The POPVOX Blog

  1. POPVOX Daily Digest - March 6, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    In the House:

    The House easily and quickly approved a new bill authorizing U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine, a response to this week's rapidly developing story of Russia's military intervention there.

    • HR 4152 A bill uses already available money to back $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Russia. Those guarantees are expected to be used to back Ukrainian expenditures during what is sure to be a tumultuous and unpredictable next few weeks.

      The House passed the bill 385-23, and with several Republicans voting against it.

    The House also passed two environmental bills today:

    Both bills were part of the GOP's effort this week to approve bills aimed at lowering the price of energy for homeowners.

    In the Senate:

    The Senate spent the afternoon sorting out which bill to advance to help reduce the incidence of sexual assault in the military.

    Senators. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have had two competing measures before the Senate.

    Gillibrand's bill would have removed sexual assault cases from the military chain of command.

    With some Members stating that this approach was too drastic, the bill failed 55-45 in a procedural vote (60 were needed to end debate).

    As a result, the Senate is expected next week to pass McCaskill's bill, which would let sexual assault victims challenge military discharges. Despite the inter-party feuding over the two bills, McCaskill's language is not controversial and is expected to easily pass.

  2. POPVOX Daily Digest - March 4, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    In the House

    The House returned from its mini-winter holiday to pass a bill that makes adjustments to a series of flood insurance reforms from 2012.

    • HR 3370

      The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

      This bill is a response to complaints that the 2012 reforms increased flood insurance premiums more than anyone expected, and that these increases need to be cut back or thousands of people and businesses won't be able to afford flood insurance. The bill had broad appeal to members of both parties, but it took a few weeks of negotiating between GOP leaders and Democrats to arrive at a final bill. The bill as passed would repeal many of the 2012 reforms, and call for lower premium increases that have caps on how high they can rise each year.

      The Scoop from our Hill Sources:

        The bill passed 306-91, and 86 of those "no" votes came from Republicans who argued that the bill undoes too much of the fiscal reforms achieved two years ago. The National Flood Insurance Program is $24 billion in debt, and these Republicans say higher insurance rates are needed to help reduce that debt.

         

        House passage sends the bill to a Senate that may now adopt the House bill in the coming weeks, even though the Senate had passed its own proposal back in January.

       

    The House also passed far less controversial bills dealing with energy, federal land use, and a non-binding resolution supporting protestors in Venezuela:

  3. The Week Ahead: March 3 - 7

    From our Hill Sources:  It's another busy week in the House, which will consider another Obamacare bill and energy deregulation legislation. In the meantime, the Senate will try to pass a bill reauthorizing childcare services for struggling families.

    In the House

    The House will again consider Obamacare this week:

    • HR 4118

      Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals (SIMPLE) Fairness Act

      This House bill was introduced Friday, and it would eliminate all penalties that people face this year for failing to buy an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

      The Scoop from our Hill Sources:  Republicans say individuals should be exempt from the law just as companies have been made exempt from the law. But Democrats are expected to see the bill as another attack, and the Senate is not expected to consider it once it passes the House.

    The House will also consider five energy-related bills during the week.

    Each would ease rules that the GOP says inhibits the production or transport of energy resources around the country, according to our Hill Sources.

    Two foreign affairs bills are also on the House agenda:

    Finally, the House will consider three land use bills:

    In the Senate

    In the Senate, members will spend some time approving various Executive Branch nominations. But they are also expected to try to advance:

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  4. Issue Spotlight: Rare Disease Day

    Feb. 28 is National Rare Disease Day, which aims to "raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives." A disease or disorder is defined as rare in the US when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time. (Learn more.) There are several bills in Congress addressing rare disease research and awareness.

    Bills Related to Rare Diseases

    We're spotlighting bills related to rare diseases. Weigh in and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  5. The POPVOX Top 20: Feb 21 - 27, 2014

    In a bipartisan vote, the House passed the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (HR 3865) -- the top bill of the week on POPVOX. The bill would prevent the IRS from implementing new rules that define what constitutes political activities for certain organizations.

    As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor explained from the House floor:

    “Those groups, including those known as 501(c)(4) organizations, are an important part of our democracy. Many of these groups are formed to specifically engage and educate our citizenry through candidate forums, debates, grassroots lobbying, voter registration, and other activities to promote the common good so America has an informed public. For over 50 years these organizations have been eligible to apply for a tax exempt status, but now that status is under threat from new regulations being proposed by the IRS."

    The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (HR 3865) passed on a 243 to 176 vote with 229 Republicans and 14 Democrats voting for it. The vast majority of POPVOX users (94%) support the bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.

    Top 20 Bills of the Week

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    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • HR 3865

      #1 Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act

      To prohibit the IRS from modifying the standard for determining whether an organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare for purposes of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      598 Support | 40 Oppose

    • S 1982

      #2 Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act

      To improve the provision of medical services and benefits to veterans.

      551 Support | 71 Oppose

    • HR 2531

      #3 Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act

      To prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      445 Support | 14 Oppose

    • HR 1123

      #4 Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

      To promote consumer choice and wireless competition by permitting consumers to unlock mobile wireless devices. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      381 Support | 15 Oppose

    • HR 2804

      #5 ALERT Act

      To amend title 5, United States Code, to require the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to publish information about rules on the Internet. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      353 Support | 34 Oppose

    • HR 899

      #6 Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act

      To provide for additional safeguards with respect to imposing Federal mandates.

      352 Support | 26 Oppose

    • HR 4036

      #7 Eliminating the CIA's use of drones

      To prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using an unmanned aerial vehicle to carry out a weapons strike or other deliberately lethal action and to transfer the authority to conduct such strikes or lethal action to the Department of Defense.

      297 Support | 29 Oppose

    • HR 2530

      #8 Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act

      To improve transparency and efficiency with respect to audits and communications between taxpayers and the IRS. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      267 Support | 11 Oppose

    • HR 2417

      #9 Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act

      To amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system and electric infrastructure critical to the defense and well-being of the United States against natural and manmade electromagnetic pulse (”EMP”) threats and vulnerabilities.

      257 Support | 10 Oppose

    • HR 1423

      #10 Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act

      To provide taxpayers with an annual report disclosing the cost and performance of Government programs and areas of duplication among them. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      228 Support | 13 Oppose

    • HR 3892

      #11 Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights Act

      To establish student loan borrowers’ rights to basic consumer protections, reasonable and flexible repayment options, access to earned credentials, and effective loan cancellation in exchange for public service.

