Frank Pallone Jr

Facebook, other social media sites pressured to protect census
Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on Oct. 23, 2019. Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are increasing pressure on social media companies to protect next year’s census from disinformation online, concerned that foreign governments and internet trolls could disrupt the 2020 enumeration.

The latest push comes in a letter the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus sent Thursday to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking her to speak with group members about steps to both promote the census and “combat interference and disinformation on its platform.” Russia or another country may try to push the census off course, they say, and Facebook and other companies should be prepared.

Coal-burning utility boosts lobbying, may get eased regulations
New rules proposed by Trump administration would eliminate some Obama-era environmental protections for coal ash

A coal ash pile in Guayama, Puerto Rico. The pile’s owner, Arlington-based AES Corp., has asked the Trump administration to relax regulations for the disposal of toxic residues from burning coal.  (Courtesy Mabette Colon)

On Oct. 2, 19-year-old Mabette Colon traveled from her hometown in Puerto Rico to Arlington, Virginia, to try to persuade the EPA to abandon its efforts to ease regulations for the disposal of toxic residues from burning coal.

Colon said she grew up less than a mile from what activists describe as a nine-story-tall pile of coal ash owned by Arlington-based AES Corp. in the town of Guayama. She worries that under the Trump administration revisions proposed Monday, which have not yet been publicly released, the company could pollute with impunity and further expose her community to the toxic pollutants that have sickened her neighbors.

Oregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden not running for reelection
Walden is the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden is retiring. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden announced Monday that he will not run for reelection to a 12th term next year.

Walden, 62, said in a statement he was confident he would have won re-election, but “the time has come to pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

Democrats bow to critics, expand scope of drug price bill
The changes by House Democratic leaders were made to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., points to sign that reads “lower drug costs now” as she departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on September 19, 2019. Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday, seeking to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action.

The chamber is expected to vote on the bill this month.

Missouri lawmaker seeks probe of GOP’s census look-alike mailings
RNC ‘district census’ fundraising solicitations raise concerns of potential confusion over 2020 count

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., shown in the Capitol in May, has said the Republican mailings are an attempt to "deceive and confuse" people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mailings the Republican National Committee sent to Montana and Missouri residents have riled officials there, prompting one House Democrat to call for an investigation into fundraising solicitations he says are designed to confuse people about the decennial census.

Styled as the “2019 Congressional District Census,” the mailing includes a questionnaire and letter from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel soliciting a donation of up to $1,000. But the mailings are likely to confuse residents before the start of next year’s census, argued Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

FCC’s O’Rielly sees risk in ruling letting states set net neutrality rules
A court decision upholding the scrapping of net neutrality rules could lead to more litigation and a patchwork of U.S. laws

Congressional Democrats hold a news conference in the Capitol in March 2019, announcing legislation restoring net neutrality protections after the FCC scrapped the Obama-era rules. The bill passed in the House but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would not advance in the Senate. A court Tuesday upheld the FCC's right to overturn the rules. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A federal appeals court decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s scrapping of net neutrality rules in 2017 and allowing states to set their own could lead to state-by-state regulations and more litigation, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in a C-SPAN interview taped Tuesday for later broadcast.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that the commission and Chairman Ajit Pai were right to overturn Obama administration rules that prohibited internet providers like AT&T and Verizon from giving favorable treatment such as higher-speed delivery to specific content creators — including those they may own or have a stake in. It would also prohibit access providers from charging more for specific content creators such as Netflix.

‘We’re trying to protect children’: Donna Shalala on e-cigarettes
Florida Democrat touts bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes from 18 to 21

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala is sponsoring a bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes, and any tobacco product, from 18 to 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hundreds of Americans have become sick and eight have died after using electronic cigarettes, prompting a bipartisan response in Washington. President Donald Trump last month called for a ban on the flavorings believed to attract young people to the devices.

But Florida freshman Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress needs to do more. Shalala, who was Health and Human Services secretary under President Bill Clinton, has teamed with a fellow House Democrat, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, on a bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes, and any tobacco product, from 18 to 21, and add other restrictions aimed at keeping young people from getting hooked on nicotine.

Google agrees to record fine for violating children’s privacy
Regulators say Google-owned YouTube violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by gathering data on users under the age of 13

Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey, a frequent critic of Google and YouTube, called fines against the tech giants announced Wednesday “let Google off the hook with a drop-in-tbe bucket fine.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Google agreed to pay a $170 million fine and overhaul privacy policies on YouTube after regulators said the company illegally gathered data on underage users and allowed advertisers to use the information to target children with advertisements, regulators announced Wednesday.

The settlement, reached with New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission, is the largest ever resulting from a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA. New York will receive $34 million of the settlement, and the remainder will go to the federal government.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

Juul under continued scrutiny over flavors, marketing tactics
Juul officials will appear before panel Thursday and will likely address Wednesday allegations

Sen. Richard Durbin, the bill sponsor for preventing the sale of flavored e-cigarette products said that raising the age of tobacco purchasing 'isn't enough.' The popular e-cigarette Juul is under scrutiny for appealing to young people through e-cigarette flavors.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The popular e-cigarette Juul is under renewed scrutiny by Congress thanks to two days of hearings that could pressure lawmakers to act on e-cigarette flavors that appeal to young people.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee heard from witnesses about the company’s efforts to attract some vulnerable populations, namely teenagers and American Indians.