Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Senator Warren Unveils Bill to Expand Criminal Liability to Negligent Executives of Giant Corporations




by: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D - MA)

Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today introduced the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which holds executives of large corporations criminally responsible when their companies commit crimes, harm large numbers of Americans through civil violations, or repeatedly violate federal law. The Senator also reintroduced the Ending Too Big to Jail Act, a comprehensive bill to hold big bank executives accountable when the banks they lead break the law.

These two measures come one week after the retirement of a second Wells Fargo CEO who held a senior position in the bank while millions of fake accounts were opened, thousands of cars were unlawfully possessed, and hundreds of homeowners were inappropriately foreclosed.

"Corporations don't make decisions, people do, but for far too long, CEOs of giant corporations that break the law have been able to walk away, while consumers who are harmed are left picking up the pieces," said Senator Warren. "These two bills would force executives to responsibly manage their companies, knowing that if they cheat their customers or crash the economy, they could go to jail."

Executives at large corporations often escape prosecution because it is hard to demonstrate that they are personally aware of all their company's actions -- and establishing knowledge is a critical element of proving most crimes. However, some federal laws, including the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Clean Air Act, already impose criminal liability on corporate leaders when a company's negligence causes massive harm -- regardless of whether leaders personally approved actions that broke the law.

The Corporate Executive Accountability Act builds on these existing federal statues and makes it easier to send executives to jail for serious crimes by expanding criminal liability to negligent executives of corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue that:

  • Are found guilty, plead guilty, or enter into a deferred or non-prosecution agreement for any crime.
  • Are found liable or enter a settlement with any state or Federal regulator for the violation of any civil law if that violation affects the health, safety, finances, or personal data of 1% of the American population or 1% of the population of any state.
  • Are found liable or guilty of a second civil or criminal violation for a different activity while operating under a civil or criminal judgment of any court, a deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreement, or settlement with any state or Federal agency.
  • Punishment for such a violation will be up to a year in jail, while a second violation carries up to three years in jail, consistent with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

  • The Corporate Executive Accountability Act has been endorsed by Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, Take On Wall Street, and the Consumer Federation of America.

    The Ending Too Big to Jail Act makes it easier to hold financial executives accountable by:

  • Creating a permanent investigative unit for financial crimes within the Treasury Department by giving the Special Inspector General for the bailout a new mission -- prosecuting financial crimes.
  • Requiring executives at big banks larger than $10 billion to certify that there is no criminal conduct or civil fraud within the institution, making it easier to prove wrongdoing if it is later discovered.
  • Putting deferred prosecution agreements under the jurisdiction of judges so that they can ensure that the agreements are in the public interest and can supervise their implementation.

  • The Ending Too Big to Jail Act, which was first introduced by Senator Warren in March 2018, has been endorsed by Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, Take On Wall Street, the Communications Workers of America, and Professor Brandon Garrett of Duke Law School, author of Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations.

    Senate Intel Vice Chair Warner on Assange



    by: Senator Mark R.Warner (D - VA)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement regarding the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, today in the United Kingdom:

    “Julian Assange has long professed high ideals and moral superiority. Unfortunately, whatever his intentions when he started WikiLeaks, what he’s really become is a direct participant in Russian efforts to undermine the West and a dedicated accomplice in efforts to undermine American security. It is my hope that the British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves.

    “I would like to thank President Moreno and the Ecuadoran government for taking the long-overdue step of withdrawing sanctuary for Mr. Assange so that he can finally face justice for his actions.”

    Wyden, Merkley Urge Increased Funding for Affordable Housing



    by: Senator Ron Wyden- (D - OR)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week joined 39 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the Senators who lead the housing subcommittee urging increased funding for the Section 4 Capacity Building program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 4 Program works with local community development organizations to improve affordable housing, finance small businesses, and provide for other community needs.

    In their letter, the Senators wrote, “The Section 4 Program allows HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country. Section 4 funds are required by law to be matched 3:1 with private investments, but program funds have consistently leveraged substantially higher amounts.”

    They continued, “We are disappointed that the President’s budget has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development. Since the HUD Demonstration Act was authorized in 1993, Section 4 has proven to be a valuable and cost-effective program that has produced tangible results. Through a nationwide support network, Section 4 provides programmatic and training assistance to local organizations, ensuring program goals are met while granting the necessary flexibility to meet community-specific needs. As communities across the country continue to look for ways to expand economic development and provide affordable housing, funding for Section 4 remains critically important.”

    The Senators close the letter stating, “As the Subcommittee works through the process of determining how to effectively appropriate federal funds, it is our hope that you will continue your support for Section 4 in FY 2020.”

