Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended (31 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1.  Purpose.  It is the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources.  In addition to the management of the direct expenditure of taxpayer dollars through the budgeting process, it is essential to manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations.  Toward that end, it is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process..."

 Executive Regulations

President Trump Freezes Federal Civil Service Hiring

"On Monday, January 23, President Trump issued a memorandum that suspends the hiring of civilian employees in the executive branch. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is instructed to recommend a plan within 90 days to reduce the size of the federal workforce by way of attrition. The order will expire upon the actual implementation of the OMB plan, though the memorandum does not specify a time frame for when such implementation must occur. On Wednesday, January 25, OMB issued explanatory guidance to agencies on the implementation of the freeze. It stated that workers offered a job on or before January 22, with a start date of February 22 or earlier, should enter their positions. However, those individuals whose start date is after February 22, or undetermined, may have their job offer revoked. Agency heads are given discretion whether to honor these offers..".
Federal Hiring

House Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures

"The House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was established on March 11, 2008, with the passage of H.Res. 895. It was most recently reauthorized by the House as part of the rules package (H.Res. 5) adopted by the 115 th Congress on January 3, 2017.

The office’s establishment followed years of efforts by groups within and outside Congress to create an independent entity to investigate allegations of misconduct by Members, officers, and employees of Congress. During the 110th Congress (2007-2008), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner created the bipartisan Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement, chaired by Representative Michael Capuano, to consider whether the House should create an “outside” ethics-enforcement entity. The task force worked for nearly a year before issuing its recommendations for the creation of the OCE..."
Congressional Ethics

Affordable Care Act Executive Order: Legal Considerations

"On January 20, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order (EO) declaring his intention to “seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA]” while minimizing “economic and regulatory burdens of the Act,” ensuring that the ACA is “efficiently implemented,” and preparing to allow states “more flexibility and control.” Broadly, the EO issues the following three directives to executive branch agencies:

First, it directs agencies with authorities or responsibilities under the ACA to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of” any ACA provision that would impose a fiscal or regulatory burden on states or a host of private entities (including individuals, health care providers, health insurers, and medical device manufacturers).

Second, the EO directs those same agencies to provide greater flexibility and cooperation to states in implementing healthcare programs.

Third, the EO directs all agencies with responsibilities relating to healthcare or health insurance to encourage the development of a free and open interstate market for health services and health insurance..."
Affordable Care Act

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery

"Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."..."
13th Amendment

NCSES publishes latest Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering repor

"The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) today announced the release of the 2017 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD) report, the federal government's most comprehensive look at the participation of these three demographic groups in science and engineering education and employment.
The report shows the degree to which women, people with disabilities and minorities from three racial and ethnic groups -- black, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native -- are underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E). Women have reached parity with men in educational attainment but not in S&E employment. Underrepresented minorities account for disproportionately smaller percentages in both S&E education and employment..."
NCSES minorites, women, disabled

E-Cigarettes and Young People: A Public Health Concern

"Talk with teens and young adults you know about the dangers of e-cigarette use.
E-cigarettes, devices that typically deliver nicotine, flavorings, and other additives to users through an inhaled aerosol, are a rapidly emerging trend, and are especially popular among youth and young adults. These devices are referred to by a variety of names, including "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," "vape pens," "vapes," and "tank systems." E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver other drugs besides nicotine, such as marijuana.
Scientists are still learning more about how e-cigarettes affect health. However, there is already enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent e-cigarette use by young people. We know that the vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful because it contains harmful ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain..."
E-cigarettes and Teens

Saturday, January 28, 2017

U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective

"The health of the U.S. manufacturing sector has long been of great concern to Congress. The decline in manufacturing employment since the start of the 21st century has stimulated particular congressional interest, leading Members to introduce hundreds of bills over many sessions of Congress intended to support domestic manufacturing activity in various ways. The proponents of such measures frequently contend that the United States is by various measures falling behind other countries in manufacturing, and they argue that this relative decline can be mitigated or reversed by government policy.

