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  1. #1
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    The six tech policy problems Congress failed to fix this year

    August isn’t the top time of year for thinking about tech policy. For many, it’s vacation time, a month when Americans are more focused on hacking a path to the nearest beach than hacking their computers.
    Congress just left for vacation too, heading home last week for its traditional August recess. When it returns to Washington, election season will be in full swing, which means that betting on the passage of any bold legislation later this year is a long shot.

    In light of that, now (and not December) is when we can look back at what activists, companies, and lawmakers were hoping to accomplish in the 113th Congress—compared to what actually happened. Which is to say "not much."

    The current Congress is on track to go down as the least productive in modern history. Sure, counting bills is a simplistic measure, since they vary greatly in importance and complexity. But whatever the metric, no serious observer—or member of Congress, for that matter—could argue that this is a Congress that got much done.

    The most-touted piece of tech-related legislation in 2014 was a bill to re-legalize cell phone unlocking. It restores a legal “exemption” that will have to be looked at again in 2015. It’s not meaningless, but it’s a tiny change, passing in the most timid form it could have taken.

    The Congressional standstill in tech policy is as visible and as hurtful as it is in any policy area. But there’s little excuse for it. Much of American political life results from the chasm between Republicans and Democrats: big-issue disagreements about taxes, health care, and hot-button social issues.

    Technology issues, by contrast, nearly always have zones of bipartisan overlap. Copyright and patent reform, privacy, surveillance, and even (less so) immigration: sure, they’re contentious, but they’re not exactly the kind of radioactive no-fly zones that paralyze other areas of politics. Republicans like to lambast Obamacare, not patent trolls; Democrats campaign for gay marriage, not the right to circumvent digital locks.

    So as we commemorate the August Congressional break, let's begin with a list of six tech policy issues that Congress really, really should have addressed this year—but didn’t.

    These aren't wild hypotheticals. In each situation, bills were in debate, with meaningful support from both parties. A few of them, like immigration, involved truly tough choices. But others should have been “no-brainers,” areas of law where it should be head-poundingly obvious how to proceed to make at least some forward motion.
    Source: Arstechnica.com

    In case you need a TL;DR, here are the six issues they mention:

    One: Pass anti-troll patent reform
    Two: Reform ECPA, and finally grant due process for e-mail privacy
    Three: Reform our vague anti-hacking laws
    Four: Bring out-of-control intel agencies to heel
    Five: Do something on immigration
    Six: Pass a strong, permanent "right to unlock" bill
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    Source: Arstechnica.com

    In case you need a TL;DR, here are the six issues they mention:

    One: Pass anti-troll patent reform
    Two: Reform ECPA, and finally grant due process for e-mail privacy
    Three: Reform our vague anti-hacking laws
    Four: Bring out-of-control intel agencies to heel
    Five: Do something on immigration
    Six: Pass a strong, permanent "right to unlock" bill
    When a majority of one House is elected on the promise they will do nothing, at most, this is what we get.
    I'm going to list ALEC in credits as associate producer of creating horrifying things for us to talk about -John Oliver

    People who think the least powerful members of society are responsible for most of its problems are deluded, at best.

  3. #3
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    I'm surprised though that patent reform didn't happen. It's essentially a gimme for the GOP but nothing I can do.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat View Post
    When a majority of one House is elected on the promise they will do nothing, at most, this is what we get.
    This is such garbage. No idea why posts like these are even allowed to be in this forum. Oh yeah, I forgot most of the moderators on here are liberals so things aren't equal.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCrew5 View Post
    This is such garbage. No idea why posts like these are even allowed to be in this forum. Oh yeah, I forgot most of the moderators on here are liberals so things aren't equal.
    Moderators such as?




    At any rate, yeah, that list is a perfect example of how inept Congress is. Most of these are no brainer types of things to address. In one, Harry Reid's a douche. In another, the whole House is being douches. It's sad that so many old white men make so many stupid (in)decisions.

    NFC North: Leading the League in Stupid.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCrew5 View Post
    This is such garbage. No idea why posts like these are even allowed to be in this forum. Oh yeah, I forgot most of the moderators on here are liberals so things aren't equal.
    This is such garbage. No idea why posts like these are even allowed to be in this forum. Oh yeah, I forgot most of the moderators here have something better to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPoon
    man with hair like fire can destroy souls with a twitch of his thighs.

  7. #7
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    Seriously I thought you didn't like regulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPoon
    man with hair like fire can destroy souls with a twitch of his thighs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCrew5 View Post
    This is such garbage. No idea why posts like these are even allowed to be in this forum. Oh yeah, I forgot most of the moderators on here are liberals so things aren't equal.
    I didn't realize you were such a big fan of Senate Democrats. . . Wait. . . You naturally assumed I was talking about House Republicans, didn't you? I wonder why.

    50 Obamacare repeal votes later. . .

    ‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Gets Ready for An Unearned 5-Week Vacation

    By Eric Pianin and
    Rob Garver,
    The Fiscal Times
    July 31, 2014

    The grand-daddy of all “Do Nothing” Congresses will be departing soon for an undeserved five week summer vacation – leaving behind a pile of unfinished business and a serious humanitarian crisis festering along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    While lawmakers likely will be able to claim a modicum of success on a few issues, the House prepared to close up shop Thursday afternoon after Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was forced to pull from the floor two GOP measures to help house, process and deport tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America who crossed the border illegally in recent months.

    The ultimate fate of those measures may not be known until much later today or early Friday, after Boehner and his GOP conference hold a final emergency meeting before departing for vacation. Regardless of whether the Speaker can salvage these bill, the past few days have once again highlighted the utter dysfunction of Congress.

    The 113th Congress broke all records last year for being the biggest do-nothing legislative body in modern times, but some experts are predicting that the Senate and House will manage to top that record before the year is out because of the near-collapse of the legislative process.

