Science

Google Would ‘Make the NSA Blush,’ Says Republican at Hill Grilling
Tuesday marked the first time a top Google executive appeared at the Capitol since the 2016 election

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, center, is confronted by Infowar's Alex Jones, right, as he arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared for the first time before a congressional panel and batted away questions from lawmakers, who bombarded him about alleged bias against conservatives in search results and the company’s data collection practices.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Google was collecting so much information on its users that it would “make the NSA blush,” referring to the National Security Agency. The Virginia Republican also said the committee was interested in learning more about how Google determines what is objectionable, and allegations that biased ranking of Google’s search results could result in shifting voters’ views.

Budget Scuffle Stalls ‘Blue Water’ Benefits for Vietnam Vets
Science, costs concern for GOP holdouts; Dems yell hypocrisy

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson remains bullish the Senate can pass the measure to make more Vietnam era veterans eligible for treatment for exposure to Agent Orange. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and veterans groups are working to convince a few last holdouts to stop blocking a quick floor vote on a bill to extend benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Advocates are lobbying President Donald Trump to sign the bill if the Senate clears it. But Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has questions about whether science backs up the policy. And Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming is concerned about its nearly $2.2 billion cost over a decade.

Public Health Should Be as Reliable as Our Highways
Health protection should not depend on local decisions or stop abruptly at political borders

Epidemics don’t recognize state or city boundaries, the authors write. So why should our public health system? Above, traffic moves across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge along the Capitol Beltway in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Check your morning news and you are likely to read distressing stories about the threat of a bad flu season, the consequences of natural disasters like wildfires in California, unacceptably high maternal and infant death rates, or the opioid epidemic.

All these emerging challenges occur on top of our nation’s chronic public health issues, like heart disease, cancer and HIV/AIDS, which continue to take a toll on the length and quality of life for people in the United States. This also takes a toll on the health and vitality of our communities and comes at great cost to our federal and state health care budgets.

Congress Passes Two-Week Funding Extension to Avert Shutdown
House, Senate sent stopgap measure to president for signature

The House and Senate have passed a two-week extension of government funding, sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An extension of temporary appropriations for nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies through Dec. 21 is on its way to the president’s desk after the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday.

The legislation would extend current funding levels for two weeks and buy time to reach final agreement on outstanding spending issues, including President Donald Trump’s $5 billion southern border wall funding request. It also extends a number of expiring authorizations including Violence Against Women Act programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National Flood Insurance Program for the duration of the stopgap measure.

Wisconsin GOP’s Lame-Duck Play: ‘A New Philosophy of Governing’
Democrats’ wins do not prevent late play to curtail their authority in new year

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, center, lost his bid for re-election in November, but the Republican Legislature has passed legislation curtailing the authority of his Democratic successor and the incoming Democratic attorney general.  (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Scott Walker era in Wisconsin is ending much as it began: With a controversial effort to weaken his political opponents that attracted protests and a national spotlight to Madison.

Tuesday, protestors continued to disrupt an extraordinary session of the state Legislature but didn’t change the outcome as both chambers moved to approve a GOP bill to enhance the Legislature’s power at the expense of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who defeated Walker in the Republican’s attempt at winning a third term last month, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Republicans maintained control of both legislative chambers in the Nov. 6 elections.

How Climate Cause Could Boost Future Democrats
Pollsters find local environmental issues proved winning midterm strategy in Montana, New Jersey and California

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., shown here at a parade at Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., campaigned on promises to protect public land. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic candidates who focused on local environmental issues were able to sway swing voters and pull ahead in several key midterm races, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a group of left-leaning pollsters and strategists.

“The top takeaway from 2018 is quite simple: that the environmental message works and is politically salient,” said Joe Bonfiglio during a briefing of research from Global Strategy Group, a consulting group that works with Democratic campaigns. Bonfiglio is the president of EDF Action, the advocacy arm of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Representing Is Hard. Online Town Halls Can Help
We invited citizens to connect with their lawmakers. Our findings were both startling and heartening

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., conducts a town hall meeting in 2017. Lawmakers can’t possibly meet with every constituent in person — but they can turn to some of the same communication tools already in use in the private sector, the authors write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — At the end of the movie “The Candidate,” Robert Redford’s character wins a Senate seat, and then immediately pulls aside his most trusted adviser and asks, “What do we now?” After the divisive election of 2018, we imagine that many newly elected members of Congress are pondering the same question.

Our suggestion, based on over a decade of research: Go beyond business as usual. Make special efforts to connect with your constituents, not just interest groups and your most vocal supporters. These interactions can’t simply be infomercials, but must offer genuine, two-way engagement.

Granger Selected as New Top Republican on House Appropriations
With Nita Lowey expected to chair, panel is set for historic all-female leadership duo

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is expected to be the ranking member on House Appropriations next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will likely take over as the House Republicans’ lead appropriator in January after the GOP Steering Committee recommended her on Thursday.

The full House GOP Conference is expected to ratify the decision Friday. While it’s possible the conference could overrule the Steering panel recommendation, conference approval is typically a formality.

Not Even Lame Duckery Can Break the Lockstep of the GOP
It is hard to find evidence that congressional Republicans feel chastened by the midterm verdict

Defeat left Rep. Mia Love feeling “unleashed.” If only other lame-duck Republicans felt the same, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In theory (and the emphasis here is on the word “theory”), the lame-duck session of Congress after a cataclysmic midterm election should be a fruitful time for bipartisanship.

With nearly 90 members of the House and eight senators not returning for the 116th Congress, old rigidities might give way to last-gasp attempts at legislating. The nothing-left-to-lose freedom of the defeated was best expressed by Mia Love, who said at her concession news conference, “Now, I am unleashed, I am untethered and I am unshackled, and I can say exactly what’s on my mind.”

‘Unfortunate Activities’ Delays North Carolina 9th District Results
Baptist minister Mark Harris has not yet been certified the winner over Democrat Dan McCready

Baptist minister Mark Harris (left), who is seeking election in North Carolina’s 9th district, and Rep. Ted Budd , R-N.C., are introduced by President Donald Trump during an October campaign rally in Charlotte. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

The state elections board in North Carolina has delayed ratifying Baptist minister Mark Harris’ victory over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District, citing “unfortunate activities” in one county.

Harris defeated McCready by less than 1,000 votes in the tally as it now stands.