, Climate Agreement, Caregivers,

    The Senators requested an unclassified assessment on threats to U.S. national security resulting from escaped ISIS prisoners
    Source: Senator Benjamin L.Cardin (D - MD)
    November 5, 2019
    In their letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Admiral Joseph Maguire, Senators Collins and Warner requested that he produce an unclassified assessment with a classified annex regarding how the escape of ISIS detainees in Syria could impact the security of the United States and our allies following the pullback of U.S. troops and subsequent incursion by Turkey. Senator Collins is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senator Warner is the Vice Chairman of the Committee.


    Source: Senator Cathrine Cortez Masto - (D - NV)
    November 5, 2019
    “Educating our youth about the dangers of substance abuse is an important step towards ensuring the health and safety of Nevada’s communities. We’re especially thankful for federal funding programs like Drug-Free Communities that promote collaboration with local agencies and coalitions, and we’ll continue to fight to get our kids the resources they need to make healthy choices and stop substance abuse before it starts.”


    Sen. Cramer Delivers Floor Remarks on the Death of North Dakotans in Mexico Last Night
    Source: Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
    November 5, 2019
    “What this family has experienced is the personification of evil in the form of this Mexican drug cartel. But we serve a God who personifies pure good, and the greatest response to pure evil is pure good,” said Senator Cramer. “I want to express as much as anything to those grieving that today their burden is our burden too.”


    Sen. Cruz: To Maintain U.S. Leadership in Space, We Must Inspire the Future Workforce
    Source: Senator Ted Cruz (R - TX)
    November 5, 2019
    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, led a hearing with educators and industry leaders on the importance of hands-on learning opportunities for students in developing America's future space workforce. During his introductory remarks, Sen. Cruz highlighted the historic accomplishments of NASA during the Apollo Program and the crucial role a skilled, diverse workforce played, and the importance of inspiring children of all ages and background to become involved in science, technology, engineering, and math:


    Durbin: NAFTA 2.0 Is A Trojan Horse Giveaway To Big Pharma
    Source: Senator Richard J. Durbin (D - IL)
    November 5, 2019
    “For all the President's talk, this provision in this trade agreement is a Trojan horse giveaway to Big Pharma at the expense of American patients,” Durbin said. “I guess we shouldn't be surprised, but I'll say this: if Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, are listening to the people they represent back home about the cost of prescription drugs, they won't fall for this new pharma fleece.”


    Ernst Blasts Democrats for Blocking Military Funding
    Source: Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
    November 5, 2019
    U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, blasted her Democratic colleagues who blocked a measure simply allowing a debate on defense funding. On the floor of the Senate, she called on Democrats to put politics aside and to uphold one of the most important duties of the oath of office—and provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to do their jobs.


    Feinstein, Cardin, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Urging President Trump to Keep the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement
    Source: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    November 5, 2019
    Monday, November 4 is the first day President Donald Trump can formalize his threat to withdraw the United States from this historic international agreement. Parties to the Paris Agreement pledged to reduce carbon pollution in an amount and manner determined by each nation that puts the world on a strong trajectory to address climate change.


    (See Also:
    Heinrich Statement On Administration’s Withdrawal From Paris Climate Agreement

    Gillibrand Unveils Bipartisan Legislation To Support Family Caregivers
    Source: Senator Kirsten E.Gillibrand (D-NY)
    November 5, 2019
    U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand unveiled the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, legislation that would support family caregivers by helping to alleviate some of the financial challenges they may face. Family caregivers are family members who take care of a loved one that has a medical or behavioral condition or disability. Gillibrand’s new push comes after hosting roundtables and meetings across New York with older adults and disability rights advocates and hearing directly from them about their specific needs. According to the most recently available data, there are 2.6 million unpaid caregivers throughout New York State.


    At Homeland Security Hearing, Harris Questions FBI Director on Rudy Giuliani, Foreign Election Interference, Witness Intimidation
    Source: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    November 5, 2019
    U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, on Tuesday questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray about potential threats to the United States, including foreign interference in U.S elections, witness intimidation in ongoing investigations, and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. Wray could not say if the FBI has told the president whether Giuliani is a potential counterintelligence threat or whether Giuliani holds any security clearance of any kind.


    Senator Hassan Addresses Foreign & Domestic Terrorist Threats, Ransomware Attacks at Homeland Security Committee Hearing
    Source: Senator Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH)
    November 5, 2019
    Senator Maggie Hassan questioned several of the nation’s top security officials about the rising threats of ISIS affiliates, growing domestic terrorism threats, and cybersecurity during the Senate Homeland Security Committee annual Threats to the Homeland hearing. Senator Hassan and other members of the Committee questioned FBI Director Chris Wray, Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis David Glawe, and National Counterterrorism Center Acting Director Russell Travers.


