Friday, March 31, 2017

Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues

"Conventional wisdom regarding regulators is that the structure and design of the organization matters for policy outcomes. Financial regulators conduct rulemaking and enforcement to implement law and supervise financial institutions. These agencies have been given certain characteristics that enhance their day-to-day independence from the President and Congress, which may make policymaking more technical and less “political” or “partisan,” for better or worse. Independence may also make regulators less accountable to elected officials and can reduce congressional influence, at least in the short term.

Although independent agencies share many characteristics, there are notable differences. Some federal financial regulators are relatively more independent in some areas but relatively less so in others..."
Financial regulations

Highest Educational Levels Reached by Adults in the U.S. Since 1940

"More than one-third of the adult population in the United States has a bachelor’s degree or higher marking the first time in decades of data.
“The percentage rose to 33.4 percent in 2016, a significant milestone since the Current Population Survey began collecting educational attainment in 1940,” said Kurt Bauman, Chief of the Education and Social Stratification Branch. “In 1940, only 4.6 percent had reached that level of education.”
In 2010, less than 30 percent of those 25 and older had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, and in 2006, 28 percent had reached that level of education.
These findings come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Educational Attainment in the United States: 2016  table package that uses statistics from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the educational attainment of adults ages 25 and older by demographic and social characteristics, such as age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, nativity and disability status.
The data also found that the average earnings in 2016 for those ages 25 and older whose highest educational attainment was high school were $35,615. The average earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree were $65,482 compared with $92,525 for those with an advanced degree..."
Adult education

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Congressional Redistricting Law: Background and Recent Court Rulings

"In addition to various state processes, the legal framework for congressional redistricting involves constitutional and federal statutory requirements. Interpreting these requirements, in a series of cases and evolving jurisprudence, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings that have significantly shaped how congressional districts are drawn and the degree to which challenges to redistricting plans may succeed. As the 2020 round of redistricting approaches, foundational and recent rulings by the Court regarding redistricting are likely to be of particular interest to Congress. This report analyzes key Supreme Court and lower court redistricting decisions addressing four general topics: (1) the constitutional requirement of population equality among districts; (2) the intersection between the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause; (3) the justiciability of partisan gerrymandering; and (4) the constitutionality of state ballot initiatives providing for redistricting by independent commissions..."
Congressional redistricting

A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress

"World events have led some observers, starting in late 2013, to conclude that the international security environment has undergone a shift from the familiar post-Cold War era of the past 20 to 25 years, also sometimes known as the unipolar moment (with the United States as the unipolar power), to a new and different situation that features, among other things, renewed great power competition with China and Russia and challenges by these two countries and others to elements of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II.

A previous change in the international security environment—the shift in the late 1980s and early 1990s from the Cold War to the post-Cold War era—prompted a broad reassessment by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress of defense funding levels, strategy, and missions that led to numerous changes in DOD plans and programs. Many of these changes were articulated in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review (BUR), a reassessment of U.S. defense plans and programs whose very name conveyed the fundamental nature of the reexamination that had occurred..."
International security

Youth Banking Resource Center

"The FDIC is sharing resources to encourage banks and schools to work together to improve the financial skills and experiences of youth. Financial education and school-based savings programs introduce young people to financial services at an early age, while helping youth learn how to manage their money more effectively. Youth savings programs not only encourage the development of savings habits at a formative age, but also have the potential to promote economic inclusion for entire families.
A research report from the U.S. Treasury Department concluded that having a bank account boosts the effect of financial education instruction on students. The report also said that in schools where there was a branch of a federally-insured financial institution, students had more positive attitudes towards banks and were more likely to have a bank account...."
Youth and banking

National Transportation Noise Map

"City planners, elected officials, scholars and residents for the first time ever this month gained access to comprehensive aircraft and road noise inventory data that will help them design infrastructure, create policy and conduct research.
The data are presented on the National Transportation Noise Map, a project from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Interested groups and individuals can access the map to view both national and county-level data about potential exposure to aviation and Interstate highway noise..."
Transportation noise map

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

12 Stats About Working Women

"Women are Integral to Today’s Workforce
  • There are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force.
  • Almost 47 percent of U.S. workers are women.
  • More than 39 percent of women work in occupations where women make up at least three-quarters of the workforce.
  • Women own close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts.
  • Female veterans tend to continue their service in the labor force: About 3 out of 10 serve their country as government workers...."