      132 Support | 81 Oppose

    • HR 3308

      #12 Taxpayer Transparency Act

      To require a Federal agency to include language in certain educational and advertising materials indicating that such materials are produced and disseminated at taxpayer expense. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      181 Support | 7 Oppose

    • HR 4065

      #13 Smartphone Theft Prevention Act

      To require mobile service providers and mobile device manufacturers to give consumers the ability to remotely delete data from mobile devices and render such devices inoperable.

      52 Support | 93 Oppose

    • HR 4014

      #14 Prohibiting former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists

      To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit former Members of Congress from engaging in lobbying contacts.

      119 Support | 11 Oppose

    • HR 1944

      #15 Private Property Rights Protection Act

      "Would provide American citizens with the means to protect their private property from inappropriate claims of eminent domain. If a state or political subdivision of a state uses its eminent domain power to transfer private property to other private parties for the purpose economic development, the state would be ineligible for federal economic funds for two fiscal years following a judicial determination that the law has been violated," according to the bill sponsor. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      126 Support | 1 Oppose

    • HR 3370

      #16 Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

      To delay the implementation of certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

      47 Support | 76 Oppose

    • HR 1847

      #17 Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act

      To improve the provisions relating to the privacy of electronic communications. "Requires the government to obtain a warrant or explicit written consent to read emails, text messages, or any other form of private electronic messaging," according to bill sponsor.

      116 Support | 2 Oppose

    • S 1862

      #18 Monuments Men Recognition Act

      To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Monuments Men, in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.

      110 Support | 7 Oppose

    • S 1731

      #19 Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act

      To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to permit Governors of States to regulate intrastate endangered species and intrastate threatened species.

      6 Support | 101 Oppose

    • HR 1211

      #20 FOIA Act

      To amend section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), to provide for greater public access to information. -- Passed by the House; now goes to the Senate for consideration. -- 

      100 Support | 4 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  6. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 27, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    In the House

    The House passed two major bills on Thursday, both focused on placing limits on the federal regulatory process.

    The first was the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency Act, H.R. 2804. This bill would require federal agencies to report monthly on new rules they plan to issue, and more broadly would require more transparency and deeper analysis of the costs and benefits of federal rules.

    The bill passed 236-179, but Senate Democrats are not expected to consider it, and the Obama administration has said it would veto the bill.

    The second bill was H.R. 3193, the Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act. This bill would turn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into a five-person commission — Republicans say that would provide better balance to an agency that they say has not acted in the best interests of consumers.

    The bill also subjects the CFPB to the regular appropriations process, and takes it out from under the Federal Reserve Board system.

    The bill is opposed by Democrats, which means the Senate is unlikely to take it up.

    In the Senate

    The Senate was in to consider a veterans benefits bill:

    The Senate couldn't muster enough votes to waive a budget point of order that was raised against it. Republicans said the bill would spend more than Congress has already agreed to spend, and Democrats tried to turn away the GOP challenge.

    Sixty votes were needed to waive the challenge, but only 56 votes were theree, which effectively killed the bill in the Senate.

  7. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 26, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    The House passed a bill that would delay a possible Internal Revenue Service rule that would put new limits on some tax-exempt groups.

    The House passed H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act. The bill would delay a rule preventing 501(c )(4) organizations from organizing voter registration activities.

    Republicans say the rule is another example of the IRS trying to harass conservative tax-exempt groups. They say that as long as an investigation is ongoing into the IRS targeting scandal, which also involved delays faced by conservative groups, the rule should be held back.

    Democrats said Republicans were trying to prevent a common-sense rule that would limit election activities of some of the biggest conservative groups, many of which get money from unknown donors.

    While the controversial bill was passed by the House in a 243-176 vote, it's not expected to move in the Senate.

    The House also passed H.R. 1944, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, in a 353-65 vote. That bill would prohibit state and local governments from seizing private property to promote economic development.

    The bill is a reaction to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that said these takings do not violate the Constitution. Supporters of the bill say that was a bad decision, and gives the government the power to take away ownership rights based only on the belief that another owner would make the property more profitable.

    Members passed a third bill, H.R. 3308, the Taxpayer Transparency Act.

    This legislation would require all federal government agencies to note in advertisements for their services that those ads were paid for at taxpayer expense. This bill passed in a voice vote.

  8. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 25, 2014

    The House passed a slew of government oversight bills on Tuesday, while the Senate officially started work on a veterans benefits bill.

    In the House

    The bills passed by the House on Tuesday fit the week-long theme of transparency and regulatory reform. Tuesday's bills were mostly noncontroversial suspension bills, but Republican leaders will call up more controversial oversight bills later in the week. All of the bills passed in the House today will go to the Senate, but as usual, it's not clear the Senate will consider any of them.

    Tax Transparency

    Three House bills related to oversight of the IRS and safeguarding taxpayer money, and all were passed by voice vote:

    The latter two bills are a response to the IRS actions revealed last year, in which officials subjected groups with political or conservative-sounding names to extra scrutiny in determinations of tax-exempt status.

    Oversight and Transparency

    The House passed two other bills from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

    Cell Phone Unlocking

    Finally, the House approved legislation that would let everyone "unlock" their cell phones in order to switch to the mobile carrier of their choice:

    • HR 1123

      Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

      This bill would extend an exemption under U.S. law that lets people unlock their cell phones. Today, only phones bought after early 2013 can be unlocked legally.

      The bipartisan bill passed 295-114, but dozens of Democrats voted against it after Republicans made a change to the bill. Democrats said that change could be seen as a hurdle to letting companies help people unlock their phones, but Republicans said the language was not a significant hurdle.

    In the Senate

    The Senate spent much of the day on nominations, but did advance a veterans benefits bill:

    • S 1982

      Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act

      The bill would boost veterans benefits and looks to fix a cut in the growth rate of pensions for newly enlisted members of the military. But while those broad goals are supported, the bill risks stalling in the Senate, as Republicans want to change the way Congress pays for these benefits.

    The Senate also passed a House bill that would reauthorize a federal drought assessment program:

  9. The Week Ahead: Feb. 24 - 28

    From our Hill Sources: Congress is back from recess! The House will again take up bills aimed at scaling back the federal government. And the Senate will work on veterans' benefits.

