In The News


Congress roasted Facebook on TV, but won’t hear any bills to regulate it

by Casey Newton

On October 19th of last year, a just-barely bipartisan group of senators held a press conference to announce a new piece of legislation. The Honest Ads Act, as the bill is called, would require Facebook, Google, and other tech platforms to retain copies of the political ads they host and make them available for public inspection. Platforms would have to release information about who bought the ads, how much they cost, and to whom the ads were targeted. Anyone who spent more than $500 on politica… Continue Reading


3 in Wash. among 150 in Congress who haven't held town meetings

by Joel Connelly

Three members of Washington's congressional delegation are among 150 members of the Senate and House who have not held a single town meeting since Congress began its current session in January of 2017. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Republican U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Beutler are on the list, along with such Capitol Hill heavies as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Reichert has spurned calls for a town meeting even when 750 people showe… Continue Reading


Mercer Island banker behind move to toughen federal laws on religious hate crimes

by Ryan Blethen

A proposed amendment that strengthens federal hate-crimes laws protecting religious institutions is being driven by a Mercer Island man's outrage after the Jewish community center his family attends was the target of a bomb threat in 2017. The threat against the Stroum Jewish Community Center (JCC) last year pushed Mercer Island banker Joseph Schocken into action. He contacted U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, an acquaintance with whom he had worked before, in an effort do something - anyth… Continue Reading


Bacon, 60 colleagues demand DOJ distribute school safety funds

America's schools are still waiting on the distribution of federal school safety grants approved earlier this year by Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) needs to speed up the process, said U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. "Just earlier this month, we saw yet another horrific massacre in one of our nation's schools," Rep. Bacon said in a May 30 statement referring to the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas in which 10 people died and 13 … Continue Reading


Congressional budget includes $200 million in salmon disaster funds

by Andrew Fickes

Sound Transit is on target to begin construction this fall on the 2.4-mile extension of Tacoma Link to the Hilltop neighborhood, which will include the development of six new stations and the relocation of the Theater District station, and the expansion of the operation and maintenance facility on East 25th Street. Scott Thompson, Sound Transit spokesman, said the regional transit organization plans to award a construction contract in July. On May 14, financing for the Hilltop Link Extension pr… Continue Reading


Kilmer-supported House defense authorization bill passes

by Bob Smith

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 351-66 to move foward its $717 billion defense policy bill for fiscal 2019 to conference for reconciliation with a version in the Senate. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) received the approval of 131 Democrats. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, the 6th District Democrat, voted for the measure. Seven Republicans voted against its approval. Of the $717 billion in the authorization bill, $617 billion is dedicated to base spending… Continue Reading


Keep pressure on rail safety deadline

by News Tribune Editorial Board

Imagine having the technology to prevent decades of airline or automobile catastrophes but not implementing it. It's unthinkable, and yet, since 1969, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated 148 railway accidents and determined that Positive Train Control, a system that slows or stops a train using automated brakes, could have prevented all of them. Those accidents resulted in 298 deaths and nearly 7,000 injuries. Among the preventable carnage: three deaths and more than 60 i… Continue Reading


Senators want National Guard on call for cyberattacks

by Sean Lyngaas

A pair of Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would give the National Guard a bigger role in defending everything from election systems to dams from cyberattacks. The bill from Sens. Maria Cantwell, Wash., and Joe Manchin, W.Va., would set up National Guard "cyber civil support teams" in every state and territory "to bridge the gap between federal and non-federal cybersecurity efforts," the senators' offices said in a release. The bill would put $50 million toward the National Gu… Continue Reading


Cyber Amendments to Watch in the House’s Defense Authorization Bill

by Joseph marks

The House Rules Committee will consider a slew of amendments to a major defense policy bill Tuesday afternoon, including amendments that address major congressional cybersecurity priorities. An amendment from Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., for instance, would prohibit President Donald Trump from eliminating the role of White House cyber coordinator, a move that National Security Adviser John Bolton commenced last week. Another amendment from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, would direct the Pent… Continue Reading


New US Bill Wants to Create National Guard Cyber Units

by Catalin Cimpanu

US lawmakers have proposed a bill that would create specialized units in the National Guard for defending and responding to cyber-attacks. According to the bill's text, these cyber-units -referred to as National Guard Cyber Civil Support Teams- will be at the disposal of state governors and will have a series of responsibilities. One of their main roles will be to prepare and train local state private sector entities and critical infrastructure operators for future cyber-attacks by establishin… Continue Reading