This report is designed to inform the debate over the health of U.S. manufacturing through a series of charts and tables that depict the position of the United States relative to other countries according to various metrics. Understanding which trends in manufacturing reflect factors that may be unique to the United States and which are related to broader changes in technology or consumer preferences may be helpful in formulating policies intended to aid firms or workers engaged in manufacturing activity. This report does not describe or discuss specific policy options..."
U.S. Manufacturing

Sentencing Reform at the End of the 114th Congress

"On December 23, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee reported the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713). The Senate Judiciary Committee had previously reported a corresponding proposal, as Title I of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123). The 114th Congress ended before final differences could be resolved. The two bills would have adjusted sentencing provisions in the case of certain drug and firearms convictions. More specifically, they would have:

afforded federal courts the opportunity to avoid by way of “safety valves” certain mandatory minimum sentences when sentencing low-level, non-violent drug offenders;

modified the mandatory minimum sentences applicable to certain recidivist drug offenders; completed the task of making the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) retroactive;

revised the mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of a firearm in furtherance of various drug or violent offenses;

reduced the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) mandatory minimums, but increased the maximum sentence for unlawful firearm possession...".
Sentencing reform

Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens: In Brief

"The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that individual aliens outside the United States are “inadmissible”—or barred from admission to the country—on health, criminal, security, and other grounds set forth in the INA. However, the INA also grants the Executive several broader authorities that could be used to exclude certain individual aliens or classes of aliens for reasons that are not specifically prescribed in the INA.

Section 212(f) of the INA is arguably the broadest and best known of these authorities. It provides, in relevant part, that:
    Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate..."

Executive Authority and aliens

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Blog CBO Director’s Statement About the Budget and Economic Outlook for 2017 to 2027

"CBO Director’s Statement About the Budget and Economic Outlook for 2017 to 2027
Posted by Keith Hall on
January 24, 2017
This morning I briefed the press about The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027, which CBO published today along with two slide decks, The Budget Outlook for 2017 to 2027 in 20 Slides and The Economic Outlook for 2017 to 2027 in 16 Slides, illustrating the report’s key findings.
The briefing opened with the following remarks.

Summary of the Baseline Economic Outlook

The economic forecast that underlies CBO’s budget projections indicates that in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, gross domestic product will expand at an average annual pace of 2.1 percent over the next two years—if current laws generally remained unchanged—after rising last year at an annual rate of 1.8 percent. We expect that growth to boost employment, virtually eliminate the remaining slack in the economy, and drop the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent by the fourth quarter of 2018..."

Economic outlook

Monday, January 23, 2017

Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1.  It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the "Act").  In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market..."
Affordable Care Act Repeal

The Original Women's March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way

"Following on the heels of President Donald Trump's inauguration this Friday, at least 3.3 million Americans gathered for marches around the country, rallying behind calls for a Women's March on Washington—though the rallies ultimately spready to many cities worldwide. In Washington, D.C., alone, crowd estimates were around 500,000, with protestors calling for gender equality, protection for immigrants, minority and LGBTQ rights and access to women's health services.
But it wasn't the first time huge crowds of women turned out to make demands of the government. On March 3, 1913, one day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, more than 5,000 women descended on Washington to fight for the vote. Some came on foot, some on horseback, some in wagons. There were costumes and placards and about half-a-million spectators lined the streets. Among the marchers were journalist Nellie Bly, activist Helen Keller and actress Margaret Vale—who was also the niece of the incoming president (who was by no means an ally of the suffrage movement; he once said women who spoke in public gave him a “chilled, scandalized feeling”). Despite being heckled and harassed by the crowd, the march was enormously memorable; six years later Congress passed the 19th Amendment, extending the franchise to women nationwide.
Women's March on Washington(1913)

Marijuana's Health Effects

"Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, with 22.2 million users. But the types of marijuana available today are more potent than before and come in many forms, including oils that can be vaped, and edibles, from brownies and candy to sodas. This leaves many with a lot of questions about marijuana use and its health effects.
New Web pages, published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provide more information about the health effects of marijuana use and answer some of the commonly asked public health questions in the discussion about marijuana in the United States.
Here are just a few of the health effects you may want to know:

Application of the Anti-Nepotism Statute to a Presidential Appointment in the White House Office

"Section 105(a) of title 3, U.S. Code, which authorizes the President to appoint employees in the White House Office “without regard to any other provision of law regulating the employment or compensation of persons in the Government service,” exempts positions in the White House Office from the prohibition on nepotism in 5 U.S.C. § 3110.
                                                                                                                       January 20, 2017