    In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Todd Young, R-Ind., Margaret Hassan, D-N.H., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Pa., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, Angus S. King, Jr., I-Maine, Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Christopher A. Coons, D-Del.., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

    The full text of the letter is available here.

    Udall, McCollum Respond to IG Opening Investigation into Interior Secretary Bernhardt



    by: Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, responded to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) agreeing to open an investigation into whether senior DOI officials, including Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, violated federal ethics regulations meant to prevent conflicts of interest by participating in matters concerning former clients or employers.

    Udall and McCollum requested the investigation in March.

    "The American public deserves to have the basic confidence that their Interior Secretary is looking out for their interests – protecting public land, species, the air and the water -- and not the interests of former industry clients. The Inspector General’s investigation into Secretary Bernhardt’s extensive conflicts of interest is a necessary step to ensure that the public interest is paramount in decision-making at the Interior Department,” Udall said.

    “Our federal ethics policies and procedures are in place to ensure federal officials are working for the benefit of the American people. It’s important to know that the Inspector General will be looking into whether officials at the Department of the Interior, including the newly confirmed Secretary, may have violated ethics regulations. The Department’s focus should be protecting our public lands and natural resources,” McCollum said.

    VA Electronic Health Record Advisory Committee Act Introduced


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    by: Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)

    Big Sandy, MT - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are fighting to keep the VA on target and transparent on its roll-out of the new $16 billion commercial electronic health record system for nine million veterans.

    The VA is currently undertaking a decade-long transition to bring veterans' health records into the 21st century by ensuring that veterans can have access to a seamless electronic health record across the VA and Department of Defense health systems.

    Tester and Blackburn introduced the VA Electronic Health Record Advisory Committee Act to establish a third-party oversight committee to help monitor the implementation of the new electronic health record system.

    "The new electronic health record system is too important to veterans' health care for the VA to get wrong," said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "Our bill will create another layer of accountability and oversight of the process to make sure the VA roll-out does right by the nine million veterans who will rely on this system."

    "A crucial part of giving our veterans better care is improving the way DOD and the VA organize their health records," said Senator Blackburn. "The EHR Advisory Committee will be entirely devoted to ensuring the implementation and transition is done as smoothly as possible. Comprised of professionals who have experience in the health care field, as well as veterans currently receiving care at the VA, this committee will have the knowledge and expertise to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the VA's services."

    The 11-member Committee would operate separately from the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and would be made up of medical professionals, Information Technology and interoperability specialists, and veterans currently receiving care from the VA.

    The Committee will analyze the VA's strategy for implementation, develop a risk management plan, tour VA facilities as they transition to the new system and ensure veterans, VA employees and medical staff, and other participants have a voice in the process. The Committee will meet with the VA Secretary at least twice a year on their analysis and recommendations for implementation.

    The Senators' bill can be read online HERE.

    The Shipping and Environmental Arctic Leadership Act (SEAL Act) Introduced



    by: Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Ak)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan has cosponsored bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) aimed to increase the nation’s presence in the Arctic by supporting responsible research and development in the U.S. Arctic while giving those who live in the region a greater voice on policy and research.

    The Shipping and Environmental Arctic Leadership Act (SEAL Act) addresses increasing shipping and maritime traffic by establishing a congressionally charted seaway development corporation in the Arctic. Specifically, the bill establishes a corporation that will develop a voluntary tariff model—consistent with customary international law– to help fund the infrastructural and environmental demands of safe and reliable shipping in the Arctic Region.

    The Arctic Policy Act (APA) takes steps to increase local and indigenous voices in federal science and policy in the Arctic. The APA aims to improve coordination and collaboration across agencies to advance an integrated plan for the Arctic, including establishing an Advisory Committee with local and tribal input in shaping national Arctic priorities.

    “The retreat of Arctic sea ice, improvements in icebreaking technology, and global demand for resources have led to an increase in human activity in the Arctic while also raising concerns about the future of the region. The SEAL Act will provide the coordination among federal, state, international, and local stakeholders necessary to support the needs of Arctic transportation in the years ahead,” said Senator Sullivan. “With increased attention and shipping traffic in the Arctic, it’s important that the people who live in the region have a seat at the table when it comes to developing policy. The Arctic Policy Act will create advisory groups that ensure local stakeholders and Alaska Native people are involved in charting the course for the future of the Arctic.”