    In the Senate

    Senate Democrats will work on a veterans benefits bill. They are also expected to keep up pressure for bills to extend emergency unemployment benefits, and increase the minimum wage, although these proposals are likely to come up on the Senate floor in March.

    • S 1982

      Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act

      According to Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), it's "the most comprehensive piece of veterans’ legislation to be offered in decades." It would:

       Improve VA health care and dental care, expand educational opportunities, help the VA address a disability claims backlog and help veterans find jobs.

       Undo a 1 percentage point cut in annual cost-of-living adjustments for military pensions that was part of a budget agreement late last year.

       Expand access to education benefits for veterans and their survivors, including making recently-separated veterans eligible for tuition at the in-state rate and improving the level of benefits offered to survivors of certain service members killed on active duty. 

       $24 billion cost of the bill is paid for by $4 billion in savings from the VA and offset by $20 billion in caps on the Overseas Contingency Operations fund that will lock in savings from winding down military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      (Source: Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)

    The Scoop from our Hill Sources:  This bill would enhance veterans' health programs, and also seek to increase the growth rate of military pensions for people enlisting after 2013. Before the Senate gets to this bill, it will spend the early part of the week dealing with judicial nominations.

    In the House

    House Republicans will again take up bills aimed at scaling back the federal government. The GOP argues that over-regulation and government expansion has stalled job growth, and will likely continue this theme as the mid-term elections approach.

    House Republicans consider these major bills on Wednesday:

    Bills About Taxpayers

    The House will also consider several related bills earlier in the week regarding the IRS and taxpayers:

    The House Will Also Consider

    Other suspension bills to be considered early in the week:

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  10. Issue Spotlight: Open Data Day

    Open Data Day is a gathering in cities around the world of people to write applications and publish analyses using open public data. The goal is to show support for and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments. (Learn more.) There are more than a dozen Open Day Day event happening in the US.

    Bills Related to Open Data

    We're spotlighting bills related to open data. Weigh in and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed.

    • HR 148

      DISCLOSE Act

      To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, and other entities.
    • S 1665

      Read the Bills Act

      To preserve the constitutional authority of Congress and ensure accountability and transparency in legislation.
    • HR 1211

      FOIA Act

      To amend section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), to provide for greater public access to information.
    • HR 2061

      DATA Act

      (And S 994 in Senate.) To expand the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to increase accountability and transparency in Federal spending.
    • S 549

      Public Online Information Act

      To establish an advisory committee to issue nonbinding governmentwide guidelines on making public information available on the Internet, to require publicly available Government information held by the executive branch to be made available on the Internet, to express the sense of Congress that publicly available information held by the legislative and judicial branches should be available on the Internet.
    • HR 3316

      GRANT Act

      To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide transparency and require certain standards in the award of Federal grants.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  11. President's Day Poll Results

    On President's Day, we asked POPVOX users which Founding-Father President they thought would most likely be a POPVOX Power User. (Yes, we know that the Internet didn't exist when our Founding Fathers were huddled in Philadelphia hammering out the foundation of our country. But still...) We wanted to have a little fun and invite our users to flex their historic knowledge. Here are the results, and the clever and thoughtful comments from POPVOX users. (Read Founding Father Fun Facts.)

    President Thomas Jefferson Wins!

    Thomas Jefferson

    1. I can just see him with a glass of red wine writing the most eloquent personal comments in his letters to Congress.

      -- Anonymous

    2. I read that he was very organized like me. He applied logic unlike any politicians today.

      -- Anonymous

    3. Why not ? There weren't that many founding father's :-) He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and a wheeler dealer with France :-)

      -- Dennis

    4. Ah, because he said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" - and, if not blood, at least POPVOX spills digital ink! :)

      -- Christopher

    5. Braininess, endless curiosity and red wine: such a combination would find PopVox irresistible.

      -- Larry

    6. Jefferson was curious, cerebral, and an inventor. He, like Ben Franklin, developed and used technology to enhance his life and the lifestyle of others.

      -- Anonymous

    7. Anybody that can sit down and write out our laws that have stood for over 200 years (well till Obama and his cronies came along) would in my opinion use everything at his disposal including POPVOX to protect our valued laws!

      -- Anonymous

    8. Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence with the biggest handwritten signature. Having no qualms about anyone knowing who was a signator. he would use POPVOX today but probably more prolifically than many of the users.

      -- William

    9. Because he was a cool dude who had a pulley behind the fireplace in the dining room. It went straight down to the wine cellar. He would ring a bell and lower the pulley and the guys down there would load her up and send it back up to Jefferson. That happened a lot. No wonder he painted that room chrome yellow. (Yuck!)

      -- Meryl

    10. He was an inventor, scientist, and years ahead of his contemporaries.

      -- Anonymous

    11. If Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration of independence he sure hell would be sitting here clicking away at the voting buttons and hammering out letters to congress...

      -- Alin

    12. Because he was a scientist and a reformer.

      -- David

    13. Thomas Jefferson was a man ahead of his time & well versed in science & a rational thinker.

      -- Roger

    14. The founders generally had a healthy skepticism about the opinions and political inclinations of the "masses." The Constitution is designed to prevent the "tyranny of the majority" as someone called it. But Jefferson was much more of a populist than the others. He was the only one who supported the French Revolution for example. If any of the founders would've used Popvox it would've been him.

      -- Anonymous

    15. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. Thomas Jefferson Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. Thomas Jefferson I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way. Thomas Jefferson Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

      -- Roy

    16. I am sure Tom would have a lot to tweet about on the internet being the author of the Declaration of Independence and Minister to France.

      -- Joan

    17. Was most concerned about Federal Overreach.

      -- Anonymous

    18. I think Jefferson had such a range of interests and loved to be up-to-date. He was an inventor at heart and would have loved using the internet to research. With his well-developed sense of politics, he would have used POPVOX all the time. If he wasn't making the news, he'd be keeping tabs on the latest developments. And he'd have an opinion (or two) about them to share.

      -- Anonymous

    19. Thomas Jefferson believed in the writing of the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms it evokes. Jefferson was the last President that believed that the Constitution was for and by the People.

      -- Cathy

    20. Jefferson was a kind of Renaissance man; he was well read and well educated. He was not a proponent of a strong central government; he believed the States should have more say. He would have embraced the genius of POPVOX, bringing the Bills up for vote in Congress directly to the American people so they may have their say.

