Tom Ramstack

Tom Ramstack is a long-time Washington, D.C. journalist, author and lawyer. You can contact him at [email protected].

Recent Work

FBI Director Warns Congress of Evolving Terrorism Threats
Cybersecurity
FBI Director Warns Congress of Evolving Terrorism Threats
September 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The FBI’s director acknowledged Thursday that the risks of terrorism and other attacks against the United States are evolving so fast that his agency has difficulty managing them. Cyberattackers threaten the next presidential election, COVID-19 vaccine development and U.S. industries’ best research into new... Read More

Congress Seeks a Clean Energy Economy While Recovering from Coronavirus Pandemic
Energy
Congress Seeks a Clean Energy Economy While Recovering from Coronavirus Pandemic
September 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congress discussed proposals Wednesday to switch the United States to 100% clean energy as Western governors confronting out-of-control wildfires demand action on global warming. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is trying to figure out a way to recover jobs lost during the coronavirus... Read More

Congressional Resolution Supporting Asians Seeks to Protect Against COVID-19 Hate Crimes
Congress
Congressional Resolution Supporting Asians Seeks to Protect Against COVID-19 Hate Crimes
September 14, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A congressional resolution that started Monday as a condemnation of hate crimes against Asians quickly turned into a dispute over who should be blamed for the devastation caused by coronavirus. Democrats blamed President Donald Trump for mishandling the U.S. response to the pandemic that... Read More

Scientists Tell Congress Coronavirus Lessons Must Be Remembered for Future Epidemics
Health
Scientists Tell Congress Coronavirus Lessons Must Be Remembered for Future Epidemics
September 14, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Scientists updated a congressional committee Friday on how the U.S. Energy Department is helping to develop a cure and vaccine for COVID-19. They said Energy Department supercomputers are unlocking mysteries about the structure of the virus as they look for ways to deactivate it.... Read More

Amtrak Asks Congress for Supplement to Avoid Bankruptcy Caused by Pandemic
Congress
Amtrak Asks Congress for Supplement to Avoid Bankruptcy Caused by Pandemic
September 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Amtrak made a plea to Congress Wednesday for billions of dollars in supplemental funding to avoid financial collapse as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate its ridership. The number of riders on the national passenger railroad dropped by 97% during the worst of the... Read More

Federal Financial Regulators Assure Congress They Seek Minorities and Women in Workforce
In The News
Federal Financial Regulators Assure Congress They Seek Minorities and Women in Workforce
September 9, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON — Representatives from federal financial agencies defended their record on hiring women and minorities Tuesday while members of a congressional subcommittee accused them of an uninspired effort. “I’m not sensing that we’re making a lot of progress here,” said Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Texas Democrat.... Read More

Rapper Kanye West Kicked Off Virginia Ballot by Court Order
2020 Elections
Rapper Kanye West Kicked Off Virginia Ballot by Court Order
September 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

RICHMOND -- Rap star Kanye West was booted off Virginia’s ballot this week by a judge who accused him of using deceptive tactics to qualify as a candidate for president. Last week, Virginia’s Board of Elections determined West qualified to be on the state’s ballot for... Read More

Congress Demands Treasury Department Monitor Coronavirus Bailout Money Better
Congress
Congress Demands Treasury Department Monitor Coronavirus Bailout Money Better
September 1, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress directed tough questions at the U.S. Treasury secretary Tuesday about fraud and abuse in the Trump administration’s coronavirus relief program. They said billions of dollars intended to protect jobs and family homes were being diverted to small businesses that either did... Read More

Biden’s Hint on Supreme Court Nominee Sets Off Speculation on Prospective Candidates
2020 Elections
Biden’s Hint on Supreme Court Nominee Sets Off Speculation on Prospective Candidates
September 1, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s recent statement during a press conference that he would nominate an African American woman to the Supreme Court if he is elected is narrowing the list to three likely nominees. Although he declined to give out the names, the... Read More

Congress Moves Closer to Alternatives for Safe Voting During Nov. 3 Election
2020 Elections
Congress Moves Closer to Alternatives for Safe Voting During Nov. 3 Election
August 31, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congress and the courts are closing in on strategies to secure the nation’s vote in November without sacrificing the health of voters confronting risks of coronavirus. Much of the discussion focuses on benefits and perils of absentee voting during the Nov. 3 federal election.... Read More

Tech Giants Try to Dismiss Lawsuit Accusing Them of Child Labor Violation
Litigation
Tech Giants Try to Dismiss Lawsuit Accusing Them of Child Labor Violation
August 27, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Some of America’s technology giants are trying to get a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing them of promoting the use of children to mine cobalt for their lithium-ion batteries. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla said in their motion to dismiss this... Read More

House Democrats Accuse U.S. Postmaster of Lying About Mail Delays, Political Motives
Congress
House Democrats Accuse U.S. Postmaster of Lying About Mail Delays, Political Motives
August 24, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats hammered the U.S. postmaster Monday with allegations that he is conspiring to sabotage on-time mail deliveries while he defiantly denied he is trying to influence the 2020 federal election. Instead, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he was trying to cut costs to... Read More

U.S. Postmaster Defends Mail Cutbacks As Driven by Financial Desperation
Postal Service
U.S. Postmaster Defends Mail Cutbacks As Driven by Financial Desperation
August 21, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. postmaster tried to convince a sometimes skeptical Senate committee Friday that recent interruptions in mail service represented only an effort to cut costs amid a tight budget. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called the hearing to deal with reports mail... Read More

Newspapers Suffer Deep Losses as Pandemic Deals Another Blow
Media
Newspapers Suffer Deep Losses as Pandemic Deals Another Blow
August 18, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

The New York Daily News put itself on the cutting edge of journalism again last week as it faces down a threat from coronavirus. The newspaper, which has boasted one of the nation’s largest number of readers, closed its newsroom. In fact, the owners also closed... Read More

Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
Military
Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
August 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Only men can be drafted into the U.S. military, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled last week. The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group National Coalition for Men and two men who alleged sex discrimination. They argued that a... Read More

Opportunity Possible for Trump to Make Supreme Court Solidly Conservative
Supreme Court
Opportunity Possible for Trump to Make Supreme Court Solidly Conservative
August 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans are preparing for the possibility they and President Donald Trump will have an opportunity to turn the Supreme Court sharply to the conservative right soon. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent announcement that she is undergoing treatment for a recurrence of cancer is... Read More

Court Ruling Denies Insurance For Restaurants Hit by Pandemic
Law
Court Ruling Denies Insurance For Restaurants Hit by Pandemic
August 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A District of Columbia judge’s ruling this week is the latest court judgment that absolves insurers from obligations to cover the losses of businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. A group of restaurants sued their insurer after the company declined to reimburse them under their... Read More

Educators Say US Needs Better Plan to Reopen Schools Safely in Pandemic
Education
Educators Say US Needs Better Plan to Reopen Schools Safely in Pandemic
August 7, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - House Democrats, at a congressional hearing Thursday on reopening public schools, accused President Donald Trump of mishandling the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. They said schools might not have been forced to close early in the Spring and resort to distance learning if... Read More

