June 13, 2013
· National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that the domestic surveillance programs disclosed last week have aided the agency's efforts to combat terrorism, Reuters reports. "It's dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent," Alexander told the committee. "Both here and abroad, in disrupting, or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks." Alexander also addressed the balance between national security and civil liberties, The Washington Post reports. Read more
o Look ahead: Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said this week that she is open to the idea of holding hearings on the NSA’s surveillance programs; meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is preparing to convene hearings on the leak of information from the NSA, The Hill reports. Read more
· The Obama administration has briefed lawmakers 22 times between October 2011 and December 2012 about the PRISM surveillance program, The Washington Post reports. The White House continues to defend the programs by saying that Congress passed the laws that give the administration the power to enforce them. Read more
o Look ahead: In the aftermath of news reports revealing widespread data collection by the government, congressional leaders across party lines are echoing what President Obama has said, which boils down to: “Trust us.” Read more
· This week marked the start of an intraparty battle among Senate Republicans over the comprehensive immigration-reform bill introduced by the "Gang of Eight," The New York Times reported. Debate on the legislation began Tuesday. Read more
o Look ahead: As the week progressed, it appeared that the issue of border security might cloud the legislation’s future in the Senate. In the House, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has decided to take a piecemeal approach to immigration reform and will work with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to author legislation. Read more
· In the House, early efforts to conduct a bipartisan investigation into the IRS scandal have, somewhat predictably, descended into a partisan foodfight, Politico reports, with Democrats accusing Republicans of cherry-picking evidence, and Republicans accusing Democrats of trying to upend the investigation. Read more
o Look ahead: The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means panels have each launched their own investigations into the IRS. The collective goal: to find out how the targeting of tea-party groups began and who, ultimately, gave the go-ahead. Learn about key staffers probing the IRS situation, courtesy of National Journal. Read more
· The Senate Finance Committee voted to approve Mike Froman to be U.S. Trade Representative, Reuters reports, setting the stage for a full Senate vote. On Monday, Senate Commerce voted to approve the nominations of Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx for transportation secretary and Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker for commerce secretary. Read more
o Look ahead: No senator has thus far threatened to place a hold on the nominations, though some conservative groups are seeking to block the nomination of Fred Hochberg for a second term as president of the Export-Import Bank. Hochberg won committee approval last week. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are threatening to block the confirmation of Gina McCarthy to serve as EPA administrator, The Hill reports. Read more
● The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over recently disclosed National Security Agency domestic-surveillance programs, The New York Times reports. Read more
● Hours before the Senate voted to move debate forward on its bipartisan immigration-reform bill, President Obama, flanked by business leaders and "Dreamers," called on Congress to "do the right thing" and support the bill. Read more
● The Senate Finance Committee voted to approve Mike Froman to be U.S. Trade Representative, Reuters reports, setting the stage for a full Senate vote. On Monday, Senate Commerce voted to approve the nominations of Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx for Transportation secretary and Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker for Commerce secretary. Read more
● President Obama is attempting to avert a "Cold War mentality" with the Chinese after meeting with the country's president, Xi Jinping, on Saturday. The two men discussed the highly controversial cyberespionage programs from both nations, The New York Times reports. Read more
● Obama and the media haven't been the best of friends as of late, but the White House is apparently trying to fix this. Originally booked as a closed-door meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the president reportedly popped in and made a surprise appearance, BuzzFeed reports. Read more
● The Obama administration has briefed lawmakers 22 times between October 2011 and December 2012 about the PRISM surveillance program, The Washington Post reports. The White House continues to defend the programs by saying that Congress passed the laws that give the administration the power to enforce the programs. Read more
● President Obama traveled to Massachusetts on Wednesday to show his support for the Senate candidacy of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., The Boston Globe reports. Read more
● The ACLU contends that it has standing to sue because it is a subscriber of Verizon Business Network Services, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, which received a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order compelling it to turn over users' records.
● No senator has thus far threatened to place a hold on the nominations, though some conservative groups are seeking to block the nomination of Fred Hochberg for a second term as president of the Export-Import Bank. Hochberg won committee approval last week.
