Top Senate Democrat casts doubt on prospect of major data privacy bill
Placeholder while article actions loadA top Democratic senator poured cold water Wednesday on the prospect of a landmark bipartisan privacy bill advancing this Congress as written, dealing a significant blow to long-stalled efforts to pass federal protections for consumers’ personal data. Choose your plan ArrowRight Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), whose panel controls the fate of any data privacy bill, told The Washington Post that she’s not close to supporting a major proposal recently unveiled by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. AdvertisementLawmakers including Cantwell have tried to hash out a deal on a bipartisan privacy law for years, amid mounting concerns over the data protection practices of Silicon Valley giants, to little avail. The bill, formally introduced Tuesday, marked the most substantial development in the push to pass federal privacy standards in years. But Cantwell’s objections serve as a major hurdle toward the proposal’s chance of becoming law.washingtonpost.com
Republican senator who led the push to end mask mandates on planes and public transport tests positive for COVID-19 for the 3rd time in a year
Sen. Roger Wicker, who had COVID in August 2021 and February 2022, previously told Insider that the mandate should've been lifted in April 2021.news.yahoo.com
Sen. Dick Durbin says Black women on Biden's likely list for Supreme Court seat are 'extraordinary' and must've gained success 'against great odds'
"If they have achieved the level of success in the practice of law and jurisprudence, they've done it against great odds. They're extraordinary people," he said.news.yahoo.com
Deal to buy four amphibious warships losing steam, as Navy takes another look at future force needs
A deal to buy three amphibious transport docks and an amphibious assault ship together in a first-of-its-kind contract appears to be falling apart, as the Navy is not ready to commit to buying so many amphibs before it finishes another future force structure assessment.news.yahoo.com
GOP's latest infrastructure counteroffer to cost roughly $1 trillion
A group of GOP senators negotiating on infrastructure is preparing a $1 trillion counteroffer for the White House this week, a key leader said, far closer to President Biden’s target than previous overtures.Why it matters: Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) signaled that Republicans will be moving in a big way toward the Biden administration's plan, reigniting hopes that a bipartisan deal is possible. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.This comes as talks fell apart late last week and over the weekend, as the two sides seemed as far apart as ever on a potential agreement.What they're saying: "We're not going to disturb the 2017 tax bill, which was the best economy of my lifetime," Wicker said. "We're going to make it eight years, as the President said he would accept. We're going to hit a figure, very close to what the President said he would accept.""It will end up being the most substantial infrastructure bill ever enacted by the federal government. And if the president gets to make the decision, he will accept this."He then confirmed the price tag of the GOP proposal will be "close to a trillion dollars."Wicker also cited Larry Summers, who has been raising alarms about inflation, and said the Republican counter will suggest repurposing money appropriated to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. One big thing: Wicker also said there will be "hardly anything" on user fees — a sticking point among Democrats who don't want to raise user fees in order to pay for the bill.White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, responding to Wicker's comments, told reporters Tuesday: "Certainly, them coming up on the number is progress."What to watch: Wicker also said that he and other GOP negotiators have been "a little bit concerned" that their previous suggestions on a bill have been "mischaracterized" by White House staff in press releases. "This is going to be the end of our rope," Wicker said. Timing: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), top Republican on the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, told reporters Republicans plan to present their counter offer to the White House on Thursday morning.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.news.yahoo.com
Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said it pained her to vote against the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” Every Republican in Congress voted against the sweeping pandemic relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law three months ago. The Republicans' favorite provisions represent a tiny sliver of the massive law, which sent $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, extended unemployment benefits until September, increased the child tax credit, offered housing assistance for millions of low-income Americans and expanded health care coverage.news.yahoo.com
Marine inspector general suspended amid tank sinking probe
The Marine Corps inspector general, Major General Robert Castellvi, has been suspended amid the ongoing probes into last summer's fatal sinking of a seafaring tank off the Southern California coast, a newspaper reported Monday. Nine men died in the accident involving an amphibious assault vehicle July 30 near San Clemente Island. Castellvi becomes the highest-ranking officer to face discipline in the multiple investigations into the disaster, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.news.yahoo.com
McConnell Says ‘Zero’ Republicans Will Back Biden’s Infrastructure Package
