China, space junk and more: Senators voice spaceflight concerns
The risk of collisions in space, the fate of the United States in orbit after the space station retires and continuing debates over NASA's path back to the moon dominated a two-hour hearing on Thursday (Oct. 21) held by a Senate committee focused on space and science.space.com
Democrats back Biden US lands pick assailed by Republicans
A bitterly divided U.S. Senate panel deadlocked Thursday on President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee vast government-owned lands in the West, as Democrats united behind a nominee whose credibility was assailed by Republicans over her links to a 1989 environmental sabotage case. It would take every Senate Republican plus at least one Democratic lawmaker to block her confirmation in the evenly divided chamber. At stake is the leadership of the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees energy production, grazing, mining, recreation and other activities across almost a quarter-billion acres of public lands, primarily in the West.news.yahoo.com
Blackouts in US Northwest due to heat wave, deaths reported
As the Pacific Northwest swelters in an unprecedented heat wave, an electrical utility in the Washington state city of Spokane has announced that more rolling blackouts have started that will cut off electricity and air conditioning to some customers.
Senate eyes R&D bill to counter China, bolster manufacturing
What started as a pragmatic effort to boost scientific research and development has morphed into sweeping Senate bill aimed at making the U.S. more competitive with China and other countries, including $50 billion in emergency funds to shore up domestic computer chip manufacturing. The American Innovation and Competition Act is key to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans and was headed toward final passage as debate dragged into early Friday morning. It’s also a test of whether the split 50-50 Senate can accomplish bipartisan achievements at a time when there’s pressure on Democrats to change the rules to push past obstruction and gridlock.news.yahoo.com
Haaland OK'd at Interior, 1st Native American Cabinet head
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo Interior Secretary nominee Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., speaks during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On March 15, the Senate confirmed her as Interior Secretary. Haaland was confirmed by a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden. Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico, thanked hundreds of supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations. Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, called Haaland’s confirmation “an unprecedented and monumental day for all first people of this country.
Senate energy panel backs Haaland for interior secretary
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., listens during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool Photo via AP, File)WASHINGTON – A key Senate committee on Thursday approved the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be interior secretary, clearing the way for a Senate vote that is likely to make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Haaland's nomination, 11-9, sending it to the Senate floor. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Haaland, who won unanimous backing from committee Democrats. The committee vote follows an announcement Wednesday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she will support Haaland in the full Senate.
Senate confirms Raimondo as Biden commerce secretary
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Rhode Island Gov. The Senate has voted to confirm Raimondo as President Biden's commerce secretary. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to serve as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary and help guide the economy's recovery during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Later Tuesday, the Senate voted 95-4 to confirm Cecilia Rouse to be chair of Biden's Council of Economic Advisers.
Biden pick for transportation, Buttigieg, advances in Senate
The Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on a 21-3 vote. His nomination now heads to the full Senate, where a vote could happen as early as this week. He would be the first openly gay person, and one of the youngest, confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet post. Biden has been urging the Senate, where Democrats hold a bare majority, to move quickly on his Cabinet picks given the current COVID-19 crisis. He signed an executive order mandating masks on airplanes and in public transportation to help stem the spread of the deadly virus.
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.
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 to face grilling from Republican senators
WASHINGTON – Less than a week before Election Day, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are set to face a grilling by Republican senators who accuse the tech giants of 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.
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
Slade Gorton, former Washington US senator, dies at 92
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2006, file photo, former Republican Sen. Slade Gorton, center, is introduced at a fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick in Bellevue, Wash. Gorton, who served in the Washington Legislature, and as state attorney general before he became a three-term U.S. senator, has died. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)SEATTLE Slade Gorton, a patrician and cerebral politician who served as a U.S. Senate Republican leader before he was ousted by the growing Seattle-area liberal electorate in 2000, has died. Gorton died Wednesday in Seattle, said J. Vander Stoep, who served a Gorton's chief of staff in the Senate. In 1980, he won a coveted U.S. Senate seat by knocking off the legendary Maggie Warren G. Magnuson, appropriations committee chairman and Senate president. But within a year, Evans decided to vacate the other Senate seat, and Gorton launched his comeback.
Govt Watchdog: Politics caused 'Sharpiegate' frantic rebuke
Former Obama NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco, a scientist at Oregon State University, said in an email that high level officials put politics and their own jobs above public safety. By the time the two tweets were posted, Alabama was no longer in the hurricane centers warning cone, although it had been in previous days. Jacobs said things went crazy in the middle of the night.Then-NOAA communications chief Julie Kay Roberts told the inspector generals office that Walsh told her there are jobs on the line. The report said there was no credible evidence found to say that jobs were threatened. The Inspector General instead selectively quotes from interviews, takes facts out of context.The White House declined comment.