● Some on the right are concerned that Obama speaking on immigration could have the potential to damage the legislation’s prospects, BuzzFeed reports. Read more
● Friday, June 14 -- The White House will host an event honoring WNBA champions Indiana Fever for their victory in the WNBA finals at 2:00 p.m.
● Wednesday, June 19 -- Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt will discuss “the unconstitutional seizure of AP phone records and the way forward" during a National Press Club luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW
● This week marked the start of an intraparty battle among Senate Republicans over the comprehensive immigration-reform bill introduced by the "Gang of Eight," The New York Times reports. Debate on the legislation began Tuesday. Read more
● Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has decided to take a piecemeal approach to immigration reform and will work with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to author legislation, Labrador told National Journal on Wednesday. Read more
● Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said this week that she is open to the idea of holding hearings on the National Security Agency's recently revealed surveillance programs. Read more
● The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees have each launched their own investigations into the IRS. The collective goal: to find out how the targeting of tea-party groups began and who, ultimately, gave the go-ahead. Learn about key staffers probing the IRS situation. Read more
● House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said that interviews conducted by congressional investigators had shown that the IRS's targeting of conservative groups for additional scrutiny did not originate in the agency's Cincinnati field office, The Hill reports. Read more
● By a vote of 66 to 27, the Senate passed a $955 billion, 10-year farm bill Monday, and it now awaits action in the House next week. Read more
● Family members of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims are in Washington this week to meet with lawmakers to help revive the defeated Manchin-Toomey legislation that would expand background checks and to push a House equivalent. Read more
● Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., whose legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks passed a House committee Wednesday, prompted comparisons to former Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., when he discussed the issue of rape and pregnancies. Read more
● Democrats have spent recent years thrashing Republicans in baseball. Now the GOP thinks it has found its secret weapon, as National Journal's Ben Terris reports. Read more
● Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addressed a meeting of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles on Wednesday, saying afterward that he is open to discussing the comprehensive immigration-reform measure with members of the Senate “Gang of Eight.” Read more
● New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, a Republican, was sworn in Monday to serve as the state’s interim senator following Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s death, the Huffington Post reports. Read more
● Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho might have been the lone Republican to walk away from immigration talks, but his exit virtually ensures the bill that makes it to the House floor will be a conservative document that looks nothing like the Senate bill, National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan reports. Read more
● While the Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to begin debating the Gang of Eight's immigration overhaul, there is little agreement on the reform bill itself, National Journal's Chris Frates explains. Read more
● If the farm bill passes on the House floor, strong leadership from both the Senate and the House will be needed to complete a conference report and send a bill to President Obama before the current extension of the farm bill expires Sept. 30, National Journal's Jerry Hagstrom reports. Read more
● The Senate Agriculture Committee's proposed farm bill would not only cut direct payments to farmers, but also introduce means testing and environmental requirements for federally subsidized crop insurance, Roll Call reports. Read more
● Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is preparing to convene hearings on the leak of information on the National Security Agency domestic-surveillance programs, The Hill reports. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- CQ Roll Call will hold its 52nd annual Congressional Baseball Game at 5:00 p.m. at Nationals Park.
● Friday, June 14 -- The House Homeland Security Committee’s Oversight and Management Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Why Can’t DHS Better Communicate With the American People?” at 9:00 a.m. in 311 Cannon.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Cato Institute will hold a discussion on “Can a Treaty Increase the Power of Congress” at noon at 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice Department's decision to obtain a search warrant for the e-mails of Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Daniel Tangherlini to be administrator of the General Services Administration at 10:30 a.m. in 342 Dirksen.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Thomas Wheeler to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission at 2:30 p.m. in 253 Russell.