You have asked whether section 3110 of title 5, U.S. Code, which forbids a public official from appointing a relative “to a civilian position in the agency . . . over which [the official] exercises jurisdiction or control,” bars the President from appointing his son-in-law to a position in the White House Office, where the President’s immediate personal staff of advisors serve. We conclude that section 3110 does not bar this appointment because the President’s special hiring authority in 3 U.S.C. § 105(a) exempts positions in the White House Office from section 3110..."
Anti-Nepotism Statute

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog CBO’s Long-Term Projections of Labor Force Participation

"In preparing the economic forecast underlying its forthcoming report on the budget and economic outlook, CBO updated its projections of labor force participation. In this blog post, we explain those updates and compare them with the agency’s previous projections and with those of the Social Security Trustees. The full economic forecast will be described in The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027, which will be released on January 24..."
Labor force participation

30-Year Anniversary of the TRI Program Slideshow

"October 17, 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program's creation under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Over that time, the quantities of releases reported to the TRI Program have changed as various aspects of the program have evolved, including the number of chemicals included on the list of reportable chemicals and the types of industry sectors required to comply with TRI reporting. The slideshow below demonstrates how releases have changed over the years, and includes information about significant milestones in the history of the TRI Program..."
Toxics Release Inventory

The Obama Administration Digital Transition: Moving Forward

"...Where you can access archival Obama White House content
After January 20, 2017, materials will continue to be accessible on the platforms where they were created, allowing the public continued access to the content posted over the past eight years.
WhiteHouse.gov becomes ObamaWhiteHouse.gov
The Obama White House website – which includes press articles, blog posts, videos, and photos – will be available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov, a site maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), beginning on January 20, 2017. If you are looking for a post or page on the Obama administration’s WhiteHouse.gov from 2009 through 2017, you can find it by changing the URL to ObamaWhiteHouse.gov. For example, after the transition, this blog post will be available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov/obama-administration-digital-transition-moving-forward..."

Obama Administration archives

Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it.

"January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Teaching adolescents healthy relationship skills is one strategy CDC promotes to help you prevent stalking in your community.
Stalking involves a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns in the victim. These behaviors can come in the form of threatening phone calls, text messages, spying, or showing up at the victim's home or workplace, and leaving unwanted gifts or cards. Stalking victims are often very fearful or believe that they or someone close to them could be harmed or killed as a result of the perpetrator's behavior..."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

National Park Service Announces Fee Free Days for 2017

"Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free on one of 10 fee free days in 2017.
The ten entrance fee-free days for 2017 will be:
  • January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 20: Presidents Day
  • April 15-16 & April 22-23: National Park Week Weekends
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend..."

National Park Service free days

Working in Workplace Safety

"Ensuring safe and healthy workplaces is a top priority of the Labor Department. It’s also a smart career path for people interested in making sure offices, factories, mines and other workplaces are safe from hazards and adhere to regulations concerning health, safety and the environment.
The median wages for all of these jobs are also higher than the median wage for all occupations ($36,200). Here’s a closer look at nine options (chart text available below):..."
Workplace safety

Scarlet Fever: A Group A Streptococcal Infection

"Scarlet fever results from group A strep infection. If your child has a sore throat and rash, their doctor can test for strep. Quick treatment with antibiotics can protect your child from possible long-term health problems.
Scarlet fever – or scarlatina – is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus or "group A strep." This illness affects some people who have strep throat or skin infections caused by group A strep. It is usually a mild illness, but people with scarlet fever need treatment to prevent rare but serious health problems. Doctors treat scarlet fever with antibiotics to help clear up symptoms faster and reduce spread to other people.
Although anyone can get scarlet fever, it usually affects children between 5 and 15 years old. The classic symptom of the disease is a certain type of red rash that feels rough, like sandpaper..."
Scarlet fever

Rubella: Make Sure Your Child Gets Vaccinated

"Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. For some people—especially pregnant women and their unborn babies—rubella can be serious. Make sure you and your child are protected from rubella by getting vaccinated on schedule.
Young children who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Older children and adults are more likely to have a headache, pink eye, and general discomfort before the rash appears..."


