House of Representatives
Teacher-Turned-Congressman Grades GOP Letter to House Speaker, Posts It to Tumblr for Your Enjoyment
As much as high school sucked for basically everyone, there are some things about the state of the real adult world that could probably be improved by a little more of the discipline that only an overworked teacher can provide. Former high school teacher Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) decided that maybe the Republican-drafted letter about immigration that was circulating around the floor of the House might benefit from some edits and creative criticism, so he graded it and posted the results to his Tumblr. Unsurprisingly, Takano feels the work needs some serious revisions.Read on...
Good News, Everyone! The House Passed CISPA!
They say every cloud has a silver lining. If that's true, then there has to be something good about the fact that 288 members of Congress just voted to pass CISPA, right? The bill essentially strips citizens of any right to online privacy, which is obviously terrible, but there has to be something positive about this.Read on...
Republicans and Democrats Agree On Manhattan Project National Park, Manage Not to Vote It Into ExistenceWe've told you before about legislation in Congress that would make the laboratories that housed the Manhattan Project into a national park, commemorating probably the greatest gathering of scientific minds in the history of time and both the scientific progress (atomic energy) and sickening horror (the atomic bomb) that resulted from it. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act finally came up for a vote in the halls of Congress last night, and a majority of our great nation's elected represntatives -- 237 grown adults -- agreed that it should be a thing that exists, which, given the state of our political system today, of course means that the bill failed. Confused? We've got your explanation after the jump.Read on...
New Anti-Piracy Bill Brings Internet “Death Penalty” to the Table
With the ubiquity of legitimate and fairly inexpensive sources for fast, high-quality streaming, the issue of online piracy seems to have taken a back seat in the public eye. Not so on Capitol Hill, where a new piece of legislation introduced to the House of Representatives could give law enforcement sweeping new powers to make so-called "rogue" websites involved in Internet piracy virtually vanish. The bill, boldly called the Stop Online Piracy Act, would grant new powers to the Department of Justice. Under the new law, the DOJ could use a court order served to Domain Name System (DNS) providers, search engines, and even advertising companies to sever an offending website from public access. Once served, these parties would be obliged to drop accused websites from search engine results, invalidate the site's URL, and presumably cut them off from advertising money; a kind of "death penalty" for websites.Read on...
NASA Takes Huge Hit In Proposed Congressional Budget
In what feels like a completely endless debate about how the government should support its science agencies during economic hardship, it seems as though NASA is set to be the sacrificial lamb of budget balancing with almost $2 billion in cuts. Congress has just released its Appropriations bill that gives their views on how much federal money NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) should be given. Massive cuts are called for across the board, but no agency is set to lose as much as NASA.To determine the federal budget, the President comes up with a budget request that the House of Representatives and the Senate then consider and come up with their own independent counter offers. The House and Senate must agree on budget appropriations before the budget becomes final. In his request, President Obama was relatively kind to NASA but the House apparently doesn't see the same value in the agency. The House's budget includes a total cut of $1.64 billion from last year which is almost $2 billion short of the President's request.Read on...
iPads May Become the First Gadgets Allowed on the Floor of the House of Representatives
Rules in the House of Representatives forbidding the use of electronic devices on the floor might soon be changed so members of Congress can use their iPads. Because that's what was preventing them from doing their jobs effectively. Not being able to use their iPads. An iPad first appeared on the House floor earlier this month by way of Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar. He says he mainly uses it to read news and check emails, but also uses professional apps such as Congress in Your Pocket and another that functions as a teleprompter. But he also vows to keep his device "productive and distraction-free." (The same way we all vow not to browse the Internet at work. Hi, everyone!) There are definite benefits to being plugged in on the House floor.Read on...