    “Our new reality in the Arctic is that we are seeing greater opportunities but also greater challenges, such as environmental changes opening sea routes year-round and an increased global interest in the area. These bills will both play a significant role in further developing a plan to address U.S. priorities in the Arctic, while incorporating the input of indigenous Alaskans who live there. This legislation will also encourage those who use our Arctic waterways to contribute to developing infrastructure such as ports and maritime shipping services, in order to ensure the safety and management of the region,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The Arctic is a national asset and should be treated as a national priority. I’m proud to lead legislation that will help us capitalize on opportunities that are critical to our Arctic strategy, allowing us to truly claim America’s leadership role in this region of global importance. I look forward to continuing conversations with Arctic residents and my colleagues in Washington to move these proposals forward.”

    “This bill will empower native communities to play a leadership role in charting a way forward in the changing Artic region,” said Senator Schatz. “I’m proud to be working with Senator Murkowski to make sure the United States expands our role in this region in a responsible, strategic way.”

    “As the world’s climate warms, so too does the landscape of the Arctic,” said Senator King. “With melting ice comes increased access to shipping lanes, and we need to be proactive to understand how to safely access economic opportunity while also protecting the unique ecology of the high North and the interests of the Arctic people. Establishing a congressionally charted seaway development corporation would take an important step to strengthen American leadership in the Arctic, explore the prospects of the region, and responsibly understand and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

    Shipping and Environmental Arctic Leadership Act Highlights:

    Click here for full text of the bill.

  • Collaboration: Establishes a congressionally chartered seaway development corporation in the Arctic. This Arctic-focused Corporation will work with representatives from NOAA, the State Department, the Coast Guard, and DOT—as well as representatives from the State of Alaska, the Alaskan business community, Alaskan coastal and subsistence communities and the Alaskan maritime labor organizations—to develop an Arctic shipping union whose leadership will advocate for safe, secure, and reliable Arctic seaway development, and further ensure that the Arctic becomes a place of international cooperation rather than competition or conflict.
  • Fee-Based System: Tasks the new seaway development corporation to establish a system in the Arctic that will collect voluntary maritime shipping fees. The funds will be used to help cover necessary costs to build out Arctic infrastructure, such as ports and maritime shipping services, in order to ensure the safety and management of the region.
  • Ties with Arctic Residents: Requires the Corporation to work in partnership with Arctic residents and Arctic shippers to build an appropriate system that will support shipping in the Arctic, in such a way that will protect the environment and biodiversity of the ocean Alaskans depend on for food.

  • Arctic Policy Act Highlights:

    Click here for full text of the bill.

  • Coordination: Permanently establishes the Arctic Executive Steering Committee within the Department of Homeland Security to provide the coordination necessary across agencies to advance an integrated plan for the Arctic.
  • Collaboration: Establishes an Arctic Advisory Committee to ensure that residents of the Arctic and Alaska Native people have a seat at the table for the development of policy. Additionally, the legislation calls for the establishment of Regional Tribal Advisory Groups, starting with the Bering Sea Regional Tribal Advisory Group, to advise the federal government as it shapes national priorities in the region. These tribal advisory groups will be empowered to provide advice on specific challenges or regionally-important issues.
  • Indigenous Representation: Updates the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 to add two additional indigenous representatives on the Arctic Research Commission, thereby providing greater opportunities to include traditional knowledge and community coordination in our nation’s scientific efforts in the Arctic, including efforts to study and understand climate change.

  • Legislation to Establish Flat Tax Introduced



    by: Senator, Richard C.Shelby (R-AL)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) re-introduced legislation to establish a flat tax on all income, known as the “Simplified, Manageable, and Responsible Tax (SMART) Act.” Since his election to the Senate in 1986, Senator Shelby has been a strong advocate for the flat tax, introducing legislation supporting it each Congress.

    “Every year, Tax Day is a reminder to the American people that our nation’s tax code is complex, confusing, and costly,” said Senator Shelby. “The recent success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is certainly progress, but if the SMART Act was in place now, taxpayers would file a return the size of a postcard, and every American would be taxed equally and at the same rate. I believe this legislation would result in an immediate tax cut for virtually all taxpayers, while also reducing the size, scope, and complexity of the IRS.”

    The SMART Act establishes a flat income tax of 17 percent on all income. The only exception would be personal exemptions of:

  • $14,480 for a single person;
  • $18,490 for a head of a household;
  • $28,960 for a married couple filing jointly; and
  • $6,250 for each dependent.

  • These allowances would also be adjusted to the consumer price index in order to prevent inflation from raising our tax burden. To prevent the double-taxation of income, earnings from savings would not be included as taxable income, resulting in an immediate tax cut for virtually all hardworking taxpayers.