    Cardin Introduces Legislation to Hold Private Prisons Accountable for Treatment of Federal Inmates

    Washington, D.C. - November 5, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) unveiled legislation Tuesday that will hold private prisons that receive federal funds to the same transparency standards as federal prisons. After welcoming an expert panel hosted by Open the Government, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Senator Cardin officially introduced S. 2773, the Private Prison Information Act (PPIA), which would mandate private prisons with federal inmates and detainees be bound by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In addition to Cardin, the legislation is cosponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as well as Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    “Private prisons account for 20 percent of our federal prison and detention population and 70 percent of all immigration detainees. Yet the operators of private prisons hide behind loopholes in the law when it comes to how they perform their job. If they are receiving federal funds and housing federal inmates and detainees, they must be held accountable to the same standards as our federal prisons,” said Senator Cardin.

    More than 25 percent of all people in federal custody are held in private prisons and detention facilities and, since 2000, the number of people housed in private prisons has increased by 39 percent. The Department of Justice Inspector General has found that federal prisons run by private companies are substantially less safe and secure than ones run by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

    S. 2773, the Private Prison Information Act (PPIA) has been endorsed by: Open the Government, ACLU, NAACP, Human Rights Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), FreedomWorks, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and the Rutherford Institute, among others.

    “For-profit prisons should no longer be able to use their status as private entities to bypass the public access and information laws with which federal prisons must comply,” said Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open the Government. “The PPIA will help close this FOIA loophole and mitigate waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars by holding corporations accountable for their contractual obligations to the federal government.”

    “Currently, oversight of America's private prisons is limited to the federal agencies overseeing them, leaving the American people without any way of knowing how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and keeping them in the dark about how private prisons are being operated, even as private prison companies pour millions into politics.Without oversight, profit-driven private prisons are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and shielded from sufficient public accountability,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder, “The Private Prison Information Act will build on FOIA to ensure the American people have access to key information about private prisons in order to hold this multi-billion industry accountable for its actions.”

    “For the last 40 years, the Freedom of Information Act has been critical in guaranteeing transparency in government. The private prison industry is now responsible for the incarceration of tens of thousands of federal prisoners, and detention of over 70 percent of all immigrant detainees, but is not obligated to provide the public with critical information under the law. The Private Prison Information Sharing Act will ensure that the public has access to the records necessary to ensure that they are holding these entities accountable,” said Eunice Cho, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project.

    Watch the full panel discussion HERE

    Senate Democrats Block Permanent Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    Washington, D.C. - November 5, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Alexander continued: “This is not an Alexander proposal. This is a package of proposals by 29 Senators—17 Democrats and 12 Republicans. It's ready to pass the Senate. It's ready to be worked on with the House of Representatives and signed by the President.”

    Alexander concluded his floor remarks: “We're not on vacation. I know everybody's talking about impeachment, but we have lots of students around this country who would like to have a simpler way to go to college. We have lots of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions that would like to have permanent funding.”

    “We have lots of employers and potential employees who want a short-term Pell grant. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, simplifying the FAFSA would make 250,000 Americans eligible for the maximum Pell grant. All of that is ready to go. Not by a gimmick, but by a Budget Committee approved method that President Trump and President Obama both had in their budgets.”

    And regarding the House-passed legislation, Alexander noted:

    “Unfortunately, that bill is a shortcut the House took, which has no way to pass the Senate. It's based upon a budget gimmick. It uses a method of funding that many Senators objected to. It creates a new funding cliff within 23 months. It is unnecessary to rush this short-term solution because the Secretary of Education has written all of the heads of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to say that there are sufficient funds until next September, so there is no funding problem.”

    Watch Chairman Alexander’s floor speech here.

    See Also:

    Booker Urges Senate, McConnell to Renew Funding for Minority-Serving Institutions of Higher Education

    Thursday, August 22, 2019

    Trump Drafts Executive Order To End Social Media Censorship of Conservatives

    Source: News Punch
    August 22, 2019
    According to Bloomberg News, an Executive Order has been drafted that will instruct law enforcement and federal antitrust agencies to open probes into the “platform bias” of Google, Facebook and Twitter in regards to the censorship and suppression of conservative voices on social media.

    The executive order is in its preliminary stages and hasn’t yet been run past other government agencies, said a White House official.

