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Memorial Day is the only day in which flags are flown at half-staff for only part of the day -- to both honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives and to inspire those who continue in their stead.
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From our Hill Sources: On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will become the second foreign leader in history to address Congress three times. (The first was Churchill.) And, while Congress was able to temporarily prevent a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, it will have once again look to a longer-term funding agreement for the agency. Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

https://www.popvox.com/blog/week-ahead-march-2-6
Here's a look at the week ahead in Congress: Israeli Prime Minister addresses a joint session of Congress; another Homeland Security funding deadline; online gambling and more.
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Our first Medium post is up -- on the DC #marijuana rules & Congress' response: Please share & comment! 

https://medium.com/@POPVOX/marijuana-could-be-legal-in-dc-this-week-unless-congress-intervenes-d7fc8cef7a15
Congress has 30 days to disapprove of proposed laws in the District of Columbia, which ends on Feb. 26 for DC’s marijuan…
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Our co-founder,  +Rachna Choudhry spoke with GW Professor Steven Roberts at the 9th Annual Voting and Elections Summit in Washington.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoYL4kQmlB8&index=8&list=PLtRB8fQ0zBR8B3UyEp-JupsZVsXJC2BW1
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The Week Ahead in Congress: Feb. 16 - 20


Congress is in recess this week. The deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security looms ahead. Lawmakers have until Feb. 27 to avoid an agency shutdown. When Congress returns next week, they may also consider the President’s Draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Also -- the Federal Aviation Administration released a set of draft regulations for the legalization of commercial drone flight. 

Learn more from our Hill Sources, then share your voice on POPVOX!
https://www.popvox.com/blog/week-ahead-feb-16-20

#DHSFunding, #AUMF & #Drones 
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From online voting to encouraging civic engagement between elections.
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Have them in circles
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The Export-Import Bank's authorization is set to expire on June 30, 2015—and the House and Senate must decide whether to reauthorize the Bank.

What is the Ex-Im Bank?
The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. Its mission is to assist in financing the export of US goods and services to international markets. The Ex-Im Bank offers direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees and export credit insurance, as well as special financing programs.

In FY 2014, the Export-Import Bank supported 164,000 US jobs through financing approximately $20.5 billion worth of exports. Nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s authorizations that year directly served small businesses, as defined by the Small Business Administration, according to the Bank President. Last year, the Bank supported manufacturing exports of nearly $16.6 billion. Sixty-eight percent of total authorizations in FY 2014 went to projects in developing markets, up from 62 percent in FY 2013. (Source: Ex-Im Bank's Chairman Fred Hochberg's testimony before the House Oversight Committee.)

Read more and weigh in on related bills in Congress:
https://www.popvox.com/blog/reauthorizing-exim-bank

#ExportImport  Bank #ExIm  
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We're excited to join our friends at the +Harvard Ash Center and the +The OpenGov Foundation to hold a San Francisco #Hack4Congress  event:

#Hack4Congress brings together political scientists, technologists, designers, lawyers, organizational psychologists, and lawmakers to foster new digital tools, policy proposals and other innovations to address the growing dysfunction in Congress.

In three events (Cambridge; Washington, DC; and San Francisco) civic innovators are invited to spend a weekend working on "hacks" (both technical and non-technical) to improve Congress. Each event concludes with presentations and the selection of the best project.

Winners will travel to DC in May, to present their ideas to a panel of Members of Congress and civic innovators.

More information at: http://hack4congress.org
Sign up here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/hack4congress-san-francisco-tickets-1909660847

Special thanks to +Code for America for providing the venue!
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The Poli-Sci Players

Did you know that Congress introduced almost 7,000 new bills in 2013 alone? Yeah, neither did we. Rachna Choundhry and Marci Harris cofounded Popvox to bring little-known congressional decisions to a bigger news platform. The idea is that just because you didn’t read about it doesn’t mean it won’t affect you. Popvox’s nonpartisan platform provides a 360-degree view of every bill and has a genius tool for aggregating letters from constituents. Want to write an appeal? Just click.




http://www.purewow.com/tech/The-5-coolest-women-in-tech/slide3
Silicon Valley isn't just for the boys
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Now on POPVOX: Tell Congress what you think about the President's draft proposal authorizing military force against ISIS/ISIL:

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/x404

#AUMF   #Congress  
Tell Congress what you think about The President's Draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)
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The Week Ahead in Congress: Feb. 9 - 13
From our Hill Sources: It’s a warm (60s) day in Washington, DC – a good break from the cold winter – as Members of Congress prepare for a busy week of votes. The Senate will continue to work on a bill to fund the Dept. of Homeland Security. If lawmakers don’t pass a bill by Feb. 27th, the agency will shut down. The House Majority’s theme for the week is “Planting the Seeds of Growth in our Local Economies,” and they plan to vote on two tax bills. In addition, the House will consider the Senate’s version of the Keystone XL approval bill.

https://www.popvox.com/blog/week-ahead-feb-9-13

#DHS  #Keystone #Sportsmen's Act #Congress  
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The Growing Shadow of Political Money

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times
JAN. 24, 2015

Like bettors checking Las Vegas odds on the Super Bowl, specialists in the nation’s booming campaign finance industry are tracking the action in the 2016 elections, not so much to assess the candidates as to see how much of a payout is likely this time around in the grand casino of American politics.

The record total of $6.3 billion spent on the presidential and congressional elections of 2012 is only the starting point. Estimates of next year’s likely total are running between $7.5 billion and $8 billion. This moneyed universe is certain to keep expanding as the political industry’s managers and their candidates master the unlimited fund-raising and spending devices they now have at hand.

The sheer numbers should be enough to raise public alarm. But needed reforms are going nowhere, with too many congressional members busy bolstering their incumbency with the help of the same large-scale donors. In last year’s elections, the 100 biggest campaign check writers gave $323 million, plus many millions more in anonymous donations to politically active “social welfare” groups and other new money troughs. According to a report by Politico, total spending by the 100 ultra-donors exceeded that of the 4.75 million ordinary Americans who made smaller donations of $200 or less.

The risk of special-interest corruption? Five years ago, when the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision dashed decades of sensible controls by equating unlimited corporate and union spending with individual free speech, Justice Anthony Kennedy reassured the nation that full disclosure of donors would be safeguard enough.

He envisioned a world, nonexistent, where disclosure lets citizens “see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.” But Congress then killed healthy disclosure requirements, and the way things are working out, with untraceable donations on the rise, it’s more the reverse: a case of moneyed interests moving snugly into the pockets of grateful officials.

Citizens United is just one of the threats to fair campaigning that is posed by runaway money. No less pernicious has been the rise of the nonprofit groups posing as “social welfare” organizations, while in truth they are political machines. This fiction is garnering large donations from players seeking to hide under protections in the tax code. The I.R.S. has timidly retreated from policing this abuse because of Tea Party complaints. The Federal Election Commission, charged with policing campaigns, is even more inert, paralyzed by an enforcement standoff engineered by Republican commissioners.

Antidotes to the politics of toxic money, in the form of a package of reforms, were offered last week to the new Congress. One would rein in the super-PAC cornucopia of big money for candidates pretending to be uninvolved. Another would strengthen ordinary Americans’ political speech by updating the public financing system for presidential elections and creating a badly needed new one for congressional races. A third, delivering on Justice Kennedy’s dream, would mandate full disclosure of large-scale contributions and of the identities of affluent donors now playing politics from the shadows.

But so far, reform of any sort has been no more than a dream. In this unresponsive Congress, it is likely to remain so.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/opinion/sunday/the-growing-shadow-of-political-money.html?_r=1

The three House bills referred to in the editorial are the:

~ Empowering Citizens Act (H.R. 424)
https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/hr424

~ Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act (H.R. 425):
https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/hr425

~ DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 430):
https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/hr430

The bills were introduced in Congress last week.
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Neutral nonpartisan advocacy platform meshing real-time legislative data with individuals’ personal stories.
Introduction
A transparent, nonpartisan, neutral platform for advocacy and legislative data.

POPVOX is derived from the Latin:
vox populi (voks pop-yuh-lai)
— n. the voice of the people; popular or public opinion

POPVOX is an online advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers. POPVOX provides a legislative dashboard for Congress and government affairs professionals with bill status information, customized tracking, bill-specific advocacy information, and real-time constituent sentiment and comments.



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