Tracking Network Data Can Inform HIAs

"CDC's Tracking Network is an excellent data source for environmental hazards, exposures, and health conditions that can be a valuable asset to the health impact assessment process.
CDC's Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) connects people with vital public health information. It has data and information that can be used for a wide variety of environmental and public health efforts like conducting health impact assessments.

Health Impact Assessments

A health impact assessment (HIA) is a process to evaluate the potential positive and negative public health effects of a plan, project, or policy before it is approved, built, or implemented. HIAs have been used to inform decision-making processes for transportation, land use, climate change, and other sectors. Conducting an HIA requires access to high-quality data about many different areas that affect our health including environmental, cultural, economic, and social conditions...."
Health Impact Awareness

Cervical Cancer Awareness

"No woman should die of cervical cancer. You can help prevent cervical cancer by getting screened regularly, starting at age 21.
Cervical cancer is highly preventable with regular screening tests and appropriate follow-up care. It also can be cured when found early and treated.
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Vaccines are available to protect against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer.
HPV is very common in the United States and is passed from one person to another during sex. It is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer. Talk to your health care provider about whether the HPV test is right for you..."

Cervical Cancer

Don't Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight!

"January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, but half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Get a healthy start in 2017 by learning about glaucoma and taking steps to reduce your risk of vision loss!

Know the Facts

  • Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can result in vision loss and even blindness.
  • About 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide.
  • Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, results in increased eye pressure. There are often no early symptoms, which is why 50% of people with glaucoma don't know they have the disease.
  • There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, but if it's caught early, you can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. Taking action to preserve your vision health is key..."


Stay Active and Heathy in the New Year

"The holiday season is coming to a close, and for many of us that can mean "recovering" from all of the rich foods that accompany this time of year and starting to think about our goals for the year ahead. Follow these tips to get your New Year off to a healthy start.

1. Stay active.

Being active is your secret weapon in the New Year. It can help make up for eating more than usual and has many other health benefits. Walking is a great way to be active. Try these tips to incorporate more walking into your activities:
  • Skip the search for a close-up parking spot. Park farther away and walk to your destination.
  • Make a few extra laps around the mall. Walk the length of the mall before going into any stores. The mall is also a good place to walk to avoid bad weather.
  • Start your work day by taking the stairs. Remember to stretch your legs and take short physical activity breaks throughout the day..."

Stay active

Security Clearance Process: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

"This report provides a primer on some of the fundamental aspects of the security clearance process, using a “Frequently Asked Questions” format.

A security clearance is a determination that an individual—whether a direct federal employee or a private contractor performing work for the government—is eligible for access to classified national security information. A security clearance alone does not grant an individual access to classified materials. Rather, a security clearance means that an individual is eligible for access. In order to gain access to specific classified materials, an individual should also have a demonstrated “need to know” the information contained in the specific classified materials..."
Security clearance


"The Internet of Things (IoT) – in which connected devices are proliferating at an unprecedented rate – is a technological development that is transforming the way we live and do business. IoT continues the decades-long trend of increasing connectivity among devices and the Internet, bringing online everything from refrigerators to automobiles to factory inventory systems. At the same time, IoT encompasses a widening scope of industries and activities and a vastly increasing scale and number of devices being connected, thus raising the stakes and impacts of broad connectivity..."
Internet of Things

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Betsy G. Reyneau

"Born on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a key leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. King and his followers fought for the equal rights and equal justice that the United States Constitution ensures for all its citizens. The great legal milestones achieved by this movement were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the later 1960s, the targets of King's activism were less often the legal and political obstacles to the exercise of civil rights by blacks, and more often the underlying poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and blocked avenues of economic opportunity confronting black Americans..."
M.L. King, Jr. Portrait

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Cost of Raising a Child

"USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.
Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education..."
Child raising cost

Remarks of Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics

"I wish circumstances were different and I didn’t feel the need to make public remarks today. You don’t hear about ethics when things are going well. You’ve been hearing a lot about ethics lately.

I need to talk about ethics today because the plan the President-elect has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every President in the past four decades has met. My hope is that, if the Office of Government Ethics can provide some constructive feedback on his plan, he may choose to make adjustments that will resolve his conflicts of interest.

