Science

Steven A. Sund named US Capitol Police chief
New chief, who has been with agency since 2017, previously directed special operations for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department

Capitol Police Assistant Chief Steven A. Sund, left, and Chief Matthew R. Verderosa place flowers in honor of fallen police officers during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service on May 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Steven A. Sund is the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force that provides law enforcement for the Capitol and members of Congress, made the announcement Friday, elevating Sund from his previous role as the department’s assistant chief.

Social media should be accountable for ‘deepfake content,’ intelligence experts say
Deepfake videos not only can be used by foreign and domestic perpetrators against political opponents, but could be used to hurt companies

Rep. Adam B. Schiff led the House Intelligence Committee hearing regarding social media immunity involving fake videos on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress should amend portions of U.S. law that allow social media companies to enjoy immunity for content posted on their platforms in light of the significant dangers posed by artificial intelligence-enabled fake videos, a panel of experts told the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing Thursday.

Social media companies should be asked to exercise reasonable moderation of content, and U.S. government agencies should educate citizens on how to tell if a video is fake and invest in technologies that will aid in such determinations, the experts said.

More men with babies are running for president, but few face questions about parenting
Male candidates with young children and working spouses could challenge traditional assumptions about caregivers

Balancing his family duties while running for president was a key consideration for California Rep. Eric Swalwell before he joined the 2020 race. Above, the California Democrat carries his 2-year-old son, Nelson, into his home in Washington on May 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When a mother with babies or preschoolers runs for office, the question inevitably arises: Who will take care of her kids while she is on the campaign trail?

But in a year when 23 Democrats are vying for their party’s presidential nomination, it’s the men who have children ages 5 or younger — enough to fill a small day care center. They are rarely asked about parenting, however, a review of their television interviews found.

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Contractors would receive shutdown pay in next spending package
Contractor back pay would provide the same benefit granted to direct federal employees

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., questions Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. She is seeking to add provisions in a spending bill to aid contractors during a shutdown. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats would make whole federal contractors who didn't get paid during the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January as part of a $383 billion fiscal 2020 spending bill set to hit the floor next week. 

The package combines five bills: Commerce-Justice-Science will be the vehicle, carrying the Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD measures as well.

Artificial intelligence is coming. Will Congress be ready?

Lawmakers still grappling with the downsides of the internet and social media era, such as loss of privacy, criminal hacking and data breaches, are now trying to balance the promises and perils of artificial intelligence. (iStock)

It can help trace missing children, but misidentifies people of color. It can help detect cancer, but may recommend the wrong cure. It can help track criminals, but could aid foreign enemies in targeting voters. It can improve efficiency, but perpetuate long-standing biases.

The “it” is artificial intelligence, a technology that teaches machines to recognize complex patterns and make decisions based on them, much like humans do. While the promised benefits of the technology are profound, the downsides could be damaging, even dangerous.

Dems pounce on GOP tariffs civil war and other takeaways from Trump‘s UK visit
Under Trump, U.S. is ‘standing around not doing much,’ former VP Biden says on trail

President Donald Trump inspects a honor guard at Buckingham Palace on Monday. He concluded a three-day state visit on Wednesday, making plenty of news along the way. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS - President Donald Trump ended his U.K. visit Wednesday in an uncharacteristic manner, sitting silently before the television cameras during an unplanned meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The moment offered a juxtaposition to his full-throated, unapologetic three days on British soil.

“The two leaders sat, smiling at the pool without saying a word,” wrote a reporter who was in Portsmouth, England, where the two leaders met briefly during a reception following a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion.

Lawmakers put funding ban on human embryo gene editing research in Ag. bill
The rider bars the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos

From left, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., attend a House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in Rayburn Building on July 25, 2018. By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language banning the funding of research involving the gene editing of human embryos, which has been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators did some soul searching Tuesday before deciding to include a policy rider in the fiscal 2020 Agriculture spending bill that would bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos.

By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language that had been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016 but was omitted in the draft bill approved on May 23 by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Safe climate a constitutional right, young plaintiffs tell court
But government argues case violates Constitution’s separation of powers

Workers watch a gas flare at an oil well site in Williston, N.D., in 2013. The young climate activists in Juliana v. United States have argued that the federal  government’s policies supporting fossil fuel directly contributed to global climate change, which in turn threatens their lives and security. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A court case brought by 21 children and young adults asserting a constitutional right to safe climate may turn on the judiciary’s view of its own power to create climate policy.

Much of a hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here Tuesday afternoon centered on the judicial role in establishing a response to climate change and what rights a group of young activists have to challenge the government’s role in creating a climate crisis. If successful, the suit could require federal agencies to create a comprehensive climate action plan. The shape of such a plan is still unclear. 

The USDA violated rules trying to move agencies out of D.C., new House report finds
Rules including reprogramming department funds and not seeking public opinion were violated, a House Appropriations report says

Department of Agriculture sign in Washington, DC (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In its drive to move two research-related agencies out of Washington, the USDA violated rules for reprogramming department funds, never sought public opinion and ignored appropriators’ request for a cost-benefit analysis, according to a House report released Monday.

The report, which will accompany the draft fiscal 2020 spending bill for the Agriculture Department, offers background on why lawmakers included provisions in the bill to bar the use of appropriated funds for moving the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.