Big week across the country…
with voters deciding upon state measures, new lawmakers, and new executive. Congressional Republicans outlined upcoming agenda with President-Elect Donald Trump. Infrastructure measures stole the spotlight, winning in several states, as well as minimum wage and recreational marijuana initiatives. Congress returns next week, ready to reconcile differences on annual defense bill.
It's been a whirlwind week and whether you're celebratory or disheartened, it's time to talk about what this all means. Our leaders are responsible and accountable to their constituents (that's you!) regardless of party affiliation or whether we voted for or against the ones who will serve in the 115th Congress and executive office.
You are part of the checks and balances system that ensures our leaders are held accountable. What can you do? Pay attention and participate!
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Read more from our CEO, Marci Harris, and send us any questions you may have about government, procedure, and legislation. Let us know how we can better support you as you engage with YOUR government!
This week, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. Republicans maintained the majority in both the House and Senate, and members will return next week to round out the end of the 114th Congress.
Lots of folks were in Washington as POTUS met with POTUS-elect, FLOTUS met with FLOTUS-elect, and VP met with VP-elect. Following meetings at the White House, Donald Trump and Mike Pence headed to Capitol Hill to meet with Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They discussed top priorities such as using reconciliation to repeal Obamacare and passing major tax-overhaul legislation in the first 100 days. President-elect Donald Trump underscored his top three priorities: immigration, health care, and jobs.
Outside of the presidential and congressional elections this week, lots happened at the state level. Here are some election takeaways you may have missed:
- California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine legalized recreational marijuana.
- Nevada elected Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate.
- Washington voters rejected initiative to impose first carbon tax in the country.
- Ilhan Omar came to America as a refugee. This week she was elected to the Minnesota House, becoming America's first Somali-American lawmaker.
- Voters in Nebraska, California, and Oklahoma voted to keep the death penalty.
- Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Maine voted to increase the minimum wage.
- California elected its first African-American senator, Kamala Harris. She will be the second black woman and the first Indian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
This is just a glimpse, and it's important to dig into the results of your state's ballot initiatives. Start connecting with your state lawmakers! Sign up now to be notified when we launch in your state and receive insights about your state's legislature and upcoming legislation.
On this Veterans Day, we remind you to thank veterans today and every day for their tremendous sacrifices to this country.
Congress will soon resume work on this year's annual defense bill. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sets the budget and expenditure for the Department of Defense each year. Coupled with defense appropriations bills, it is how Congress oversees the defense budget.
A provision in the House version to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors has proven controversial. Learn more about the provision, and compare and contrast with the Senate version. Use POPVOX to let YOUR lawmakers know what you think!
One thing voters across the country seemed to agree on this election? Improving America's infrastructure. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed nearly $1 trillion in new infrastructure investments, and this week Congressional Republicans and Democrats agreed to work on the issue together in the 115th Congress.
So what all does "infrastructure" entail? Well it's a lot of things, from highways and transport to water systems and airports, the electric grid and broadband, rail and bridges. Tune in to our infrastructure issue hub to keep up-to-date on new legislation.
- House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said he plans to move forward with major tax-overhaul legislation in the first 100 days of Trump administration.
- Federal court ruled in favor of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. Decision is the first of six lawsuits brought by firms and trade groups looking to block the rule before its April implementation deadline.
- First matter of business for the Senate upon return? Take up House-passed Smith bill to amend Veterans Oral History Project Act to allow Gold Star families to provide biographical histories of veterans.
- Will the IT modernization bill come to light?
- China passed a controversial cybersecurity law that requires data collected in China be stored on servers in China and forces users to register their real names when using messaging services.
- U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces in Syria began long-anticipated offensive to seize ISIS stronghold Raqqa.
- Environmental Protection Agency sent a final rule to Office of Management and budget on an optional cap-and-trade system that states could use to comply with the Clean Power Plan, despite the plan being stayed by the Supreme Court.
- Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General, died at 78 years old.
- Three Facebook users sued the company in federal court over Facebook's advertising practices that allegedly discriminate on the basis of race. Last week Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said the allegations are a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- Paul Ryan's speakership appears safe following Republican election sweep.
- Federal appeals court scheduled February session to hear oral arguments in challenge to the Obama administration's rule on ozone pollution.
- Ireland plans to appeal the European Commission's demand for $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple.
- John Kerry set a new record, becoming the first secretary of state to visit all seven continents.
- Rep. Justin Amash [R, MI-3] tweeted a solid album cover.
- Iran set to sign $6 billion deal with France-based Total SA to develop oil field in the Persian Gulf. Deal would be first Western investment in Iran's oil and gas industry since sanctions were eased at the start of the year.
- Russian officials confirmed they did speak with Trump's campaign team throughout the election, despite previous denials from the campaign.
- Areas where Congressional Republicans and POTUS-elect may disagree? term limits, border wall, and NATO.
Congress is back home working, and we're sending a recess version of Gavel Down — full of how current events relate to Congressional happenings, as well as updates on major legislation. Reminder that next week Congress returns to session, and we'll be sending our usual Weekly Update on Mondays and Gavel Down on Fridays. Here's a sneak peek on what legislation is getting called up next week. Start letting your lawmakers know what you think! Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.