Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ4)

Does this representative really want to make Congress a reality TV show, or is he just using the legislative process to make a rhetorical point?

Context

During the national conversation over police reform in recent years, but particularly since the summer 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, a major debate has focused on body-worn cameras for law enforcement in the hopes of reducing deadly encounters and police misconduct.

Since May 2020, six states — all blue states — have begun requiring their use by law enforcement statewide: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and New Mexico. …


Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA8)

Supporters bray this bill passes.

Context

Ejiao, pronounced uh-jee-ow, is a gelatin made from donkey skin with applications from cosmetics to traditional Chinese medicines to food.

There’s no reliable peer-reviewed evidence of ejiao’s purported medicinal values. Nonetheless, for both medicinal and non-medicinal purposes, demand has surged in recent years, worldwide but particularly in China. (Here’s a YouTube video with 17 million views about how to make ejiao cake.)

At the same time, China’s own supply of donkeys has plummeted, from 11 million in 1992 to about 2.6 million today, or only half of the ejiao annual demand. …


Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Even the surgeon general is Senate-confirmed, despite being lower on the hierarchy than the CDC director.

Context

About 1,200 positions in presidential administrations required Senate confirmation. Here’s a full list. Most prominently, they include all the Cabinet positions, including the likes of attorney general and secretary of defense.

Other prominent positions don’t require Senate confirmation at all and are instead unilaterally selected by the president themselves. For decades, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a status which has never particularly created controversy.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, that is. President Joe Biden’s selection, Rochelle Walensky, was previously…


Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

If enacted, it would fall mere days after another federal holiday: Labor Day.

Context and what the legislation does

There are currently 11 federal holidays. The most recently-enacted one, Juneteenth, was added just earlier this year.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 need no introduction. A new bill would make September 11 a federal holiday, every year moving forward.

It was introduced in the Senate on September 14 as S. 2735, by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The bill does not appear to have another, more “official” title.

A press release sent to GovTrack Insider by Sen. Blackburn’s office says that Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) will…


Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN5)

This would be the first federal holiday to honor a woman.

Context

On December 1, 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her Montgomery, Alabama bus seat for a white passenger. Her conviction and fine led to the Montgomery bus boycott, one of the pivotal events of the 1950s-60s civil rights movement.

There had been plans for such a boycott for some time, but Parks — a civil rights activist — provided the spark which actually made it happen. The boycott proved successful when the Supreme Court upheld the 2–1 Alabama district court decision Browder v. …


Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL6)

Is this art sale a brush with corruption?

Context

Previously a lawyer, investor, and lobbyist, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter has just recently begun embarking on an art career. For rights reasons, we can’t include any embedded images of his artwork within this article, but click here for some images.

Hunter’s upcoming art sale this fall has proven controversial for its high prices, with paintings going for as high as $500,000. Most art critics currently consider the paintings to be decent at best, so the conventional wisdom is that the prices are almost entirely because of the artist responsible.

While the…


Rep. Luis Correa (D-CA46)

As the bill’s sponsor would probably say: Los partidarios dicen que la legislación ayudaría a más personas a acceder a la información.

Context

The White House voluntarily adopted a Spanish-language website under President George W. Bush, in 2001. That was continued under Barack Obama, but Donald Trump discontinued it on his first day in office. Joe Biden in turn reinstituted it on his first day in office. (The website can be found here.)

The U.S. is becoming a much more multicultural society. In 1980, more than 90 percent of Americans only spoke English at home, but by 2015 that had dropped…


Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ5)

If this initiative succeeds, Mayorkas would be only the second impeached Cabinet official in U.S. history.

Context

Under President Joe Biden, in July the monthly level of illegal border crossings reached their highest level since May 2000, while in April deportations reached the lowest monthly level on record.

Many Republicans blame Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who proved controversial even before taking the position. His Senate confirmation vote was 56–43, with Democrats approving him unanimously while Republicans largely opposed him 6–43. …


Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR4)

The bill’s supporters say the devices spew cyanide and unhappiness.

Context

14-year-old Canyon Mansfield and his golden lab Kasey were walking in his hometown of Pocatello, Idaho when they came across a strange-looking device on the ground. Canyon went to pick it up, when orange gas emerged and entered his left eye, giving him massive headaches for years to come. Kasey the dog didn’t survive.

M-44 devices are used by the federal government for predator control on public lands. Animals — most frequently coyotes and foxes — step, pull, or bite on the spring-activated device, which releases sodium cyanide and kills…

GovTrack.us

A website for tracking bills in the U.S. Congress. See https://www.govtrack.us.

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