Former Justice Dept. Official Criticizes Dismissed Charges Against Flynn
Law
Former Justice Dept. Official Criticizes Dismissed Charges Against Flynn
August 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates renewed suspicions of favoritism in Senate testimony Wednesday about the dropped charges against the Trump administration’s first national security advisor.  She called the dismissal of charges against Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to the FBI “highly irregular.”... Read More

Congress Reviews Security for Upcoming Federal Election
2020 Elections
Congress Reviews Security for Upcoming Federal Election
August 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Security systems for mail-in ballots need additional funding and information technology assistance to be ready for the upcoming November election, security experts told Congress Tuesday. They warned that foreign adversaries and other hackers will try to influence the election unless they can be blocked... Read More

Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
Law
Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
August 3, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge’s recent ruling gave prosecutors nationwide a new tool for pursuing money launderers by redefining bitcoin as a form of currency. The ruling was based on the prosecution of a man who tried to evade criminal charges after he allegedly transferred more... Read More

Big Tech Chief Executives Defend Against Antitrust Accusations in Congress
Congress
Big Tech Chief Executives Defend Against Antitrust Accusations in Congress
July 30, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The chief executives of the biggest computer and Internet companies faced tough questioning in Congress Wednesday on whether they have too much control over the U.S. market. Some lawmakers want to break up their dominance under federal antitrust laws. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google... Read More

Democrats Criticize Trump for Ordering Illegal Immigrants Excluded From Census
Census
Democrats Criticize Trump for Ordering Illegal Immigrants Excluded From Census
July 30, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democrats attacked the president’s plan to exclude illegal immigrants from the 2020 Census during a congressional hearing Wednesday while Republicans said they wanted to prevent foreign influence. The House Oversight Committee held what it called an “emergency hearing” to respond to a July 21... Read More

Congress Reviews Police Actions Against Portland and D.C. Protesters
Political News
Congress Reviews Police Actions Against Portland and D.C. Protesters
July 29, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Recent police action against protesters fell under criticism during two congressional hearings Tuesday. Some accusations of wrongdoing were directed at U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who Democratic lawmakers accused of abusing his authority by authorizing excessive force against Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Portland,... Read More

Trump Officials Accused of Intimidating Advocacy Group for Internet Freedom
Political News
Trump Officials Accused of Intimidating Advocacy Group for Internet Freedom
July 27, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is accused in a new lawsuit in Washington, D.C., of trying to squelch media rights of a nonprofit organization that receives grants from the U.S. government. The Washington-based Open Technology Fund says the Trump administration is trying to intimidate it, perhaps... Read More

Senate Confronts China Threat to Beat Out U.S. Economy
Geopolitics
Senate Confronts China Threat to Beat Out U.S. Economy
July 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate tried to figure out a response Wednesday to a trade war with China that is taking on new urgency during the coronavirus pandemic. Republican and Democratic senators identified Chinese computer hackers and patent thieves as threats to the U.S. economy that... Read More

Senate Takes Aim at Scammers Taking Money From COVID-19 Victims
U.S. Senate
Senate Takes Aim at Scammers Taking Money From COVID-19 Victims
July 22, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Scammers who cheat desperate consumers out of money during the coronavirus pandemic prompted calls for federal legislation to crack down on them during a Senate hearing Tuesday. The proposals would set new standards for data privacy, penalize price-gougers and toughen penalties for retailers who... Read More

Ruling by 2nd Circuit Could Send Sanctuary Cities and States Case to Supreme Court
Immigration
Ruling by 2nd Circuit Could Send Sanctuary Cities and States Case to Supreme Court
July 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

A federal appeals court placed part of the federal funding for sanctuary cities in jeopardy with a ruling last week that endorses a policy of punishing cities and states that refuse to cooperate in deporting illegal immigrants. The ruling advances a Trump administration threat beginning in... Read More

Small Businesses Ask for More Aid to Ward Off COVID’s Economic Disaster
Congress
Small Businesses Ask for More Aid to Ward Off COVID’s Economic Disaster
July 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Small business representatives made a plea to Congress Thursday for assistance in getting Americans back to work after millions of workers lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that without financial assistance and retraining of the workforce many jobs could be permanently... Read More

National Cyber Director Proposed to Coordinate Computer Security
Cybersecurity
National Cyber Director Proposed to Coordinate Computer Security
July 16, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democrats and Republicans agreed Wednesday during a congressional hearing that the U.S. government needs a more proactive strategy for protecting against cyberattacks but disagreed how to accomplish it. Democrats want a new agency to address cyberthreats while Republicans suggest working more aggressively through existing... Read More

International Cooperation on COVID-19 Urged During Congressional Hearing
Foreign Affairs
International Cooperation on COVID-19 Urged During Congressional Hearing
July 15, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - U.S. experts on European financial and political policy added their voices to an international call for greater cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic during a congressional hearing Tuesday. They described the struggle to find a vaccine and to recover from the economic devastation of... Read More

Five States Sue Education Dept. Over CARES Act School Funding
Education
Five States Sue Education Dept. Over CARES Act School Funding
July 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Five states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit this week that accuses the U.S. Education Department of shorting schools in low-income areas on their fair share of coronavirus relief funds. Instead, too much of the money is going to private and wealthy school districts... Read More

Corporate Leaders Suggest Bailout for Minority and Women Businesses
Economy
Corporate Leaders Suggest Bailout for Minority and Women Businesses
July 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Business leaders, during a congressional hearing Thursday, advocated for greater access to financial services for minority and women-owned businesses. They said government bailout money and low-interest loans for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic are going first to established corporations that lack large representation by... Read More

Congress Told Russia’s Putin is a Growing Threat to the U.S.
Congress
Congress Told Russia’s Putin is a Growing Threat to the U.S.
July 7, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Foreign policy experts at a congressional hearing Tuesday described the Russian government as increasingly troubled under the rule of Vladimir Putin and a growing threat to the United States. They said recent reports that the Russian military paid Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers... Read More

Court Upholds Maryland’s Ban on Rapid Fire Gun Bump Stocks
State News
Court Upholds Maryland’s Ban on Rapid Fire Gun Bump Stocks
July 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan won a judgment this week against gun rights advocates who wanted to overturn the state’s ban on bump stocks and other attachments. Bump stocks speed up the firing rate on semi-automatic weapons, turning them into the equivalent of machine guns. The gun... Read More

Pending Legislation Seeks to Confront Mental Health Crisis from COVID-19
Mental Health
Pending Legislation Seeks to Confront Mental Health Crisis from COVID-19
July 1, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A psychologist and psychiatrist on Tuesday suggested Congress provide stronger federal intervention to prevent a mental health crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. They said suicides and substance abuse are on the upswing as Americans struggle with quarantines, social distancing and deaths of relatives. “We... Read More

Park Police Criticized for Use of Force During Protest Near White House
Law Enforcement
Park Police Criticized for Use of Force During Protest Near White House
June 30, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

A political protester and an Australian television reporter led criticisms during a congressional hearing Monday against U.S. Park Police who aggressively cleared Lafayette Square park near the White House June 1. Police forced Black Lives Matter protesters to back away from the area while President Donald... Read More

Judges Tell Congress Internet Video Will Make Courts More Accessible
Courts
Judges Tell Congress Internet Video Will Make Courts More Accessible
June 25, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Judges and lawmakers at a congressional hearing Thursday left little doubt that Internet video and teleconferencing will become permanent parts of court proceedings soon. They described the emergency procedures instituted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to transform the courts with... Read More

U.S. Prosecutors Accuse Attorney General of Politically Influencing Criminal Investigations
Law
U.S. Prosecutors Accuse Attorney General of Politically Influencing Criminal Investigations
June 25, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Current and former Justice Department attorneys on Wednesday accused the U.S. Attorney General of allowing Trump administration policies to influence criminal investigations and prosecutions. They also said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing that Justice Department administrators threatened attorneys who complained about the political... Read More

Senate Plans Legislation to Prepare for Next Pandemic Like COVID-19
Health
Senate Plans Legislation to Prepare for Next Pandemic Like COVID-19
June 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate tried Tuesday to respond to warnings from infectious disease experts that coronavirus is only an example of other pandemics that are coming soon. The World Health Organization has warned that a global population topping 7.8 billion plus global warming are creating... Read More

Economists and Educators Make Plea for Bigger COVID-19 Relief Bailout
Education
Economists and Educators Make Plea for Bigger COVID-19 Relief Bailout
June 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Economists and educators asked a congressional committee Monday for a federal bailout to help ethnic minorities who they say are hit unequally hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. They agreed widely that African Americans and Latinos are losing their jobs or falling behind in education... Read More

Social Media Security Officials Say They’re Ready for 2020 Election
Social Media Security Officials Say They’re Ready for 2020 Election
June 18, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Social media security officials acknowledged to Congress Thursday that they face ongoing threats by foreign governments to influence American society despite their best preventive efforts. They testified to the House Intelligence Committee as it seeks assurances there will be no repeat of the 2016... Read More

Educators Tell Congress COVID-19 Leaves Schools Vastly Underfunded
Education
Educators Tell Congress COVID-19 Leaves Schools Vastly Underfunded
June 16, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- School administrators cautioned Congress Monday about underfunding education as the COVID-19 epidemic takes a big bite out of government appropriations. They said many schoolchildren already are falling behind in their studies while they face a likelihood of fewer teachers and bigger classes in the... Read More

Pastor Sues Washington Mayor Over Political Street Lettering
Litigation
Pastor Sues Washington Mayor Over Political Street Lettering
June 15, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

A self-described street pastor is suing Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser over her decision to commission a street mural that says “Black Lives Matter” in large letters on a street near the White House. The lawsuit filed by Rich Penkoski says the mayor is violating the... Read More

Senate Committee Plans to Subpoena Investigators from Mueller Report
Political News
Senate Committee Plans to Subpoena Investigators from Mueller Report
June 11, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A Senate committee voted Thursday to reopen the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election with plans to question the investigators. The Republican-led move responds to allegations by President Trump that his top officials were targeted for the first investigation by his political... Read More

Civil Rights Leaders Tell Congress Police Practices Need Reform
Congress
Civil Rights Leaders Tell Congress Police Practices Need Reform
June 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

African American civil rights leaders spoke out in support Wednesday of a bill pending in Congress that would set national standards for police behavior. It also would ban chokeholds, reduce legal immunity for police misconduct and create a national database of abusive officers. “It never should... Read More

Senate Told That Fraudsters Prey on Pandemic Victims
In The News
Senate Told That Fraudsters Prey on Pandemic Victims
June 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal law enforcement officials pledged a vigorous crackdown Tuesday during a Senate hearing on fraudsters who are trying to make easy money off vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. They accused con artists of selling fake vaccines and cures over the Internet, price gouging... Read More

Venezuelan Embassy Activists Avoid Jail With Plea Bargain
Law
Venezuelan Embassy Activists Avoid Jail With Plea Bargain
June 9, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A plea bargain with federal prosecutors is allowing four activists to avoid jail time after they occupied the Venezuelan Embassy in April and May. The four were part of a group that stayed in the embassy in Washington, D.C. for a month to demonstrate... Read More

Bill in Congress Would Punish China for Intrusions in Hong Kong Autonomy
Geopolitics
Bill in Congress Would Punish China for Intrusions in Hong Kong Autonomy
June 8, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Congress moved closer Thursday to approving economic sanctions against China for its interference with Hong Kong’s independence. Most Democrats and Republicans on a Senate committee joined in saying the United States must take action to condemn China’s plan to crack down on Hong Kong’s... Read More

Party Divisions Evident in Congress Over Expanded Use of Absentee Ballots
2020 Elections
Party Divisions Evident in Congress Over Expanded Use of Absentee Ballots
June 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A congressional subcommittee on Wednesday threw itself into the growing controversy over absentee voting as a safeguard against coronavirus. Democrats and Republicans agreed voters should not need to risk their lives at polling places by exposing themselves to carriers of the deadly disease. They... Read More

Federal Prison Officials Tell Senate About Their Coronavirus Control
Criminal Justice
Federal Prison Officials Tell Senate About Their Coronavirus Control
June 3, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The further move this week by cities to reopen as coronavirus infections subside is raising concerns about a resurgence of the disease, particularly in jails. The worries were heightened by protests this week against police brutality that drew large numbers of people into small... Read More

Maritime Industry Asks Congress for Bailout During Coronavirus
Trade
Maritime Industry Asks Congress for Bailout During Coronavirus
June 1, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Representatives of the U.S. maritime industry asked Congress for an emergency bailout Friday as they described how coronavirus is hurting ports and shippers. They are expecting their revenue to drop by as much as one-quarter below normal levels by mid-2020. Rep. Peter DeFazio, an... Read More

Congress Seeks to Help Minorities Hit Hardest by Coronavirus
Health
Congress Seeks to Help Minorities Hit Hardest by Coronavirus
May 28, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Medical and social welfare witnesses told a congressional committee Wednesday that ethnic minorities need an increased effort to protect them from the devastation of coronavirus. They are dying or losing their jobs in some locations at almost twice the rate of the white population,... Read More

Virginia Voters Sue to Block Widespread Absentee Voting
Voting
Virginia Voters Sue to Block Widespread Absentee Voting
May 26, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

A group of Virginia voters is suing their state over a plan for wider use of absentee ballots during the primary election next month as coronavirus restrictions continue. Their lawsuit is one of more than a dozen pending nationwide that seek orders for more absentee ballots... Read More

State Attorneys General Threaten to Sue EPA Over Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
Environment
State Attorneys General Threaten to Sue EPA Over Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
May 26, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Three Mid-Atlantic attorneys general are threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to enforce water quality standards to protect the Chesapeake Bay. They accuse the EPA of ignoring its court-ordered duty to prevent polluters in New York and Pennsylvania from dumping sewage and agricultural... Read More

Senate Told to Find New Approaches for Nursing Homes Hit With Coronavirus
Aging
Senate Told to Find New Approaches for Nursing Homes Hit With Coronavirus
May 22, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate made a first step Thursday toward new legislation intended specifically to protect elderly people from the ravages of coronavirus. The Senate Special Committee on Aging listened to medical experts’ opinions on measures needed to help the elderly, who represent nearly 80%... Read More

Justice Dept. Seeks Dismissal of Equal Rights Amendment Suit
Litigation
Justice Dept. Seeks Dismissal of Equal Rights Amendment Suit
May 19, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is attempting to get a lawsuit dismissed that seeks to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A Justice Department motion to dismiss filed last week says the deadline expired for states to ratify the amendment to protect women’s... Read More

Health Official Warns of Botched COVID-19 Management by Trump
In The News
Health Official Warns of Botched COVID-19 Management by Trump
May 15, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A whistleblower on the Trump administration’s response to coronavirus warned Congress Thursday that threats from the disease are greater than most government officials are willing to admit. The pandemic will “get worse and be prolonged” without a better plan for fast action on national... Read More

Congress Tries to Protect Employers From Lawsuits Tied to Coronavirus
Congress
Congress Tries to Protect Employers From Lawsuits Tied to Coronavirus
May 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Industry and legal experts told the U.S. Senate Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic is creating liabilities that are not adequately addressed by existing laws and regulations. As a result, business owners are running up against hundreds of lawsuits that are slowing the nation’s economic... Read More

Universities Sued by Students Who Say Online Education Inadequate
Education
Universities Sued by Students Who Say Online Education Inadequate
May 11, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Universities nationwide are being sued by parents and students who say the schools are falling short of their duties during the coronavirus shutdown. The universities have switched to online education until the national emergency subsides. The students and their parents say they didn’t pay tens of... Read More

Restaurants Sue Insurance Companies for Business Losses from Pandemic
Litigation
Restaurants Sue Insurance Companies for Business Losses from Pandemic
May 5, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Restaurants are filing a surge of lawsuits against insurance companies as they seek coverage for business interruptions during the coronavirus shutdown. The insurance companies say their business interruption policies grant them exemptions for viruses that cause no physical damage. In other words, the insurers... Read More

Urban Courts Likely to Be Slow to Reopen During Coronavirus
Law
Urban Courts Likely to Be Slow to Reopen During Coronavirus
May 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON – Guidelines announced last week for reopening U.S. federal courts are likely to leave the nation’s biggest cities as late-comers.  The guidelines from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts depend heavily on conditions of the epidemic in each jurisdiction.  While the spread of coronavirus... Read More

Student Advocates Sue Education Dept. for Wage Garnishments in Loan Defaults
Education
Student Advocates Sue Education Dept. for Wage Garnishments in Loan Defaults
May 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Higher education advocacy groups are suing the U.S. Education Department for continuing to garnish the wages of persons who default on student loan payments during the coronavirus epidemic. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced March 25 her department would suspend the wage garnishments while a... Read More

Prosecutors Oppose Inmate Releases Despite Jails Spreading Coronavirus
Criminal Justice
Prosecutors Oppose Inmate Releases Despite Jails Spreading Coronavirus
April 27, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Some federal prosecutors are opposing the trend of granting inmates supervised release from jail to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In U.S. District Court filings, federal prosecutors argue most of the inmates asking for home confinement instead of jail have failed to prove they... Read More

FCC Asks Supreme Court to Allow TV Stations to Own Newspapers
Media
FCC Asks Supreme Court to Allow TV Stations to Own Newspapers
April 27, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission is asking the Supreme Court to review media ownership rules to allow broadcast stations to own newspapers. The FCC, along with the Justice Department, says the current regulations that prevent media companies from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station... Read More

Class Actions Against China Grow Despite Foreign Policy Obstacles
Litigation
Class Actions Against China Grow Despite Foreign Policy Obstacles
April 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Law firms and their clients who are joining the growing list of plaintiffs against the Chinese government over the coronavirus outbreak are running up against a foreign policy that could rule out any successful lawsuits. About a half-dozen class action lawsuits have been filed... Read More

Maryland Court Reinstates School Nutrition Standards
State News
Maryland Court Reinstates School Nutrition Standards
April 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration must reinstate nutrition standards for school meals that the Agriculture Department eliminated in 2018, a federal court in Maryland ruled this week. The plaintiffs were the Center for Science in the Public Interest as well as Healthy School Food Maryland. The... Read More

Attorney General Says Justice Department Can Shoot Down 'Threatening' Drones
Technology
Attorney General Says Justice Department Can Shoot Down 'Threatening' Drones
April 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. attorney general issued a guidance this week that authorizes the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Prisons and other Justice Department agencies to intercept communications from threatening drones or destroy them without prior consent. The policy is intended in part to prevent... Read More

Maryland City’s Female Toplessness Ban Survives in Court Ruling ... For Now
Law
Maryland City’s Female Toplessness Ban Survives in Court Ruling ... For Now
April 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Ocean City, Maryland, can continue to enforce its ban on topless women at its popular beach, a federal judge ruled last week. There’s a fundamental difference between topless women and topless men that is supported by case law and tradition, Judge James Bredar wrote in his... Read More

D.C.’s Small COVID-19 Funding Renews Calls for Statehood
State News
D.C.’s Small COVID-19 Funding Renews Calls for Statehood
April 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Legislation approved by Congress recently to distribute emergency coronavirus funding nationwide is renewing calls for District of Columbia statehood. Each state will receive at least $1.25 billion from the emergency fund lawmakers approved two weeks ago. The District of Columbia is receiving $500 million,... Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Ban to Remain for Religious Ads
Religion
U.S. Supreme Court Allows Ban to Remain for Religious Ads
April 8, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court declined this week to review a lower court ruling that allows the Washington, D.C. transit system to ban religious ads. As a result, transit agencies now have the discretion to prohibit religious, political and issue-oriented messages that previously were found... Read More

Free Speech Advocates Request Transparency While Courts Are Closed
Law
Free Speech Advocates Request Transparency While Courts Are Closed
April 7, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Free speech advocates are expressing concern that criminal proceedings being held by closed circuit video during the coronavirus pandemic threaten to cut off the people’s right to know what’s happening in federal and state courts. A federal judiciary policy announced last week allows judges,... Read More

Price-Gougers‌ ‌Face‌ ‌a‌ ‌Crackdown‌ ‌for‌ ‌Profiting‌ ‌on‌ ‌Coronavirus‌
In The News
Price-Gougers‌ ‌Face‌ ‌a‌ ‌Crackdown‌ ‌for‌ ‌Profiting‌ ‌on‌ ‌Coronavirus‌
March 31, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON‌ ‌-‌ ‌Attorneys‌ ‌general‌ ‌nationwide‌ ‌are‌ ‌joining‌ ‌in‌ ‌urging‌ ‌companies‌ ‌that‌ ‌sell‌ ‌ online to‌ ‌stop‌ ‌price-gougers‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌advantage‌ ‌of‌ ‌consumers‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌coronavirus‌ ‌pandemic. They‌ ‌are‌ ‌selling‌ ‌hand‌ ‌sanitizers,‌ ‌aerosol‌ ‌spray‌ ‌disinfectants,‌ ‌surgical‌ ‌masks‌ ‌and‌ ‌other‌ ‌devices designed‌ ‌to‌ ‌prevent‌ ‌the‌ ‌spread‌ ‌of‌ ‌germs‌ ‌at‌ ‌sometimes‌... Read More

