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The Daily Countable: Sex, Tech & Tax Hacks

by Countable | 11.30.17

Greetings, Folks. It's the very last day of November, and that our minds boggled here at Countable. Not so much because of the shopping and parties and travel and wrapping that is coming at us like a train, but because Congress has only a few business days left on its schedule to deal with an even more intense honey-do list.

One Big Thing

(Ok, ok.. today there are two!)

On the Radar

Sexual Harassment in the Capitol: Several Key Developments

  • On Wednesday, a group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill that would expose lawmakers who settled sexual harassment claims with taxpayer dollars. The current process of mediating harassment claims against lawmakers or staff is secretive and arduous, and when settlements do occur, members don’t pay them from their own funds, as required by other federal agencies. Rather, the payments – which remain confidential – come from a special U.S. Treasury fund. This bill would 'out' lawmakers who've made those payments.

  • Also on Wednesday, the House passed a resolution that would require all members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives to complete anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training during each one-year session of each two-year Congress. It would also apply to interns, fellows, and members of Congressional security details. Here's the legislation.

  • Ethics investigations are likely into the claims against Senator Al Franken (D-MN), John Conyers (D-MI), and perhaps Joe Barton (R-TX). Here's what's happening, what's likely next, and a brief history of past Ethics Committee investigations into sexual harassment claims.

Under the Radar

  • Ever heard the term "sunset provisions"? It's thrown around by policy wonks whenever legislative negotiations center around a very high price tag — such as with the current tax bill. Check out this fascinating explainer of sunset provisions, which our reporter defines in more common language as "Now you see it! Now you don't!"

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House: President Trump in DC

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will meet with the Crown Prince of Bahrain.
  • In the evening, the President and First Lady Melania Trump will walk to the Ellipse to light the National Christmas Tree.

The House of Representatives: In Session

  • Voting on a bill to reauthorize the EPA's Brownfields Program, which cleans up and redevelops contaminated industrial sites.
  • Voting on a bill to double the length of probationary periods for federal employees in the competitive and senior executive service to two years.
  • Voting on a bill to restore two mining leases previously issued & revoked in Minnesota's Superior National Forest and requiring that Congress approve future withdrawals of mineral leases or monument designations in the area.

The Senate: In Session


It's wonderful talking to so many of you who've been in touch. I'd especially love your thoughts and ideas for issues we should cover in a bit more depth while Congress is in recess. Talk to me!

— Andrea Seabrook, Managing Editor

Talk to Andrea via email, andrea [at] countable.us, or on twitter, @RadioBabe. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.

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