Women and Work

Russia: Background and U.S. Interests

"Since 1991, Congress has played a key role in the development of U.S. policy toward the Russian Federation (Russia), the principal successor to the United States’ former superpower rival, the Soviet Union. In that time, U.S.-Russian relations have gone through positive and negative periods. Each new U.S. Administration has sought to improve U.S.-Russian relations at the start of its tenure, and the Donald J. Trump Administration has expressed similar intentions to rebuild constructive relations with Moscow. In doing so, however, the Administration has indicated it intends to adhere to core international commitments and principles, including retention of sanctions against Russia. Moving forward, the 115th Congress is expected to actively engage with the Administration on questions concerning U.S.-Russian relations..."
Russia

A Centuryof Women in Congress

"On November 7, 1916, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. To commemorate the centennial of her November 1916 election and April 1917 swearing-in as a U.S. Representative, the Office of the House Historian conducted oral histories with former women Members, staff, and family. Drawn from decades of congressional experience, the interviews in this ongoing project convey a larger narrative about the transformative role of women in American politics and their contributions to Congress during the past century. Learn more about this project..."
Congressional Women

Monday, March 27, 2017

Less HPV Infections Mean Healthier Communities of Color

"Human papillomavirus (or HPV) causes several types of cancers, and some communities of color have higher rates of these cancers. HPV vaccine can protect against cancers caused by HPV infection, protecting communities of color from these often devastating cancers.

About HPV

HPV is a very common and widespread virus. Nearly everyone will be infected in their lifetime. In most cases, HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause any health problems. But when HPV infections do not go away, they can cause cancer.
Cancers caused by HPV infection include cervical cancer, as well as some cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, and anus. HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx). Cancer can take years, even decades, to develop after a person gets an HPV infection. While cervical cancer can be detected through screening, there is no routine screening for other cancers caused by HPV infection. To learn more about HPV and the types of cancers it causes, visit the Link Between HPV and Cancer.

How Cancers Caused by HPV Affect Communities of Color

Every year in the United States, an estimated 17,600 women and 9,300 men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV.
  • Black men have higher rates of anal cancer than white men.
  • Hispanic men have higher rates of penile cancer than non-Hispanic men.
  • Although Hispanic women have the highest rates of getting cervical cancer, Black women have the highest rates of dying of cervical cancer.3
  • Black women also have higher rates of vaginal cancer than women of other races...."

HPV infections

Partnerships to Prevent Youth Violence

"The STRYVE Action Council is a partnership to prevent youth violence.
Youth violence is a significant public health problem that causes considerable harm to young people, families, and communities. Learn about CDC's work leveraging partnerships across jurisdictions through the STRYVE Action Council, a multi-sector group of organizations with the common objective of mobilizing and sustaining actions that prevent youth violence before it starts.

Why Youth Violence?

Youth violence is a leading cause of death and injuries. Twelve young people are victims of homicide every day, and homicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24 years. Its damage extends beyond young victims to harm the physical, mental, and economic health of all community residents..."
Youth violence

Keeping Backyard Poultry

"Live poultry, such as chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, often carry germs such as Salmonella. After you touch a bird, or anything in the area where birds live and roam, wash your hands so you don't get sick!
Owning backyard chickens and other poultry can be a great experience. However, children and other groups of people have a greater chance of illness from handling live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Even handling baby birds displayed at stores can cause a Salmonella infection. Keep reading to learn about the steps you can take to stay healthy around live poultry..."

Backyard poultry

Epilepsy Can Follow Traumatic Brain Injury

"It’s Brain Injury Awareness Month and March 26 was Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness! Did you know that traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause epilepsy?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen to anyone, especially young children and older adults. TBIs can range from mild TBIs (such as concussions) to severe, life-threatening injuries. They can cause problems such as changes in:
  • Thinking and memory;
  • Sensations and balance;
  • Language, such as talking and understanding; and
  • Emotions, such as depression, anxiety, or aggression.1
TBIs can also cause epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes re-occuring seizures. There are many types of epilepsy and there are also many different kinds of seizures. TBIs can cause a seizure right after the injury happens or even months or years later. Researchers agree that the more severe the TBI, the greater the chance the person may develop epilepsy.2 Factors such as age and other medical conditions also influence the chance a person may develop epilepsy after a TBI..."
Epilepsy

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Home Improvements: Decorate, De-clutter and Prevent Deadly Tip Overs

