Last night, against the reported wishes of party leadership, Republican members of Congress met behind closed doors to adopt an amendment to the House Rules package that would have effectively neutered an independent Congressional watchdog created in 2008. Following a huge backlash from the public and the President-elect, the lawmakers have now walked back this controversial effort, and will reconsider the change this summer. [More]
About a week after New York barred scalpers from using bots to scoop up tickets to sporting events, concerts, and other popular attractions, the U.S. Congress has sent its own anti-bot legislation to President Obama to sign. [More]
There’s a change coming that could arguably make it a lot easier for feds to snoop through your digital stuff, even if you’ve done nothing but been the victim of some malware. If Congress doesn’t act to stop it, that change to Rule 41 becomes effective basically at midnight tonight. So a handful of Senators who want to block it are all but begging their colleagues to act now. [More]
Elections always bring change; some more so than others. With yesterday’s results in the box and tallied, we now know that we are expecting not only a Trump administration next January, but also to have both houses of Congress and the White House all aligned under control of the same political party. That means that for at least two years, until the next midterm elections, the party in charge — in this case, the Republicans — has the ability to push through changes to policy and law, and we can expect it to do so. [More]
Last week, when Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told a congressional panel that her company only makes $50 profit per EpiPen — the emergency allergy treatment that has risen in price by 600% in recent years — lawmakers found that hard to believe. And now that Mylan has revised that profit figure to $80 per EpiPen, the company’s critics are only getting louder. [More]
Election years beget a compressed Congressional schedule. The House and Senate just got back to work in D.C. after a six-week break, and will be taking another six-week break as soon as we hit October 1 (picking up again after the election), so everything the committees want to do has to get done now. Like bringing in all five FCC commissioners for another episode of everyone’s favorite series, The FCC Explains And Defends Literally Everything It’s Doing. [More]
A few months back, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed new rules that would limit how banks, credit card companies, and other financial services could shield themselves from legitimate lawsuits by forcing customers to sign away their constitutional rights. Now, the House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill that, if signed, would stop the CFPB from enforcing these rules and give banks back their “get out of jail free” cards. [More]
SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is what has replaced what were once called food stamps with debit cards. Not all stores are authorized to accept food stamps, and proposed new regulations would change the requirements to accept them. While the foods that recipients can use their balance on wouldn’t change, the food that retailers are required to stock before they can accept SNAP would. [More]
Do digitally enhanced models in ads for fashion brands and other products hurt consumers? A bill that was introduced in Cogress in 2014 would require the FTC to look into the prevalence of advertisements that show digitally altered humans, and the potential harm that they could cause to consumers, especially to the mental health of children and teens. Now the bill’s sponsors are engaging in a new push to get it passed. [More]
This week’s episode of “Congress Tries To Cope With The 21st Century” is all about e-mail, and how much privacy yours gets.
A group of Senators has announced today that they are introducing a new bill into the Senate designed to prevent mass hacking of Americans’ digital devices. But the lawmakers aren’t targeting shadowy collectives or foreign nationals with their proposed legislation; they’re seeking to limit the scope of actual Federal agencies’ powers.
The House of Representatives passed a bill this morning that seeks to limit the FCC’s net neutrality authority and could limit the commission’s ability to investigate consumer complaints about unreasonable charges from and behavior by their ISPs.
Usually, D.C. moves slowly. There’s a kind of plodding, methodical rhythm to Congress and the federal agencies, and very little turns on a dime. So it stands out that less than 48 hours after introducing a bill into the Senate, over 42,000 people have already objected to basically everything about it.
It may seem like Congress never gets anything done, but sometimes they really do! Case in point: a bill, sponsored by lawmakers who are still angry about the FCC’s net neutrality ruling last year, has managed to come out of committee and is scheduled for a House vote. And should the House and Senate both vote on that bill, it will go to the White House… where the president’s top advisors recommend it promptly be vetoed.