tech

Talking Syrup at Pete’s Diner with Peter Welch
 

Senators Threaten Legislation Over Social Media Firms' Content

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune said he was more focused on oversight than legislation for social media companies and their content. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big social media companies made a case against new legislative mandates by emphasizing their voluntary efforts to root out terrorism-related material and other objectionable content on their sites during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

But senators from both parties warned representatives of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of legislative action even as Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said he was focused on oversight rather than legislation, which could further open the companies to lawsuits. The committee approved a bill that would allow online businesses to be sued and prosecuted for sex trafficking content, but Thune indicated he wasn’t ready to do the same over terrorism content.

Bipartisan Immigration Bill Greeted by Big GOP Meh
Gang of Six measure shunned by White House, GOP leaders

Demonstrators with United We Dream and others rally in the atrium of Hart Building on January 16, 2018, to call on congress to pass the Dream Act, that protects young immigrants from deportation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite its bipartisan pedigree, an immigration bill from the Senate’s “Gang of Six” appears unlikely to advance amid backlash from congressional Republicans and the White House.

GOP lawmakers are now placing all their hopes on a coalition of four House and Senate leaders to come up with a solution to address the pending end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that covers immigrants who come to the country illegally as children.

House Judiciary Advances Foreign Lobby Overhaul
Panel Democrats say GOP is moving too quickly on the bill

Ex-lobbyist Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, has been charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

House Republicans took a significant step Wednesday in an effort to overhaul the nation’s foreign lobbying disclosure regulations amid scandals in the influence sector.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced as amended, 15-6 along party lines, the measure that would give the Justice Department new subpoena-like investigative powers. That new authority sparked controversy among the panel’s Democrats.

How John Kennedy Sees Things
‘This is why the aliens won’t talk to us.’

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since arriving in the Senate last year, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has become a gift to Capitol Hill reporters for his colorful use of language.

Most recently, he has said that the dispute about whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “why the aliens won’t talk to us.”

The ‘Emotional Space’ Inside High-Stakes Diplomacy
Looking back at Obama, looking square at Trump

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama take time for reflecting in the new documentary “The Final Year.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

The civil war in Syria. Boko Haram. Russia. Climate change. American foreign policy operates in a high-stakes environment in a very public glare. And in 2016, in the midst of a contentious election year, President Barack Obama oversaw a team of players trying to solidify a legacy in his last year in office. Documentary filmmaker Greg Barker went along for the ride, from the cramped quarters of the West Wing to an emotional speech at Hiroshima, Japan for his new film, “The Final Year.”

Paul Ryan Caught Between Freedom Caucus, Democrats
Lacking votes on resolving shutdown, speaker will need to negotiate with one or the other

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have just a couple of days left to round up support to avoid a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Likely short of the votes he needs to pass a stopgap government funding bill through his chamber by Friday, Speaker Paul D. Ryan spent Wednesday morning railing against Democrats — whose votes he may need to court.

A four-week continuing resolution that GOP leaders unveiled Tuesday night faces opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus who want immediate action to increase defense spending and from Democrats who want a resolution this week on the status of some 690,000 young immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Omaha Man Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Kill Joni Ernst
Suspect believed Iowa Republican was connected to ISIS

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was the target of a potential plot on her life last July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Omaha man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to threatening the life of Sen. Joni Ernst, who he believed was in cahoots with Islamic State terrorists.

Robert W. Simet, 64, told employees at a motorcycle shop near the Nebraska-Iowa border last July that he might kill the Iowa Republican at a speech she was scheduled to deliver there, according to court documents obtained by The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Flake Condemns Trump’s Attacks on Media
 

Roll Call Reviews Obama’s ‘The Final Year’: A Documentary on the Last Days of a West Wing Team
 

Roll Call editor Jason Dick shares his thoughts on “The Final Year,” an HBO documentary in theaters Jan. 19 that chronicles the outgoing Obama administration’s last year, focusing on its foreign policy efforts.