"As the weather warms and a new season begins, it is the perfect time to take simple, proactive steps to make your home safer for your family.
Every 30 minutes, a child in the U.S. is hurt, and every two weeks a child dies as a result of a furniture and/or TV tip-over incident. To better understand what can lead to TV tip-overs, CPSC studied nearly 300 reports of nonfatal incidents.
Here’s what we learned and here’s how you can use the information this spring to make major home safety changes with minimal effort:
    • The majority (83.5 percent) of TV falls occurred when a child climbed on furniture where a TV was sitting on top. Children are curious and climb to pull or stand on a drawer or shelf, usually in an effort to reach the TV or other items on top of the furniture.
      Spring cleaning tip: Mount TVs or place them on furniture designed to hold a TV. Then remove any objects that might tempt a child to climb.
    • More than 90 percent of incidents involved CRT TVs. These older and bulky tube TVs are more tip prone because they are heavier in the front. When they fall, the heavy TVs can fall with the force of up to 12,000 pounds.
      Spring cleaning tip: Get rid of this potentially deadly danger. Remove and recycle the unused CRT TV rather than moving it to another room.
    • In all but one incident studied, anti-tip devices were not installed. Newer dressers are sold with anti-tip devices and flat-panel TVs have pre-drilled holes for anchoring. Anchoring furniture and TVs is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few minutes.Spring cleaning tip: Check your tool kit for the anti-tip kit sold with your child’s dresser and once found, install it. You will have a safer home. If you can’t find yours, buy an anti-tip device..."
      Spring home improvements

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ladder Safety App Aims to Reduce Worker Falls

"March is National Ladder Safety Month. The Ladder Safety App provides employers, workers, and homeowners with tools to prevent extension and step ladder-related fall injuries and deaths. Download this free, award-winning app today.
Falls are a persistent hazard in the workplace as well as at home. In the United States, over 500,000 people experience ladder-related injuries each year,1 and more than 300 people die from such injuries..."
Ladder safety

Preventing Silicosis

"Learn more about workplace solutions for controlling exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica in construction and hydraulic fracturing. Save lives and prevent new cases of silicosis, a severe lung disease. Understand the occupational exposure limits to keep workers safe from breathing hazardous silica dust.
Approximately 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in the workplace, including 2 million workers in construction and 300,000 workers in general industry, maritime and hydraulic fracturing. As early as 1974, NIOSH researchers had proposed a recommended exposure limit (REL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (50 µg/m3) for inhalation of dust containing RCS, as a time-weighted average for up to a 10-hour workday as part of a 40-hour workweek. NIOSH research into engineering control methods to reduce RCS exposures in the workplace are ongoing, helping employers to safeguard the health of their employees..."
Silicosis

Fact Sheet: Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States

"Overview: Change to international travel carry-on items

Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.

These enhancements apply to 10 specific airports. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
The aviation security enhancements will include requiring that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States...."

 International airport departure security

Q&A: Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States

"Q1: Why is the U.S. Government taking these steps now? Are these new policies in response to a specific terrorist threat or plot?
A1: The U.S. Government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul. Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.
Based on this trend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in consultation with relevant Departments and Agencies, has determined it is prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States. These enhancements include more stringent measures applied to 10 specific airports.
The enhancement in security will require that all personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage. These items will no longer be allowed to be carried onto aircraft at 10 select airports where flights are departing for the United States. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening.
This security enhancement will be implemented through a Security Directive (SD)/Emergency Amendment (EA) process, which includes industry notification, to affected air carriers that will implement the requirements..."
Airport departure security

Monday, March 20, 2017

U.S. Airlines Reach New Heights in 2016

"U.S. airlines set new records in 2016 for the number of passengers carried, for the distance they carried those passengers and for the capacity that the airlines used to move them, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). It was the second consecutive year that the airlines set all-time highs.
In 2016, for the first year ever, U.S. airlines carried more than 800 million scheduled service passengers – reaching 823 million worldwide, 3.1 percent more than the 798 million they carried in 2015. Using the measure of revenue passenger-miles (RPMs), which includes both the number of passengers and the distance they travel, U.S. airline operations grew even more – with 933 billion RPMs, up 3.5 percent from 2015..."
Airlines, Air_traffic

DHS Releases U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Declined Detainer Outcome Report

"The Department of Homeland Security today issued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report required by President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, signed on January 25.  This report will be issued weekly to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans. ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges or who are in local custody and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody...."
Declined detainer outcome report

Thursday, March 16, 2017

America First A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again

"A MESSAGE TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
The American people elected me to fight for their priorities in Washington, D.C. and deliver on my promise to protect our Nation. I fully intend to keep that promise.

