News Digest – November 27, 2017

This week in the news, we held a town hall on the #TrumpTaxScam with Reps Cummings, Ruppersberger, and Sarbanes, Cardin and the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte takes a more active role in foreign policy, and Cummings holds a forum on Baltimore’s opioid epidemic.

Taxes

  • This Vox piece on Republicans’ proposals to overhaul the tax code highlights Senator Cardin’s alternative plan, which would exempt from income tax the first $100,000 of income for couples, and introduce a value-added tax.  
  • The Baltimore Sun previewed our tax forum!
  • Lots of other coverage of the tax forum too:

#MeToo → ERA

Senator Cardin has proposed legislation that would remove a 1982 deadline for the requisite number of states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.  ERA advocates believe that the “me too” movement may be their opportunity to renew a push for protections against sexual discrimination.

Foreign affairs

History repeating itself

Senator Van Hollen weighed in on whether the current political climate mirrors 2009’s, in this New York Times piece.  

Legislation

  • Federal Regulation of Facebook: “This is a very good start in terms of setting up expectations of transparency and disclosure,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., House chairman of his party’s Democracy Reform Task Force. “Online platforms have a great deal of political power.”

Environment

  • A bipartisan group in Congress is continuing a push for legislation supporting a federal initiative to better leverage data to help describe and protect America’s coastlines.With half of the American population living and working near a coast, this initiative is critical for coastal safety and also for the nation’s future economy and infrastructure, according to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) who wants the project to be backed up by a statutory mandate.
  • If the Senate does not restore a deep, House-passed cut in federal funding to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, the ripple effect on Maryland conservation efforts could be far larger than what the state would lose in actual dollars, according to program supporters.  “Of course we’re gonna try for the $73 million (on the Senate side). You don’t get it if you don’t ask,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium. “Most important is to maintain the $60 million figure, but it’s not always easy.”

Local News

  • Dozens of Baltimore kids march in support of $12M youth fund; Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke to the crowd before the march.
  • Ft. Meade: The third signing of the Fort George G. Meade Community Covenant recognized the installation’s status as the nation’s platform for information, intelligence and cyber operations.  Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Rep. John Sarbanes, along with other state and local political leaders and business, education and community representatives, signed the covenant in a 30-minute ceremony Monday afternoon at the Odenton Regional Library.
  • Hearing On Opioid Crisis To Take Place In Baltimore: The hearing will be held by Representative Elijah Cummings and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Cummings will help to examine the opioid epidemic and the recommendations of President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

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