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Category Archives: Congress

WaPo – Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants

David Nakamura, The Washington Post – “Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border. In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests. The new directives would supersede nearly all of those issued under previous administrations, Kelly said, including measures from President Barack Obama aimed at focusing deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties. “The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly stated in the guidelines. He cited a surge of 10,000 to 15,000 additional apprehensions per month at the southern U.S. border between 2015 and 2016. In a series of executive actions in January, President Donald Trump announced plans to make good on his campaign promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico and to ramp up enforcement actions against the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Kelly’s memos, which have not been released publicly, are intended as an implementation blueprint for DHS to pursue Trump’s goals…His memos are copied to officials at Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman declined to comment on the documents but did not dispute their authenticity. A White House official said the memos were drafts and that they are under review by the White House Counsel’s Office, which is seeking some changes…The memos do not include measures to activate National Guard troops to help apprehend immigrants in 11 states that had been included in a draft document leaked to reporters on Friday. DHS officials said Kelly, whose signature did not appear on the draft document, had never approved such plans. Immigrant rights advocates said the two memos signed by Kelly mark a major shift in U.S. immigration policies by dramatically expanding the scope of enforcement operations. The new procedures would allow authorities to seek expedited deportation proceedings, currently limited to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for two weeks or less, to anyone who has been in the country for up to two years….”

Politico posts 19-page internal GOP policy brief on Obamacare repeal and replace

Via Politico: Internal GOP Talking Points and Plans for Replacing Obamacare – Policy Brief and Resources – “Obamacare has failed. Six years after the enactment of Obamacare, here’s what we know: This law has failed the American people. Insurance markets are collapsing. Premiums and deductibles are soaring. Patients’ choices are dwindling. The law has failed… Continue Reading

Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile

Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile, Jennifer E. Manning, Senior Research Librarian. February 10, 2017. “This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of January 4, 2017. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional… Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Democrats Demand Retention of All Documents Related to Trump, Russia

“All nine Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats today called on the White House, the Justice Department and the FBI to preserve all documents related to communication between Russia and all Trump officials and associates, as well as all documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Letter to White House Letter to DOJ, FBI In… Continue Reading

Interactive: Compare Proposals to Replace the Affordable Care Act

Compare Proposals to Replace The Affordable Care Act – President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have committed to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). How do their replacement proposals compare to the ACA? How do they compare to each other? –  Plans available for comparison: The Affordable Care Act, 2010 (PDF) Rep. Tom… Continue Reading

FiveThirtyEight – Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump

An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president By Aaron Bycoffe. From the FAQ – “Donald Trump has Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress — it’s the first time since Barack Obama’s first two years in office that the same party has… Continue Reading

Report – Corporate interests rack up earnings at expense of budget for national parks

“…America’s national parks should be owned by and managed for the benefit of all Americans. However, corporate interests have been steadily attacking and whittling away at that idea. Hotels, food service providers, gift shops, and other concessionaires, such as Delaware North, are profitable businesses in the national parks. The top-four concession holders in national parks—Aramark… Continue Reading

CRS – Congressional Gold Medals, 1776-2016

Congressional Gold Medals, 1776-2016, Matthew Eric Glassman, Analyst on the Congress. February 13, 2017. [Via FAS] “Senators and Representatives are frequently asked to support or sponsor proposals recognizing historic events and outstanding achievements by individuals or institutions. Among the various forms of recognition that Congress bestows, the Congressional Gold Medal is often considered the most… Continue Reading

Murray, Cantwell Seek Answers After Resource Website for Federal Law Protecting Students with Disabilities is Taken Down

“Washington state Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell today called on new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to provide an immediate and detailed explanation for why the resource website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has disappeared. “The Department’s failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators, and… Continue Reading

Durbin Demands Trump Administration Restore Animal Cruelty, Puppy Mill Records On USDA Website

“U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) [February 13, 2017]  joined a group of 18 Democratic Senators in calling on the Trump Administration to immediately restore animal cruelty information recently purged from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website.  APHIS makes inspection reports for all regulated entities and annual… Continue Reading

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

CRS report via FAS – Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions, Marc Labonte, Specialist in Macroeconomic Policy. February 7, 2017. “Congress has delegated responsibility for monetary policy to the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve (the Fed), but retains oversight responsibilities for ensuring that the Fed is adhering to its statutory… Continue Reading

Withdrawal from International Agreements: Legal Framework the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Agreement

CRS report via FAS – Withdrawal from International Agreements: Legal Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement – Stephen P. Mulligan, Legislative Attorney. February 9, 2017. “The legal procedure through which the United States withdraws from treaties and other international agreements has been the subject of long-standing debate between the legislative and executive… Continue Reading