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Wednesday, Feb 22nd

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Democrats Plotting ‘Collision Course’ With Trump’s Tax Plan

Richard Neal“There’s going to be opposition if these tax cuts are directed to the people at the top again,” said Representative Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who represents his party’s first line of defense as the next ranking member of the House’s tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “We’re going to be pretty united.”

Neal and others say they’ll zero in on upper-income tax breaks pitched by Trump and House leaders in an attempt to make it politically difficult for Republicans to support large parts of the emerging plans. Their initial comments suggest that the 115th Congress, which convenes Jan. 3 with a Republican-led agenda of instituting a broad tax overhaul and repealing Obamacare, will be peppered with debate over income inequality.

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Pressure grows on McConnell for special Russia hacking probe

Sen. Cory GardnerJohn McCain and Lindsey Graham's bipartisan push to create a special committee to investigate Russia's election-season hacking and other cybersecurity threats received a potential boost Monday as a third GOP senator announced legislation to make their idea a reality.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told POLITICO he would introduce a bill that, if passed, would mandate a new select Senate committee on cybersecurity. The move could intensify pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who so far has resisted appointing a select committee on cybersecurity. He insists the chamber's traditional committees, led by the intelligence panel, should handle the issue.

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Chuck Schumer fires video unit staff

Chuck Schumer fires video staffIncoming Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer cleaned house last week in the Senate Democrats' internal video department, firing nearly all its employees amid plans to revamp the unit with a new digital operation aimed at creating viral social media content.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) informed the employees of the Senate Democratic Media Center of their dismissal on Friday, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Several of the people in the unit had been with the in-house video production operation for years; goodbye emails obtained by POLITICO were from staffers who worked in the Senate for 29 years and 20 years, respectively.

More than a half-dozen people were fired, sources said; according to Legistorm, the media center has eight employees.

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No Government Shutdown: Senate Passes Funding Bill After Democrats Back Down

TilllingsonSenate Democrats dropped their objections Friday night to a short-term-funding bill to keep the government running, and the bill passed less than an hour before the midnight deadline.

It's become a familiar year-end act for Congress: passing a short-term-funding bill that will keep the government running for a few more months. This funding measure, which passed 63-36, runs out in April.

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The House Science Committee is spreading ‘fake news, bad science, and basically, crap’

House Science Committee liesIn the era of fake news, it is downright cringe-worthy when an ostensibly reliable source — a House of Representatives committee, for example — tweets out misleading information. In the era of rapidly increasing climate change, it’s also dangerous.

That’s what happened on Thursday, when the official, verified House Science Committee account spread an article based on bad science through their Twitter feed. Not only does the article peddle misinformation in order to deny the reality of climate change, but it was published by Breitbart news — which is notorious for its links to white nationalism, misogyny, and antisemitism. The site also has a long history of insistent climate change denial.

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Congress allows rule permitting mass hacking by government to take effect

Ron WydenIn a defeat for privacy advocates, Senate leaders rebuffed a last-ditch effort by a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to allow a vote to block a new rule that allows federal agents armed with a single search warrant to hack millions of Americans' computers or smartphones at once.

That rule will now take effect Thursday.

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Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill; first override of his presidency

9/11 veto overridden by CongressThe House and Senate voted Wednesday to reject President Obama's veto of legislation allowing lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism — the first successful override of a presidential veto since Obama took office.

The president had vetoed the legislation Friday because he said the bill — known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA — would infringe on the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. It was the 12th veto of his presidency.

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