I’ll limit the scope of my remarks today, and I won’t be talking about nominees whose ethics packages have not gone to the Senate. With that limitation, there’s still much that can be said. For starters, I’m happy to report that it’s not all bad news. OGE has been able to do good work during this Presidential transition. I’m especially proud of the ethics agreement we developed for the intended nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson..."
Government ethics

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Diesel Vehicle Violations Share

"EPA issued a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and FCA US LLC (collectively FCA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software in certain light-duty diesel vehicles sold in the United States. The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to demonstrate to EPA through a certification process that their products meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution. As part of the certification process, automakers are required to disclose and explain any software, known as auxiliary emission control devices, that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution. FCA did not disclose the existence of auxiliary emission control devices to EPA in its applications for certificates of conformity for model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500’s, despite being aware that such a disclosure was mandatory. By failing to disclose this software and then selling vehicles that contained it, FCA violated important provisions of the Clean Air Act..."
Fiat Chrysler EPA violations

Inauguration Security: Operations, Appropriations, and Issues for Congress

"Every four years, on January 20, the President-elect is sworn in as President of the United States. Presidential inauguration ceremonies are unique public events in the District of Columbia. The inauguration ceremonies are public and, like the President’s State of the Union address, they are events in which a significant proportion of the American political leadership is in attendance. Consequently, the inauguration is designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the Department of Homeland Security. NSSEs are events that require significant security, in part because of the attendance of U.S. and foreign dignitaries and the event’s public or official nature.

Funding for inauguration security operations is provided from the U.S. Secret Service’s National Special Security Event general account, though information on the amount provided is not publicly available. In limited circumstances, however, Congress has also provided supplemental appropriations to reimburse local jurisdictions for inauguration-related activities. Other inauguration spending is less easily identifiable because it is indirect and a part of typical annual appropriations to the relevant agencies. Because of the absence of specificity, substantive policy analysis on costs associated with inauguration security may be limited..."
Inauguration security

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief

"For decades, strong bilateral relations have fueled and reinforced significant U.S.-Israel cooperation in many areas, including regional security. Nonetheless, at various points throughout the relationship, U.S. and Israeli policies have diverged on some important issues. Significant differences regarding regional issues—notably Iran and the Palestinians—have arisen or intensified since 2009, during the tenures of President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Since the 2016 U.S. election, a number of developments involving President-elect Donald Trump, the Obama Administration, Israeli leaders, and various other actors (including Members of Congress) have arisen. These developments have already affected U.S. policy in relation to Israel or may affect it following Trump’s inauguration; they include the following.
 Several controversies regarding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the U.N. Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2334 (UNSCR 2334) on December 23, 2016, by a vote of 14 in favor, zero against, and one abstention by the United States.
 Principles advanced as a possible basis for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by Secretary of State John Kerry on December 28, 2016, and other statements and actions related to issues of Israeli-Palestinian dispute as the U.S. presidential transition approaches.
 The possibility that the incoming Administration could move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Public efforts by Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders to influence the incoming Administration’s stance on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA)..."
Israel - U.S. relations

How Much Do You Know About Hydrogen and Fuel Cells?

"Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies power cars, buildings and more. But how much do you know about them? Test your knowledge with this quiz!..."

Fuel cells

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New 'Digest of EEO Law' Issued by EEOC

" The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO Digest), which is available online.
The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO), features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. Additionally, the Digest includes hyperlinks so that stakeholders can easily access the full decisions which have been summarized.
"This annual special round up of noteworthy case decisions provides a one-stop location for federal sector stakeholders," said Carlton M. Hadden, director of OFO. "The Digest of EEO Law is a great resource for the federal sector EEO community. We welcome your comments or suggestions for future topics by emailing us at ofo.eeoc@eeoc.gov."
This special edition of the Digest (FY 2017, Volume 1) contains summaries of noteworthy decisions issued by EEOC, including cases involving: Agency Processing, Attorneys' Fees, Class Complaints, Compensatory Damages, Dismissals, Findings of the Merits, Remedies, Sanctions, Settlement Agreements, Stating a Claim, Summary Judgment, and Timeliness. The summaries are neither intended to be exhaustive or definitive as to the selected subject matter, nor are they to be given the legal weight of case law in citations..."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2015 American Housing Survey Statistics for Selected Metropolitan Areas