Justice Department Proposes Pausing Court Procedures During Emergency
Courts
Justice Department Proposes Pausing Court Procedures During Emergency
March 25, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -The Justice Department is asking Congress to authorize courts to detain criminal suspects indefinitely without trials until the coronavirus subsides. The request would give chief federal judges the power to alter procedures for arrests, investigations and how the cases are processed through the courts. The... Read More

Lawsuit Against Trump Delayed While Similar Dispute Pending
Law
Lawsuit Against Trump Delayed While Similar Dispute Pending
March 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge put a lawsuit by Congress against President Donald Trump on hold Friday until other legal action against the White House is resolved. The lawsuit filed by congressional Democrats seeks six years of Trump’s federal tax records. The subpoena they want enforced... Read More

Proposal in Congress Would Revise Procedures for Presidential Clemency
In The News
Proposal in Congress Would Revise Procedures for Presidential Clemency
March 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump showed favoritism when he granted clemency last month to 11 high profile convicted felons, according to lawmakers and witnesses at a congressional hearing Thursday. They testified while a House Judiciary subcommittee is considering proposals that would revise the procedures for the... Read More

Senate Approves $8.3 Billion Coronavirus Bill
Health
Senate Approves $8.3 Billion Coronavirus Bill
March 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted 96-1 on Thursday to approve $8.3 billion in funding to fight the coronavirus, sending the measure to the White House, where President Trump is expected to sign it. The House overwhelmingly approved the same measure Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of... Read More

Bills Planned for Vote in Congress to Expand Use of Nuclear Energy
Energy
Bills Planned for Vote in Congress to Expand Use of Nuclear Energy
March 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House and Senate considered proposals Tuesday that would expand production of nuclear energy at a time global warming is leaving few alternatives. Lawmakers, scheduled to vote as soon as this week on one of the bills, made clear they don’t want to... Read More

Trump Urged to Increase Pressure on North Korea to Denuclearize
Geopolitics
Trump Urged to Increase Pressure on North Korea to Denuclearize
February 27, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Foreign policy experts told a Senate subcommittee Tuesday that North Korea has returned to its hardline militarization and human rights abuses despite earlier pledges to President Donald Trump of more moderate politics. The Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee held a hearing as it considers proposals... Read More

Will There Be an Investigation of U.S. Attorney General Barr?
In The News
Will There Be an Investigation of U.S. Attorney General Barr?
February 18, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A Washington-based advocacy group for government ethics is asking the Justice Department to investigate the U.S. attorney general for his statements about the criminal conviction of an associate of President Donald Trump. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says Attorney General William Barr... Read More

Coronavirus Quarantines Prompt Warnings of Possible Civil Rights Violations
In The News
Coronavirus Quarantines Prompt Warnings of Possible Civil Rights Violations
February 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal and state officials are hurrying to figure out a long-term quarantine procedure for passengers arriving at U.S. airports who potentially carry the deadly coronavirus without violating their rights. As the epidemic grows, they are considering quarantine within homes where the arriving passengers are... Read More

Turkish Security Guards Face Prosecution After Protester Beatings in DC
Law
Turkish Security Guards Face Prosecution After Protester Beatings in DC
February 13, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Security guards for Turkey’s president must face civil prosecution in Washington, D.C. after they beat protesters on Embassy Row three years ago, a federal judge ruled last week. Attorneys for the government of Turkey argued the security personnel should receive immunity against lawsuits by... Read More

Democrats Say Corporate Tax Rate Favors the Rich, Overlooks the Poor
Congress
Democrats Say Corporate Tax Rate Favors the Rich, Overlooks the Poor
February 12, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Congressional Democrats assailed the Trump administration’s 2017 corporate tax cut during a hearing Tuesday. They said the drop from 35 percent to 21 percent is adding to the national deficit while leaving less tax revenue for programs to help the underprivileged. The House Ways... Read More

Congress Debates Proposal to Remove Approval Deadline for ERA
In The News
Congress Debates Proposal to Remove Approval Deadline for ERA
February 11, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The House split along party lines Monday during a hearing that could help add the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution within weeks. Both the House and Senate are considering resolutions that would remove the deadline for states to ratify the amendment that guarantees... Read More

Defense Contractors Promise Innovations to Keep US Ahead of Foreign Adversaries
Military
Defense Contractors Promise Innovations to Keep US Ahead of Foreign Adversaries
February 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Defense contractors urged Congress Wednesday to increase spending on new military technology as the Trump administration prepares to release its proposed defense budget for fiscal 2021 next week. They described current U.S. military efforts at developing innovative technologies as falling short of needs to... Read More

States’ Attorneys General Sue to Force ERA into Constitution
Litigation
States’ Attorneys General Sue to Force ERA into Constitution
February 6, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The attorneys general of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada are suing in federal court for an order that would add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On January 27 Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the proposed Constitutional amendment that would expand... Read More

Congress Weighs Options to Control Opioid Copycats
In The News
Congress Weighs Options to Control Opioid Copycats
January 31, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Drug control experts urged Congress Tuesday to take quick action to prevent drugs created by clandestine chemists that mimic the effects of opioids from entering legal and illegal marketplaces. They suggested that Congress turn a temporary order on the chemicals into a permanent prohibition... Read More

Former Google CEO Warns Congress About U.S. Losing Technology Lead
Technology
Former Google CEO Warns Congress About U.S. Losing Technology Lead
January 30, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Google’s former chief executive officer told Congress Wednesday the United States would lose its lead in artificial intelligence technology to China in less than a decade unless the federal government creates incentives for new research and development. “In other words, unless trends change, we... Read More

States Sue Federal Government Over Impending Food Stamp Losses
Litigation
States Sue Federal Government Over Impending Food Stamp Losses
January 30, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Fourteen states have joined a lawsuit that seeks to block the Trump administration from reducing food benefits for about 700,000 people nationwide. The cuts represent a rule change the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized shortly before Christmas for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),... Read More

Homeless Advocates Tell Congress Gentrification is Unfair to the Poor
Congress
Homeless Advocates Tell Congress Gentrification is Unfair to the Poor
January 15, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Advocates for the homeless described for a congressional committee Tuesday how urban gentrification is pushing up home prices and pushing out residents who are ready, willing and able to work. The worst of the hardship is falling on families, according to witnesses before the... Read More

Voting Machine Manufacturers Discuss Potential Election Interference From Foreign Adversaries
Elections
Voting Machine Manufacturers Discuss Potential Election Interference From Foreign Adversaries
January 10, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Top executives from companies that make voting machines tried to ease lawmaker’s concerns that hackers could influence the nation’s elections during a congressional hearing Thursday. Their concern was heightened this week by an Iranian missile strike at a U.S. military installation in Iraq. The... Read More