● Rep. Kristi Noem said Tuesday that she wouldn't jump into the race for South Dakota's open Senate seat in 2014, Roll Call reports. Read more
● With Republicans involved in Gabriel Gomez’s Senate campaign publicly complaining that they are being badly outspent, Americans for Progressive Action, a super PAC, said Wednesday it would run TV ads in support of Gomez. Read more
● Prosecutors are recommending that former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. be sentenced to four years in prison, Roll Call reports. Read more
● The Republican National Committee has hired former South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly as its evangelical outreach director, CNN reports. Read more
● As Sen. Rand Paul looks ahead to a possible 2016 presidential run, his early and active rumblings on PRISM and the security state give some sense of what a Paul platform could look like—and how he may be planning on revving up the engines for a campaign, National Journal’s Matt Berman reports. Read more
● Doug Bailey, one of the fathers of the modern political consulting industry, and a cofounder of The Hotline, died this week, Hotline's Reid Wilson reports. Read more
● Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is clearly underperforming, but is it bad enough to allow for an upset in a low-turnout special election? Republicans might want to curb their enthusiasm in the Massachusetts special Senate election, Charlie Cook writes. Read more
● Bill Clinton will campaign with Markey on Saturday, Politico reports. Read more
● The Democrat’s star-studded Senate primary field in New Jersey is good news for reporters and political junkies but problematic for gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono. The four Democrats running for Senate all will launch TV ad campaigns, and several of them may have the ability to spend significantly more than Buono. Read more
● Rep. Kristi Noem passing on the South Dakota Senate Race helps Republicans avoid a potentially contentious primary with former Gov. Mike Rounds, Roll Call reports. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy will hold its 2013 National Convention June 13-15 at 1001 16th St NW.
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Faith & Freedom Coalition holds its “Road to Majority” Conference June 13-15 at 9:00 a.m. at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Demos Brennan Center for Justice will hold a discussion on "Political Money in the 2012 Election, the 113th Congress, and Beyond" at 1:00 p.m. at 529 14th Street NW.
● President Obama on Monday nominated Jason Furman to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. Furman, who has been a key adviser to the president, has been intimately involved in some of the administration's major legislative accomplishments. Read more
● The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White, is reviewing the time-honored policy of not requiring bad actors to admit guilt in settlements, The Hill reports. Read more
● Standard & Poor's changed the federal government's credit outlook to "stable" Monday, Reuters reports, upgrading it from "negative." Read more
● Last month the Treasury Department estimated that the nation's debt limit would not need to be raised until around Labor Day. Now, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is estimating such measures might not be needed until November, The Hill reports. Read more
● Sequester? What sequester? The House and the Senate this week are pretending to advance real and realizable versions of a 2014 defense authorization bill. But for now, both chambers are ignoring the second 10-year round of defense sequester cuts set to kick in Oct. 1, as if it won't happen, even though it remains a statutory reality, National Journal's Billy House reports. Read more
● The farm bill won approval in the Senate this week, setting up a clash with the House over cuts to food stamps, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more
● The current chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, is returning to Princeton in the fall.
● S&P said that Congress's ability to circumvent a fiscal crisis at the end of 2012 and the belief that the coming debt-ceiling debate won't cause "a sudden unplanned contraction in current spending, which could be disruptive," were reasons behind the upgrade.
● The CBO determined that "extraordinary measures" available to the Treasury Department should buy enough time so that the nation will be well into the fall before that borrowing limit becomes an issue. Republicans have been aiming to use the debt limit as a bargaining chip on budget matters.
● The House's farm bill, which is expected to hit the floor next week, seeks $20 billion in cuts to the food-stamp program over the next decade, but the Senate would cut food stamps by $4 billion. The bill's prospects in the House are unclear: Many Democrats will likely vote against it for cutting too much; conservative Republicans may vote against because it doesn't cut enough.
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Hedge Fund Association will hold a symposium on “Hedge Funds & the Regulatory Road Ahead” at 4:00 p.m. at 1601 K St NW.
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Institute for International Research USA will hold its 14 annual Private Placement Life Insurance & Annuities Forum “Tax-Efficient Investing for High Net Worth Market” on June 13-14 in Fort Washington, Md.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion on “Dealing With ‘Too Important to Fail’ Banks” at 10:00 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Friday, June 14 --- The Peterson Institute for International Economics and the International Chamber of Commerce will hold an event to announce the study of the “Payoff from the World Trade Agenda” at 10:30 a.m. at 1750 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- EconomyInCrisis.org will hold a forum on “Smart Tax Reform and International Trade Competitiveness” at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club.