    Bloomberg News, which has seen a copy of the draft executive order, reports: The document instructs U.S. antitrust authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.” It instructs other government agencies to recommend within a month after it’s signed, actions that could potentially “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.”


    Wednesday, July 24, 2019

    American Legion Welcomes Recognition of Additional Vets as House Passes LEGION Act

    Indianapolis, IN - July 24, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- The head of the nation's largest veterans organization, welcomed today's passage by the House of Representatives of a bipartisan act which will recognize veterans who served during periods not previously considered "wartime."

    The Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act (LEGION Act) opens the door for hundreds of thousands of veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible. As a congressionally-chartered organization, the legislation was required for The American Legion to change its eligibility criteria.

    "Today's passage of the LEGION Act is a victory for veterans who until now have not had their service to our nation fully recognized," American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said. "These veterans and their family members can now enjoy all the benefits of their service which they so richly deserve."

    The gaps in the war eras were largely during the Cold War, a time when threats to U.S. national security was real, especially to the men and women serving in uniform. Overall, estimates show that about 1,600 U.S. servicemembers were killed or wounded in hostile operations during periods that were not previously recognized as times of war by the federal government.

    On Feb. 14, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., introduced the LEGION Act, along with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent on June 11. Reps. Lou Correa, D-Calif., and Ben Cline, R-Va., introduced the House version.

    President Trump is expected to sign the LEGION Act law soon.

    Reistad evoked the memories of The American Legion's founders who launched the organization 100 years ago this year.

    "As we celebrate our centennial anniversary, we hold to the same truths that our founders appropriately crafted a century ago," Reistad said. "Among those: a veteran is a veteran. It does not matter whether a veteran fought enemies on foreign soil, protected our interests in an ocean far away or secured our national defense here at home. Their service is what matters most. Now, thanks to this legislation, all veterans will be properly remembered for their service."

    With a current membership of nearly two million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, patriotic youth programs and Americanism. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts worldwide. From the drafting of the original GI Bill to the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, The American Legion is the most influential voice for America's veterans. The American Legion,, will be celebrating its centennial through Veterans Day.

    Saturday, July 13, 2019

    The fight over the Census citizenship question isn’t over yet

    Source: New York Daily News
    June 10, 2019
    Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices determined that the Justice Department’s stated reason for including the question — that it would improve administration of the Voting Rights Act — was not the real and complete story. It was, in their view, a pretext, even though it is a perfectly valid and sufficient reason.

    This defeat, such as it was, is extremely narrow. “We do not hold that the agency decision here was substantively invalid,” Roberts wrote for his 5-4 majority. They simply “remanded” the case, asking the Commerce Department to show the “real” reason and assure the lower court that it’s not improper

    Read the whole story...

    Thursday, July 11, 2019

    Federal Reserve Must Protect Economy and Consumers from Facebook’s Monopoly Money

    Washington, D.C. - July 11, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – is demanding the Federal Reserve provide detailed answers to how they will upgrade the payments system to prevent critical economic infrastructure from being controlled by powerful special interests.

    In June, Facebook unveiled details of its proposed currency, Libra. This new currency will give Facebook competitive advantages with regard to collecting data about financial transactions, as well as control over fees and functionality. On May 9th, Ranking Member Brown and Chairman Crapo sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about their privacy practices as well as their currency announcement.

    “For example, Facebook recently announced its plans for “Libra,” a digital currency backed by a basket of global currencies and other assets to be governed by a group of private companies, including Facebook. This could have far-reaching consequences for billions of individual consumers and the broader financial system, raising data privacy, systemic risk, and anti-competitive concerns,” wrote Brown.

    Brown went on to write, “We cannot allow giant companies to assert their power over critical public infrastructure. The largest banks and the largest tech companies do not act in the interest of working Americans, but in the interest of themselves and their investors. The Fed must take a proactive role to ensure that the payments system remains accountable to the public.”

    Ranking Member Brown has raised concerns in the past over technology companies getting involved in the business of banking, including opposing the OCC’s plan to create a special charter for financial technology companies that would provide them the benefits of a bank charter without requiring the strict regulations other banks face.

    Read the letter here

    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Laura Loomer Files $3 BILLION Lawsuit Against Facebook for Defamation

    Source: Laura Loomer

    On Tuesday, Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch and a former federal prosecutor announced the filing of a defamation lawsuit by conservative investigative journalist Laura Loomer against Facebook. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Case No. 9:19-cv-80893), alleges that Facebook and its wholly owned sister company Instagram, in banning Ms. Loomer from the social media sites, maliciously defamed her by publishing that she is a “dangerous individual” and a domestic Jewish terrorist.


