fintech

Senate spending bill would slash foreign military aid
Questions raised about how Pentagon is handling funds to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies

The Pentagon was unable to tell the Senate Appropriations Committee how many weapons purchased under one program had been ordered, received, or were in transit or lost. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut more than $2 billion from U.S. military overseas aid programs largely due to mismanagement, according to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Combined with cuts to previously appropriated funds, the potential reductions would affect programs to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies and another account to reimburse Pakistan for the same sort of efforts.

HOH presents: the ultimate congressional fantasy football juggernaut
Here are the current and former members of Congress who would dominate

Then-Rep. Jon Runyan, R- N.J. left, blocks for the “Mean Machine” team at the Congressional Football Game for Charity, which pits congressmen against police, in 2011. In the background is then-Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Have you ever wondered which current or former members of Congress would make the ideal fantasy football team? Well, we’ve got you covered.

For hardcore football fans, playing fantasy can be an exercise in cognitive dissonance. If you are a Baltimore Ravens fan who has Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, you have to pray the Steelers QB throws four TDs while the rest of the team plays like garbage. But there is no better feeling than agonizing over setting the perfect lineup and then watching your team light up your enemy, er, opponent. And for perhaps the ultimate in cognitive dissonance, Heard on the Hill presents the All-Congress fantasy football team.

As election security risks grow, Congress must get off the sidelines
Some Republican senators argue new legislation is unnecessary. They’re wrong

The work to address threats posed to our voting infrastructure is far from over, Waller writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Texas got some terrible news last month. Twenty-two municipalities in the Lone Star State were the targets of massive ransomware attacks — a kind of cyber kidnapping. According to the mayor of Keene, “Just about everything we do at city hall was impacted.” The Borger city government wasn’t able to process utility payments — putting residents at risk of losing access to running water or electricity.

If just a few attacks could debilitate almost two dozen cities in Texas, imagine the chaos if several hundred were carried out on our country’s voting infrastructure right before Election Day. To prevent this, Congress must pass legislation that deters future foreign interference in our electoral system.

At ground zero, Homeland chiefs say cyber is top future threat
Former DHS chiefs urge proritizing cybersecurity risks

Former Homeland Security secretaries testify before Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee at the 9/11 museum in New York on Monday. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Nearly 18 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three former secretaries of Homeland Security gathered at ground zero on Monday and pressed the government to prioritize cybersecurity risks as one of the top threats to the United States.

Janet Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama, urged officials to apply greater creativity to cybersecurity in an effort to avoid the failure of “imagination” that the 9/11 Commission said might have prevented the 2001 airliner attacks.

The Building Buyer, Ep. 18
Fintech Beat explores a new way of investing in real estate.

A for sale sign advertising a row house on Constitution Avenue, NE, is pictured on Monday, August 26, 2019, in Washington D.C. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Venezuelans use cryptocurrency to bypass corruption, inflation
Some charities turn to digital assets to circumvent government’s chokehold on ecomony

Nurses protest the lack of medicines and medical supplies in Venezuelan hospitals at a demonstration in Caracas last month. Some Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrency to circumvent the government’s chokehold on the economy. (Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images file photos)

Faced with hyperinflation and borders closed to humanitarian aid, Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrency as a workaround of government control of money. Aid providers say digital currencies are becoming an important route to bypassing corruption or repressive regimes.

Digital currencies have no shortage of critics, who point to their use in scams, theft and money laundering. U.S. lawmakers blasted Facebook’s plans for a cryptocurrency, and regulators routinely warn of wild volatility.

DNC blocks virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada
Committee cites cybersecurity concerns as reason not to go forward with plan

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez speaks during an interview with radio station WHO at the Iowa State Fair. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic National Committee formally decided Friday not to move forward with virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada amid cybersecurity concerns.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee agreed by voice vote to adopt the recommendation from DNC Chairman Tom Perez that the virtual caucuses should not take place since they would not be secure or reliable. Both states had devised plans to allow people to participate in the caucuses by phone to fulfill a DNC requirement that states provide an absentee voting option.

White House pushes ban on Chinese-made buses, rail cars
Advocate for ban says state-backed Chinese companies can underbid domestic competition and drive them out of business

A MARC commuter train leaves a station in Brunswick, Md. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House wants China to stay out of the U.S. mass transit business, whether it’s bus transit or passenger rail.

In a statement of policy before the House and Senate get together in a conference committee to work out their differences in a wide-ranging Pentagon policy bill, the White House said it supports a Senate provision that would bar federal transit funds from being used to buy transit vehicles manufactured by state-owned or state-controlled enterprises, including those from China.

Child care centers, cybersecurity facility among Pentagon projects delayed for wall
Funds diverted from military construction to border barriers under Trump's emergency declaration

A section of border barrier stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas-Mexico border. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

Pentagon officials briefed lawmakers Wednesday on which military construction projects previously approved by Congress would be delayed so the Trump administration can instead use the money to pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The list includes child care centers, roads, at least one cybersecurity facility and more, members of Congress said in statements. A copy of the list provided to CQ Roll Call by a congressional office also includes facilities at military bases hit by hurricanes, such as Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, as well as school construction.

The Comptroller of the Currency
Fintech Beat, Episode 17

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, prepares to testify during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled "Financial Industry Regulation: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency," on June 13, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)