● Monday, Jun 17 -- The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion on “Housing Finance Reform: Is Inertia Gaining Momentum?” at 9:30 a.m. at 1225 I St NW.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a discussion on "Savior or Achilles' Heel of International Markets?: The G20, IMF, and the Global Financial Crisis" at 2:30 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
● Senate Republicans are threatening to block the confirmation of Gina McCarthy to serve as EPA administrator, The Hill reports. Read more
● The White House has blocked the implementation of several Energy Department regulations pertaining to appliances, lighting, and construction, The New York Times reports. Read more
● Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said following a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing that the administration will not expand drilling to include the Atlantic Ocean. Read more
● Jewell also announced a 60-day extension of the comment period on the department's new rule on hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Read more
● Southern California Edison has permanently shuttered two nuclear reactors at its San Onofre plant dating to the January 2012 discovery of extensive damage to reactor equipment, the Associated Press reports. Read more
● The U.S. Energy Information Agency announced in a report Monday that the nation's technically recoverable oil and gas reserves have increased by 35 percent over 2011 levels, owing to the recent shale boom, The Hill reports. Read more
● Wind power thrived in the United States in 2012 due to the controversial production tax credit, The Economist reports. Read more
● Global carbon-dioxide emissions hit an all-time high in 2012, with increased emissions in China offsetting decreases in Europe and the United States, the International Energy Agency announced Monday. Read more
● In his quest to become the next senator from Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. Edward Markey is doing something that's never been done before: campaigning for national office on the signature issue of climate change, National Journal’s Coral Davenport reported. Read more
● Former Vice President Al Gore returned to Washington on Tuesday, speaking at an environmental forum hosted by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., at the Capitol. Later, during a Google+ video chat, Gore argued that President Obama needs to act on climate change. Read more
● Two Senate committees are wrestling over a critical energy policy that influences prices of both fuel and food: the renewable-fuels standard that mandates an increasing amount of biofuels—mostly corn-based ethanol—to be blended with gasoline each year, National Journal’s Amy Harder reports. Read more
● America's best source for zero-carbon energy is slowly withering, and it's unlikely to be replenished, National Journal's Coral Davenport reports. Read more
● The PTC was renewed for a year—and $12 billion—under the Budget Control Act, but has its detractors both in the fossil-fuels industry and in the renewables sector.
● Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson said this week that the energy industry must address "legitimate concerns" about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, Bloomberg reports. Read more
● Faced with formidable opposition from environmentalists, TransCanada is redoubling its efforts to rebut claims made against its flagship project, the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. This month the company hired Matthew John as an "external communications specialist" to help feed its blog. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Asia Society Washington Center will hold a discussion on “Fueling the Future: The United States, Asia, and Energy Security” at 3:00 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The U.S. Energy Information Administration will hold its 2013 EIA Energy Conference June 17-18 at 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
● National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that the domestic-surveillance programs disclosed last week have aided the agency’s efforts to combat terrorism, Reuters reports. Read more
● Edward Snowden, the self-confessed leaker of NSA secrets, told a Chinese newspaper that the U.S. has mounted massive hacking operations against China since 2009, The Washington Post reports. Read more
● More than half of Americans said Edward Snowden did a “good thing” by leaking information, but 53 percent also said he should face charges, a Time Magazine poll released Thursday reports. Read more
● In the aftermath of news reports revealing widespread data collection by the government, congressional leaders across party lines are echoing what President Obama has said, which boils down to: “Trust us.” Read more
● The deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Morell, has resigned, NPR reports. Read more
● A State Department inspector general's memo reveals eight instances in which the department interfered with or scuttled investigations of alleged misconduct, CBS News reported. Read more
● U.S. intelligence operatives interfered with an issue of al-Qaida's English-language online publication, Inspire, last month, The Washington Post reports. Read more
● The State Department said last week that the administration has received from France evidence of alleged chemical-weapons use by the Syrian government, The Hill reported. Read more
● Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended PRISM, the National Security Agency surveillance program revealed last week in leaked documents, in a Washington Post story. Read more
● A National Security Agency team was tracking admitted leaker Edward Snowden even before he revealed his identity in The Guardian, reports The Daily Beast. Read more
● From June 11-28, U.S. Marines and sailors will join a contingent from Japan's Self-Defense Force in military exercises near San Diego, the Associated Press reports. Read more
● The White House will hold meetings on Syria this week, including weighing whether to arm rebels in the country, CNN reported. Read more
● Policymakers used to believe in a forceful projection of American authority. But after debacles in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, they are turning inward, as National Journal's Michael Hirsh reports. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe will hold a hearing on “Fleeing to Live: Syrian Refugees in the OSCE Region” at 2:00 p.m. in 562 Dirksen.