One of the most important ways the Federal Government sets priorities is through the Budget of the United States.

Accordingly, I submit to the Congress this Budget Blueprint to reprioritize Federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people.

Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens—a Government that puts the needs of its own people first. When we do that, we will set free the dreams of every American, and we will begin a new chapter of American greatness.

A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority— because without safety, there can be no prosperity.

That is why I have instructed my Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, to craft a budget that emphasizes national security and public safety. That work is reflected in this Budget Blueprint. To keep Americans safe, we have made tough choices that have been put off for too long. But we have also made necessary investments that are long overdue.

My Budget Blueprint for 2018:
• provides for one of the largest increases in defense spending without increasing the debt;
• significantly increases the budget for immigration enforcement at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security;
• includes additional resources for a wall on the southern border with Mexico, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity, U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Border Patrol;
• increases funding to address violent crime and reduces opioid abuse; and
• puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home..."
2018 Federal Budget

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court

"On January 31, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Tenth Circuit) to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Tenth Circuit’s territorial jurisdiction covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Yellowstone National Park that extend into Idaho and Montana.

Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, the nominee served as the Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice, assisting the Associate Attorney General with oversight of the Department’s various civil litigation components. Before serving in the Justice Department, the nominee worked in private practice as a civil litigator at the Washington, D.C. firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Judge Gorsuch began his legal career clerking for federal judges. He first served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit. Later, he served two Supreme Court Justices, newly retired Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy, during the October 1993 term.

This report provides an overview of Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence and discusses how the Supreme Court might be affected if he were to succeed Justice Scalia. In particular, the report focuses on those areas of law where Justice Scalia can be seen to have influenced the High Court’s approach to particular issues or provided a fifth and deciding vote on the Court, with a view toward how the nominee might approach those same issues..."
Judge Neil M. Grosuch

Dark web

"The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches. The other content is that of the Deep Web, content that has not been indexed by traditional search engines such as Google. The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policymakers.

Individuals can access the Dark Web by using special software such as Tor (short for The Onion Router). Tor relies upon a network of volunteer computers to route users’ web traffic through a series of other users’ computers such that the traffic cannot be traced to the original user. Some developers have created tools—such as Tor2web—that may allow individuals access to Torhosted content without downloading and installing the Tor software, though accessing the Dark Web through these means does not anonymize activity. Once on the Dark Web, users often navigate it through directories such as the “Hidden Wiki,” which organizes sites by category, similar to Wikipedia. Individuals can also search the Dark Web with search engines, which may be broad, searching across the Deep Web, or more specific, searching for contraband like illicit drugs, guns, or counterfeit money. While on the Dark Web, individuals may communicate through means such as secure email, web chats, or personal messaging hosted on Tor. Though tools such as Tor aim to anonymize content and activity, researchers and security experts are constantly developing means by which certain hidden services or individuals could be identified or “deanonymized.”..."
Dark web

Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations

"The crux of a presidential transition is the transfer of executive power from the incumbent to the President-elect. Yet the transition process encompasses a host of activities, beginning with preelection planning and continuing through inauguration day. The process ensures that the federal government provides resources to presidential candidates’ transition teams, and, eventually, the President-elect’s team; and includes close coordination between the outgoing and incoming Administrations. The Presidential Transition Act (PTA) of 1963, as amended, established formal mechanisms to facilitate presidential transitions and authorizes the Administrator of General Services to provide facilities and services to eligible presidential candidates and the Presidentelect. A presidential transition facilitates the establishment of a new Administration and prepares it to govern. Additionally, as noted by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in a report on S. 1172 (114th Congress, Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015), planning for a presidential transition helps to ensure the nation’s security..."
Presidential transitions

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

American Health Care Act

"The Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 directed the House Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce to develop legislation to reduce the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have produced an estimate of the budgetary effects of the American Health Care Act, which combines the pieces of legislation approved by the two committees pursuant to that resolution. In consultation with the budget committees, CBO used its March 2016 baseline with adjustments for subsequently enacted legislation, which underlies the resolution, as the benchmark to measure the cost of the legislation.

Effects on the Federal Budget 

CBO and JCT estimate that enacting the legislation would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. That total consists of $323 billion in on-budget savings and $13 billion in off-budget savings. Outlays would be reduced by $1.2 trillion over the period, and revenues would be reduced by $0.9 trillion. The largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid and from the elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance.

