Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Old Post Office Hotel, Immigrant Detention, Coronavirus, Progressive Campaign Ads, SNAP, FISA Reform, Vaping, USMCA, Mid-East Peace

Today's News for January 29, 2020

Source: U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR, 4th)
January 29, 2020
The GSA’s own internal watchdog, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), concluded that GSA failed to consider the Emoluments Clauses when evaluating this lease.

Immigrant rights advocates across the country demand Sheriff Horton reinstate the Etowah Visitation Project
Source: Detention Watch Network
January 29, 2020
The Etowah Visitation Project coordinators volunteer visits to people detained in the Etowah Detention Center in Alabama. Visitation can be a lifeline for people inside detention, particularly those detained at Etowah who are kept indoors 24/7 with no access to outdoor recreation.

Source: U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th)
January 29, 2020
The USMCA solidifies the partnership among the United States’ closest trading partners, increasing our country’s negotiating position with others, explained the Congressman. “There’s no doubt this trade deal increased pressure on China to sign a Phase One deal with the United States,” said Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04), a member of the House Armed Services and Agriculture Committees. “It requires more auto parts be made in North America, a change that will continue the U.S. manufacturing resurgence.”

Deutch Statement on Administration's Plan for Peace between Israel and Palestinians
Source: U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL, 21st)
January 28, 2020
“As a proud pro-Israel Member of Congress, I have consistently expressed my support for a two-state solution, to be negotiated directly between Israel and the Palestinians, that ensures Israel’s security and establishes a viable Palestinian state.”

DeLauro Statement on U.S. Response to Wuhan Coronavirus
Source: U.S. Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT, 3rd)
January 27, 2020
“The latest data on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in China and the United States is troubling. Given China’s disappointing record on food and medicine safety, our federal government must be proactive in combatting this virus and transparent in providing available information in real-time. The CDC has more than $100 million in a rapid response fund due to my Appropriations Subcommittee’s funding bill, and I am committed to working with our government’s public health officials to provide additional resources if necessary. I will also be reintroducing the Public Health Emergency Fund Act, which would provide $5 billion to our woefully underfunded public health emergency fund.”

Democracy for America launches $50,000 social media campaign ahead of Iowa Caucus
Source: Democracy for America
January 24, 2020
Democracy for America launches an independent expenditure campaign expected to spend $50,000 in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Our campaign will target Iowa Democratic voters who have expressed support for Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders campaigns to ensure that a progressive candidate wins the Iowa Caucus.

DelBene, Schrier Call on Trump Administration to End Attack on 700,000 SNAP Recipients
Source: U.S. Representative Suzan Delbene (D-WA, 1st)
January 24, 2020
“I have long been a supporter of SNAP, which helps those in need across the U.S. gain access to nutritious food and supports a basic standard of living,” said DelBene. “The Trump Administration’s new rule would take vital nutrition assistance from those who need it most. Today’s event was important for those of us working to right these wrongs in D.C. to help us understand the true human impact that this rule and others like it will have on our communities. The 68,000 Washingtonians who would lose their benefits are not just a statistic, they are people struggling to get by. This rule will only make things worse for them.”

Demand Progress Endorses FISA Reform Bill
Source: Demand Progress
January 23, 2020
Senators Daines (R-MT) and Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Lofgren (D-CA), Jayapal (D-WA), and Davidson (R-OH) announced the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act. The legislation significantly reforms a number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorities, in particular Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Section 215 was the legal authority unlawfully relied on by the government to justify the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata dragnet, first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. That dragnet and its successor, the Call Detail Records program, have never been shown to offer intelligence value, and the successor was terminated after it acquired an unknown amount of information unlawfully.

Lawmakers call on administration to ban flavored vaping products
Source: U.S. Representative Diana Degette (D-CO, 1st)
January 23, 2020
More than 50 members of Congress – led by U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) called on the Trump administration to issue new rules banning the sale of flavored nicotine products that experts say have led to the nation’s teen-vaping epidemic.

Bill to Stop Pirate Broadcasters Signed into Law

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced that his bipartisan Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act was signed into law by President Trump.

“Honored to have gotten this important bipartisan bill signed into law on behalf of Montana local radio and rural broadcasters,” Daines said. “Thankful to President Trump for taking action to stop illegal pirate radio operations and hold them accountable to the law.”

Daines’ legislation:

  • Gives teeth to existing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action to reduce pirate radio broadcasters.
  • Defines Pirate Radio broadcasting as unlicensed transmission in the AM/FM frequencies
  • Allows for enforcement sweeps, creates a database and reporting requirements, and sets a fine of not more than $100,000 per day with a maximum fine of $2 Million.

  • Background:

  • In early January, Daines announced that his bipartisan Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act passed through both chambers of Congress with overwhelming support and was headed to the President’s desk.
  • On April 29th, 2019, Daines introduced S.1228, the PIRATE Act with Senator Peters (D-MI).
  • On May 15th, 2019, The PIRATE Act Passed the Senate Commerce Committee by voice vote.
  • Identical legislation (H.R.583) was introduced in the U.S. House earlier in 2019.