● Thursday, June 13 -- The McCain Institute for International Leadership will hold a discussion on “Transformational Global Leadership” at 5:30 p.m. at 1777 F St NW.
● Friday, June 14 -- The National Defense Industrial Association, Air Force Association, and Reserve Officers Association will hold a forum on “Nuclear Triad, Arms Control, Deterrence, and America’s Security” at 8:00 a.m. at 300 First St SE.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Project on Middle East Democracy will hold an event on “Dynamic Gulf: Forces of Change in a Strategic Region” at 8:45 a.m. at 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Middle East Institute will hold its fourth annual conference on Turkey starting at 9:00 a.m. at 529 14th St NW.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion on “The India-Pakistan Conundrum: Shooting for a Century” at 10:00 a.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Henry L. Stimson Center will hold a discussion on “Analyzing the Iranian Presidential Election” at 2:00 p.m. at 1111 19th St NW.
● Thursday, June 20 -- The Office of the Secretary of Defense will hold a meeting of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services to receive briefings relating to the committee's current work, June 20-21 at 900 South Orme Street, Arlington, Va.
● Thursday, June 20 -- The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion of The Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed with author Marvin Kalb at 12:30 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
● In a unanimous ruling, and "one of its most significant rulings in the age of molecular medicine," the Supreme Court said Thursday that "naturally occurring" genes cannot be patented, The Wall Street Journal reports. SCOTUS did note, however, that synthetic DNA could be patented. Read more
● Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said Wednesday that she will resign next month, Modern Healthcare reports. Read more
● Consumers still have mixed feelings about the Affordable Care Act, with 49 percent disapproving and 43 percent approving, according to a bipartisan poll released Tuesday. Read more
● The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting Democrats in California over a possible rate shock under the Affordable Care Act, The Hill reports. Read more
● Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans increased by almost 10 percent in 2013 compared with 2012, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study released Monday. Read more
● U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman on Wednesday approved the administration's plan to put a morning-after pill over the counter without age restrictions, while criticizing the FDA for caving to "unjustified political interference," the Associated Press reports. Read more
● At least 430 federal employees were told beforehand of a Medicare decision that would be "worth billions of dollars to private insurers," The Washington Post reports. Read more
● The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network announced Monday that it would launch a yearlong review on its policy which divides lung transplant lists by age, Politico reports. Read more
● The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s decision to have an emergency meeting was an attempt to sidestep politicians or families being able to pressure for exemptions through public campaigns, Politico reports. Read more
● Not all consumers will qualify for the out-of-pocket-cost caps that are supposed to start next year under the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Health News reports. Read more
● Medicare could save money if it restructured its drug-selection program to resemble the VA’s, Kaiser Health News reports. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion on “How to Control Healthcare Costs: Lessons From Ahead” at 3:00 p.m. at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Friday, June 14 -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Examining the Federal Government’s Response to the Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis” at 9:30 a.m. at 2123 Rayburn.
● Friday, June 14 -- The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The President’s and Other Bipartisan Proposals to Reform Medicare Post-Acute Care Payments” at 9:30 a.m. in 1100 Longworth.