No Republican senator will back President Biden’s infrastructure plan as written, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said at a press conference on Monday. “I don’t think there will be any Republican support — none, zero — for the $4.1 trillion grab bag which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell told reporters. “We’re open to doing a roughly $600 billion package which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure….If it’s going to be about infrastructure, let’s make it about infrastructure.” McConnell’s reference to a “$4.1 trillion grab bag” would include Biden’s roughly $2 trillion infrastructure package as well as his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan,” which invests heavily in education and childcare. The minority leader has previously vowed to “fight” the infrastructure bill “every step of the way.” “My view of infrastructure is that we ought to build that which we can afford and not either whack the economy with major tax increases or run up the national debt even more,” McConnell said in April. In addition to repairing roads, bridges, and other infrastructure networks, the Biden infrastructure bill provides $174 billion toward a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles, along with other incentives to manufacture EV’s. Senate Republicans have proposed a $568 billion infrastructure plan that would upgrade roads, public transit, and rural broadband access over the next five years. However, with the Senate tied 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, Democrats will likely attempt to pass their infrastructure plan via budget reconciliation rules. Those rules allow legislation to pass the Senate via a simple majority vote, rather than the filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.news.yahoo.com
Senators’ Case for a Bigger Navy Is Worth Heeding
There is good news at last for America’s armed forces, or at least for the Navy. A bipartisan group of legislators has sponsored a bill that has the potential to address at one stroke a first-order priority for American national security: upgrading and expanding the nation’s shipyards. It’s the appropriately named Shipyard Act, filed by Senators Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), and Angus King (I., Maine) and, in the House, by Representatives Rob Wittman (R., Va.) and Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.). The bill would fund in one year the Navy’s $21 billion recapitalization plan for shipyards, enabling the Navy to authorize shipyard improvements as capacity became available to make them and to do so with flexibility and therefore in the shortest possible time. The Shipyards Act is an outstanding first step on the path to revitalizing America’s sea power. Given the pressing need for a bigger Navy, however, the sponsors should also seek to set aside additional money from the proposed infrastructure bill to increase the Navy’s shipbuilding accounts and buy more vessels as the shipyards expand. Currently, the United States Navy has 297 ships. It is sized and shaped for an era that is now long passed, when the global commons were uncontested and there were no peer competitors positioning themselves to seize control of critical choke points across the Indo-Pacific region. The Navy can still perform constabulary duties and littoral strike missions in areas of the world where it can safely operate close to shore. But it possesses insufficient numbers and staying capacity, and its main surface striking power is concentrated in ships, such as the aircraft carriers, that are increasingly vulnerable in competitive environments. Contrast that with the Chinese navy — the People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN. The Office of Naval Intelligence reports that the PLAN currently counts a fleet of 360 ships, most of which are modern and multi-mission-capable. This equates to a five-to-one numerical advantage over the American Navy in the western Pacific. Moreover, ONI projects that the PLAN will grow to 425 ships by 2030. Achieving that goal will not be a problem for China; it has the largest shipbuilding capacity in the world and can easily produce two dozen vessels each year. So the Navy needs a lot more ships. No less than six recent reports and studies — including the Navy’s formal position of a 355-ship fleet by 2030 — recommend a combined total of between 355 and 688 manned and unmanned vessels in the fleet. The exact nature of the needed expansion will depend on our maritime strategy; the evolution of technology, doctrine, and tactics; the size and capabilities on the PLAN, and the contributions of our allies and security partners. That said, the Navy needs to do at least the following over the next decade. First, sustain production of aircraft carriers, destroyers, and both attack and ballistic-missile submarines . Second, in keeping with a growing consensus, ensure a substantial number of smaller surface combatants that can provide both forward presence across the Indo-Pacific region, to conduct the wide array of missions necessary in littoral environs, and the kind of distributed threat that will strengthen deterrence against Chinese aggression. Third, upgrade and replace military sealift capacity substantially over the next several years. No great naval power in time of conflict has succeeded without a robust sealift and merchant-marine and convoy-escort capability. During World War II, U.S. shipyards built 6,000 vessels, one half of which were Liberty ships, and almost 600 of which were destroyer escorts. Currently the United States has no convoy escorts and relies for its merchant-marine capacity mostly on other countries that cannot be counted on in the event of a conflict with China. Fourth, sustain and exploit the Navy’s current advantage in the undersea domain. Given the lack of capacity to build additional nuclear-powered boats, the Navy will need a capable and more affordable nonnuclear submarine fleet suited for operations within the littoral environs. Procuring these vessels will require substantial and sustained increases in the shipbuilding accounts, but that is by no means the only problem. From 1975 through the end of the Cold War, there were nine shipyards producing, on average, 19 naval vessels annually. Today, there are five major shipyards, located in