The largest costs would come from repealing many of the changes the ACA made to the Internal Revenue Code—including an increase in the Hospital Insurance payroll tax rate for high-income taxpayers, a surtax on those taxpayers’ net investment income, and annual fees imposed on health insurers—and from the establishment of a new tax credit for health insurance..." 
American Health Care Act

Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch

"EXECUTIVE ORDER- - - - - - -
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR REORGANIZING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
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.  Purpose.  This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.
Sec. 2.  Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies.  (a)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency. 
(b)  The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section..."
Reorganizing the Executive Branch

Office for Victims of Crime Awards Almost $8.5 Million to Support Victims of Pulse Nightclub Shooting

"Today, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, announced an $8,466,970 Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) grant to assist victims of the June 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. OVC will award the grant tomorrow to the Florida Office of the Attorney General.

“This funding will provide important support to the victims, their loved ones and communities who were affected by last year’s devastating attack on Pulse nightclub,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We continue to mourn those who were taken from us that awful day, and we admire the resilience of the great city of Orlando. With this grant, we reaffirm the Justice Department’s commitment to the people of Orlando, the families of the victims and all who are helping those affected by this heinous crime."..."

Pulse Nightclub shooting

U.S. Census Bureau Honors Women's History Month

"The roots of National Women’s History Month go back to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it was not until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated annually the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the president has issued a proclamation..."
Women's History Month

Monday, March 13, 2017

EEOC Launches Online Inquiry and Appointment System for the Public in Five Offices

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that five of its offices have launched a new Online Inquiry and Appointment System. The system will allow individuals to electron­ically submit initial inquiries and requests for intake interviews with the agency. Initial inquiries and intake interviews are typically the first steps for individuals seeking to file a charge of discrimination with EEOC.
The EEOC receives about 200,000 inquiries per year through the mail, in person, and by phone. About 90,000 of those inquiries become formal charges of discrimination filed with the agency, making the charge-filing process the agency's most common interaction with the public. This new online system is part of the EEOC's ACT Digital initiative to improve service to the public, streamline the administrative process, and reduce the use of paper submissions and files.
The EEOC launched the new Online Inquiry and Appointment System on March 13 in the following five offices: Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix and Seattle. People living or working within 100 miles of these EEOC offices will be able to use the online system to submit an inquiry and schedule an intake interview. Individuals can access the Online Inquiry and Appointment System at https://publicportal.eeoc.gov/Portal/ or from EEOC's website at https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/online_inquiry.cfm. The agency plans to evaluate the public's experience with the new system in these five offices prior to a nationwide rollout later this fiscal year..."

EEOC Online Inquiry

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit, March 2017

"The debt limit—commonly referred to as the debt ceiling—is the maximum amount of debt that the Department of the Treasury can issue to the public and to other federal agencies. That amount is set by law and has been increased over the years in order to finance the government’s operations. Currently, there is no statutory limit on the issuance of new federal debt because the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-74), enacted in November 2015, suspended the debt ceiling through March 15, 2017. On March 16, the limit will be reset to reflect cumulative borrowing through the period of suspension...."
Federal debt

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Forward, then Check for Vehicle Recalls

"Get ready to spring forward on Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m. as Daylight Saving Time begins. Along with checking your smoke detector batteries, make sure you take a moment and check for vehicle safety recalls. Adding this to your spring and fall safety routine keeps you and your family safe all year long. In fact, don’t stop there. Safety recalls can also affect child car seats and tires. You can check for recalls at NHTSA.gov/Recalls...."
Vehicle recalls

Thursday, March 9, 2017

News and Transcript Resources: Fact Sheet

"Searching for news items can sometimes be challenging. Despite the apparent ease of free online resources like Google News, there is a significant amount of news coverage (especially older or fee-based content) that is not freely available online, and which may be difficult to find. Although dozens of databases exist that contain news articles and transcripts, their content is often available only with a paid subscription, and they may be overwhelming to navigate if the user is not familiar with them. In addition, access to subscription news databases in congressional offices varies, depending on the congressional chamber, the individual office, or a committee’s subscription selections.