Congress Plans for Financial Damage Caused by Ignoring Climate Change
Climate
Congress Plans for Financial Damage Caused by Ignoring Climate Change
January 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Environmentalists and a South Carolina mayor warned Congress recently that climate change will take an increasing toll on the lives and finances of Americans if the federal government does not act soon. They discussed how greenhouse gas emissions are damaging the real estate and... Read More

Environmentalists Win Lawsuit Protecting Ocean Monuments
Environment
Environmentalists Win Lawsuit Protecting Ocean Monuments
January 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Environmentalists won an appeals court ruling in Washington, D.C. last week protecting ocean marine national monuments. Marine national monuments refer to offshore underwater areas intended to protect coral reefs or wildlife. There are five of them in U.S. territorial waters. The U.S. Court of... Read More

Soldiers’ Families Sue Companies That Allegedly Paid Taliban for Protection
Litigation
Soldiers’ Families Sue Companies That Allegedly Paid Taliban for Protection
January 4, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The families of 143 U.S. soldiers and government contractors sued a group of multinational corporations last week in Washington, D.C. accusing them of indirectly funding the Taliban insurgents who killed and injured their relatives. In the complaint, filed in Washington, the plaintiff families claim... Read More

Senate Grapples with Spiraling Opioid Epidemic
Opioids
Senate Grapples with Spiraling Opioid Epidemic
December 20, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Senate committee sought answers again Tuesday on how to stop a nationwide crisis of opioid addictions while acknowledging their previous efforts have largely failed. A record 61,300 people died from drug overdoses in 2017 in the U.S., up from 54,800 a year... Read More

Bill to Modify State Tax Deduction Splits Opinions During House Hearing
Taxes
Bill to Modify State Tax Deduction Splits Opinions During House Hearing
December 17, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A congressional committee took a last look at a Democratic proposal to repeal a cap on state and local taxes before a vote expected in the U.S. House this week. The cap is a $10,000 limit on state and local income tax deductions Republicans... Read More

Democrats Say DeVos Failing to Protect Students From Predatory For-Profit Institutions
Education
Democrats Say DeVos Failing to Protect Students From Predatory For-Profit Institutions
December 13, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Democratic members of Congress accused U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday of neglecting her duty to protect students from for-profit colleges that defrauded them, promising degrees or job placements they were unable to deliver. In response, the Obama administration’s Education Department instituted a... Read More

FBI Investigation of Trump Campaign Justified But Flawed, Agency Watchdog Says
In The News
FBI Investigation of Trump Campaign Justified But Flawed, Agency Watchdog Says
December 13, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The FBI was justified in investigating the Trump 2016 presidential campaign’s alleged ties to the Russian government but the investigation was deeply flawed, the Justice Department’s inspector general told Congress Wednesday. Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his 417-page... Read More

Congress Discusses US Reaction to Chinese “Authoritarianism”
Geopolitics
Congress Discusses US Reaction to Chinese “Authoritarianism”
December 13, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Civil rights leaders and members of Congress urged that tougher policies be adopted to oppose human rights abuses in China and Hong Kong during a congressional hearing earlier this week. They accused China of mass incarceration of political prisoners, interrogations of private citizens who... Read More

More US Troops Could Be Headed to Mideast as Iranian Threat Intensifies
Military
More US Troops Could Be Headed to Mideast as Iranian Threat Intensifies
December 6, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A high-ranking Defense Department official acknowledged during a Senate hearing Thursday that the U.S. government is considering sending more troops to the Middle East to counter an Iranian military buildup. “We’re concerned about the threat stream we’re seeing,” said John C. Rood, undersecretary of... Read More

State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US
Geopolitics
State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US
December 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Top U.S. State Department officials warned Tuesday about aggression from Russia as Congress considers legislation to counter the country’s military and political threats. The officials spoke during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as it reviewed Russia’s compliance with the New START... Read More

States Appeal Judge’s Decision to Toss Local Tax Deductions Lawsuit
Litigation
States Appeal Judge’s Decision to Toss Local Tax Deductions Lawsuit
December 3, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Four states are appealing a federal judge’s September dismissal of their lawsuit challenging federal authority to limit state and local tax deductions. In a filing before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for the states argue the cap unconstitutionally interferes with their... Read More

Senators Express Frustration with FDA for Slow Response to Vaping Hazards
U.S. Senate
Senators Express Frustration with FDA for Slow Response to Vaping Hazards
November 15, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Food and Drug Administration official told a U.S. Senate committee this week that new regulations to control vaping are likely coming soon, but couldn’t say when. His testimony drew rebukes and words of frustration from members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and... Read More

Government Security Officials Warn Of Evolving Terrorist Threats
National Security
Government Security Officials Warn Of Evolving Terrorist Threats
November 11, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A top Homeland Security Department official described recent “major shifts” in terrorist threats to the United States during a Senate hearing last week. Some threats come from residents of Syria and Iraq displaced by military struggles while others come from emerging technologies for which... Read More

Congress Considers Proposals to Help Immigrants Start Small Businesses
In The News
Congress Considers Proposals to Help Immigrants Start Small Businesses
November 11, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Business leaders in California appealed to Congress Friday to expand financial assistance to immigrants trying to start their own businesses. They said small government investments can create big payoffs when immigrants start successful businesses that pay taxes and employ other persons. The U.S. Small Business Administration... Read More

Trump Considers Disposing of D.C. Hotel to End Legal and Political Disputes
In The News
Trump Considers Disposing of D.C. Hotel to End Legal and Political Disputes
October 30, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Trump organization is considering selling its lease on the downtown Washington Trump International Hotel to resolve legal and political disputes over its ownership and profits. Controversy surrounding the hotel is part of an ongoing tide of criticism against the Donald Trump as he... Read More

Supreme Court to Rule on Gun Law As Mass Shootings Create Outrage
Guns
Supreme Court to Rule on Gun Law As Mass Shootings Create Outrage
October 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court cast itself back into the emotional gun rights controversy when it put a lawsuit over a New York City ban on the transportation of  firearms on its schedule for its current session. The New York law bans most transportation of guns... Read More

Senate Bill Seeks to End Confusion Over Liability for Hemp Shipments
Agriculture
Senate Bill Seeks to End Confusion Over Liability for Hemp Shipments
October 4, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A provision in the Justice Department’s annual funding bill is likely to alter the criminal liability risks for sellers and handlers of cannabis products. Ten states have authorized limited sales of the psychoactive drug for recreation, despite the fact marijuana possession remains a felony... Read More

Washington, D.C. Mayor Claims Constitutional Right to Statehood
In The News
Washington, D.C. Mayor Claims Constitutional Right to Statehood
September 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed at a congressional hearing last week that provisions of the U.S. Constitution give residents of her city a right to statehood. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held the hearing to discuss pending legislation that would make all but... Read More

Congress Considers New Voting Rights Laws After Supreme Court Broadens State Authority
Voting
Congress Considers New Voting Rights Laws After Supreme Court Broadens State Authority
September 17, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congress considered options at a hearing last week on how to guarantee easier access to voter registration during a continuing struggle over states’ rights. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to review the consequences of the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County... Read More