Connelly: Larsen breaks with fellow Dems, backs partial Dodd-Frank rollback

by Joel Connelly

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., broke with fellow state Democrats on Tuesday, and voted with Republicans for a partial rollback in banking rules, enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act to curb abuses that fueled the Great Recession. The legislation exempts medium-sized and small banks from rules imposed on the banking season. According to the New York Times, the legislation will leave fewer than 10 big banks in the U.S. subject to stricter oversight. The legislation relieves banks with assets under $250 bil… Continue Reading


US House committee approves amendment requiring genetically engineered salmon to be labeled

by Steve Davies

The [House Appropriations Committee] ... approved, over a handful of objections, an amendment that would subject genetically engineered salmon to the GMO disclosure law passed by Congress in 2016, for which USDA has recently proposed regulations. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, introduced the amendment, saying it's necessary in order to prevent consumer confusion. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has been particularly vocal in trying to have FDA label GE salmon, which has yet to be commercialized in th… Continue Reading


The Cybersecurity 202: Congress is offering millions in election security. States may not use it by November.

by Derek Hawkins

States are now free to claim their shares of the hundreds of millions of dollars Congress set aside to secure election systems across the country. But for many states, getting their hands on the money - and deciding how to spend it - is easier said than done. In Minnesota, Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) told me he wants to use part of the $6.6 million in federal funds his state was awarded to hire three coders to immediately upgrade the state's aging voter registration system. The clock… Continue Reading


House panel clears bills to fund USDA, FDA, Corps

by Steve Davies

The "Waters of the U.S." rule promulgated by the Obama Administration would be repealed in one of two spending bills approved by the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. Despite opposition by Democrats, who attempted to remove all of what they called "poison pill" riders, the WOTUS repeal provision remained in the energy and water spending bill that cleared the committee. EPA is already working through the administrative process to rescind the rule and expects to publish a new proposed rul… Continue Reading


An 'Exploration Exhibition' to launch the new Planetary Science Caucus

by Casey Dreier

The congressional Planetary Science Caucus formally kicked off last Wednesday with an "exploration exhibition" at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the caucus and of the many ways in which industry and scientific institutions participate in the exploration of the planets. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and its board of directors were on hand to welcome hundreds congressional staff and seven members of Congress, including the caucus co-Chairs Rep. John Culberson (… Continue Reading


Nation's Leading Policy Voices Gather Today for Peterson Foundation's 2018 Fiscal Summit: Debt Matters

Leading lawmakers and policy experts gather today for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's 2018 Fiscal Summit: Debt Matters. Following recent tax and spending legislation that add significantly to our national debt, the Fiscal Summit will examine the urgent need for a fiscal reset that puts America on a sustainable course for economic growth and prosperity. As campaigns for the 2018 midterm elections get underway within a rapidly changing policy environment, the ninth-annual Fiscal Summit… Continue Reading


Port Angeles City Council prepares to fight park service over water treatment

The City Council has approved a $360,000 payment to Seattle law firm to prepare a lawsuit against the National Park Service as a backup to settlement negotiations for the Elwha water treatment facilities. Council members voted 7-0 Tuesday to authorize City Manager Dan McKeen to execute a third contract amendment with Lane Powell PC, a firm with expertise in federal litigation. The city hired Lane Powell in 2016 to help with the transfer of the Elwha water facilities from the National Park Serv… Continue Reading


Marchand, Joseph take Colville's concerns to Washington D.C.

by Justus Caudell

Following the testimony of Colville Business Council chair Dr. Michael Marchand, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, issued to his fellow members of the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee an invitation to attend the Colville Reservation's Omak Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race. "I don't want to break the serious mood, but I just want to get it on the record: I watched a very exciting Kentucky Derby this weekend and it's nothing compared to the Omak Stampede and Suicide Race," sai… Continue Reading


Port Angeles City Council prepares to fight park service if needed

by Rob Ollikainen

The City Council has approved a $360,000 payment to Seattle law firm to prepare a lawsuit against the National Park Service as a backup to settlement negotiations for the Elwha water treatment facilities. Council members voted 7-0 Tuesday to authorize City Manager Dan McKeen to execute a third contract amendment with Lane Powell PC, a firm with expertise in federal litigation. The city hired Lane Powell in 2016 to help with the transfer of the Elwha water facilities from the National Park Serv… Continue Reading


What’s Happening in Space Policy

by Marcia Smith

During the Week Two House committees will mark up funding bills for defense and civil space programs this week. The full House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will mark up the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday beginning at 10:00 am ET. These marathon sessions have been known to run past midnight, so get the coffee ready. Subcommittee markups were on April 26 and HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry released a summary of what will be in the bill on Friday. There's an ent… Continue Reading

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