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Spectrum auction could boot weather forecasting back to the 1970s, lawmakers warn
Appropriators call for delay of auction set for Thursday

The Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, plans to go ahead with a spectrum auction aimed at securing American leadership in 5G. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior House members, citing a potential threat to the safety of millions of people, urgently asked a federal agency Wednesday to delay an auction of radio frequency spectrum that is slated to occur Thursday.

If that spectrum is used for 5G wireless communications, as planned, it could interfere with government satellites’ ability to collect data in a nearby band — information on which accurate weather forecasts hinge, three House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen said in a letter obtained by Roll Call.

Lawmakers, operatives weigh in on Fox News’ rough weekend
The controversies hitting the cable news network elicited a series of reactions from people across the political spectrum

Tucker Carlson speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon )

After a weekend of bad PR for Fox News, lawmakers and politicos offered a mixed bag of reactions to the series of controversies hitting the cable news network.

Host Jeanine Pirro questioned Rep. Ilhan Omar’s American allegiance because she wears a hijab during a monologue on her Saturday primetime show “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” And tape surfaced from 2006 where Tucker Carlson argues that facilitating child rape is not the same as raping children, uses the c-word to describe women and uses other inflammatory language.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series
Rep. Jody Hice, former conservative talk show host, will sit down to discuss policy and politics with HFC newsmakers

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., will host a weekly podcast for the House Freedom Caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series, marking the first time an organized group in Congress will host its own show.

Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, a former conservative talk radio host and the Freedom Caucus’ communications chairman, will sit down weekly with other members of the caucus, senators and grassroots leaders.

Nancy Pelosi joins House and Senate Democrats launching new push to restore net neutrality
Legislation expected to move quickly in the House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are pushing legislation to restore net neutrality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic majority intends to move quickly on legislation that would revive and codify net neutrality, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Joined by Democrats from both chambers including Pelosi and top party leaders, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. said the bill would be a priority for his committee. It would codify the 2015 open internet order from the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, which was rolled back after President Donald Trump took office.

China threat looms over Senate 5G hearing
Senators signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network, but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, new Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from both parties on Wednesday signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network that could enable innovation in telecom, agriculture, and health care sectors but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance over the technology.

At the year’s first hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, new Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said nationwide 5G implementation could propel the United States “into the fourth industrial revolution,” by creating millions of new jobs and enhancing transportation and agricultural systems through enhanced connectivity.

Former Rep. Moran has Northam’s back, even as Democrats ditch him
Former Virginia Democrat has said Northam should be given opportunity for ‘redemption’

Former Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., pictured here in his last term in 2013 in the Rayburn House Office Building, has gone to bat for Gov. Ralph Northam after images appeared allegedly showing Northam in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was in medical school. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Virginia Rep. Jim Moran is sticking by commonwealth Gov. Ralph Northam after a photo in Northam’s medical school yearbook surfaced showing a man wearing blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Northam has cast doubt that he appears in the photo, even though it’s on his individual page in the yearbook.

BLAKE Act targets future Blake Farentholds
Legislation is named for former congressman who reneged on repaying funds for sexual harassment settlement

The Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act is named for Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold might have resigned in disgrace, but he’s still making a mark on Capitol Hill.

The BLAKE Act, or the Bad Lawmakers Accountability and Key Emends Act, would bar any former member of Congress from behaving like Farenthold. Specifically, the legislation would prevent any member of Congress from cashing in on his time in office with a plum lobbying job if that member had used tax dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim and had not reimbursed federal coffers.

Angus King’s new comms director brings bipartisan past
Matthew Felling’s return to the Senate took an unusual route

Matthew Felling is the new communications director for Maine Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats. He previously served in the same role for Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It wasn’t a surprise that Matthew Felling would find his way back to the Senate as a communications director, but his destination might have been.

Felling, who left in 2015 after more than four years as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s top spokesman, had previously worked as a journalist, including as a news reporter and anchor at the CBS affiliate in Anchorage, as well as at CBS News.

Former Reps. Mia Love, Luis Gutiérrez join CNN as commentators
Meanwhile, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lamar Smith head to K Street

Former Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is now a CNN political commentator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Mia Love and Luis Gutiérrez have wasted no time finding new gigs after leaving Congress last week.

Love, a Utah Republican and the only black female Republican in the last Congress, and Gutiérrez, a longtime Chicago-based Democrat, have joined CNN as political commentators.

Ryan Pleased With Budget Committee Portrait — Even if Artist Was a Minnesotan
Speaker served four years as chairman of House Budget panel

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., attends the unveiling of his House Budget Committee chairman portrait in the Capitol on Thursday. The portrait was painted by Minnesota artist Leslie Bowman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Outgoing Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s farewell tour continued Thursday with the unveiling of his House Budget Committee chairman portrait, commemorating the four years he spent at the helm of the panel. 

After current Budget Chairman Steve Womack pulled back the curtain on the portrait at a ceremony in the Capitol’s Rayburn Room, Ryan joked, “It looks like me.”