Brunswick, Maine; Groton, Conn.; Pascagoula, Miss.; Norfolk, Va., and San Diego, along with two smaller yards in Marinette, Wisc., and Mobile, Ala. They produce, on average, eight battle-force ships per year, with an unutilized capacity of possibly 25 percent — nowhere near enough to meet the need in the next decade and beyond, especially since the PLAN will during the same period be pressing to enlarge the advantage it currently possesses. That is why the Shipyard Act is such a vital step. The Navy needs increased industrial capacity as soon as possible, both to reduce the current backlog of maintenance and to fund the additional expansion that will be necessary to begin producing upwards of 20 ships per year rather than eight or ten. The one big shortfall in the Shipyards Act is that it does not yet contain set-aside funding to procure additional ships as industrial capacity grows. The Navy needs more and better shipyards because it needs more ships, and current budgets are insufficient even to sustain today’s fleet, much less to fund expansion over this decade and beyond. Moreover, if Congress wants private industry to go all in with their own dollars on the Navy’s shipyard program, it needs to make clear that there will be business for the industrial base as new capacity comes online. The good news is that many of the needed additional vessels — the frigates, corvettes, patrol craft, sealift vessels, and light amphibious warships — will be smaller and less expensive than most of the ships in the current inventory. In addition, those ships can be built in smaller yards, which means that, if Congress makes clear that it will be buying them in substantial numbers, smaller, commercial-only shipyards may well invest in the capacity to produce for the Navy. The sponsors of the Shipyards Act should be certain to include funding for robust technical training for machinists, electricians, nondestructive testing personnel, and welders. Capital improvements are meaningless absent a highly skilled workforce. Naval-oriented training programs exist — and must be replicated elsewhere. In short, the Shipyard Act, if passed in its current form, would be a solid extra-base hit in a game where the home team has to this point been almost shut out. But it would be a home run if its sponsors could include funding to, for example, purchase two dozen frigates as an addition to the existing shipbuilding accounts. We’re going to need them. It’s not like anyone could oppose such a proposal on the grounds that it is unaffordable — not after Congress has spent $4 trillion in the last two years on pandemic relief and economic stimulus. The fact that the administration didn’t include shipbuilding in its own infrastructure bill shows that Biden’s team does not understand the vital connection between defense and diplomacy. Their policy toward China has begun well, but without sufficient power on the ground, or in this case on the seas, Beijing can and will disregard the reputational damage that diplomacy can inflict. The protests of the world did not prevent China from occupying Hong Kong in violation of its international obligations. There’s a lot of talk in Washington now about the danger that China will invade Taiwan. Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), recently testified to Congress that the “threat is manifest . . . in the next six years.” He’s right to be concerned, but nobody should be surprised about the growing risk. The balance of hard power in the Western Pacific has been shifting for a number of years. The implications of that are obvious. Unless deterrence is strengthened — and that means, first and foremost, a stronger American naval presence in INDOPACOM — it is only a matter of time before Beijing attempts to use force to snuff out democracy in Taiwan. That would be a disaster for America’s vital national interests in the region. The Shipyard Act, if it passes, will be the first signal in a long time that Congress is really serious about preventing it. Jim Talent, as a former U.S. senator from Missouri, chaired the Seapower Subcommittee. He is currently the chairman of the National Leadership Council at the Reagan Institute. Lindsey Neas, a former Army armor officer, served for 15 years as a defense aide for several members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.news.yahoo.com
Germany announces bust of 'one of the world's biggest child pornography darknet platforms'
German prosecutors announced Monday that they have dismantled the child pornography platform "Boystown" and arrested three alleged site administrators and one extremely active German user. With more than 400,000 registered members, "Boystown" was "one of the world's biggest child pornography darknet platforms," prosecutors said. Prosecutors in Frankfurt and Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said the three German administrators were arrested in mid-April. Police then shut down the platform. The unidentified alleged site administrators — aged 40, 49, 58 — helped pedophiles spread child pornography while evading law enforcement, prosecutors say, and the site included "images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers" among other vile pornography. The 58-year-old administrator was arrested in Paraguay and the 64-year-old super-user from Hamburg allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts to the site. The bust stemmed from a multinational investigation involving Europol, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the U.S., and Canada. More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about Giuliani's legal woesWhat the Elon Musk backlash is really aboutJohn Oliver knows he won't convince your vaccine-hesitant loved ones to get inoculated, wants to help you trynews.yahoo.com
Biden aims for bipartisanship but applies stealthy pressure
President Joe Biden has begun publicly courting Republicans to back his sweeping infrastructure plan, but his reach across the aisle is intended just as much to keep Democrats in line as it is a first step in an uphill climb to any bipartisan deal.