"This release of statistics from the 2015 American Housing Survey includes summary tables for the 15 largest metropolitan areas and 10 additional metropolitan areas. 
The 2015 American Housing Survey examined many characteristics, including:  
  • Housing costs for owners and renters.
  • Remodeling and repair frequency.
  • Reasons for moving.
Additionally, the latest survey data provide statistics about:  
  • Food insecurity.
  • Health and safety hazards in the home.
  • Use of housing counseling services.
Use the AHS Table Creator at census.gov to build customized tables showing housing characteristics for your metropolitan area...."
Housing statistics

Preliminary Crime Stats for 2016 Released

"Today, the FBI released its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which covers January through June 2016 and which shows an increase in the number of violent crimes and a decrease in the number of property crimes when compared to figures from the same time period in 2015. The data came from 13,366 law enforcement agencies across the nation.
According to the report, violent crime in the U.S. showed an overall increase of 5.3 percent. Each of the offenses in the violent crime category—murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery—experienced increases: aggravated assaults were up 6.5 percent; murders increased 5.2 percent; rapes (legacy definition) were up 4.4 percent and rapes (revised definition) increased 3.5 percent; and robberies were up 3.2 percent..."
Crime Statistics

Monday, January 9, 2017

Daily Digest Committee Meetings/Hearings Schedule

"This document provides a brief description of each committee meeting and hearing scheduled to take place today, and on days thereafter. The time and location of each meeting/hearing is identified. Meetings that have been canceled or postponed are also noted..."
Senate Committee meetings/hearings

Systemically Important or “Too Big to Fail” Financial Institutions

"Although “too big to fail” (TBTF) has been a long-standing policy issue, it was highlighted by the financial crisis, when the government intervened to prevent the near-collapse of several large financial firms in 2008. Financial firms are said to be TBTF when policymakers judge that their failure would cause unacceptable disruptions to the overall financial system. They can be TBTF because of their size or interconnectedness. In addition to fairness issues, economic theory suggests that expectations that a firm will not be allowed to fail create moral hazard—if the creditors and counterparties of a TBTF firm believe that the government will protect them from losses, they have less incentive to monitor the firm’s riskiness because they are shielded from the negative consequences of those risks. If so, TBTF firms could have a funding advantage compared with other banks, which some call an implicit subsidy..."
"Too big to fail"

International Trade and Finance: Overview and Issues for the 115th Congress

"The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways, including through oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to implement trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover areas such as U.S. trade negotiations; U.S. trade and economic relations with specific regions and countries; international institutions focused on trade; tariff and nontariff barriers; worker dislocation due to trade liberalization; enforcement of trade laws; import and export policies; international investment; economic sanctions; and other trade-related functions of the federal government. Congress also has authority over U.S. financial commitments to international financial institutions and oversight responsibilities for trade- and finance-related agencies of the U.S. government. Major Actions in the 114th Congress.

The 114th Congress passed legislation that:
 renewed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) through July 1, 2021 (subject to passage of an extension disapproval resolution in 2018), allowing implementing legislation for trade agreements to be considered under expedited legislative procedures, provided that certain statutory requirements are met;
 reauthorized Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), the Export-Import Bank (ExIm Bank), and several U.S. trade preference programs on a multi-year basis;
 reauthorized the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and
 authorized U.S. participation in quota  and governance reforms at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)..."
International trade

Acute Flaccid Myelitis in U.S. Children

"CDC has received an increased number of reports of children with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare but serious condition. CDC is working hard to find the causes of these AFM cases. Learn more about AFM and symptoms that require immediate medical care.
Parents may be hearing about children in the United States who suddenly became weak in their arms or legs from a condition called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. This type of condition is not new. Anyone can get AFM or neurologic conditions like it, and there are different possible causes, such as viruses, toxins, and genetic disorders. AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, which can cause the muscles and reflexes in the body not to work normally..."
Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Statutory Restrictions on the Position of Secretary of Defense: Issues for Congress

"The proposed nomination of General (Ret.) James Mattis, United States Marine Corps (hereafter referred to as “General Mattis”), who retired from the military in 2013, to be Secretary of Defense requires both houses of Congress to consider whether and how to suspend—or remove—a provision contained in Title 10 U.S.C. §113 that states,

 A person may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force.