    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    In a July 4th Announcement, Pro-Trump Law Professor Victor Williams Challenges Mark Warner in Virginia U.S Senate

    Arlington, VA - July 8, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- On July 4, 2019, attorney and well-known Pro-Trump law professor Victor Williams formally announced his 2020 run for the U.S Senate from Virginia.

    Branding his Senate campaign Victor for Williams, his website -- -- states "16 years of Mark 'Russia-Hoaxer' Warner is enough."

    Prof. Williams was a very-early 2016 Donald Trump supporter. Williams founded and chairs "Law Professors for Trump" to fight for our 45th President, for America First policies, and for confirmation of Trump nominees.

    Williams's group takes this fight to the media and to the federal courts. The independent association of law faculty is now advancing Trump's 2020 re-election.

    Professor Williams chose beautiful Occoquan Regional Park, at the Leadership Institute's 49th Annual Conservative July 4th Soiree, for his campaign launch. Virginians from across the state attended the celebrated event.

    Williams' early Senate campaign has already seen success. As he announced on July 4th, and as his website (, states its goal:

    We seek to 'jumpstart' the GOP Senate nominee selection process to insure that Virginia Republicans have ample time to both raise funds for and unify around the strongest woman or man that emerges from the scrum."

    Just four days after Williams' announcement, on July 8th, former congressman Scott Taylor did just that -- formally announcing his decision to run. Williams immediately praised Taylor for his "stellar service to our nation – both in the military and in Congress."

    Williams welcomed Taylor to the race and expressed hope that other contenders would begin the race early, saying

    "With Republicans unified and working together from the beginning, I know that Mark 'Russia-Hoaxer' Warner will be soundly defeated in November 2020."

    At his own July 4th campaign launch, Williams stated that his early campaign launch was also the beginning of a historic effort to appeal to conservative-moderate Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents to reject Warner:

    "Working together against Warner, Virginians of all (or no) partisan stripes, can send the DC swamp a populist message -- America First. Stand Proud with President Trump, or Stand Aside.

    National Democrats Order Warner to "Jump," and He Responds "How Far Left?"

    For years, Mark Warner has dutifully asked "how high?" anytime the national party ordered him to "jump." Now Warner asks: "how far left?"

    And Virginians now respond: "16 years of Mark Warner is enough -- way too much!"

    Williams is harshly critical of incumbent Warner for following national Democrats in their hard-left lurch to:

    *Legalize and Encourage Late-Term Abortion and Post-Birth Infanticide;

    *Raise Taxes and Kill Economic Growth with Regulations;

    *Open the Southern Border to Mass Alien Inflows (an Invasion by any other name) and then give Illegal Aliens Free Health Care;

    *Eliminate Medicare and Perhaps even Private Insurance with Socialist Insurance Schemes;

    *Enact Parts of AOC's Green-New-Deal Fantasy that Immediately Kills Virginia's coal Industry;

    *Strip-Away American History Memorials, Traditions, and Statutes. Threaten Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights (by restricting free speech, free religious exercise, and individual firearm possession).

    Williams says that Warner betrays Virginia values and Virginia voters.

    Warner has repeatedly embarrassed Virginia by his absurd anti-Trump slanders, and his partisan Russia-hoax investigations against President Trump, the Trump family and Administration associates.

    Like so many elitists suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, Warner just cannot accept the truth. No Collusion. No Obstruction.

    Instead, it was Mark Warner who was caught having extensive contacts with a Russian oligarch's lobbyist (March and April of 2017) to gin-up the hoax.

    Williams's Senate campaign will explain how ongoing anti-Trump congressional investigations are unconstitutional. They "are just the latest shameful stage in the establishment crusade against disruptive Donald Trump and the 2016 American voters."

    Prof. Victor Williams calls for all Virginians to "Stand Proud with President Trump" and defeat Mark 'Russia-Hoaxer' Warner.

    Saturday, July 6, 2019

    The SAFE Act - Protecting Election Integrity

    Washington, D.C. - July 6, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2722), legislation to guard against foreign interference in our democracy.

    This bill would provide funding to states to replace outdated and vulnerable voting equipment, mandate paper ballot voting systems and risk-limiting post-election audits, and mandate strict cybersecurity requirements for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.