Twitter seeks public feedback on how to handle world leaders' accounts
Twitter is seeking public input on whether world leaders should be subject to the same rules as other users and wants feedback on what kind of enforcement they think would be appropriate when a world leader violates engagement rules. "We believe it is important for everyone to hear from global leaders," Dorsey said in response to Wicker. "We did not find those to violate our terms of service because we considered them saber-rattling, which is, it is part of the speech of world leaders in concert with other countries. Dorsey, along with Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are testifying next week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said industry self-regulation is no longer working and lawmakers need to act.cbsnews.com
Congress OKs $1.9T virus relief bill in win for Biden, Dems
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., pose after signing the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill during an enrollment ceremony on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Washington. Ad“Help is here,” Biden tweeted moments after the roll call, which ended with applause from Democratic lawmakers. The measure addresses Democrats’ campaign promises and Biden’s top initial priority of easing a one-two punch that first hit the country a year ago. According to a CNN poll released Wednesday, the relief bill is backed by 61% of Americans, including nearly all Democrats, 58% of independents and 26% of Republicans. On the relief bill, progressives had to swallow big concessions to solidify moderate support.
Trump's trial starting: 'Grievous crime' or just 'theater'?
Under COVID-19 protocols senators will distance for the trial, some even using the visitors' galleries. “This trial is one way of having that difficult national conversation about the difference between dissent and insurrection," he said. Trump's defenders are preparing to challenge both the constitutionality of the trial and any suggestion that he was to blame for the insurrection. The trial was set to break Friday evening for the Jewish Sabbath at the request of Trump's defense team, and resume Sunday. Trump's second impeachment trial is expected to diverge from the lengthy, complicated affair of a year ago.
Senate Republicans back Trump as impeachment trial nears
AdMany senators including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell immediately denounced the violence and pointed a finger of blame at Trump. Those partisan divisions appear to be hardening ahead of Trump’s trial, a sign of his continuing grip on the GOP. On Sunday, Wicker described Trump's impeachment trial as a “meaningless messaging partisan exercise." Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont will preside over the trial as Senate president pro tempore. Forty-four Republican senators sided with Paul and voted to oppose holding an impeachment trial at all.
Latest bill would bar NCAA limits on athlete NIL rights
The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act is the third piece of legislation related to name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes introduced in Congress since December and second sponsored by Democrats. Iowa became the latest state to get in the game, with lawmakers introducing a bill Wednesday they hope will go into effect July 1. The bill would give college athletes unfettered access to the free market, allow them to organize and make group licensing deals, and hand oversight to the Federal Trade Commission. ), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, put forth an NIL bill that is narrowly focused like Murphy's, but with numerous restrictions that critics consider too NCAA-friendly. Wicker's bill would provide antitrust protections to the NCAA, shielding the association from legal challenges to its NIL rules, and allow the association to limit the types of financial agreements for athletes.
Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2021, file photo, Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Pete Buttigieg won Senate approval Tuesday as transportation secretary, the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post. Ad“We all know the nominee as Mayor Pete, a man who basically came onto the national stage as a Midwest mayor, who had lots of enthusiasm for making investments in America’s future,” she said. Under President Donald Trump, Richard Grenell served as acting director of national intelligence and is openly gay, but did not have to face Senate confirmation as an acting director. Ad“Congratulations to Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his historic confirmation,” Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said after the vote.