Reporter’s White House Press Pass Reinstated by Judge After Altercation
Reporter’s White House Press Pass Reinstated by Judge After Altercation
September 6, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge reinstated the White House press pass of Playboy magazine reporter Brian Karem Tuesday after it was taken away by the Trump administration’s press secretary. Karem lost his press pass in July after a loud altercation in the Rose Garden with former... Read More

Trump Aide Testifies Against Attorney Accused of Foreign Lobbying Violations
Law
Trump Aide Testifies Against Attorney Accused of Foreign Lobbying Violations
August 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors accused a high-powered Washington, D.C. lawyer in court this week of engaging in illegal foreign lobbying by helping to craft a report critical of the Ukraine’s former prime minister. Gregory Craig, White House counsel during the Obama administration, says his law firm's... Read More

Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects
State News
Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects
August 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A ruling last week by Maryland’s highest court is likely to help redefine the criminal law of marijuana possession as states nationwide search for new legal standards. A unanimous Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that police who smell marijuana can use the odor to justify a... Read More

Federal Appeals Judge Removed from Case After Dispute Over Climate Change Seminar
Courts
Federal Appeals Judge Removed from Case After Dispute Over Climate Change Seminar
August 20, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A Washington, D.C. federal appeals court judge was removed from an upcoming high-profile environmental case last week after a dispute with a second judge over what was supposed to be a harmless invitation. It started with a simple advisory email from one judge telling others about... Read More

State Attorneys General Sue To Block New Immigration Rule
Immigration
State Attorneys General Sue To Block New Immigration Rule
August 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The attorneys general from 13 states filed a lawsuit this week to block a new Trump administration rule that makes it harder for immigrants receiving public assistance to get green cards for permanent residency. The lawsuit is pending in federal court in the state of Washington.... Read More

States Sue Trump Administration Over Lower Fuel Efficiency Penalties
Regulation
States Sue Trump Administration Over Lower Fuel Efficiency Penalties
August 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Twelve states are suing the Trump administration over its decision to deeply roll back potential penalties against automakers that violate federal fuel efficiency standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes a 61 percent reduction in penalties for violations of motor vehicle average fuel economy standards... Read More

Equifax Agrees to $700 Million Settlement After Huge Hacking Incident Hit Consumers
In The News
Equifax Agrees to $700 Million Settlement After Huge Hacking Incident Hit Consumers
July 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Credit reporting giant Equifax Inc. signed a settlement Monday in which it agreed to pay as much as $700 million to resolve government and consumer complaints resulting from a data breach that exposed the personal financial information of most of the U.S. adult population.... Read More

Washington Legal Advocates, Lawmakers Want Immigration Procedures Changed
Immigration
Washington Legal Advocates, Lawmakers Want Immigration Procedures Changed
July 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Some of Washington’s prominent legal organizations and lawmakers are scrambling to address the nation’s illegal immigration crisis while courts confront a hopeless backlog of cases. They are proposing new procedures to manage the flood of illegal immigrants being held in detention centers while seeking... Read More

DC-Area Radio Station Registers As Foreign Agent of Russians
In The News
DC-Area Radio Station Registers As Foreign Agent of Russians
July 8, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Russian government paid a middleman company more than $1.4 million to broadcast propaganda for the past two years on Washington, D.C., area radio station WZHF 1390, according to recently-released foreign agent registration records. The registration by Florida-based RM Broadcasting LLC was ordered by... Read More

House Democrats Oppose Trump Plan to Expand Uranium Mining
Energy
House Democrats Oppose Trump Plan to Expand Uranium Mining
July 2, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are trying to block a Trump administration effort to expand uranium mining in the United States. The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is considering a new bill that would severely restrict uranium mining. Democrats proposed the bill, called the Uranium... Read More

Federal Employees’ Lawsuit Reinstated for Data Breach of Personal Information
Litigation
Federal Employees’ Lawsuit Reinstated for Data Breach of Personal Information
June 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal employees will get their day in court after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that their lawsuit over an Office of Personnel Management data breach can be reinstated. A trial court dismissed the lawsuit accusing OPM of negligence for allowing... Read More

Children’s Climate Change Lawsuit Considered by Appeals Court for Constitutionality
Litigation
Children’s Climate Change Lawsuit Considered by Appeals Court for Constitutionality
June 7, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal appeals court in Portland, Oregon heard arguments this week in a lawsuit that accuses the Trump administration of endangering the future of children by its environmental policies that do little to avoid climate change. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 21 children who... Read More

Nonprofit Group Seeks Sanctions Against Immigration Agency
Immigration
Nonprofit Group Seeks Sanctions Against Immigration Agency
May 28, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A national civil rights group is asking a federal judge in Colorado to sanction U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE for “atrocious litigation conduct.” The federal agency is requiring the nonprofit organization to do a computer keyword search to find information... Read More

State Attorneys General Boost U.S. House Payday Lender Bill
U.S. House
State Attorneys General Boost U.S. House Payday Lender Bill
May 28, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Twenty-five state attorneys general are giving a boost to a bill introduced in Congress this month that seeks to rein in excessive interest rates on payday loans. The attorneys general filed a comment letter with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opposing the agency’s proposed... Read More

Dismissed Student Sues Georgetown As National Admission Scandal Grows
Education
Dismissed Student Sues Georgetown As National Admission Scandal Grows
May 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A Georgetown University undergraduate is suing the university after his father pleaded guilty to paying a bribe to help his son’s academic career in another example of the national college admissions scandal. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses the... Read More

DC Radio Station Must Register As Russian Agent, Judge Rules
DC Radio Station Must Register As Russian Agent, Judge Rules
May 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Washington, D.C. radio station must register as a foreign agent because of its persistent broadcasts of Russian news and information that critics describe as propaganda, a federal judge ruled last week. This week, the Justice Department hailed the ruling for demonstrating how the... Read More

House Panel Criticizes Trump for Climate Change Policies That Harm Public Lands
Environment
House Panel Criticizes Trump for Climate Change Policies That Harm Public Lands
May 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democratic members of Congress said Wednesday that environmental policies of the Trump administration are threatening the nation’s outdoor recreation industry. During two House Natural Resources Committee hearings, a Trump administration official defended the Interior Department’s record, but environmentalists warned of severe consequences. Some of... Read More

Senate Witnesses Advocate Space Force to Protect U.S. Military and Private Satellites
National Security
Senate Witnesses Advocate Space Force to Protect U.S. Military and Private Satellites
May 15, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The United States needs a new military branch called the Space Force for national defense and to protect commercial satellites, expert witnesses told a Senate panel Tuesday. President Donald Trump proposed the Space Force last year as a new and separate branch of the military.... Read More

Rising Nuclear Waste Cleanup Costs Spark Outrage from Congressmen
Environment
Rising Nuclear Waste Cleanup Costs Spark Outrage from Congressmen
May 3, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress expressed outrage Wednesday during hearings on Capitol Hill at the rising cost and government inaction in cleaning up the nation’s nuclear waste. Some lawmakers were reacting to a Government Accountability Office report released this week that shows the cleanup costs have... Read More

