April 1st, 2011 by Autumn
As March Madness winds down and we are left with only four teams standing, we took a look at Roll Call‘s “Men’s March Madness in the House” bracket, which matches each school in the tournament with its House representative, to see which Congressmen (and issues) are coming out on top.
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) fought his way out of the East. Not only is Chandler the representative for the University of Kentucky’s district, he also obtained his B.A. and J.D. from the school (in 1983 and 1986, respectively). Positioned on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, he is perched to address his concerns over national security and the fight against terrorism and reducing forces in Iraq and increasing economic development to maintain stability in Afghanistan. He will also influence further U.S. action in Libya and throughout the ever-crumbling middle East. The fourth term representative of Kentucky’s sixth district will be paired with….
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) in the playoff game to decide who will advance to the title game. Though Kentucky is a two-point favorite over U-Conn to win Saturday, Courtney, who graduated from the university’s law school in 1978, may not be ready to concede victory after only three congressional terms. Expect a tough fight from the school whose representative has been a strong advocate for healthcare, veterans, and small businesses.
In a time that is equally troubled by foreign conflict and a domestic economy that we desperately want to peg as recovering, it will be interesting to see which represented issue, er school, advances to the next round (of priority).
The two underdogs in the competition, VCU semenax in australia and Butler, are represented by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.). Scott, now in his 10th term, is a strong proponent of education and youth programs. He is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and sits on the Subcommittee on the Constitution (both under the Committee of the Judiciary), and is a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Education issues have been pushed out of the forefront of most conversations recently, apparent only in President Obama’s discussion of the budget (particularly, his desire to increase education funding while appropriators continue to push for cuts across the board, including to education spending).
Just as Scott’s legislative agenda is the underdog on the congressional slate, so is the school he represents, with Butler afforded a 2.5 point advantage on the books. However, expect a fight out of VCU (and Scott) as they prepare to go up against Butler, who has won each of its tournament games with a close margin. Butler has been great at rallying from behind (see Southeast regionals), and pulling out the win in the end. Carson, whose committee assignments are all related to financial matters — with seats on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprise and the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade — will face a similar come-from-behind fight in Congress as he battles against budget-slashing zealots in the House. Even if he beats out Scott to advance to the title game, he (like Butler) is not favored to win a toe-to-toe stand down against House Republicans.
But you never know. That is, after all, the beauty of March Madness.
March 28th, 2011 by Autumn
Absent intervention into campaign finance reform by the judicial branch, those hoping to put limits on what has been referred to as a”floodgate” of campaign funding made possible by last year’s Citizens United ruling have sought help from the Federal Communications Commission.
Media Access Project senior vice president and policy director Andrew Schwartzman argued last week that the FCC has long had the power to require political groups to disclose donors when running political ads. In a petition filed March 22, he calls on the agency “to amend and strengthen its rules to require on-air identification of persons paying” ’25% or more of the cost of an ad, according to the organization’s official press release.
Schwartzman said, “The FCC has repeatedly said that members of the public are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded, and it has stressed that this is especially important in the case of political messages. This petition simply seeks to update the FCC’s rules to fulfill its Congressional mandate.”
The petition points out what it believes to be “a fundamental policy…that ‘listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded.”
This effort by the Media Access Project is the latest attempt by campaign finance reformers seeking to narrow the reach of theCitizens United decision. Several attempts have been made to urge the Supreme Court to re-define the judgement’s implications, but the Court has declined to hear these appeals.
March 16th, 2011 by Autumn
The USOC will pair up with the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus today at 1pm to host a free-throw contest in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The contest, which was scheduled to coincide with the beginning of March Madness, will raise awareness about US Olympic Committee programs and their impact on Team USA’s success.
Joining Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus founders and co-chairs Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) will be several Olympic and Paralympic champions.
Olympic gold winners Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field), Christian Laettner (men’s basketball), Evan Lysacek (figure skating), Shawn Johnson (women’s gymnastics), Teresa Edward (women’s basketball), and Andy Yohe live sex free web cam (sled hockey) will join the Congressmen and staffers on the court. Paralympic track and field athletes April Holmes (gold), Marlon Shirley (gold), Lex Gillette (silver) and Carlos Leon (wounded veteran) will also participate, along with fellow paralympians William “Spanky” Gibson (USOC Paralympic Military Program Athlete), and Alana Nichols, who has won gold medals in skiing and basketball.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said via the event’s official press release, “Olympians and Paralympians are a special type of people, committed to ideas like excellence, friendship and respect. I encourage anyone able, to come test their skills against some of America’s greatest role models.”
There has been some speculation about which Congressman will win the competition, but insiders say Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has the competition locked up.