● Friday, June 14 -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and GE Foundation will hold an event on “Innovations in Primary Care: Expanding Capacity to Treat Mental Health & Other Chronic Diseases” at 10:00 a.m. at 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Cato Institute will hold a forum on “Halbig vs. Sebelius: All of Obamacare Hangs on the Outcome” at noon at 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Health Initiative will hold a discussion on “Vision, Innovation, and Action to Address Child Marriage” at 2:00 p.m. at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on "High Prices, Low Transparency: The Bitter Pill of Health Care Costs" at 10:00 a.m. in 215 Dirksen.
● Education Secretary Arne Duncan remains optimistic that congressional leaders will reach a deal on student-loan interest rates before July 1, Politico reports, but said that “a shorter-term deal may be more realistic.” Read more
● Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee fundamentally disagree on who should be in control of the nation's schools, but they are in total agreement about how they should proceed with legislation, National Journal's Fawn Johnson reports. Read more
● More than three-fourths of Americans oppose affirmative action in education, saying race shouldn’t factor into admissions, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Read more
● The Education Department will have a discussion on “gainful employment” regulations, instead of looping it in with a larger rule-making session, Inside Higher Ed reports. Republicans wanted the talks to be included in HEA reauthorization. Read more
● Grouping students by ability in classrooms is starting to gain steam again, after being largely dismissed more than 20 years ago, The New York Times reports. Read more
● A new GED will be rolled out come January, including a new $120 cost, leading some states to stop using the GED as its high school equivalency tests, Education Week reports. Read more
● None of three bills Congress is studying that would overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have bipartisan support, making reauthorization unlikely this year, Education Week reports. Read more
● With the common core standards, used by 45 states and D.C., removing the requirement for cursive, and applications changing the way students take notes, Mashable asks if technological advances will signal the death of penmanship. Read more
● It remains to be seen how much students in each state will end up paying for the new GED, with a spike in GED test takers expected this year, Education Week reports. Read more
● Thursday, June 13 -- The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a discussion on the "U.S.-India Higher Education Collaboration” at 2:00 p.m. at 1800 K St NW.
● Friday, June 14 -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan will speak at the “Better Future Campaign” at 1:00 p.m. at 400 Maryland Ave SW.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- The Center for American Progress will hold a discussion of “New Organizations, New Voices: The Landscape of Today’s Teachers Shaping Policy" at 12:30 p.m. at 1333 H Street NW.
● Top intelligence officials claim "considerable inaccuracies" in both the initial Guardian phone-data story (fueled by a blogger) and The Washington Post's subsequent June 6 report that says U.S. analysts for years have tapped into the servers of nine Internet companies (who deny helping) so the National Security Agency and the FBI can better track possible foreign threats, CNN says. Read more
● Attorney General Eric Holder told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee June 6 that the administration has kept lawmakers apprised of its review of U.S. subscribers' phone records, Politico reported. Read more
● At an event in Mooresville, N.C., President Obama said that all children should have access to a laptop and 99 percent should have high-speed Internet within the next five years. Read more
● Every time the government wants access to your phone records, it has to produce what's called a FISA application—a plea to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that must approve the request. And it's almost always approved; since the “War on Terror” began, FISC has handed down only 11 denials, National Journal's Brian Fung reports. Read more
● Following recent disclosures about the NSA’s surveillance programs, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft sought permission from the government to disclose details of the classified requests they have received. Read more
● Edward Snowden, the former CIA technical assistant and NSA contractor who revealed himself as the source of leaked documents on U.S. intelligence programs, could face extradition from Hong Kong should he remain there, The New York Times reports. Read more
● Amazon and IBM are competing for a $600 million contract to create a cloud-computing system for the Central Intelligence Agency, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more
● Friday, June 14 -- The FCC will hold a meeting of the Emergency Advisory Committee to discuss reports from the subcommittees and other activities needed to ensure access to 911 by individuals with disabilities at 10:30 a.m. at 445 12th St SW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a discussion on “International Broadband Quality: How’s that Policy Working?” focusing on the current state of broadband networks in the U.S. and Europe at 9:00 a.m. at 1101 K St NW.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies’ International Center for Terrorism Studies will hold a seminar on “Cyber and Hardware Hacking Scenarios 2023” at noon at 901 North Stuart St., Arlington, Va.
