Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Law and Legislation

As Democrats Trim Spending Bill, Some Americans Fear Being Left Behind

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Democrats in Congress are curbing their ambitions for President Biden’s economic agenda, and Jennifer Mount, a home health care aide, worries that means she will not get the raise she needs to pay more than $3,000 in medical bills for blindness in one eye.Edison Suasnavas, who came to the United States from Ecuador as a child, has grown anxious about the administration’s efforts to establish a pathway to citizenship, which he hoped would allow him to keep doing molecular tests for cancer patients in Utah without fear of deportation.And Amy Stelly wonders — thanks to a winnowing of Mr. Biden’s plans to invest in neighborhoods harmed by previous infrastructure projects like highways that have harmed communities of color — whether she will continue to breathe fumes from a freeway...
Lawmakers See Path to Rein In Tech, but It Isn’t Smooth

Lawmakers See Path to Rein In Tech, but It Isn’t Smooth

Business
WASHINGTON — “Facebook and Big Tech are facing a Big Tobacco moment,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said this week when a whistle-blower testified about how the social media company’s products harmed teenagers.“I think that that’s an appropriate analogy,” Senator Cynthia Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, added later.The whistle-blower’s testimony, and the thousands of internal documents she shared with lawmakers, generated unusual bipartisan bonhomie in a divided Washington. Senators said it was time for Congress to coalesce around new regulations to rein in the company and perhaps the technology industry as a whole.But if what faces Big Tech is anything like what happened to Big Tobacco — a reckoning over the industry’s harms to society, and children in particular — wh...
Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Business
Tesla’s move from Silicon Valley to Texas makes sense in many ways: The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and the conservative lawmakers who run the state share a libertarian philosophy, favoring few regulations and low taxes. Texas also has room for a company with grand ambitions to grow.“There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,” Mr. Musk said Thursday at Tesla’s annual meeting hosted at its new factory near the Texas capital. “Here in Austin, our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown.”But Texas may not be the natural choice that Mr. Musk makes it out to be.Tesla’s stated mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” and its customers include many people who want sporty cars that don’t spew greenhouse gases f...
Biden’s Pick for Top Antitrust Official Was a Star Corporate Lawyer

Biden’s Pick for Top Antitrust Official Was a Star Corporate Lawyer

Technology
Mr. Kanter left Paul, Weiss in 2020. His growing ties to companies that had competitive complaints against Big Tech companies increasingly brought up conflicts of interest for the firm. While Google is not a Paul, Weiss client, Apple, for example, is.If he joins the Justice Department, the issue of conflicts would probably be one of appearances rather than something that would require Mr. Kanter to recuse himself from the Google case, legal experts say. It is not a disqualifying conflict, they say, because the Justice Department’s role is as a prosecutor and Mr. Kanter is not switching sides, just becoming a Google adversary on behalf of the government.But it could be an issue that Google raises when the suit goes to trial. Similarly, legal experts view Amazon’s request that Ms. Khan, an o...
Facebook Whistle-Blower Urges Lawmakers to Regulate the Company

Facebook Whistle-Blower Urges Lawmakers to Regulate the Company

Technology
WASHINGTON — A former Facebook product manager who turned into a whistle-blower gave lawmakers an unvarnished look into the inner workings of the world’s largest social network on Tuesday and detailed how the company was deliberate in its efforts to keep people — including children — hooked to its service.In more than three hours of testimony before a Senate subcommittee, Frances Haugen, who worked on Facebook’s civic misinformation team for nearly two years until May, spoke candidly and with a level of insight that the company’s executives have rarely provided. She said Facebook had purposely hidden disturbing research about how teenagers felt worse about themselves after using its products and how it was willing to use hateful content on its site to keep users coming back.Ms. Haugen also...

Biden Pulls Back a Vote on the Infrastructure Bill

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — President Biden, facing an intraparty battle over his domestic agenda, put his own $1 trillion infrastructure bill on hold on Friday, telling Democrats that a vote on the popular measure must wait until Democrats pass his far more ambitious social policy and climate change package.In a closed-door meeting with Democrats on Capitol Hill, Mr. Biden told Democrats for the first time that keeping his two top legislative priorities together had become “just reality.” And he conceded that reaching a deal between the divided factions on his domestic agenda could take weeks.“I’m telling you, we’re going to get this done,” Mr. Biden told reporters Friday afternoon, appearing hand-in-hand with Speaker Nancy Pelosi after he left the closed-door gathering with Democrats. He added: “It doe...
Klete Keller, a 3-Time Olympian, Pleads Guilty in Capitol Riot Case

Klete Keller, a 3-Time Olympian, Pleads Guilty in Capitol Riot Case

Sports
Klete Keller, a three-time U.S. Olympian in swimming, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony charge related to his role in storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 with the intention of stopping the certification of the Electoral College vote.Keller was indicted on seven charges, but as part of a bargain with prosecutors he pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Washington to one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress. As part of the agreement, Keller promised to help law enforcement with any continuing investigation into the attack on the Capitol.More than 600 people have been arrested in relation to the events of Jan. 6, but Keller was one of the most recognizable, because of his 6-foot-6 frame and the fact that he was wearing an Olympic team jacket with “US...

For Schumer and Pelosi, the Challenge of a Career With No Margin for Error

Technology, World
Ms. Pelosi has been in difficult situations before. She had to coax enough anti-abortion Democrats to back the House’s version of the Affordable Care Act without losing liberals, who were already smarting over the Senate’s exclusion of a new government-run plan, or “public option,” that would have competed with private insurance in the bill’s insurance marketplace.Then Senate Democratic leaders abruptly lost their filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority, after a Republican, Scott Brown, shocked Washington by winning the special election in Massachusetts to to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Pelosi had to persuade House Democrats to swallow their pride, forget months of painstaking negotiations and simply pass the Senate’s version of the Affordable Care Ac...

How Democrats Could Shrink Their $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — As Democratic leaders struggle to unite their caucus behind a sprawling domestic policy package, it is increasingly clear the $3.5 trillion in spending and tax increases will have to be pared back, possibly by a lot, to make it to President Biden’s desk.That will involve difficult choices for a party fractured by mistrust and competing priorities. But in a package that is intended to shape every facet of American life, including public education, health care and the environment, there is room for agreement, even in a thinly divided Congress.Here are three possible scenarios for how to structure a final deal.A slightly scaled-back plan that uses budget tricks to hold down the cost.Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, initi...
Sherwood Boehlert, a G.O.P Moderate in the House, Dies at 84

Sherwood Boehlert, a G.O.P Moderate in the House, Dies at 84

Technology
After serving in the Army, he graduated from Utica College in 1961 and managed public relations for the Wyandotte Chemical Company.Lured into politics as a supporter of relatively progressive New York Republicans like Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller and Senator Jacob K. Javits, he went to work for Representative Alexander Pirnie, an upstate Republican, becoming his chief of staff. He later held the same job for Mr. Pirnie’s successor, Donald J. Mitchell, also a Republican.Mr. Boehlert ran successfully for Oneida County executive and, after serving a four-year term, was elected to Congress in 1982. His district, in Central New York, included Cornell University and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which helped account for the Yankee regalia in his office. Unlike many of his coll...