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Policy Archive

Bill Foster, the No. 1 Science Geek in Congress?

While it’s common for lawmakers to have had former careers as lawyers or business owners, having “physicist” on your employment history is pretty rare. Roll Call’s Jason Dick has a profile out this morning on Illinois Democrat Bill Foster, who was a physicist before being elected to Congress (according to CQ’s member profiles, he also previously owned a theater lighting company). Over the summer, the “entrepreneur/experimental physicist/politician has been playing the role of science guy,” Dick writes.

Powered Wheelchairs: CMS Expands Payment Scrutiny

A trial program that requires prior-authorization before payment for power mobility devices, or powered wheelchairs, will be expanded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Reductions in Methane Emissions Sought by Obama Administration

The White House and the Energy Department have announced a number of actions to reduce methane emissions from natural gas systems, as the administration capped off a series of meetings with states, industry and environmental groups as part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

$104.1 Billion Marked So Far for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Watchdog Says

Appropriations on the U.S. effort to rebuild Afghanistan have totaled $104.1 billion, not including the $5.8 billion requested for fiscal 2015 by the White House, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The latest quarterly report from SIGAR not only totals up the dollars allocated and spent, but examines a wide range of issues for the war-torn country.

On Two Transportation Fronts, a Republican Pushback on Executive Power

A familiar Republican argument — that President Barack Obama’s appointees are using executive branch power to hurt states and businesses — was heard almost simultaneously late Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor and across the street from the Capitol at a hearing in the Russell Senate Office building from two GOP senators on two different topics, both involving transportation.

CDC Ramps Up Ebola Response

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its monitoring of the possible transmission of the deadly Ebola virus to travelers arriving from West Africa. CQ Roll Call’s Tom Curry reports that the CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice to doctors and nurses to inquire about travel histories of people who have recent traveled to West Africa.

The Almost Invisible Final Days of a Once-Forceful Leader

Eric Cantor’s slow fade toward the exits of the House majority leader’s office is one day from its official completion. But as a practical matter he’s been almost invisible for several weeks.

Former USEC Uranium Enrichment Project Marked for $110 Million Under Senate Bill

Senate appropriators want to allocate $110 million for the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio, formerly headed by USEC, Inc.

U.S., Israel Forging Wider Missile Defense Program

The American efforts to help Israel develop a multi-tier missile defense program to counter threats ranging from short-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to medium-range ballistic missiles from Iran is a staple of U.S. aid to Israel, which is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II.

Congressional Partisanship May Delay Funding for Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System

It would be tough to find anybody in Congress, from either party, opposed to sending Israel more money for its Iron Dome air defense system, which has been instrumental in protecting the country from rockets fired by Hamas. But the additional $225 million Israel has requested for the anti-rocket system could be held up until September, as the parties spar over how Congress should distribute the money.

Breast Cancer Awareness Has Bipartisan Appeal

It’s difficult to find common ground on many major legislative topics between Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fl., and Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. However, health topics can be a unifying force in Congress.

Financial Issue Earns a Weigh-In From Hagel

A company’s $92 million settlement with the federal government’s consumer financial watchdog organization doesn’t seem like an obvious concern for the secretary of Defense. That amount of money is peanuts in the defense-budget world, and those kinds of agency actions generally wouldn’t have much impact on national security. But not this settlement, and not for Chuck Hagel.

A Fix for the Next BP Deepwater Horizon?

The world watched in 2010 while engineers fumbled with a ruptured well, wondering why there was not any technology to stem the millions of barrels of oil spewing from at the Gulf of Mexico seafloor. The American Petroleum Institute has published new guidelines for capping stacks to be used in event of another such disaster.

CDC Updates Stats on Low Teen Cancer Vaccination Rates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently sounded an alarm with new statistics about the low rate of vaccination of teenagers against human papillomavirus. The health monitoring agency noted that teens are getting the HPV cancer vaccine at a lower rate than other vaccines.

Mini-Mega Donors Dominate Downtown Giving | K Street Files

In the jet-set world of the country’s biggest political donors, K Street can seem puny.

Leahy: Surveillance Bill Is About 'Fundamental Relationship' With Government (Video)

“This is a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their government,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said on the Senate floor Tuesday about his new bill to limit surveillance. “About whether our government should have the power to create massive databases of information about its citizens or whether we are in control of our own government, not the other way around.”

Streetcars Keep Winning Scramble for Federal Mass Transit Project Funding

In the competition for urban transit funding, light rail and streetcars are winning and buses remain runners up.

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The Budget Act Comes of Age

At 40 years of age, the federal Budget Act bears the scars of fiscal battles dating from the Nixon administration, but its influence over legislation and spending has grown and deepened in ways that its authors couldn’t have imagined.

Official Won't Rule Out More Iran Nuclear Negotiation Extensions, Action Without Congressional Input

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, had hoped on Tuesday to get two commitments from the Obama administration: That, after one extension of the Iran nuclear talks, they wouldn’t go beyond that; and that the administration wouldn’t act to lift sanctions in any way without Congress at least weighing in first.

New Surveillance Overhaul Bill Coming From Sen. Leahy

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to introduce new surveillance overhaul legislation.

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