● Monday, June 17 -- TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion on “What Should Congress Do about Cell Phone Unlocking?” on cell phone unlocking and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act at noon at 101 Maryland Avenue NE.
● Monday, June 17 -- The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on “Taking Cyber to the Hill: The Future of Internet Governance” at 3:00 p.m. at the Capitol Visitor Center.
● Tuesday, June 18 -- NASA will hold a public forum to provide a status on the agency's asteroid initiative planning and to encourage feedback and ideas from the global community and the public at 9:15 a.m. at 300 E Street SW.
● Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl, will get a lung transplant Wednesday, after her parents lead a public campaign for their daughter to get an exception to the transplant age restrictions, NPR reports. Read more
● A large system of thunderstorms could impact 20 percent of Americans by the end of Thursday, the Associated Press reports. Read more
● U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III’s ruling that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke the law by not paying its interns that worked on Black Swan could mark a “tipping point” on unpaid internships, The Atlantic reports. Read more
● A 5-year-old boy who survived the Moore, Okla., tornado was killed Sunday when he was attacked by the dog of the woman he was living with, CNN reports. Read more
● “It’s the right thing to do.” – President Obama on immigration reform on Tuesday
● “He’s a traitor.” – House Speaker John Boehner on leaker Edward Snowden (ABC News)
● “He’s done a great service because he's telling the truth and this is what we are starved for.” – Former Rep. Ron Paul on Snowden (CNN)
● “In the Soviet Union before, in China today, and even in the U.S., officials always think what they do is necessary, and firmly believe they do what is best for the state and the people. But the lesson that people should learn from history is the need to limit state power.” – Chinese dissent artist Ai Weiwei (The Guardian)
● “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.” – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. (WCCO)
CHARTS AND GRAPHICS
● Pew shows that global views of Iran are overwhelmingly negative in charts and polls
● Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 went up 3,100 percent between Monday and Tuesday, according to The Atlantic Wire
● National Journal’s Brian Fung shows how Edward Snowden is one of a growing class of highly skilled—but academically ordinary—workers. Read more
● Chicago murders are trending opposite of the Al Capone years, according to The Atlantic Wire. See the charts here
● @howardfineman: 700K govt officials w/ top secret clearance; 400K+ contractors. Even if small % have top-top clearance, 1000s have power to topple system.
● @joshgreenman: Chicago's declining murder rate: Probably not getting a Drudge banner headline
● @Mr_Berman: Any day where "Hillary Clinton Joins Twitter" is big news is not a great day.
● @JillDLawrence: Doug Bailey was every political junkie's hero for inventing Hotline, and he may have invented aggregation, too. RIP.
BY THE NUMBERS
● 56 PERCENT. The number of Americans who don’t have a problem with the National Security Agency collecting phone records, according to a new Pew poll. Read more
● 12. The number of people shot in Chicago on Monday night on the city’s South Side. Read more
● 82. The number of senators who voted to move debate forward on comprehensive immigration reform on Tuesday. Here’s the list of the no-votes.
● 50. The number of years since Gov. George Wallace tried to prevent two black students from registering at the University of Alabama. Here’s that day’s front page from The Birmingham News.
● 89. The age of former President George H.W. Bush, who celebrated his birthday this week by wearing superman socks.
● $12 MILLION. The amount of money that media mogul Oprah Winfrey donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Read more
● John Oliver this week took over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart, who took time off to direct a movie. "Let's all just acknowledge for a moment that this is weird," is how he kicked off Monday’s show.
● Following reports of classified NSA programs, someone launched an “Obama Is Checking Your E-mail” Tumblr, complete with photos of the president next to computers.
● Glenn Beck’s vocal chords are apparently paralyzed. So, he posted a bizarre video with just cue cards.
● When President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping went for a walk in California last weekend, it oddly looked like a scene from Winnie the Pooh.
● “Kids have to learn to speak grammar.... If you don’t speak good grammar — English with good grammar — you’re not gonna get the kind of jobs that you want.” – advice from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (New York)