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 approves $2.8B plan to boost conservation, parks
The bill would spend about $2.8 billion per year on conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance. "Americas hundreds of millions of acres of public lands are the result of hundreds of years of exploration and conservation,'' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell, R-Ky. Those measures are especially needed now, when communities surrounded by public lands have high unemployment rates because of shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Gardner said. Trump has tweeted in favor of the lands bill, saying it "will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands.'' Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., credited a new coalition of lawmakers from both parties who support conservation and public lands.
In time of crises, lands bill gives Senate a chance to unite
The bill, set for a Senate vote this coming week, would spend about $2.8 billion per year on conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance. McConnell told the two senators, who are both seeking reelection this year, that he would not consider the bill unless Trump was on board. Cantwell credited Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., for forcing attention on the conservation fund by blocking a 2018 spending bill that did not renew the program. While widely supported, the outdoors bill faces sharp opposition, mainly from Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and other Gulf Coast senators pushing to ensure it includes revenue-sharing for their states from offshore drilling. Calling Trump's record on the environment "the worst one in history,'' Cantwell said Gardner, Daines and other Republicans will be forced to defend the president as they go before voters.
U.S. Senate deal does not extend assistance to local news outlets
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A nearly $500 billion spending deal reached by U.S. Senate leaders on Tuesday does not expand payroll assistance to struggling local newspapers and broadcast stations, whose advertising revenues have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans John Kennedy and John Boozman on Sunday had called on Senate leaders to revise the rules to make thousands of local newspapers, TV and radio stations eligible for assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program. Many local outlets are ineligible because they are owned by parent companies too large to qualify. The four senators said local newspapers had lost as much as 50% of advertising revenue, while the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says some local broadcasters have reported as much as a 90% loss in advertising revenues. Local news outlets still hold out significant hope they will added to another stimulus bill that Congress is expected to take up in May.feeds.reuters.com
U.S. Capitol closed to the public as coronavirus hits Congress
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Officials ordered the U.S. Capitol complex closed to much of the public starting on Thursday, one day after a staffer for a U.S. senator from Washington state tested positive for the new coronavirus. Lawmakers, staff, credentialed journalists and visitors with official business would still be allowed entry. Senator Maria Cantwell said on Wednesday she would shutter her Washington office after one member of her staff tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Mitt Romney also closed his Washington office, as did Senator Bill Cassidy. Senator Ted Cruz, who is among several lawmakers who have self-quarantined after coming in contact with someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus, also closed his Washington office.feeds.reuters.com
Staffer in U.S. senator's office tests positive for coronavirus
FILE PHOTO: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) arrives as the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues in Washington, U.S., January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A staffer in U.S. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwells office has tested positive for coronavirus, her office said on Wednesday. Cantwell will close her office in Washington, D.C., for the week and her staff will work remotely. Cantwell represents the state of Washington, which has been one of the states hardest hit by the outbreak. Since Sunday, at least seven lawmakers have said they would isolate themselves or shutter their offices after contact with people who tested positive for the virus, which can sometimes be deadly.feeds.reuters.com
Trump signs $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package
WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Friday signed a sweeping spending bill to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, pumping billions of dollars into prevention efforts and research in hopes of quickly producing a vaccine for the deadly disease. Trump signed the bill on the same day worldwide cases surpassed 100,000Lawmakers had worked through the weekend before resolving a dispute over vaccine pricing and unveiling the $8.3 billion aid package in Congress on Wednesday. It sailed through the House and Senate by Thursday. A slew of new cases have been confirmed in the U.S. in recent days, and health officials have warned that the virus is on the verge of becoming a pandemic. The size of the bill dwarfs the $2.5 billion in funding the Trump administration had originally proposed.cnbc.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
In fiery Senate hearing, Boeing admits its safety assessments of 737 Max fell short
Boeing executives admitted to lawmakers in a tense hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that the company made mistakes in developing its troubled 737 Max plane, grounded worldwide after two crashes killed 346 people. An Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed in March, less than five months later, killing all 157 people on board. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the state where the 737 Max is produced, asked Muilenburg and the commercial airplane unit's chief engineer whether its safety assumptions and assessments were wrong. In both crashes, pilots battled the system that repeatedly pushed the nose of the planes down. Hamilton said Boeing didn't "specifically" test an unintended activation of the system because of an issue with an angle-of-attack sensor.cnbc.com
U.S. Senate Democrats introduce aviation safety bill after Boeing MAX crashes
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Democrats on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday introduced legislation to mandate numerous aviation safety recommendations in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people and led to the planes grounding in March. FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past unpainted Boeing 737 MAX aircraft seen parked in an aerial photo at Renton Municipal Airport near the Boeing Renton facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019. Congress and independent panels have been looking at the performance of a key anti-stall safety system tied to the two fatal crashes known as MCAS. The bill would direct the FAA to adopt recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Transportation Departments Inspector General and ICAO. The bill would also create an FAA Center of Excellence dedicated to studying flight automation and human factors in commercial aircraft.feeds.reuters.com
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