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Tag: lawmakers

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urge DEA to Halt Banning Kratom

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are urging the DEA to reconsider its decision to make kratom, an herbal supplement, a Schedule I drug because of its potential to help heroin addicts.

A letter from 45 representatives asked the acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg to delay the ban, which could take effect as early as this week, until authorities “engage consumers, researchers, and other stakeholders, in keeping with well-established protocol for such matters,” Huffington Post reports. 

“This significant regulatory action was done without any opportunity for public comment from researchers, consumers, and other stakeholders,” reads the letter, drafted by Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. “This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement.”

Lawmakers also appealed to the Office of Management and Budget to stop the DEA’s scheduling process so authorities could determine if kratom should be placed into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Kratom users and some scientists said the DEA’s proposed ban is premature because of potential medical benefits to people dependent on prescription painkillers or heroin.

Democrats Urge FBI to Investigate Possible Ties Between Russia, Trump Campaign

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democratic lawmakers are urging the FBI to investigate Donald Trump campaign advisers to determine whether they were involved in the suspected Russian hacking of election systems in two states and the party’s political organizations.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to FBI Director Jame Comey on Aug. 27, asking for an investigation into suspected Russian interference in the presidential election, The Washington Post reports. 

The letter refers to two Trump advisors who have been accused of having connections to Russia. One of Trump’s longtime friends, Roger Stone, claimed he was in touch with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. And Trump’s foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, traveled to Moscow in July.

“The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, Wikileaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity and merits full examination,” Reid wrote, referring to Stone.

Four House Democrats made a similar request of Comey on Tuesday afternoon.

Serious questions have been raised about overt and covert actions by Trump campaign officials on behalf of Russian interests,” they wrote. “It is critical for the American public to know whether those actions may have directly caused or indirectly motivated attacks against Democratic institutions and our fundamental election process.”

Federal Lawmakers Propose Widely Different Ways to Tackle Long Lines at Airports

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are offering potential solutions to long wait times at airport.

After Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, suggested $28 million in extra funding for three busy northeast airports, another lawmaker suggesting adding private screeners.

The Hill reports that Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., wants the TSA to use more private screeners.

Of the 472 commercial airports, only 22 have help from private contractors.

“My question is: why?” Black said. “Congress must ensure that TSA culture and policies aren’t standing in the way of allowing businesses the ability to compete for these opportunities.”

Black also wants a realistic cost of private contractors.

“Congress can’t keep throwing taxpayer money at a broken agency that, by every metric, is failing our travelers, without demanding reform,” Black said.

Other Stories of Interest

Maryland Lawmaker Proposes Ban on Firearms for People on Terrorism Watch Lists

Rep. Chris Van Hollen

Rep. Chris Van Hollen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Maryland is at least the second state pursing a ban on firearm sales to people on the federal terrorism watch lists.

The Associated Press reports that state Rep. Chris Van Hollen is asking the governor to “explore every possible state action” to prevent guns from getting into the hands of terrorists.

Van Hollen, a Democrat, sent the letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, on Thursday, the same day the Connecticut governor said he would sign an executive order banning people from the no-fly list from purchasing firearms.

President Obama said Sunday that he supports a similar measure on the federal level.

Other Stories of Interest

Lawmakers Demand Guarantees to Prevent Terrorists from Slipping into U.S. As Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. officials sought to assure skeptics that refugees settling in the U.S. are properly vetted to ensure terrorists don’t slip through.

MassLive reports that federal officials said the process involves in-person interviews and a myriad of other security checks by Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about how refugees from Syria and Iraq are vetted and want guarantees that “would in essence stop the relocations of refugees,” MassLive wrote.

Concerns have been heightened following the Paris attacks.

Ga. FBI Forms New Squad to Take Aim at Corrupt Judges and Lawmakers

Brian Lamkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in Georgia is trying to hone in on corrupt judges and legislators.

The Associated Press reports that the FBI has created a new squad to investigate those folks. Brian Lamkin, who heads the FBI office in Georgia, told The Associated Press he formed the team after months of reviewing the agency’s priorities.

“It impacts the everyday system. It’s not just a dirty law enforcement officer that might be shaking you down,” he said, according to AP. “You’re talking about people that you elect to an office to represent you who try to line their pockets.” To read more click here

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Says Violent Threats Against Lawmakers Set Record in 2010

house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Politics can be a dirty game. It can also be a dangerous one.

The FBI reports that lawmakers were the target of more threats of violence in 2010 than in any other year on record, according to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Some threats involved health care legislation, The Hill reported. And politicians from both sides of the isle were targets including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The Hill reported the FBI opened, investigated and closed at least 26 threats against lawmakers.

Last March, The Hill reported, Pelosi got a call from a man who said: “I’m going to come down there and put a bullet in your a– when you leave.”

A McConnell staff member got a call last year from someone who said: “I’m going to kill you and your senator and your staff.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Official Says Kidnappings in Texas Border Town “Off the Charts”

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI official in Texas told state lawmakers Thursday that kidnappings in the border town of McAllen, Tex., have nearly quadrupled over the last fiscal year, and most were drug related, the Associated Press reported.

John Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI McAllen office, said 42 people were kidnapped between October 2008 to September 2009 compared to 11 the year before, the AP reported. On top of that, he said, many kidnappings have gone unreported.

“Fiscal ’09 was off the charts,” Johnson said in McAllen to lawmakers who were holding a hearing to determined the security needs at the border, the AP reported.

To read more click here.

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