    Efforts earlier this year to pass big-ticket measures such as overhauling the tax code, raising the minimum wage, and extending long-term unemployment insurance went nowhere or fizzled out. And hopes for a spurt of important legislation before the long summer recess proved to be a massive disappointment.

    There has been a last minute flurry of legislative action on the floor of the House and Senate as lawmakers and their leaders tried to gloss over their record of missed opportunities and legislative malfeasance. . .
    If government is the problem, the solution is to break government. Right? Mission accomplished again, Republicans. Heckuva job, Brownies.
    I'm going to list ALEC in credits as associate producer of creating horrifying things for us to talk about -John Oliver

    People who think the least powerful members of society are responsible for most of its problems are deluded, at best.

  9. #9
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    You keep mentioning the House and how it's failed to do anything yet you fail to mention how the Senate hasn't even voted on numerous house bills that passed. For example, the Senate didn't even bring up a vote on the House immigration bill.

    It goes both ways. Both sides need to get together and compromise and get things done. You can't just blame the House when the Senate has done the same **** over and over again.

  10. #10
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    Aside from the several resolutions and less-critical bills that the Senate passes by unanimous consent at the end of the day, the Senate has held roll call votes to advance or pass legislation just 21 times in 27 weeks — less than one a week. And a full one-third of those votes have failed amid GOP complaints that they have no input into the process.

    Of the 14 votes that succeeded, most were on major “must pass” bills on issues that required House-Senate coordination — like the budget and spending deals and the so-called Medicare “doc fix” — or on issues that generated easy bipartisan cooperation, like eliminating a cut to cost-of-living adjustments for U.S. soldiers.

    Most of those 14 bills originated in the House, or at least were the product of significant House-Senate cooperation.

    The Senate has managed to pass just a handful of bills under its own power. In March, senators managed to pass two Senate-origin bills on child care and sexual assault in the military, but those were non-controversial and the House has not acted on them yet.

    It also passed a bill in June to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs that represents compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats. But even this bill is now the subject of House-Senate negotiations that will likely see the House insist on changes.


    Aside from those 14 bills, the Senate has adopted a seemingly backward strategy of seeking less input from Republicans the more controversial the issues get. The seven other votes were on bills that have so far failed, in large part because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has told Republicans he will not allow any amendment votes.

    In January and February, the Senate failed to advance legislation extending federal unemployment benefits, amid GOP complaints that no amendments were being allowed. In April, the Senate couldn’t move on a bill to boost the minimum wage, an idea Republicans opposed over fears that it would reduce job availability for lower-income Americans.

    In May, Democrats again refused to allow amendments to an energy bill and a tax bill, which killed those proposals. Republicans in June opposed a bill letting students refinance student loans, paid for with a tax hike.

    And earlier this month, Democrats again refused to allow amendments to a non-controversial sportsmen rights bill, which killed that bill.

    Many have tagged the 113th Congress as the least-productive in history. Congress has passed the fewest number of bills into law in decades, a fact that some blame on the Republican House.

    Last year’s statistics showed just how slow Congress, and in particular the Senate, has become at passing legislation. President Obama signed about 60 bills into law — a record low — and most of those bills originated in the House. Until the last few years, Congress had been able to send more than a 100 and sometimes more than 200 bills to the White House.

    While Democrats are blaming the House for the slowdown, Republicans have charged that the problem lies with the Senate, where Reid is letting Democrats avoid tough votes on controversial issues in order to help their re-election prospects. That Democratic posture has led to several legislative dead ends in the Senate, and many wasted weeks in which no significant action is seen on any legislation.

    And while legislative production has dropped in the House, it still manages to pass dozens of bills each year, most of which go ignored in the Senate.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has argued for months that the House has passed more than 30 jobs bills that have been forgotten in the Senate. Just this month, the Senate finally got around to passing one of them, the SKILLS Act, which will revamp federal jobs training programs.

    Republicans have openly criticized Reid for his opposition to even considering many other House-passed bills, in combination with his apparent need to avoid votes that could hurt Democrats in the mid-term elections.

    “The reason the Majority Leader will not allow amendments is because he wants to protect his members from actually being held accountable by the voters of the United States of America,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said on the Senate floor last month. “It’s demeaning this Senate, and he demeans the loyal opposition who are doing the only thing they have as a tool, which is refuse to move forward with a bill if the Majority Leader is going to use parliamentary maneuvers to block anybody’s amendment.”


    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014...-on-this-year/

    Yeah, it's the House's fault when Reid said he will not allow any amendments to the bills! When you have divided gov't you are supposed to work together and get things done. Instead, the WH calls GOP "terrorists" and Obama always bashes republicans in his PC's.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCrew5 View Post
    You keep mentioning the House and how it's failed to do anything yet you fail to mention how the Senate hasn't even voted on numerous house bills that passed. For example, the Senate didn't even bring up a vote on the House immigration bill.

    It goes both ways. Both sides need to get together and compromise and get things done. You can't just blame the House when the Senate has done the same **** over and over again.
    Did you not read the article he posted?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoCrew5 View Post
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014...-on-this-year/

    Yeah, it's the House's fault when Reid said he will not allow any amendments to the bills! When you have divided gov't you are supposed to work together and get things done. Instead, the WH calls GOP "terrorists" and Obama always bashes republicans in his PC's.
    You do realize that all of your arguments are examples of things you think are wrong with the country's voting population/thought, yes?

  13. #13
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    Really guys? I feel like this is the reverse of the "mine is bigger" nonsense. You're basically saying that the other person's is shorter by comparing between the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats...

    They both suck and can't put aside their petty bull****. The only thing that it seems they can agree on is that they all need some R&R.
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