      -- Mary

    21. Educated, deliberate, involved, patriotic.

      -- Jim

    22. He was always willing to try something new -- whether it was sending Louis and Clark on an expedition across uncharted territory or living in Paris. Monticello was open to all visitors, especially if you were just a regular American wanting to chat with him. And he loved red wine!

      -- Rachna

    23. Apparently President Thomas Jefferson was never a fan of formal affairs, and was often reported to have worn his pajamas while meeting with Foreign dignitaries. More power to PAJAMAS!!

      -- Namratha

    James Madison

    1. Mr. Madison was very curious and eager to learn, and tried to base his decisions on the best available information.

      -- Doug

    2. Young and involved

      -- Lindsey

    3. Having drafted the Constitution for Virginia, he already had a pretty good handle on what to paint on a larger canvas. It seemed to be working fairly well for Virginia, let's try it for a few more states and see what it does NATIONALLY.

      -- Gary

    4. I wonder how many people know George Washington was AGAINST a bill of rights?

      -- Anonymous

    5. Why not? Seriously, being a strong proponent of the Constitution -- demonstrated not only through his previous experience with governing documents but also his authorship of some of the Federalist Papers -- and the rights guaranteed within for individuals, the "men [and women] on the street," if you will, would make him an ideal user for POPVOX.

      -- Anonymous

    6. I know that there is a University in Virginia relation to the $5,000 bill so it was either Thomas Jefferson (although as a Hokie I can't seem to recall which University our beloved Jefferson was involved in ;) or James Madison. Fun. Thanks! Cheers.

      -- Jonathon

    7. Child prodigy. Would have Zen-like understanding of POPVOX.

      -- Anonymous

    Alexander Hamilton

    1. Of all the F.Fs. listed above, I think A.H are most analytical in decision making.

      -- Andy

    2. Because he was interested in informing the public about what government was doing.

      -- Jim

    3. Alexander Hamilton possessed fewer credentials than his competitors, and POPVOX would enable him to promote his beliefs.

      -- RY

    4. Because he was the author of the Federalist Papers and worked hard to get support of the new Constitution.

      -- Mona

    5. As author of the Federalist Papers Hamilton would never be at a loss for words. He'd be ready to both describe and defend point by point all aspects of the Constitution and make it understandable for any American who would listen.

      -- Robert

    George Washington

    1. Which of our Founding-Father Presidents would most likely be a POPVOX Power User and why? In my opinion George Washington would most likely be a POPVOX Power User. Why would George Washington most likely be a POPVOX Power User? George Washington was the first President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States he presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution which made him acutely aware for what we patriots were fighting for. The first veteran with a pension and 100% service connected health benefits. He was, in my opinion, the first exceptional American and therefore, the most exceptional Founding-Father. He was the right man, at the right time, for the right reason. Listen to his words. It was not his duty that drove he will against the odds; it was love for America, as a father of the nation. He is an exceptional President who was first an American. For example, in Washington's Farewell Address of 1796, he recommended that we frequently reviewed, some of his sentiments, as if on POPVOX. He said, these sentiments, are the result of much intense reflection between offensives, of no inconsiderable observations, and which appear to him “all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people”. As a 100% service connected disable veteran, I can testify to the fact that this is a common thought of soldiers preparing for battle. The American people, as one people with unity of our government and our love of liberty is the main pillar in the edifice of our real independence “; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.” The Senate is now considering restoring military pension cuts, S 1963. And this was the most popular issue on POPVOX this past week. I can see many Gorge Washington like Power User, as I read their comments. The “melting pot”, originally was a metaphor used poetically to address the question, "What then is the American, this new man?” answered in 1782. Today, I belief it is a historical reality base on fact that, Capitalism as a renewable fuel that is the most responsible for producing a most unique heterogeneous society of exceptional people of all cultures. These were what our Founding-Father, surrounded, suppressed and exploited by imperialistic big government exceptional British-American dreamers. Becoming more successful with the diversity of cultures, from around the world, blending into a new harmonious society was not equivalent to a new race, but unique and exceptional to its progenitor’s entire common unified dream. America was, as a melting pot of constitutional metal, over a flame of liberty, ignited from a spark of independent flint stone and fueled by a uniquely exceptional renewable energy. This Renewable American energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are bicultural and are focused by a common believes in a creator. A truth , like beam of light, as a God given rights or naturally occurring events on a human timescale like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, geothermal heat and all of its newly constitutionally free and independent people whose cultures aetiology is replenished naturally via constitutional legal Immigration. Like moths to a light, legal immigrants are renewed with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Independence and legal immigration is a result of a number of common factors, including economic and/or political reasons, family reunification, natural disasters or the wish to change one's standard of living voluntarily and against man will to suppress in others, everywhere else. Legal Immigrants want, respect and defend a Constitutionally protected American Capitalism. This gives us, from a common trait of self-interest the ability to pursue happiness, an, “all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people” a common self-reliant culture of independent and indivisible individuals called “Americans”, found exceptionally only in America. President George was the first patriot to earn the title of the first American. Washington was hailed as "father of his country" even during his lifetime. Washington is an idol of Americanism that can stand, timelessly as a representative of what an American patriot will always fight to be, A FREE MAN! Americans will always be contrasted, not by their skin, size, sex, age, etc., etc…but by their will from his principles as a self-reliant independent and indivisible individuals who fight for liberty. It is the content of their character. General Gorge Washington led the first volunteer special forces troops that represented those that supported the Declaration of Independence, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence. What POPVOX Power User today, is not willing to mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to appealing to the American people for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States. Let Gorge Washington be the President most likely to be the first original POPVOX Power User.

      -- Francisco

    John Adams

    1. After reviewing the fun facts you provided, I chose John Adams because he clearly understood what most of us would like to believe defines our government - that is that the government should exist to serve the general public and not just the people who can afford a seat at the table.

      -- Jane

    2. Love of country , Country more important than self.

      -- John

    3. Research and getting to the bottom of the true issues.

      -- Anonymous

    Benjamin Franklin

    1. Franklin was just a citizen, however, he was very active in his government. I believe that he would use POPVOX as the easiest way to convey his wishes to his senators and congressmen.