Ford Investigated Over Concerns About Improper Emissions Tests
Business
Ford Investigated Over Concerns About Improper Emissions Tests
April 29, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Ford Motor Co. is being investigated by the Justice Department over its emissions certification process, the company said in a government securities filing Friday. Ford said in the quarterly report that the criminal investigation focuses on its “road load estimations,” which refers to its method for... Read More

Democrats Threaten Contempt for Trump’s Defiance of Subpoenas
In The News
Democrats Threaten Contempt for Trump’s Defiance of Subpoenas
April 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Democratic members of Congress threatened a contempt citation Wednesday against a Trump administration official who refused to testify this week on an immigration question for the 2020 Census. John Gore, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, was subpoenaed to appear before... Read More

US Court Allows Patent for Marijuana Formulation
Litigation
US Court Allows Patent for Marijuana Formulation
April 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal court ruling last week set a precedent for property rights to cannabis products in the quickly growing marijuana industry. U.S. District Judge William Martinez, an Obama appointee who presides in Colorado, ruled that cannabinoid formulations can be considered the unique handiwork of their developers... Read More

New Mexico Residents Complain About Oil and Gas Drilling
New Mexico
New Mexico Residents Complain About Oil and Gas Drilling
April 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Members of a U.S. House committee advocated for stricter oil and natural gas drilling regulations during a hearing Monday in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources said lax regulations are creating too much air pollution and depriving residents... Read More

Former White House Counsel Arrested On Lying about Foreign Lobbying Charge
In The News
Former White House Counsel Arrested On Lying about Foreign Lobbying Charge
April 12, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Former White House counsel Gregory Craig was arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C. on charges that he lied to federal investigators about his role in a foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Craig worked for the Washington law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher &... Read More

Some Congressmen Want to Halt Appalachian Mountaintop Coal Mining
Health
Some Congressmen Want to Halt Appalachian Mountaintop Coal Mining
April 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Residents of Appalachian states warned about severe health and environmental consequences from renewed mountaintop coal mining during a congressional hearing Tuesday. Lawmakers called the hearing to address concerns raised by Trump administration policies to loosen environmental restrictions on coal mining. An occupational health expert... Read More

Social Media Giants Questioned On Encouraging Hate Crimes
Technology
Social Media Giants Questioned On Encouraging Hate Crimes
April 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democrats in Congress used a hearing Tuesday to criticize President Donald Trump and social media companies for encouraging white nationalism and hate crimes. They cited FBI statistics showing hate crimes have increased since Trump took office in 2016. “The president’s rhetoric fans the flames,”... Read More

Congress Seeks New Strategies Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
National Security
Congress Seeks New Strategies Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
April 4, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Two congressional committees met Wednesday on Capitol Hill to figure out the resources they should dedicate to confronting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, Pentagon officials explained emerging threats from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons while... Read More

Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Rules In Blow to Administration
Health
Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Rules In Blow to Administration
March 29, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal judge this week struck down a Trump administration plan that could have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer as a condition of receiving subsidized health care. At least 15 states were planning their own work for health care programs. U.S. District Judge James... Read More

Senate Panel Told 'Space Force' Vital to US Warfighting Mission
Pentagon
Senate Panel Told 'Space Force' Vital to US Warfighting Mission
March 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Defense department officials warned a Senate panel Wednesday that the United States risks losing its military advantage in space to growing threats from China and Russia. They are trying to convince Congress to authorize a new branch of the military that would be called... Read More

Alpine Skier Accused of Cheating Has World Cup Victory Reinstated
In The News
Alpine Skier Accused of Cheating Has World Cup Victory Reinstated
March 19, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The international Court of Arbitration for Sport last week reinstated a victory for German alpine skier Stefan Luitz that he won in December during the World Cup skiing competition. He was stripped of his medal by the International Ski Federation for inhaling from an oxygen tank... Read More

Supreme Court Adopts Trump Policy In Case of Illegal Immigrant Detentions
Immigration
Supreme Court Adopts Trump Policy In Case of Illegal Immigrant Detentions
March 19, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that certain immigrants with previous criminal records can be detained without a right to bail. The 5-4 ruling is a significant victory for the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies but one that is outraging civil rights advocates. The... Read More

Congress Told Budget for Cleanup Of Toxic Chemical is Inadequate
Environment
Congress Told Budget for Cleanup Of Toxic Chemical is Inadequate
March 7, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress expressed frustration Wednesday at the years and billions of dollars needed to clean up a class of toxic chemicals polluting some of the nation’s drinking water. The House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on the environment held the hearing to examine the... Read More

Democrats Try to Override Trump’s Climate Change Policy
Spotlight
Democrats Try to Override Trump’s Climate Change Policy
March 1, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats sharply criticized President Donald Trump Thursday during a hearing on Capitol Hill for pulling out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. They are trying to figure out how to act without the president’s approval to bring the United States into... Read More

Congress Talks Tough on Venezuela
Venezuela
Congress Talks Tough on Venezuela
February 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Tough talk about the troubled Venezuelan government during a congressional hearing Tuesday raised more questions about whether U.S. military intervention is possible soon. A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee called the hearing to determine how the U.S. government should respond to an economic and humanitarian... Read More

US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats
Cybersecurity
US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Senators at a congressional hearing Thursday thanked the Defense Department’s cyber security force for protecting the 2018 midterm elections but warned that foreign hacking threats are likely to only get worse. Americans sometimes unrealistically convince themselves they have the world’s best defenses against cyber-attacks,... Read More

Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services
Economy
Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The lack of legal banking services for marijuana-related businesses is creating unnecessary economic barriers and encouraging crime, the owner of a Washington, D.C. marijuana business told Congress this week. A House Financial Services subcommittee called the hearing to determine whether federal law that bans banking services... Read More

Trump Political Advisor Argues Against Gag Order Before His Criminal Trial
Spotlight
Trump Political Advisor Argues Against Gag Order Before His Criminal Trial
February 8, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Political advisor Roger Stone is setting up a First Amendment free speech challenge during his pre-trial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He told a federal judge Friday that she had no constitutional right to silence him with a... Read More

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Obamacare
Health
Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Obamacare
February 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A decision last week by a federal judge in a Maryland lawsuit is expected to influence an appeal by other states that seek to protect their health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The state of Maryland filed a lawsuit in September to protect its... Read More

Inspector General Report Implies Trump Violated Constitution with Hotel Lease
Spotlight
Inspector General Report Implies Trump Violated Constitution with Hotel Lease
January 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The U.S. General Services Administration demonstrated “serious shortcomings” in reviewing conflicts of interest in the lease on Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, a report this week says. The report by... Read More

Indictment Against Trump Advisor Points Evidence Toward President
Spotlight
Indictment Against Trump Advisor Points Evidence Toward President
January 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The indictment Friday of political advisor Roger J. Stone alleges a pattern of lies that casts serious doubt on the credibility of President Donald Trump. It accuses Stone of falsely telling Congress that he did not inform... Read More

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