March 15th, 2011 by Autumn
Under new pay to play laws that go into effect today, the SEC will restrict investment advisers from directly or indirectly providing any advisory services to a state or local government entity for two years following a campaign contribution. The ban extends to “covered associates” who consist of any general partner, managing partner, or “executive officer,” or other individuals with a similar status or function; any employee who solicits government business or supervises someone who does; any PAC “controlled by” the investment adviser or one of its covered associates; all employees who solicit a government entity for the investment; and, in some cases, employees of a parent company, which could, in some cases, include employees of a parent company.
The title “executive officer” was clarified to exclude those with titles that may indicate significance, but who, in reality, do not impact policy. For the purposes of this exclusion, “executive officer” has been defined as the president and vice presidents fast bad credit payday loans
in charge of principal business units.
De minimis contributions (those of $350 or less per election per candidate if the contributor is eligible to vote for the candidate, $150 or less if outside of the contributor’s district) are exempt from the restriction.
Also included in the new law is a bundling prohibition. Investment advisers may not solicit or coordinate contributions for candidates or political parties in the states or localities in which they practice and may be looking to provide advisory services to the government. There is no outright ban on third party solicitors, but an investment adviser may not pay non-regulated persons to provide the services. Any third party solicitor must be subject to similarly stringent pay to play regulations.
The rules apply not only to registered investment advisers, but anyone who employs the private adviser exemption, and covers even indirect acts which, if done directly, would be in violation of the rule.
March 14th, 2011 by Autumn
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first Republican senator to speak out in support of Planned Parenthood last week, saying in a letter to Appropriations Committee heads Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), “I believe Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and disagree with [House] funding cuts” in the chambers budget bill.
Sen. Murkowski joins Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as female Republicans speaking in favor of women’s reproductive rights, in vocal departures from their party’s popular rhetoric. Collins’ spokesperson said the senator believes defunding Title X, which funds Planned Parenthood and other groups, is “unwise,” because “the program has successfully reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies Cialis, therefore helping to reduce health care costs.”
Recently, the Expose Planned Parenthood Coalition, which is made up of 30 anti-abortion groups, has put significant pressure on House Republicans to make defunding of Title X a non-negotiable point in congressional budget talks. The coalition says it has sent 1.2 million petitions and emails in favor of withholding funding for the program for the remainder of the year.Planned Parenthood argues that it spends most of its time on activities other than abortions, including cancer screening for low income women, and providing contraception to prevent pregnancy.
Seven Republicans in the House opposed the provision to defund Title X during discussions.
March 14th, 2011 by Autumn
In the 3rd annual Congressional Hockey Challenge Thursday night, Team Lobbyists was victorious over Team Lawmakers, with a final score of 5-3.
The game, which was held at the Verizon Center, raised over $100,000 for Fort Dupont Hockey Ice Arena and Hockey Club. The Fort Dupont Hockey Club is a 501(c)3 charitable organization which provides inner city youth with the opportunity to play in an organized hockey program. According to the event’s webpage, the Congressional Hockey challenge is held to aid the Fort DuPont ice arena, which “is in dire financial condition, and is at risk of closing. All proceeds…go directly to the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club, which will share fifty percent of the proceeds with the Fort DuPont Ice Arena [to] help ensure the Arena remains on stable footing, and that the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club can continue its mission.”
Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble dropped the first puck at the well-attended matchup of Capitol Hill and K. Street heavyweights. Forward/Right Wing Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was Cialis the most well-known lawmaker on the ice. He was joined by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)—who is often touted the biggest hockey fan in Congress, and even organized a White House event held Friday to benefit youth hockey initiatives, Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.)—who joined Quigley on the South Lawn for Friday’s hockey clinic, Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Pat Meehan (D-Penn.), and several staffers.
Team lobbyists featured IBM’s Justin Beachnau, Ian Bennitt (Shipbuilders Council of America), Nick Bliss (New York Life), C2 Group’s Nelson Litterst and John Kline, Brooke Coburn (The Carlyle Group), Bob Filippone (PhRMA), Christian Gullott (Bridgestone Americas, Inc.), Jeffrey Kimbell (Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates and Magnum Entertainment Group, Inc), Melissa Lavinson (Pacific Gas and Electric Company), Nick Lewis (UPS), George Lowe (Brown Rudnick), Rick Murphy (R.B. Murphy and Associates), Sean O’Neill (Associated General Contractors of America), Mark Peterson (American Institute of CPAs), Brian Regan (PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association), Kraig Syracuse (Park Strategies), Andrew Sasinowski (US Patent and Trademark Office), Seth Webb (Google), Ian Weston (Children’s National Medical Center).