      -- Jonathan

    2. Inventor, creator, innovator - as a newspaper printer, he'd appreciate instant communications!

      -- Anonymous

    3. He was a scientist & innovator. Not President, but certainly a founding father.

      -- Anonymous

    Gouverneur Morris

    1. Though little remembered today, Morris actually drafted most of the text of the Constitution, particularly the preamble, which begins, "We the people." If there's a more "popvox" phrase, I'd like to know what it is.

      -- Anonymous

    Ronald Reagan

    1. The best president I know of.

      -- Diane

    Abraham Lincoln

    1. He's gifted.

      -- Anonymous

    Other Comments

    1. America's Founding Fathers were loyal to the country they set up to live under a Constitution that provided establishing freedom, peace, and liberty for all individuals equally. The amazing equality about the US Constitution is the right to defend oneself against the enemy and to own private property, both of which is unheard of under a monarchy and a dictatorship.

      -- Kay

  12. The POPVOX Top 20: Feb 14 - 20, 2014

    There's a new top bill on POPVOX this week. The Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights Act (HR 3892), which would "ensure that America’s students benefit from basic consumer protections," according to bill sponsor, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24). Nearly three in four POPVOX users support this bill. (See the opinion map.) The Senate version of the bill, S 1803, was introduced in December 2013.

    Top 20 Bills of the Week

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    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • HR 3892

      #1 Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights Act

      To establish student loan borrowers’ rights to basic consumer protections, reasonable and flexible repayment options, access to earned credentials, and effective loan cancellation in exchange for public service.

      152 Support | 60 Oppose

    • HR 4014

      #2 Prohibiting former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists

      To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit former Members of Congress from engaging in lobbying contacts.

      203 Support | 9 Oppose

    • HR 1123

      #3 Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

      To promote consumer choice and wireless competition by permitting consumers to unlock mobile wireless devices.

      189 Support | 1 Oppose

    • S 1982

      #4 Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act

      To improve the provision of medical services and benefits to veterans.

      125 Support | 10 Oppose

    • S 1981

      #5 Open Internet Preservation Act

      To provide that the rules of the Federal Communications Commission relating to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices shall be restored to effect until the date when the Commission takes final action in the proceedings on such rules that were remanded to the Commission by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

      87 Support | 40 Oppose

    • S 1862

      #6 Monuments Men Recognition Act

      To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Monuments Men, in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.

      117 Support | 4 Oppose

    • HR 3982

      #7 Open Internet Preservation Act

      To provide that the rules of the Federal Communications Commission relating to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices shall be restored to effect until the date when the Commission takes final action in the proceedings on such rules that were remanded to the Commission by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

      68 Support | 33 Oppose

    • HR 3448

      #8 Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act

      To amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to provide for an optional pilot program allowing certain emerging growth companies to increase the tick sizes of their stocks.

      13 Support | 87 Oppose

    • S 460

      #9 Fair Minimum Wage Act

      To provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

      23 Support | 67 Oppose

    • HR 562

      #10 VRAP Extension Act

      To provide for a three-month extension of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

      78 Support | 5 Oppose

    • S 1963

      #11 Repeal Bipartisan Budget

      To repeal section 403 of the Bipartisan Budget Act.

      71 Support | 11 Oppose

    • HR 3658

      #12 Monuments Men Recognition Act

      To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Monuments Men, in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.

      63 Support | 10 Oppose

    • HR 7

      #13 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act

      To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.

      38 Support | 20 Oppose

    • HR 392

      #14 Student Privacy Protection Act

      To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to direct local educational agencies to release secondary school student information to military recruiters if the student’s parent provides written consent for the release.

      49 Support | 7 Oppose

    • HR 1010

      #15 Fair Minimum Wage Act

      To provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

      13 Support | 43 Oppose

    • HR 3590

      #16 SHARE Act

      To protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting.

      30 Support | 26 Oppose

    • HR 3193

      #17 Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act

      To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to strengthen the review authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council of regulations issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

      34 Support | 18 Oppose

    • HR 4036

      #18 Eliminating the CIA's use of drones

      To prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using an unmanned aerial vehicle to carry out a weapons strike or other deliberately lethal action and to transfer the authority to conduct such strikes or lethal action to the Department of Defense.

      47 Support | 4 Oppose

    • S 1908

      #19 Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

      To allow reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.

      27 Support | 7 Oppose

    • S 1731

      #20 Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act

      To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to permit Governors of States to regulate intrastate endangered species and intrastate threatened species.

      2 Support | 32 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  13. Issue Spotlight: Trade, NAFTA and TPP

    Today, President Obama traveled to Toluca, Mexico for this year’s North American Leaders’ Summit, along with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In his remarks, the President explained that "the North American Leaders Summit gives us an opportunity to build on the enormous progress that we've already made in making sure that North America is the most competitive region in the world" and to move "forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership that offers the opportunity to open up new markets in the fastest, most populous region of the world, the Asia Pacific region." (Read the President's full remarks.)

    And especially given it's the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, the President's Deputy National Security Advisor also stressed that "there are issues that were not addressed in NAFTA, like the labor and environmental standards that the President has spoken about in the past and that, frankly, are a part of the TPP agreement" during the Press Gaggle en route.

    Trade bills, NAFTA and TPP

    Weigh in on these trade proposals and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed. (Learn how POPVOX works.)  

    • HR 156

      Withdrawal From NAFTA

      To provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
    • HR 191

      NAFTA Accountability Act

      To assess the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to require further negotiation of certain provisions of the NAFTA, and to provide for the withdrawal from the NAFTA unless certain conditions are met.
    • TPP

      Trans-Pacific Partnership

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a vehicle for Asia-Pacific-wide economic integration, which will strengthen US ties to the robust economies of this region, according to the US Trade Representative. As a group, the TPP countries are the largest goods and services export market of the United States. US goods exports to the broader Asia-Pacific totaled $942 billion in 2012, representing 61 percent of total exports.
    • HR 3830

      Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act

      (Also S 1900 in the Senate.) According to bill sponsors, it “establishes 21st century Congressional negotiating objectives and rules for the Administration to follow when engaged in trade talks, including strict requirements for Congressional consultations and access to information. Provided the Administration follows the rules, special procedures apply when moving a negotiated deal that satisfies the objectives through the Senate and House of Representatives.”
    • HR 3467

      Reciprocal Market Access Act

      To enhance reciprocal market access for United States domestic producers in the negotiating process of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements.