This fact sheet is designed to assist congressional offices with locating current and recent news articles and transcripts. It contains brief descriptions of Library of Congress (LOC) news resources (available in the Congressional Research Service [CRS’s] and other Library Reading Rooms), selected subscription news resources, broadcast news transcript resources, radio and television news resources, directories for online news sites, and contact information for further assistance. It also includes locations of where subscription databases can be accessed (e.g., House and Senate offices, House and Senate Libraries, CRS La Follette Reading Room); some House and Senate offices or committees may also subscribe to these or other paid databases..."
News and transcript resources

500 Cities: Local data for better health

"The 500 Cities project is a collaboration between CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the CDC Foundation. The purpose of the 500 Cities Project is to provide city- and census tract-level small area estimates for chronic disease risk factors, health outcomes, and clinical preventive service use for the largest 500 cities in the United States. These small area estimates will allow cities and local health departments to better understand the burden and geographic distribution of health-related variables in their jurisdictions, and assist them in planning public health interventions. Learn more about the 500 Cities Project...."
Cities health data

Attorney General Sessions Directs Federal Prosecutors to Target Most Significant Violent Offenders

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions today directed federal prosecutors nationwide to engage in a focused effort to investigate, prosecute and deter the most violent offenders. 
This builds on the announcement last week of the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which is central to the Attorney General’s commitment to combatting illegal immigration and violent crime, such as drug trafficking, gang violence and gun crimes, and to restoring public safety to all of the nation’s communities.
“Turning back our nation’s recent rise in violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and it requires decisive action from our federal prosecutors,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “I’m urging each of them to continue working closely with their counterparts at all levels, and to use every tool we have to put violent offenders behind bars and keep our citizens safe.”
In a memo to federal prosecutors in the department’s 94 United States Attorney’s Offices, the Attorney General made clear that prosecuting violent criminals is a high priority and prosecutors should work closely with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to target the most violent offenders in each district.  Working together, law enforcement at every level should determine which venue – federal or state – would best get those identified immediately off our streets and punished appropriately for their crimes. .."
Violent offenders

Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on Southwest Border Security

"Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is releasing illegal border crossing data through the month of February and the numbers show an unprecedented decline in traffic. From January to February, the flow of illegal border crossings as measured by apprehensions and the prevention of inadmissible persons at our southern border dropped by 40 percent.
The drop in apprehensions shows a marked change in trends. Since the Administration’s implementation of Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years. This change in the trend line is especially significant because CBP historically sees a 10-20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February.  Instead, this year we saw a drop from 31,578 to 18,762 persons - a 40 percent decline..."
Southwest border security

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fact Sheet: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States

"The Executive Order signed on March 6, 2017, allows for the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals. The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet it has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm. In order to ensure that the U.S. Government can conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the national security risks posed from our immigration system, the Executive Order imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the United States of nationals of certain designated countries—countries that were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks with respect to visa-free travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
The U.S. Government must ensure that those entering this country will not harm the American people after entering, and that they do not bear malicious intent toward the United States and its people. The Executive Order, together with the Presidential Memorandum, protects the United States from countries compromised by terrorism and ensures a more rigorous vetting process. This Executive Order ensures that we have a functional immigration system that safeguards our national security.
This Executive Order, as well as EO 13767 and EO 13768, provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with additional resources, tools, and personnel to carry out the critical work of securing our borders, enforcing the immigration laws of our Nation, and ensuring that individuals from certain designated countries who pose a threat to national security or public safety cannot enter or remain in our country.  Protecting the American people is the highest priority of our government and this Department..."
Foreign terrorist entry

Q&A: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States

"Q1. Who is subject to the suspension of entry under the Executive Order?
Per the Executive Order, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order are not eligible to enter the United States while the temporary suspension remains in effect. Thus any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order is not barred from seeking entry...."
Foreign terrorist and safety

Spring Break Air Travel Safety Guide

"Spring break is just around the corner. As travelers prepare for any spring break travel with family and friends, it is important to take a few minutes to review the contents of luggage–it makes everyone safer. 
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safe transportation of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) nationwide. To do so, PHMSA must work closely with its federal partners who help enforce HAZMAT regulations.
For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) helps enforce HAZMAT regulations for air travel, and many popular spring break travel items have air travel restrictions under federal hazardous materials regulations. Items prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage include camping fuel, beverages greater than 70 percent alcohol by volume, animal spray and repellent greater than four fluid ounces and fireworks. Items prohibited in checked baggage include battery-powered e-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers and electronic nicotine delivery systems..."
Spring break

Government Statistics Vital

"The conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Brookings Institution have jointly written a new report arguing for the importance of government statistics, especially the American Community Survey and the decennial census. A bipartisan effort on behalf of good data!..."
Governement statistics