Senate investigators fault FAA over Boeing jet, safety
In a report released Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 the Senate Commerce Committee also said the FAA continues to retaliate against whistleblowers. In a report released Friday, the Senate Commerce Committee also said the FAA continues to retaliate against whistleblowers. Both grew out of concern about the agency's approval of the Boeing Max. The Senate report, however, criticized a key part of the FAA review. It said that Boeing “inappropriately influenced" FAA testing of pilot-reaction time to a nose-down pitch of the plane.
Booker, Democratic lawmakers introduce NCAA reform bill
The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by U.S. The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by Sens. Booker and Blumenthal's bill, however, goes way beyond NIL rights for athletes and is not nearly as NCAA-friendly. Bohannon said during the pandemic college athletes, who are tested multiple times a week for COVID-19, have become essential workers. — Establish a nine-member Commission on College Athletics, appointed by the president, that would include at least five former college athletes and individuals with legal expertise.
Congress swats back Trump's veto threat of defense bill
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Washington. But interjecting the complicated tech issue threatens to upend the massive defense bill, which Congress takes pride in having passed unfailingly for half a century. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at briefing Wednesday that the president is serious about vetoing the defense bill unless Congress repeals Section 230. Some Democrats, including Schumer, agree the Section 230 provision could be revisited, even as they disagree with Trump’s tactic of attaching it to the defense bill. But he also said he doesn’t believe Trump will veto the must-pass defense bill.
Facebook, Google and Twitter CEOs testify in Congress over tech's legal shield
The CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter return (virtually) to Congress today to defend their legal liability shield to lawmakers keen to weaken it. Section 230 protects tech platforms from liability for their users' posts but also allows them to moderate content they consider "objectionable." Republicans have complained that the legal shield allows tech companies to get away with removing messages they disagree with, particularly those from conservatives. Tech companies have repeatedly denied claims that their moderation practices are based in biased policies or algorithms. Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., focused her opening remarks on concerns about disinformation on the tech platforms.cnbc.com
Social media CEOs rebuff bias claims, vow to defend election
The committee summoned the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google to testify during the hearing. Dorsey said Twitter was working closely with state election officials. Dorsey told Cruz that he does not believe that Twitter can influence elections because it's only one source of information. GOP senators raised with the executives an array of allegations of other bias on the platforms regarding Iran, China and Holocaust denial. “We approach our work without political bias, full stop," Pichai said.
Social media CEOs to face grilling from Republican senators
WASHINGTON – Less than a week before Election Day, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are set to be grilled by Republican senators making unfounded allegations that the tech giants show anti-conservative bias. With the election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views. The tech platforms are gateways to news online. It proposes that Congress enact rules preventing tech platforms from taking local news content without fair payment. “For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the committee chairman, said recently.
Barrett vows to interpret laws ‘as they are written’
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was among several Democrats demanding that Barrett pledge not to take part in any election case. One after another, Democrats sought Monday to tie her nomination to the upcoming Obama-era health care case. “Health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s senior Democrat. In one message, he tweeted that he’d have a “FAR BETTER” health care plan, with lower costs and protections for preexisting conditions. But he has not, as yet, discussed an actual health care plan.
Senators weigh COVID risk for Barrett Supreme Court hearing
In this Oct. 1, 2020, photo, Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, meets with Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., at the Capitol in Washington. Confirmation hearings begin Monday for President Donald Trumps Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, the 48-year-old appeals court judge would fill the seat of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month. No Supreme Court has ever been confirmed so close to a presidential election. Barrett also is the most openly anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee in decades and her vote could provide a majority to restrict if not overturn abortion rights.
Five things to know about court nominee Amy Coney Barrett
In this Oct. 1, 2020, photo, Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, meets with Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., at the Capitol in Washington. Confirmation hearings begin Monday for President Donald Trumps Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, the 48-year-old appeals court judge would fill the seat of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Confirmation hearings begin Monday for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, the 48-year-old appeals court judge would fill the seat of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.