      According to bill sponsor, it “would provide the United States with a comprehensive approach towards eliminating the market barriers that often prevent American manufacturers from competing in foreign markets. Currently, poorly written trade bills result in foreign nations maintaining barriers that prevent the sale of American goods abroad, while the American marketplace eliminates all barriers to foreign goods and products.”

    • S 1801

      Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act

      To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to include in the calculation of normal value the cost of paying adequate wages and maintaining sustainable production methods.

      According to bill sponsors, it “would ensure that sub-standard wages, workplace safety practices, and environmental protections are properly accounted for as unfair subsidies by foreign countries when calculating American duties intended to offset cheating. It also rewards companies that meet high standards on a global basis in wages, workplace safety and environmental compliance with streamlined trade and protection from enforcement actions.”

    • HR 3346

      Buy American Improvement Act

      To amend chapter 83 of title 41, United States Code, to increase the requirement for American-made content, to strengthen the waiver provisions.
    • HR 1276

      Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act

      To amend title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 to clarify that countervailing duties may be imposed to address subsidies relating to a fundamentally undervalued currency of any foreign country.

      According to bill sponsors, it “seeks to level the playing field for American workers and businesses by providing the administration the necessary tools to address the issue of undervaluation of currency by our trading partners.”

    • S 660

      Innovation Through Trade Act

      To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to establish the position of Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative to ensure the protection of United States innovation and intellectual property interests.
    • HR 3733

      Green 301 Act

      To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize the United States Trade Representative to take discretionary action if a foreign country is engaging in unreasonable acts, policies, or practices relating to the environment.
    • HR 3558

      Textile Enforcement and Security Act

      (Also S 1412 in the Senate.) To provide the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of the Treasury with authority to more aggressively enforce customs and trade laws relating to textile and apparel articles.
    • HR 419

      Taiwan Policy Act

      To strengthen and clarify the commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan, as codified in the Taiwan Relations Act.
    • S 432

      Asia-South Pacific Trade Preferences Act

      To extend certain trade preferences to certain least-developed countries in Asia and the South Pacific.
    • HR 166

      PROTECT Act

      To prevent the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty orders.
    • S 662

      Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act

      To reauthorize trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  14. Which Founding-Father President Would be a POPVOX User?

    Founding Father Fun Facts!

    Yes, we know that the Founding Fathers didn't have computers -- or the internet -- to share their voice on POPVOX. But why not have a little fun? Here are some interesting facts we pulled together about our Founding Fathers for this poll. 

    George Washington

    Our 1st President (1789-1797). Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

    “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people.” (1789)

    Stats: Born near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. on February 11, 1731. 6’3”

    Politics: A Federalist, favoring a strong central government.

    Six degrees of Aaron Burr: Burr served on General Washington's staff, but for less than a year. Washington didn’t get along with Burr — and the feeling was mutual.

    Interesting.... Washington lived an aristocratic lifestyle. Loved fox hunting and cockfights. Also enjoyed going to dances and parties. His teeth were made from elephant and walrus tusks, not wood.

    Drink of choice: He made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy in his Mount Vernon distillery.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Our 3rd President (1801-1809). Principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Served as Minister to France.

    “The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” (1787) “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” (1801)

    Stats: Born on April 13, 1743 in now Albemarle County, Virginia. 6’ 2.5” with carrot-red hair. Nicknamed “Long Tom.”

    Politics: Jefferson, attacking Federalist policies, opposed a strong centralized Government and championed the rights of states. Called for a wall of separation between church and state.

    What happened on the Fourth of July? Died on July 4, 1826

    Six degrees of Aaron Burr: Aaron Burr was Jefferson's Vice President.

    Interesting.... Jefferson wooed his wife with violin serenades. Avoided the look of nobility by choosing to dress himself in sometimes dirty and tattered clothing.

    Drink of choice: Red wine. He's considered as "the greatest patron of wine and wine growing that this country has yet had."

    James Monroe

    Our 5th President (1817–1825) and the last president who was considered a Founding Father.

    “Let us, by all wise and constitutional measures, promote intelligence among the People, as the best means of preserving our liberties.” (1817)

    Stats: Born in 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. 6’0"

    Politics: As an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention, Monroe opposed ratification of the Constitution, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. Went on to develop what was later known as the Monroe Doctrine: Interference with independent countries in the Americas would be considered a hostile act toward the US.

    What happened on the Fourth of July? Monroe died on July 4, 1831.

    Six Degrees of Aaron Burr: Monroe's son-in-law was the District Attorney in Burr's treason trial.

    Interesting.... As president, he wore what was by then considered outdated Revolutionary War-era attire. He was the only President after Washington to run unopposed (in 1820) and the last president who was never photographed. Monrovia in Liberia, is named after Monroe, who supported efforts to create a home for freed slaves in Liberia.

    Drink of choice: Sherry Cobbler, a cool long drink considered to be America’s first cocktail, popularized during the Revolution.

    John Adams

    Our 2nd President (1797-1801) and first vice-president. Helped draft the Declaration of Independence and negotiate the peace agreement with Great Britain to end the Revolutionary War. Served as Minister to Great Britain.

    “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.“ (1776)

    Stats: Born in 1735 in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts. 5’7” and “plump". Nicknamed "His Rotundity.”

    Politics: Adams was a Federalist, holding a more “elitist" view of government. In 1770, Adams represented the British soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre because he believed that every person deserved a defense. As President, he was very defense-minded — building a strong US Navy.

    Six Degrees of Aaron Burr: Turns out Adams didn't really have an opinion on Burr. He wrote in a letter about Burr's 1807 treason trial: "am anxious to see the Progress of Burr's Tryal: not from any Love or hatred I bear the man, for I cannot say that I feel either.... But I think Something must come out of the Tryal, which will strengthen or weaken our Confidence in the General Union."

    What happened on the Fourth of July? Died on July 4, 1826. Adams and Thomas Jefferson were close friends. Adams' dying words were, "Thomas Jefferson survives," unaware that he had died hours earlier.

    Interesting.... He didn’t shake hands with people — he bowed instead. (As did George Washington.) First President to live in the White House. 

    Drink of choice: John Adams drank a tankard of cider nearly every morning of his life. 