This provision was originally contained in the 1947 National Security Act (P.L. 80-253), which mandated that 10 years pass between the time an officer is relieved from active duty and when he or she could be appointed to the office of the Secretary of Defense. Only one exception to this provision has been made. Enacted on September 18, 1950, at the special request of President Truman during a time of conflict, P.L. 81-788 authorized the suspension of statutory requirements otherwise prohibiting General of the Army George C. Marshall from serving as Secretary of Defense. In 2007, Section 903 of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 110-181), Congress changed the period of time that must elapse between relief from active duty and appointment to the position of Secretary of Defense to seven years..."
Secretary of Defense

Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

"Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

 “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.

 The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.

 Thus, while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods..."
Russian hacking activities

Thursday, January 5, 2017

U.S. Sweet Potato Production Swells

"Chances are that if you order a side of fries at a restaurant, you need to specify whether you’re asking for white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Food trends that support the consumption of more healthful, colorful and unique foods have helped to encourage sales of sweet potatoes in the form of fries, chips, ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat preparations, expanding consumption of the orange tuber well beyond the holiday table.
Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes has grown considerably since 2000 with annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) rising from 4.2 pounds to reach a record-high 7.5 pounds in 2015. The marked rise in domestic demand has been encouraged by promotion of the health benefits of sweet potatoes – rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber. Expanded demand has also been supported by the increasing variety of sweet potato products available in restaurants and for home preparation..."
Sweet potatoes

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

CFPB Orders TransUnion and Equifax to Pay for Deceiving Consumers in Marketing Credit Scores and Credit Products

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today took action against Equifax, Inc., TransUnion, and their subsidiaries for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and actual cost of credit scores they sold to consumers. The companies also lured consumers into costly recurring payments for credit-related products with false promises. The CFPB ordered TransUnion and Equifax to truthfully represent the value of the credit scores they provide and the cost of obtaining those credit scores and other services. Between them, TransUnion and Equifax must pay a total of more than $17.6 million in restitution to consumers, and fines totaling $5.5 million to the CFPB.
“TransUnion and Equifax deceived consumers about the usefulness of the credit scores they marketed, and lured consumers into expensive recurring payments with false promises,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Credit scores are central to a consumer’s financial life and people deserve honest and accurate information about them.”..."
Credit scores

Justice Department Releases Report on Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work

"The Justice Department released a comprehensive report today that provides an overview of the Civil Rights Division’s police reform work under Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
The report, “The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present,” is designed to serve as a resource for local law enforcement agencies and communities by making the division’s police reform work more accessible and transparent.  It examines a range of topics, including the history and purpose of Section 14141, initiation and methodology of pattern-or-practice investigations, negotiation of reform agreements, the current reform model and its rationale, conclusion of agreements and the impact of pattern-or-practice enforcement on police reform and community-police trust.  To supplement the report, the division also published an interactive Police Reform Finder, which allows users to search how reform agreements have addressed specific kinds of policing issues..."
Police practices and reform

FTC Announces Workshop on Hearing Health and Technology

"The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it is hosting a workshop in Washington, DC on April 18, 2017, to examine competition, innovation, and consumer protection issues raised by hearing health and technology, particularly hearing aids and devices with similar functions and features.
Hearing loss is a medical condition with many different causes. Available treatments – such as the use of hearing aids – mostly aim to alleviate symptoms and improve daily function rather than cure the underlying causes.
According to a report(link is external) by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine issued in June 2016, an estimated 30 million or more Americans suffer from hearing loss. In addition, an estimated 67 to 86 percent of adults who may benefit from hearing aids fail to use them. One of the primary reasons behind the lack of consumer use is the price of hearing aids and related services..."
Hearing health workshop

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

CDC Mobile App

"The CDC Mobile application is now available on your smartphone. Whether you are an iPhone or Android user you now have 24/7 access to timely, vital health information, wherever you go.

New Content & Filtering Capabilities

iOS and Android users can enjoy a greater variety of content such as stories, videos, podcasts, journals and blogs. Organize your app home screen so the information that’s most important to you appears first! Turn off the sources you don’t want with just a flip of a switch and reset it all with the tap of a button.

Important Public Health Information 24/7

Automatic updates whenever your device is online ensures that you’re the most up-to-date with health news and information. Direct links to social media, text and email lets you immediately share the most interesting articles with friends and family. Whether you're a fan of the weekly MMWR articles or you have an interest in the Disease of the Week, the CDC Mobile app has something for you..."