Trump again calls for more airline aid after halting talks for broader stimulus
"The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support," Trump tweeted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday vowed more support for airlines but an attempt by a key House Democrat to get aid passed failed. Last week American Airlines, United Airlines and other U.S. carriers began furloughing more than 32,000 workers. There are already standalone bills for airlines in each the House or the Senate but it wasn't immediately clear if they would advance instead of a broader aid package. American's shares fell 4.5% to $12.53, while United's closed at $34.88, down 3.7% on the day.cnbc.com
CEOs of 3 tech giants to testify at Oct. 28 Senate hearing
WASHINGTON – The CEOs of technology giants Facebook, Google and Twitter are expected to testify for an Oct. 28 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. It marks a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech. With Trump leading the way, conservative Republicans have kept up a barrage of criticism of Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative views. The Justice Department has asked Congress to roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms, putting down a legislative marker in Trump’s drive against the social media giants. Democrats, on the other hand, have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting.
Barrett opposed 'abortion on demand,' raising doubts on Roe
President Donald Trump has nominated Barrett to take the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion rights supporter who died last month. White House spokesperson Judd Deere said Barrett already has distinguished her personal views from her responsibility as a judge. “As Judge Barrett said on the day she was nominated, ‘A judge must apply the law as written. In July, the Supreme Court did, in fact, throw out the panel’s ruling and ordered a new look at the case. Last year, the Supreme Court reinstated the fetal remains law, but not the ban on abortions for race, sex and developmental disabilities.
Senate committee votes to subpoena CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify
The Senate Commerce Committee voted on a unanimous, bipartisan basis Thursday to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify before the panel about concerns over the tech industry's key legal shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the committee, initially opposed the subpoena introduced by Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss. But on Thursday, Cantwell said she supported the move after Republicans included language in the subpoena about privacy and "media domination." "I welcome the debate about [Section] 230," Cantwell said in her opening remarks. Republicans have repeatedly turned to Section 230 as a key area for reform in response to their concerns that social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube censor conservative voices.cnbc.com
Republican senators introduce bill for $28 billion in additional aid for airline industry as job cuts loom
Republican Senators on Monday introduced a bill that would give the ailing airline industry more than $28 billion in additional aid as carriers get ready to cut more than 30,000 jobs as early as next month. Airline CEOs and labor unions have been urging lawmakers and Trump administration officials to include additional aid in a new, national coronavirus relief bill, a provision that has won bipartisan support. Southwest Airlines expects to avoid job cuts this year thanks to thousands of workers who accepted buyouts and leaves of absence. The funds for the additional aid would come from $11 billion in new aid and more than $17 billion in funding and loans that went unused in the last bill, Wicker and Collins said in a statement. Correction: The legislation was introduced 10 days before airlines can cut jobs under an aid package that protected workers through the end of this month.cnbc.com
Q&A: What to expect from trial of Nissan, ex-director Kelly
FILE - In this Friday, April 20, 2018, file photo, Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. The criminal trial against Japanese automaker Nissan and its former executive Greg Kelly will open in Tokyo District Court on Sept. 15. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)TOKYO – The criminal trial against Japanese automaker Nissan and its former executive Greg Kelly will open in Tokyo District Court on Tuesday. A: Prosecutors will present their opening statement, outlining their case against Kelly during the first day of the trial. When asked about the trial, Tokyo Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hiroshi Yamamoto said little beyond reiterating his confidence there was plenty of evidence to win a conviction.
Incarcerated people look to Senate to cap prison phone rates
MINNEAPOLIS Incarcerated people and their families said they are closely watching congressional debates about the next COVID-19 relief bill for proposed legislation that would drastically push down the cost of prison and jail phone calls. For years, they have advocated lowering rates that run as high as $25 for a 15-minute call. Now, they said, with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the costs are especially debilitating, separating families at a crucial time. He said the suspension of most in-person visits at facilities nationwide have made calls back home even more important. They went from talking to him every day to talking to him a few times a week.
Lawmakers rip FAA for not disclosing documents on Boeing Max
The committee's top Democrat, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington where Boeing builds the long-grounded 737 Max joined Wicker in criticizing FAA's failure to turn over documents. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Dickson on whether Boeing lied to the FAA about safety concerns around the Boeing plane. This week, Wicker and Cantwell introduced legislation to revamp the FAA's process for certifying new passenger planes. Boeing hopes to win FAA approval this year for changes it is making to the plane so airlines can resume using it. Dickson said, as he has many times, that FAA will approve Boeing's work when it is convinced the plane is safe.