    Alexander Hamilton

    Treasury Secretary. Along with Madison and John Jay, authored the Federalist Papers, rallying support for the new Constitution. Led the effort to convene the Constitutional Convention when the nation was verging on anarchy. (Okay, he wasn't a President, but was an important Founding Father.)

    “I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.” (1794) “The first thing in all great operations of such a government as ours is to secure the opinion of the people.” (1799) 

    Stats: Born in 1755 in the West Indies. 5’7”  

    Politics: Most advocated an elitist political vision and supported a strong central government. Believed that the intellectual aristocracy should rule the nation. Hamilton’s political legacy is the Federal Bank. 

    Six degrees of Aaron Burr: Hamilton was instrumental in securing Jefferson's victory over Aaron Burr in the presidential election of 1800. That and his subsequent opposition to Burr’s bid to become governor of New York led to his death at Burr’s hands in a duel in 1804.

    Interesting.... When he was Treasury Secretary, Hamilton had a three-year affair with Maria Reynolds -- while her husband James Reynolds blackmailed him. Hamilton was forced to admit the affair after Reynolds threatened to implicate him in another scheme related to unpaid wages for Revolutionary War veterans. The affair was one of the first sex scandals in American political history.

    Drink of choice: Not whiskey! In Jan. 1791, Hamilton proposed a tax on whiskey to pay some of the debt from the Revolutionary War. When news of the tax spread to Western Pennsylvania, farmers -- seeing it as another instance of unfair policies by the "eastern elite" -- were outraged and refused to pay the tax. By 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the stability of the country and President Washington himself led the United States militia westward to stop the rebels.

    James Madison

    Our 4th President (1809-1817) Helped draft Virginia’s state constitution when he was 25. That document later became the model for the US Constitution. Served as Jefferson’s Secretary of State.

    “The people are the only legitimate foundation of power, and it is from them that the constitutional character, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.” (1788)

    Stats: Born near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. About 5'4" and less than 100 pounds.

    Politics: Madison and Jefferson led the "Republicans" in opposing Hamilton's attempts to strengthen the national government.

    Six degrees of Aaron Burr: Madison was introduced to his wife, Dolly, when he was in his 40s — by Aaron Burr.

    Interesting... James Madison is on $5,000 bill. He's considered to have ended up on the winning side of every important issue that faced the young nation from 1776 to 1816. Despite being very shy, he married Dolly, a beautiful woman who enjoyed a party -- and had a reputation for gambling, wearing make-up and using tobacco. 

    Drink of choice: French champage

     


     

    Sources: Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the laying of the corner stone of the Capitol of the United States, Senate Historical Office, ConstitutionFacts.comGeorge Washington's Teeth, Change Manifesto: Join the Block by Block Movement to Remake AmericaThe Quotable Founding Fathers: A Treasury of 2,500 Wise and Witty Quotations, Pennsylvania Center for the BookThe U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts about it, The Constitution Society, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, The Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, U.S. Presidency Inaugural Addresses, James Monroe on Biography.com, James Monroe on the History Channel, This Day in History: April 28, FoxNews.com, John Adams on Biography.com, Univ. of Houston - Digital History, Slate, Alexander Hamilton on Biography.com, Alexander Hamilton on the History Channel, Wikipedia, Hamilton-Reynolds Sex Scandal, Whiskey Rebellion on PBS American Experience, University of Virginia Miller Center, National First Ladies' Library, Bureau of Engraving and Printing,           

  15. The POPVOX Top 20: Feb 7 - 13, 2014

    Military Benefits Tops the List on POPVOX

    Congress agreed to cut about $6 billion in military pension payouts over the next decade, as part of a budget and spending deal for 2014. But many members instantly regretted those cuts, and said Congress should find a way to restore those benefits. The Senate voted on -- and passed -- a bill restoring military pension cuts, S 1963. And this was the most popular issue on POPVOX this past week.

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of Feb 7 - Feb 13

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    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • S 1963

      #1 Restoring Cuts to Military Pensions

      To repeal section 403 of the Bipartisan Budget Act. -- Passed by House and Senate. Now goes to the President for his signature. -- 

      517 Support | 48 Oppose

    • HR 562

      #2 VRAP Extension Act

      To provide for a three-month extension of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

      265 Support | 10 Oppose

    • HR 2954

      #3 Public Access and Lands Improvement Act

      To authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance.

      41 Support | 231 Oppose

    • HR 3193

      #4 Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act

      To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to strengthen the review authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council of regulations issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

      158 Support | 67 Oppose

    • S 1862

      #5 Monuments Men Recognition Act

      To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Monuments Men, in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.

      201 Support | 17 Oppose

    • HR 3590

      #6 SHARE Act

      To protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting.

      87 Support | 126 Oppose

    • HR 392

      #7 Student Privacy Protection Act

      To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to direct local educational agencies to release secondary school student information to military recruiters if the student’s parent provides written consent for the release.

      144 Support | 62 Oppose

    • HR 3982

      #8 Open Internet Preservation Act

      To provide that the rules of the Federal Communications Commission relating to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices shall be restored to effect until the date when the Commission takes final action in the proceedings on such rules that were remanded to the Commission by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

      116 Support | 83 Oppose

    • HR 2607

      #9 Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act

      To establish programs with respect to childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer.

      140 Support | 46 Oppose

    • S 1335

      #10 Sportsmen’s Act

      To protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting.

      21 Support | 160 Oppose

    • S 1981

      #11 Open Internet Preservation Act

      To provide that the rules of the Federal Communications Commission relating to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices shall be restored to effect until the date when the Commission takes final action in the proceedings on such rules that were remanded to the Commission by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

      103 Support | 61 Oppose

    • HR 357

      #12 GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act

      To amend title 38, United States Code, to require courses of education provided by public institutions of higher education that are approved for purposes of the educational assistance programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to charge veterans tuition and fees at the in-State tuition rate, to make other improvements in the laws relating to benefits administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

      133 Support | 5 Oppose

    • HR 4014

      #13 Prohibiting former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists

      To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit former Members of Congress from engaging in lobbying contacts.

      109 Support | 4 Oppose

    • HR 7

      #14 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act

      To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.

      78 Support | 22 Oppose

    • HR 3972

      #15 Fair Employment Opportunity Act

      To prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual’s status or history of unemployment.

      32 Support | 53 Oppose

    • HR 3849

      #16 Health Insurance Accountability Act

      To provide for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if it is determined that the Act has resulted in increasing the number of uninsured individuals.