    The SAFE Act is supported by organizations including Common Cause, People for the American Way, End Citizens United Action Fund, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, NAACP, and Public Citizen.
    The SAFE Act:

  • Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure, which was appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that the House passed on Wednesday.
  • Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
  • Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
  • Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity; whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
  • Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
  • Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
  • Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
  • Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.
  • Thursday, July 4, 2019

    Opinion on the Citizenship Question

    By Shonda Ponder

    Several Senators are calling for the Census paperwork to start printing without the "politically motivated" citizenship question.

    Here is my personal opinion:

    It doesn't matter whether the citizenship question is "politically motivated" or not. What matters is, IS IT A VALID QUESTION!

    The answer is yes.

    If we have people being counted on the census, we need to know if they are citizens. If they are not, we need to know why they are not. Are they permanent legal residents? Are they temporary workers or visitors? Are they here legally? WE NEED TO KNOW ALL THAT!

    Yes. That information is important.

    If the census can ask us whether we are black, white, Native American or Hispanic, then it should be able to ask us if we are a citizen.

    Sunday, June 30, 2019

    Citizenship Question not Allowed in Census

    The United States Supreme Court's decision in Department of Commerce v. New York sends the Citizenship question back to the Commerce Department. The Liberals are claiming victory, but nothing is decided officially yet.

    Ridiculous – Supreme Court Punts on Census Citizenship Question – Sending Issue Back to Commerce Dept….
    Source: The Conservative Treehouse
    June 27, 2019
    The legacy of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is a legacy of abject shame. Today the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to send the issue of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census back to the Commerce Department. The justices did not decide the question was unconstitutional, quite the opposite, they indicated the question was entirely up to the Dept. of Commerce, but disputed the motive behind the Commerce dept. position.


    Saturday, June 29, 2019

    Introducing Center for Security Policy

    Led by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan Pentagon official and aide to Senator Scoop Jackson, the Reagan national security veterans turned the Center into a unique, non-partisan, educational public policy organization with a single overarching mission: To secure freedom for American citizens of today and tomorrow.

    Learn more by visiting their website

    Check out their latest post:

    Latest News Reports Remind Us of the Jihadist Threat on the Southern Border
    June 28, 2019
    This week in the news, three stories surfaced from different news agencies which illustrate that the threat from jihad through Latin America persists:


    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    Apple Threatened to Kick Parler Off App Store Unless They Banned “Certain” Individuals

    Source: Todd Starnes

    Matze said they were told they had to change their community guidelines so they reflected Apple’s. They were also told to remove certain kinds of individuals.




    Friday, June 21, 2019

    Introducing Free Republic

    Free Republic is a mixture of social media and Conservative News platform. It is one of the oldest online Conservative places to be. It is where everyone who is anyone in the Conservative arena is likely to be found.

    "Established in 1996, Free Republic is one of the earliest and largest online gathering places for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America. And we always have fun doing it. Hoo-yah!"


    Thursday, June 20, 2019

    Bill Demands Facebook, Twitter Be Vetted for Political Bias

    Source: PC Magazine
    June 19, 2019
    Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) calls for top internet companies to undergo external audits to vet whether their content moderation systems are free of political bias.


    Check out the Bill HERE

    Conservative Digital-Media Guru Battles Facebook ‘Censorship’

    Source: Daily Beast
    June 20, 2019
    A large conservative digital-media company has taken a novel step in efforts to beat back what the right considers politically motivated censorship by major social-media platforms: It’s hired a lobbyist.


    Wednesday, June 19, 2019

    Donald Trump and Free Speech

    Open Letter to Whom It May Concern:

    Donald Trump is running again (no surprise) for President. In his campaign speech, he said he was fighting for all of our rights. He placed emphasis on our beloved 2nd Amendment.

    The crowd cheered.

    While I agree and applaud also, I also see the real danger that our 1st Amendment is in. Our Freedom of Speech, especially. Without our Freedom of Speech, our voices are silenced. All of our other freedoms are endangered. We cannot allow this to continue.

    I ask, along with my peers, that special attention be placed on our Freedom of Speech. Censored posts on public platforms across the internet need to be re-evaluated. Our options to create our own financial freedom on the internet (and off) need to be protected and encouraged. We need to treat the internet as an opportunity, not a playground.

    Please help us. Do something soon to put those protections in place and sanction those who would violate our freedoms on public platforms such as the internet.

    Without Freedom of Speech we cannot be expected to teach our progeny the importance and value of all our freedoms. If we do not educate because we are silenced and financially broken, then we lose.

    I want to "WIN, WIN, WIN"

    Keeping America Great means keeping our God-given Constitutional rights.

    Thank you,
    Shonda Ponder, editor