    By closing loopholes for individuals and businesses, the SMART Act would create broad-based, lower tax rates that would give American individuals and businesses a competitive edge, create and retain jobs in the United States, and curb offshoring.




    by: Senator Charles E. Schumer- (D - NY)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Standing at the Novelis factory in Oswego, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expedite the review and approval of the company’s remaining product exclusion requests from aluminum tariffs that involve imports from Canada. Novelis, which is a top employer in Oswego County, employing over 1,100 people, is a major contributor to the Central New York economy and is seeking exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs that were implemented in March 2018.

    Schumer said that while targeted tariffs on heavily subsidized aluminum imports from countries like China–which bends and breaks fair trade rules–can be effective, broad-based tariffs on good actors from partner countries like Canada are negatively impacting companies like Novelis that have an integrated supply chain between its North American facilities. Schumer will say that these tariffs have made Novelis’s New York operation less competitive and will demand that the federal government eliminate these poorly targeted tariffs completely. In the meantime, Schumer called on DOC and CBP to work through Novelis’s product exclusion requests ASAP, to protect Novelis and the Central New York economy from unwarranted damage.

    “I have always supported using tariffs to crack down on predatory trade practices from countries like China that massively subsidize their aluminum products and hurt American workers, but targeting allies like Canada with these same tariffs is wrongheaded and does damage to the same entities they are meant to protect—including Novelis’s successful Oswego operation and their 1,100 employees. Tariffs on Canadian imports are forcing Novelis—which has a deeply integrated supply chain in North America, with a major leg of it here in Central New York—to seek product exclusions to avoid paying a hefty price,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I’m urging the feds to negotiate a common sense deal with Canada that will scrap these unwise tariffs ASAP. In the meantime, the feds must do everything they can to provide temporary relief by expediting and approving Novelis’s remaining requests for tariff exemptions on products that are integral to its Oswego facility.”

    Schumer said that Novelis’s Oswego Facility, which opened in 1963, represents its first U.S. operation and largest fabrication facility in North America. With over 1,100 employees and an economic impact of $151.96 million, the facility produces more than a billion pounds of high-quality aluminum products each year used primarily by automotive, building and beverage can markets. Notably, in 2016 Novelis invested more than $500 million to produce aluminum sheet for Ford’s F-Series, F-150 trucks and Expedition SUV. However, Schumer detailed, because the Novelis Oswego plant relies on a supply chain with a Novelis facility in Kingston, Ontario, they are paying significant duties on products due to the Section 232 aluminum tariffs that were implemented in 2018.

    Schumer explained that the supply chain between Novelis’s facilities in Oswego and Kingston is closely intertwined due to the unique capabilities at each location, prior duty-free transactions and their close proximity to one another. In fact, all of the products made by Novelis in Kingston are supplied by the Oswego facility, making the Kingston facility the Oswego largest customer. Schumer argued that product exclusions from Section 232 aluminum tariffs will help Novelis avoid excess costs and a significant disruption to their supply chain. Schumer stated that if Novelis doesn’t receive exclusions on material imported from Kingston, the Oswego facility could lose a significant portion of its business and would have to find new markets for its aluminum.

    “When it comes to the international aluminum market, China cheats, subsidizes its producers and floods the market, and Canada, which is our steadfast ally, does not,” said Schumer. “It makes no sense to put these two nations in the same basket and treat them with the same negative tariff weapon.”

    Therefore, Schumer said that the administration must work towards a deal with Canada that will eliminate these tariffs permanently. In the meantime, Schumer urged DOC and CBP to provide temporary relief to Novelis by expediting and approving the existing product exclusion requests. In 2018, Novelis applied to exclude 897 products it imports from Canada from 232 tariffs that impact the Oswego facility. Schumer worked closely with DOC and CBP to secure expedited consideration and approval of just over 560 of those requests already. Now Schumer is demanding that the remaining 292 requests be examined and approved immediately as well. In addition, since exclusion requests only last one year, Schumer is urging DOC and CBP to also quickly expedite and approve all of Novelis’s already approved exemption requests for a second year.

    On March 8, 2018, the U.S. authorized tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea from under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 on the grounds of national security. Schumer noted that while he has long supported using Section 232 tariffs to stop heavily subsidized foreign companies from dumping artificially cheap metals in our markets, targeting good actors from partner countries like Canada are poorly targeted and negatively impacting companies they are meant to help like Novelis.

    A copy of Schumer’s letter to DOC and CBP appears below.

    Dear Secretary Ross and Commissioner McAleenan:

    I write to request that the Department of Commerce (DOC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expedite the review of Novelis Inc.’s remaining product exclusion requests that involve imports from Canada. Novelis submitted nearly 900 product exclusion requests from the Section 232 aluminum tariffs that were implemented in March, 2018. Each of these requests have a direct impact on its Oswego, New York facility given its integrated supply chain with a Canadian facility. While most of these requests were approved, many have been backlogged for months and the recent government shutdown only caused further delays.