      68 Support | 10 Oppose

    • HR 3892

      #17 Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights Act

      To establish student loan borrowers’ rights to basic consumer protections, reasonable and flexible repayment options, access to earned credentials, and effective loan cancellation in exchange for public service.

      56 Support | 9 Oppose

    • S 1908

      #18 Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

      To allow reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.

      55 Support | 8 Oppose

    • HR 3658

      #19 Monuments Men Recognition Act

      To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Monuments Men, in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.

      59 Support | 1 Oppose

    • HR 3448

      #20 Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act

      To amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to provide for an optional pilot program allowing certain emerging growth companies to increase the tick sizes of their stocks.

      7 Support | 47 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  16. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 12, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    The Senate was in to quickly pass an extension of the debt ceiling.

    The Senate approved S. 540, which is the vehicle for the debt ceiling bill. It passed only with support from Democrats and Independents; no Republicans voted for it in the final vote.

    Just before that vote, 12 Republicans helped advance the bill in a procedural vote. This vote was far more interesting, as the vote was held open for an hour in order to give Republicans more time to find support.

    Five Republicans were needed, and 12 Republicans supported the bill in this procedural vote only after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided to support the measure.

    Senate passage sends to the bill to President Obama for his signature into law, and he's expected to sign it in the coming days. It also ends debate over the threat of an end to government borrowing until mid-March 2015.

    The bill doesn't increase the debt ceiling to a specific level, but instead suspends the debt ceiling. That means the government will be able to borrow whatever it needs until early 2015.

    The Senate also easily passed S. 25, a bill to reverse the $6 billion in cuts to military pensions. This bill passed 95-3.

    Senate passage also sends this bill to the White House for President Obama's signature.

    With those votes, both the House and Senate are out until the week after next. Both chambers were expected to be in a bit longer this week, but a late Wednesday night snowstorm in Washington forced both chambers to clear out early.

  17. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 11, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    The House unexpectedly passed a bill Tuesday to suspend the debt ceiling for 13 months, one that makes no demands of spending cuts or other concessions.

    Republican leaders surprised members of both parties by quickly deciding there is nothing to gain from a fight over the debt ceiling this year. GOP leaders tried to find agreement within their own party on an alternative, but couldn't find much Republican support for any proposal.

    Once the decision was made, it moved quickly. Republicans debated a rule for the bill, then the bill, then passed it in a 221-201 vote. As expected, most of the "yes" votes came from Democrats — just 28 Republicans voted for it, and two Democrats voted against it.

    The Treasury Department has said it can continue operating until late February, and the Senate is hoping o pass the bill as early as Wednesday. Passage would mean the debt ceiling is suspended until mid-March 2015, which would let the government continue borrowing above the $17.2 trillion debt it already has.

    The House passed a few other bills today, including S. 25, a bill that restores cuts made to military retirees earlier this year.

    The $6 billion cut was something members of both parties wanted to restore. The bill brought up by Republicans restored the cuts, and paid for that move by extending the sequester cuts on Medicaid into 2024.

    Many Democrats opposed the way the bill paid for the pension restoration, but the bill still passed easily in a 326-90 vote.

    The Senate is working on a similar proposal, and many Democrats are hoping to restore the pension cuts without any offsetting spending reductions.

     

    The House passed two other suspension bills today:

    H.R. 3348 — the Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act, which lets companies sell stock in increments higher than a penny on the stock exchange. Supporters say this would make it easier for them to draw investment, and it was approved 412-4.

     

    H.R. 3578 — a bill requiring a formal regulatory process for rules dealing with sleep disorder testing for pilots and air traffic controllers. This passed in a voice vote.

     

    Finally, the Senate passed one bill, S. 1068, by unanimous consent. It reauthorizes a program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to train officers.

  18. POPVOX Daily Digest - February 10, 2014

    From our Hill sources:

    The Senate easily advanced a bill aimed at restoring the $6 billion cut to military pensions that Congress approved just weeks ago.

    In a 94-0 vote, the Senate agreed to end debate on a motion to proceed to the measure, S. 1963. A key issue is how to pay for the repeal, and the Senate is likely to debate that issue for the rest of the week.

    In the House, GOP leaders have agreed to add similar repeal language to a bill extending the debt ceiling. If the House can pass that bill, the Senate could decide to consider both issues at once.

    However, it's not clear the House will be able to pass its bill, as many Republicans are expected to oppose a debt ceiling proposal that doesn't cut more federal spending.

    The House was also in, and quickly passed two suspension bills:

    H.R. 2431 — the National Integrated Drought Information Systems Reauthorization Act, extending a program to provide information about drought-stricken areas of the country. Passed 365-21.

    H.Res. 447 — a non-binding resolution supporting efforts by Ukraine to make democratic reforms. Passed 381-2.

  19. Issue Spotlight: The Debt Ceiling

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress announcing that the debt limit must be raised by February 27, or the nation would risk a technical default. The debt limit or debt ceiling is the total amount of money that the US government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. The debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past. (Learn more.)

    Raising the debt limit isn't new. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit -– 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. Here are some recent proposals in Congress addressing the debt limit:

    Bills Related to the Debt Ceiling

    We're spotlighting bills related to the debt ceiling or limit. Weigh in and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  20. The Week Ahead: Feb. 10 - 14

    From our Hill Sources: Congress is back for a week of work on issues like military pensions, and tweaking the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

    In the Senate

    The Senate is likely to spend most of the week on a bill to restore the cuts to veterans' pensions that were made earlier in the year. Congress agreed to cut about $6 billion in these pension payouts over the next decade, as part of a budget and spending deal for 2014. But many members instantly regretted those cuts, and said Congress should find a way to restore those benefits. The Senate will take a first stab at the problem by calling up:

    • S 1963

      Restoring Veterans' Pensions

      That bill restores the $6 billion in cuts made to veterans' pension as part of the budget deal, but doesn't offer any ways to make up for the new spending.

      The Scoop from our Hill Sources:  Senators will try to find an agreement on an offset during the week, which would take the form of an amendment to the bill.

    In the House

    The House is only in through Wednesday, because House Democrats will hold their annual retreat in Maryland's Eastern Shore.

    Before leaving, the House will consider two financial reform bills:

    The House will also consider three other other bills:

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.