Senate panel advances Mississippi appeals court nominee
The American Bar Association is rating the Mississippi judge as well qualified to serve on one of the most conservative federal appeals courts. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles cases for Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)WASHINGTON The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a federal appeals court nominee from Mississippi, despite Democratic objections over derisive comments he made about former President Barack Obama and his signature health care legislation. The GOP-led panel endorsed Mississippi Appeals Court Judge Cory Wilson on a 12-10, party-line vote. Wilson, a former Republican state legislator who has been on the state appeals court for 16 months, was nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S.
Satellite crashes, asteroid impacts and space weather pose big risks, US lawmakers say
One of the most pressing problems when it comes to keeping our planet safe from space threats is data, which sounds so simple to address. Related: 5 reasons to care about asteroidsThere are, of course, many ways of collecting data about all of these threats. Scientists rely on computer simulations and emerging forms of machine learning to predict what threats we should focus on first. Another issue is space debris and "space situational awareness," meaning knowing where space junk is and whether it poses a threat to working satellites. The Department of Defense maintains a catalog of space objects, but smaller objects can escape notice and it ignores classified objects.space.com
FAA whistleblower says he was prevented from inspecting helicopter before Hawaii crash
Los Angeles In December, a sightseeing helicopter crashed in Kauai, Hawaii, killing all seven people on board. A Federal Aviation Administration whistleblower now says he was prevented from inspecting the aircraft prior to the crash. Joseph Monfort is a former Army helicopter pilot and FAA employee since 2009. He told Senate investigators his FAA bosses twice denied him travel authorizations to visit the helicopter company, making it next to impossible to perform adequate FAA oversight. The whistleblower claims the FAA did not provide adequate oversight that could have prevented the accident.cbsnews.com
A federal privacy law is starting to crystallize, but Democrats and Republicans can't agree on how to do it
After months of tinkering and negotiations, the outlines of a federal privacy law are finally starting to crystallize, but lawmakers continue to quibble over the details. "We have a lot of bills, but we have no federal law. "People are angry and scared more than ever before and they don't care whether it's a federal law or a state law. Enacting a federal privacy law has become a more urgent concern for lawmakers as California's privacy bill is set to go into effect Jan. 1. Here are some of the key issues senators sought clarity on at Wednesday's hearing:cnbc.com
Tesla and Uber draw scrutiny at Senate hearing on self-driving cars: 'That's not safe!'
An Uber self-driving car drives down 5th Street in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan | Getty ImagesSeveral Senators offered sharp criticism of Tesla and Uber during a Commerce Committee hearing on self-driving vehicles on Wednesday. Tesla autopilot 'cheats'One of the most dramatic moments during the hearing on Wednesday came when Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass. In one easy Autopilot cheat, drivers affix a water bottle or orange to their Tesla steering wheel, adding weight to it. D.-N.M, suggested that NHTSA was moving too slowly to set and clarify the rules around self-driving vehicles, and warned of deadly consequences."cnbc.com
Southwest Airlines flew jets without full knowledge of repair histories
(CNN) - Whistleblowers at the Federal Aviation Administration questioned whether Southwest Airlines improperly flew jets without full knowledge of their safety history, according to documents released Monday by a Senate committee. The documents show that Southwest acquired 88 used jets from foreign airlines starting in 2013, and the FAA permitted Southwest to fly the planes. The result is that "Southwest Airlines appears to have operated aircraft in unknown airworthiness conditions for thousands of flights," the committee said in a statement. But Southwest says the problem was with the planes' previous owners' record keeping, and questions about the planes' safety have been answered to the FAA's satisfaction. Southwest has more of the 737 Max jets in its fleet than any other airline.
U.S. Senate to hold initial vote on former Delta executive as FAA nominee
The Senate will vote on former Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dicksons nomination. The Senate must first vote to end debate on the nomination before it can proceed to a final vote, expected later this week. This month, the Senate Commerce Committee voted 14 to 12 along party lines to approve the nomination. He is not the right person for the safety culture that we need at the FAA, Cantwell said Tuesday on the Senate floor. Dickson was never accused of retaliating against any whistleblower, Wicker added.feeds.reuters.com