Here is Wednesday’s look at transparency-related news items, congressional committee hearings, transparency-related bills introduced in Congress, and transparency-related events
State of the Union:
- President Obama promised to veto any bill containing earmarks. (The Hill)
- The president proposed federal funding increases for research and development, but did not provide details as to where this finding would come from. (Next Gov)
- He also announced plans to “merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government” as part of a greater initiative to increase the United States’ economic competitiveness. (Federal Times)
- Tech President designates the speech as the “Geekiest State of the Union Evah.”
- The New York Times offers an interactive State of the Union seating chart.
In other news:
- The Senate concludes day one without addressing rule reform, as Members are still trying to come to agreement (Roll Call $).
- Sen. Udall (D-NM) admits that filibuster reform seems unlikely, and suggests support for the eventual agreement as determined by Senate leadership. (Politico)
- In its first hearing of the 112th Congress, the Oversight and Government Reform committee will hear from Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. (Washington Post)
- Sens. Charles Schumer (NY), vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, and Lamar Alexander (TN), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, are leading efforts to reach a gentlemen’s agreement that would facilitate the flow of legislative business. (The Hill)
- As some federal agencies start taking blogging to the next level by providing frequent, rich content that promotes public engagement and transparency, new questions of archiving and cataloging arise. (Federal Computer Week)
- After an Illinois court ruled that Rahm Emanuel did not meet residency requirements for mayor, the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that his name should still be placed on the ballot as they rush to rule whether he does in fact meet the requirements. (Roll Call $)(Washington Times)
- The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are among many groups that want to weaken or eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board out of fear that Medicare cuts will be too severe. (Politico)
- Former House speaker Newt Gingrich called for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency in a Tuesday speech in Iowa. (Politico)
- Several House Democrats responded hesitantly to President Obama’s call for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending, expressing concern that it could undermine the investments the president says are essential for job creation. (The Hill)
- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus fired a number of political staffers, following through on his promise to start fresh after the departure of former Chairman Steele. (Politico)
- Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put their social media metrics online to show patterns such as spikes in YouTube views and growth in Twitter followers. (Federal Computer Week)
- Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) released documents suggesting that White House officials overruled scientific concerns in releasing a report last summer on what happened to the BP oil spill. (Huffington Post)
- Facing sever budget cuts, nonprofit advocacy groups are working to protect their programs. (Roll Call $)
- Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) appears to be headed towards the K St. lobbying firm Alston & Bird. (Roll Call $)
- Opinion: Sens. Cornyn and Hatch urge Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment.
Relevant committee hearings scheduled for 1/26:
- Oversight and Government Reform Full Committee. On a report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets on bailouts and the foreclosure crisis. 9:30am. HVC-210 Capitol.
- Judiciary: hearings to examine protecting American taxpayers, focusing on accomplishments and ongoing challenges in the fight against fraud. 10:30am. Senate Dirksen Building 226.
Relevant bills introduced:
- H.R. 414. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reform the system of public financing for Presidential elections, and for other purposes; to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
- H.R. 417. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the expansion of certain information reporting requirements to corporations and to payments for property, to impose a surcharge on high income taxpayers, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Ways and Means.
- H.R. 423. A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prevent the addresses of the residences of Members of Congress from appearing on the computerized Statewide voter registration lists required to be maintained by States under such Act, and to permit a Member of Congress who seeks to be a candidate for election for public office in a State to meet any requirement under State law to provide the appropriate election official with the address of the Member’s residence by providing the chief State election official with an affidavit certifying that the Member is a resident of the State; to the Committee on House Administration.
- H.R. 431. A bill to eliminate automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress, and for other purposes; to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
- H. Res. 52. A resolution electing Members to certain standing committees of the House of Representatives; considered and agreed to.
- H. Res. 53. A resolution electing certain Members to certain standing committees of the House of Representatives; considered and agreed to.
- S. 7. A bill to reform the Federal tax code; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 9. A bill to reform America’s political system and eliminate gridlock that blocks progress; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.S
- S. 14. A bill to establish a Commission on Congressional Budgetary Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- S. 18. A bill to repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 28. A bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide public safety providers an additional 10 megahertz of spectrum to support a national, interoperable wireless broadband network and authorize the Federal Communications Commission to hold incentive auctions to provide funding to support such a network, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- S. 72. A bill to repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 74. A bill to preserve the free and open nature of the Internet, expand the benefits of broadband, and promote universally available and affordable broadband service; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- S. 89. A bill to repeal the imposition of withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 111. A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require new voting systems to provide a voter-verified permanent record, to develop better accessible voting machines for individuals with disabilities, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
- S. 119. A bill to preserve open competition and Federal Government neutrality towards the labor relations of Federal Government contractors on Federal and federally funded construction projects; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- S. 130. A bill to prohibit authorized committees and leadership PACs from employing the spouse or immediate family members of any candidate or Federal office holder connected to the committee; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
- S. 131. A bill to prohibit the use of stimulus funds for signage indicating that a project is being carried out using those funds; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- S. 133. A bill to repeal the provision of law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- S. 149. A bill to extend the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 until December 31, 2013, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
- S. 168. A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish standards for the distribution of voter registration application forms and to require organizations to register with the State prior to the distribution of such forms; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
- S. 178. A bill to reduce Federal spending by $2.5 trillion through fiscal year 2021; to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 182. A bill to prohibit the Federal Government from awarding contracts, grants, or other agreements to, providing any other Federal funds to, or engaging in activities that promote the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and its shell companies which have been given new names; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- S.J. Res. 1. A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Transparency events scheduled for 1/26:
- Delivering Great Customer Service: Essentials for Government Web Managers. Web Manager University. Two-day course: Tues. 1/25-Wed. 1/26. 9:00am-4:00pm. General Services Administration building. One Constitution Square, 1275 First Street, NE. Washington, DC 20417.
- 2011 State of the Union Congressional Debrief. The Atlantic and National Journal. Wed. 1/26. 8:00-11:00am. The Gallup Building. 901 F Street, NW. Washington, DC 20004.
- Mapping out the 112th Congress: With Reaction to the State of the Union. Politico. Wed. 1/26. 8:00am. Newseum. 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Washington, DC.
- Understanding and Deploying Cloud Computing in Government. SureSecure Solutions. Wed. 1/26. 4:30pm. The Tower Club at Tyson’s Corner. 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 1700. Vienna, VA 22182.
- Social Media & Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: A Firsthand View. DC Media Makers. Wed. 1/26. 6:15pm. National Public Radio offices. 635 Massachusetts Ave, NW. Washington, DC 20001.