    Novelis’s Oswego facility represents its first U.S. operation and largest fabrication facility in North America. With over 1,100 employees, the facility produces more than a billion pounds of high-quality aluminum products each year used primarily by automotive, building and beverage can markets. Notably, between 2012 and 2016 Novelis invested more than $500 million to produce aluminum sheet for Ford’s F-Series, F-150 trucks and Expedition. However, because the Oswego plant relies on a supply chain with a Novelis’s facility in Kingston Canada, the company is paying significant tariffs as a result of the Section 232 aluminum order.

    The supply chain between Novelis facilities in Oswego and Kingston are closely integrated due to the unique capabilities at each location, prior duty-free transactions and their proximity to one another. Product exclusions from Sec. 232 aluminum tariffs will help Novelis avoid a significant disruption to their supply chain. If they do not receive exclusions on imports from Kingston, production capacity at both locations could go down.

    While I support targeted tariffs on heavily subsidized aluminum imports, from countries like China, broad-based tariffs on good actors from partner countries like Canada are negatively impacting companies like Novelis that have an integrated supply chains between North American facilities. In January, Congress passed into law a nearly $5 million increase in funding for the Section 232 exclusion process that should help speed up the current process. I understand that the recent government shutdown caused further delays and that pending requests that were objected to may require extra time to review and should be carefully evaluated. Again, to the extent possible, I urge the DOC to expedite Novelis’s remaining exclusion requests that involve imports from Canada and CBP to work through any administrative issues in a timely manner. In addition, I am asking that you quickly expedite and approve all of Novelis’s already approved exemption requests for a second year.

    Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or my staff should you have further questions.


    Sasse: Pro-Life Speech Is Not Hate Speech



    by: Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)

    Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Last week, at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse pressed social media companies on the definition of hate speech and how pro-life advocacy is not violence.

    Senator Sasse’s full exchange can be found here and a partial transcript is found below:

    Senator Sasse: Can you define hate speech?

    Mr. Neil Potts (Facebook): Senator, thank you, I'll take a stab at it. Both giving you the definition from a Facebook position, but I - we’re also recognizing there's not a universal definition of hate speech across the globe. So, to Facebook the way we define hate speech is an attack against a person or a group of people based on their protected characteristic like race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, as well as serious disability. We define attack to mean, something like, using words that are dehumanizing, cause for violence, contempt or disgust, exclusion or segregation. But I think your point the accurate one, is to how do you draw those lines to allow a free flow of ideas, to allow debate, but also for us to keep the community safe. So, we on my team, and the teams that we work with, we really fight through that, that struggle abounds in voice vs. safety. So, we want to give voice to more people. We err on the side of giving voice. There is a lot of content that I find, perhaps, offensive - and maybe some of you all would find offensive as well - that we allow on the platform because it doesn't violate our policies. But, when we draw the line, and we say that that this type of speech is going to lead to violence, it is dehumanizing, we do remove it under our policies. And...

    Sen. Sasse: I don't mean to be rude. I don't want to interrupt you, if we had a lot more time here. But I just want to ask a precise point here because I'm well over time right now. A lot of the context of this debate is around the pro-life movement and when you bring up violence, I mean, there's violence in abortion. It's in the abortion. Can you explain to me how the pro-life position is in any way violent, and how any community standards could ever say a pro-life person's speech should be shut down because somehow…

    I don't follow from this...I could understand how you could say that a whole bunch of positions advocating the most extreme abortion laws that exist on earth: the U.S., China, North Korea, and Vietnam are the only nations that allow abortion until moments before delivery. Out of 200 countries there are four on Earth that do that. We're one of those four. There's clearly violence associated with that conversation. It's on the abortion advocates' side of the debate. How is the pro-life side ever guilty of something that equates to violence? Like, how could a pro-life position ever be shut down because of safety?

    Mr. Potts: That's a great question Senator. And, to be clear, a lot of this depends on intent...and in the context of statements or images or video as are shared so it's hard to do the hypothetical. But a general pro-life position would not be violating our community standards for hate speech.

    Sanders Responds After Trump Vetoes Yemen Resolution



    by: Senator Bernard Sanders (I - VT)

    Burlington, VT - April 17, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement after President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen:

    "I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Trump has rejected the bi-partisan resolution to end U.S. involvement in the horrific war in Yemen. The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs. My colleagues and I will continue our efforts to reassert Congress' constitutional responsibility over war making and end U.S involvement in unauthorized and unconstitutional wars."