Trump admin nixes Obama bag fee rules
The administration said it has “limited public benefit.”
The Trump administration on Thursday scrapped an Obama-era proposal that would have required airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees at the start of a ticket purchase rather than later, and dropped another propose rule seeking to mandate disclosure of more information about revenue from fees charged for extra services.
Why it matters: Airlines are already required to disclose bag fees. But the Associated Press reports critics argue that the information is often hidden until after customers already purchased a ticket. Travel agents and websites that sell tickets also reportedly complain that airlines sometimes declined to disclose informatin on fees, preventing third-party sellers from providing passengers with a detailed total cost.
The chairman of the House Administration Committee Gregg Harper said he plans to push through a bill by late January of next year to reverse a 1995 law that conceals the identities of lawmakers accused of harassments. The Mississippi Republican also told the Washington Examiner that he would also seek to end the practice of using taxpayer money to settle claims.
Why it matters: This comes on the heels of mounting scrutiny over multiple accusations of unwanted sexual advances emerged against several lawmakers. They include Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Conyers, Franken and Franks all announced their resignations this week amid the allegations.
The House Ethics Committee on Thursday said it has launched an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold amid allegations that he sexually harassed a former aide and then retaliated when she complained about it.
Why it matters: Politico reported last week that a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was paid by the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2014, using tax-payer funds, following allegations against Farenthold. Farenthold said this week he will repay the money, adding "I want to be clear that I didn't do anything wrong, but I also don't want taxpayers to be on the hook for this."
The panel will also examine whether the Texas Republican had discriminated against the staffer on the basis of her gender, retaliated against her for complaining of discriminatory conduct and made inappropriate statements to other staffers.
President Donald Trump's popularity has fallen or remained the same since February with every demographic group surveyed by Pew, according to a newly released poll.Data: Pew Research Center, survey of U.S. adults; Chart: Axios Visuals
His approval continues to be divided by gender and education....
A question-and-answer session with interns from the Department of Justice led to tense exchanges with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to ABC News, which obtained video of the event.
The highlights: Sessions dismissed an intern's claims of widespread fear of police in poor communities, and laughed at a woman who questioned why said he supports harsher policies for marijuana but not increased gun control.
On guns and marijuana:
On police violence:
In newly-obtained video, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spars with interns during DOJ event in the summer: "That may be the view in Berkeley, but it's not the view of most places in the country." https://t.co/KqiysrbxE2 pic.twitter.com/NImW8TgAD3
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2017
58 House Democrats vote on Wednesday to open debate on a motion to impeach President Trump, but the effort for Rep. Al Green of Texas was overwhelmingly rejected by a 364-58 margin.
Why it matters: Green was the first member of Congress to advocate for Trump's impeachment, an idea supported by 40% of Americans, according to an October poll from the Public Religion Research Institute. House Democratic leadership called Green's move premature.
Key Quote: “Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said in a joint statement, moments after Green introduced his articles of impeachment.
Robert Mueller. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been probing Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign, has spent more than $3.2 million in four-and-a-half months, according to a report released Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice spent $3.5 million to support the investigation.
Why it matters: Some GOP members have criticized the spending, and President Trump lashed out on twitter in May, saying "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?" But partisan outcries about the use of taxpayer funds for government investigations are nothing new.
FEMA / Wikimedia Commons
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has told employees who earned overtime after responding to a number of natural disasters this year that they may have to repay some of their extra pay, Bloomberg reports. The agency is reportedly monitoring 500 employees whose compensation have thus far exceeded the cap.
Why it matters: Federal law limits the amount of premium pay some federal employees can receive. It also permits federal agencies to recover additional money they pay from future paychecks.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said President Trump called him on Monday after his full-throated endorsement, saying that Moore is a "fighter" who would help him pursue his major agenda items in Congress. The Moore campaign said Trump wrapped up his call saying, "go get 'em, Roy!"
Background: Moore has been under intense scrutiny amid multiple accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances on teenage girls in the 1970s. In recent comments, the President stopped short of explicitly endorsing Moore in the closely watched special election to be held next week.
Jon Elswick / AP
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling by the Texas high court that married, same-sex couples may not be entitled to government-subsidized marriage benefits.
Why it matters: The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court ruled that the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling which overturned bans on gay marriage nationwide did not hold that "states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons," per The Texas Tribune. The ruling suggests that not all marriages must be treated equally.
Background: The suit centers around a policy by the city of Houston, which extends benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian public employees. Despite the court battle, the city is still providing benefits to all of its married employees, the Tribune reports. This decision comes a day before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding.