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Category Archives: Congress

Number of Americans Struggling to Afford Food Declines But Remains Too High

Analysis by Food Research & Action Center Download First Half of 2015 Food Hardship Rate by State “The impact of the economic recovery plus the increased share of households in need that is receiving SNAP (food stamps) is showing positive results, based on evidence from the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey (pdf) that reveals aContinue Reading

U.S. Investigations Services Agrees to Forego at Least $30 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

DOJ news release: “The Justice Department announced today that U.S. Investigations Services Inc. (USIS) and its parent company, Altegrity, have agreed to settle allegations that USIS violated the False Claims Act (FCA) for conduct involving a contract for background investigations that USIS held with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  The companies have agreedContinue Reading

POGO – Former CRS Researcher Calls for Public Access

“Despite bipartisan support from many organizations, Capitol Hill still hesitates to grant public access to taxpayer-funded formal reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The Project On Government Oversight has long reported on the importance of opening these reports to the public. POGO worked with many open-government allies to urge Members of Congress to change theContinue Reading

CRS – National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background, Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. July 31, 2015. “Five federal statutes authorize intelligence officials to request certain business record information in connection with national security investigations. The authority to issue these national security letters (NSLs) is comparable to theContinue Reading

Iran Nuclear Agreement: Selected Issues for Congress

CRS – Iran Nuclear Agreement: Selected Issues for Congress. Kenneth Katzman, Coordinator Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs; Paul K. Kerr, Coordinator Analyst in Nonproliferation. August 6, 2015. “The nuclear agreement between Iran and six negotiating powers (“P5+1:” United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China), finalized on July 14, 2015, raises a wide variety ofContinue Reading

Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State

CRS – Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State. Kathleen J. McInnis, Analyst in International Security. August 4, 2015. “The Global Campaign to Counter the Islamic State – On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced the formation of a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State ofContinue Reading

WSJ – Mapping the Top 20 ZIP Codes for Campaign Contributions

WSJ.com: “You can learn a lot about a candidate by looking at where he or she draws the most contributions. Campaign-finance reports are always studied for who raised the most money and who is struggling for support. But looking at a campaign’s fundraising footprint tells a tale all its own. The Wall Street Journal tookContinue Reading

Big data analysis of state of the union remarks

Via phys.org [thanks to Alan Rothman]: “No historical record may capture the nation’s changing political consciousness better than the president’s State of the Union address, delivered each year except one since 1790. Now, a computer analysis of this unique archive puts the start of the modern era at America’s entry into World War I, challengingContinue Reading

CRS – A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics

A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Hannah Fischer, Information Research Specialist. August 7, 2015. [As always, CRS reports via Steven Aftergood/FAS] – “This report presents statistics regarding U.S. military and civilian casualties in the active missions Operation Freedom’sContinue Reading

GAO Report – Facial Recognition Technology

Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law, GAO-15-621: Published: Jul 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2015. “Facial recognition technology can be used in numerous consumer and business applications, but the extent of its current use in commercial settings is not fully known. The technology is commonly used in software thatContinue Reading

Detailed Report Shows Most Railroads Will Miss Positive Train Control Deadline

News release: “The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today sent its Status of Positive Train Control Implementation report to Congress. The report is mandated by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee and shows that after seven years and significant assistance from FRA, most railroads will miss the Dec. 31, 2015 positive train control (PTC) implementation deadlineContinue Reading

Across Racial Lines, More Say Nation Needs to Make Changes to Achieve Racial Equality

Pew Report – “Over the past year, there has been a substantial rise in the share of Americans — across racial and ethnic groups — who say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, and a growing number of Americans view racism as a big problem in society.Continue Reading