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What's Ahead in Washington

Commerce Hears Tech CEO Testimony
Republicans and Democrats agree dominant technology companies need to change their policies or lose a broad liability shield in place for almost three decades, but lawmakers remain divided over whether the culprit is conservative censorship or misinformation. The split was on display Wednesday when the chief executive officers of Facebook, Twitter, and Google faced off with lawmakers on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
 
While Republicans have raised concerns about conservative censorship by the platforms, Democrats say those same platforms haven’t done enough to stop misinformation and hate speech. Both parties agree the solution to the alleged misbehavior is changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which insulates companies from liability for content generated by their users.
 
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were quick to offer up “transparency” as a solution to issues flagged by both parties around a legal liability shield for the internet known as Section 230. The CEOs suggested that if people better understood why companies make certain decisions, that would eliminate the perception that they are acting for political reasons.
Read more from Forbes
 

White House Ditches Pre-Election Stimulus Hope, Sees Weeks to Go
Trump and his aides appeared resigned to waiting until after the election to get a pandemic stimulus package and put blame on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the delay. “After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” Trump said Tuesday. Later at a rally, Trump said Pelosi won’t approve a deal.
 
Lawmakers had increasingly predicted no deal between Democrats and the administration would be finished before Nov. 3. The departure of U.S. senators from the Capitol for a pre-election break has made the logistics for passing a bill by Election Day practically impossible.
 
“We’re confident we can get something in the coming weeks,” White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said. When pressed on Fox News on the timing, she said, “We’re hoping within weeks. I don’t want to get too ahead of any announcements.”
 
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi said she’s still awaiting the Trump administration’s promised responses on multiple items. The Speaker says she still hasn’t received a final answer on new compromise language regarding a strategy for testing, tracing and treatment of the coronavirus. She also seeks an answer on language on vaccines, the provider fund and Affordable Care Act coverage for unemployed workers. Other areas awaiting responses include state and local aid, child care, earned income tax credit and child tax credit, unemployment insurance, school funding and OSHA liability matters, Pelosi said.
 
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says that Republicans would need to pass another stimulus after the election if they keep the majority. He added that any stimulus would likely be far more modest than what Democrats are asking for.
Compilation from Bloomberg News
 
 
ACB Sworn In as Supreme Court’s Ninth Justice
Amy Coney Barrett was formally sworn in Tuesday as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice, her oath administered in private by Chief Justice John Roberts. Her first votes on the court could include two big topics affecting the man who appointed her.
 
The court is weighing a plea from President Donald Trump to prevent the Manhattan district attorney from acquiring his tax returns. It is also considering appeals from the Trump campaign and Republicans to shorten the deadline for receiving and counting absentee ballots in two battleground states.
 
At 48, she’s the youngest justice since Clarence Thomas joined the court in 1991 at age 43.
More from the Associated Press
 
 

 
The House is out of session the week of Nov 2, 2020
The Senate is out of  session the week of Nov. 2, 2020.


 
 

Not to be missed


Vaccine Won’t Be Available Until January, Fauci Says
A vaccine to help control the coronavirus outbreak isn’t likely to be available in the U.S. until January, if then, according to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor. The trials are designed to run until a predetermined number of people who are enrolled get sick. The studies currently underway are unlikely to hit those benchmarks until sometime in December, Fauci said in an online interview with Howard Bauchner, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Read more
 
 
Selling the Middle Seat
A growing number of airlines are opting to sell the middle seat on flights. Southwest Airlines will follow several carriers, including American Airlines and United Airlines, who opened their middle seats to passengers a few months ago. Southwest announced that starting in December, they will unblock the middle seat. 
 
The airline says they came to the decision after a growing body of data and research showed face masks, enhancing cleaning, plus a HEPA filtration system are highly effective measures to protect against the transmission of COVID-19 in air travel. 
Read more
 

KBS Best

Congratulations to KBS client Burns & McDonnell for making Fortune magazine’s list of the nation’s best workplaces. Fortune and San Francisco-based Great Place to Work ranked companies based on a more than 60-question employee survey and how the companies stack up to others in their respective geographic regions and industries.
Read more from Fox4
 

 
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