Tag Archives: Ron Wyden

Senate GOP Blocks Effort to Federally Protect IVF Access

“Remember this the next time they claim to care about freedom and family,” said one Democratic lawmaker.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-28-2024 by Common Dreams

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. (Official U.S. Senate photo by Karsyn Meyerson)

Democratic U.S. lawmakers and reproductive rights defenders on Wednesday blasted congressional Republicans and former U.S. President Donald Trump after a GOP senator blocked a bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization a week after Alabama’s right-wing Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) objected to a request to pass by unanimous consent a bill introduced by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to federally protect IVF access, claiming that the bill is “a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far.”

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Tracking of Planned Parenthood Visits ‘Should Terrify Every Single American’

Sen. Ron Wyden warns that “if a data broker could track Americans’ cellphones to help extremists” send ads to clinic visitors, “a right-wing prosecutor could use that same information to put women in jail.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Planned Parenthood- Manitowoc, WI. Photo: Michael Steeber/flickr/CC

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and privacy rights advocates this week are sounding the alarm about an anti-abortion group using cellphone location data to send misinformation to people who visited hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

“If a data broker could track Americans’ cellphones to help extremists target misinformation to people at hundreds of Planned Parenthood locations across the United States, a right-wing prosecutor could use that same information to put women in jail,” Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Tuesday.

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$8.5 Trillion in Untaxed Assets: Data Shows Why ‘We Need a Billionaire Income Tax’

“While most Americans predominantly live off the income they earn from a job—income that is taxed all year, every year—the very richest households live lavishly off capital gains that may never be taxed.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 1-4-2024 by Common Dreams

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Photo: Daniel Oberhaus/flickr//CC

An analysis released Wednesday shows that in 2022, the wealthiest people in the United States collectively held a “staggering” $8.5 trillion in wealth that is not—and might never be—subject to taxation.

Examining recently released data Federal Reserve data for 2022, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) found that the roughly 64,000 U.S. households with at least $100 million in wealth—less than 0.05% of the population—controlled more than one in every six dollars of the country’s “unrealized gains,” profits that aren’t taxable until the underlying asset, such as a stock position, is sold.

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Fresh Calls for Stock Trading Ban After US Lawmakers Beat Market in 2023

“Members of Congress should not be allowed to trade stock,” said one former congressional candidate. “It’s corruption.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-3-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: Yahoo Finance

A financial watchdog group on Tuesday released its annual report on congressional stock trading, which shows that “Congress blew the market out of the water” in 2023, fueling fresh calls for a ban targeting U.S. lawmakers and their immediate family members.

“Members of Congress shouldn’t be allowed to trade stocks of the companies they regulate for the same reasons referees aren’t allowed to bet on the games they officiate,” Melanie D’Arrigo, a former Democratic congressional candidate who is now executive director of the Campaign for New York Health, said in response to the Unusual Whales report.

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Exposé of ‘Scandalous’ US Spying Sparks Calls for Congress to Act

“These new details add up to a horrifying picture that proves the need for Congress to… enact comprehensive privacy protections for Americans before reauthorizing any spying powers,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 11-20-2023 by Common Dreams

A U.S. senator is sounding the alarm about a “long-running dragnet surveillance program” enabling law enforcement to :request often-warrantless searches of trillions of domestic phone records.” Photo: Ivan Radic/flickr/CC

Privacy advocates on Monday renewed demands for swift congressional action on government surveillance in response to new WIRED reporting on a federally funded program through which law enforcement obtains phone records from AT&T.

“This is a long-running dragnet surveillance program in which the White House pays AT&T to provide all federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies the ability to request often-warrantless searches of trillions of domestic phone records,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote Sunday in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, which WIRED obtained and published in full.

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‘Serious Ethics Issue’: Wealthy Friend Forgave Up to $267K of Luxury RV Loan for Clarence Thomas

The Senate Finance Committee chair said he “should inform the committee exactly how much debt was forgiven and whether he properly reported the loan forgiveness on his tax returns and paid all taxes owed.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 10-26-2023 by Common Dreams

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas . Screenshot: ABC News

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday released a report detailing how embattled Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may have had a substantial amount of a loan for a luxury RV forgiven by a wealthy friend—which one watchdog called “a serious ethics issue.”

The panel’s probe was sparked by New York Times reporting from August about Anthony Welters loaning Thomas money to buy a used Prevost Le Mirage XL Marathon, or “the Rolls-Royce of motor coaches,” which cost $267,230 in 1999. Welters told the newspaper that “the loan was satisfied” and provided a photograph of the title with his signature and a handwritten “lien release” date of November 22, 2008.

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FCC Chair Confirms Plan to Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules Eviscerated Under Trump

“To allow a handful of monopoly-aspiring gatekeepers to control access to the internet is a direct threat to our democracy,” said Michael Copps, a Common Cause special adviser and former FCC commissioner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 9-26-2023 by Common Dreams

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel Photo: Internet Education Foundation/flickr/CC

Open internet advocates across the United States celebrated on Tuesday as Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced her highly anticipated proposal to reestablish FCC oversight of broadband and restore net neutrality rules.

“We thank the FCC for moving swiftly to begin the process of reinstating net neutrality regulations,” said ACLU senior policy counsel Jenna Leventoff. “The internet is our nation’s primary marketplace of ideas—and it’s critical that access to that marketplace is not controlled by the profit-seeking whims of powerful telecommunications giants.”

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With Funds Opposed by GOP, IRS to Target Ultrawealthy Tax Delinquents

“This news stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by House Republicans, who want to allow wealthy tax cheats to continue business as usual,” said U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 9-8-2023 by Common Dreams

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Daniel Werfel . Screenshot: C-SPAN

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Friday won praise from congressional Democrats and progressive groups for announcing “a sweeping, historic effort to restore fairness in tax compliance by shifting more attention onto high-income earners, partnerships, large corporations, and promoters abusing the nation’s tax laws.”

The IRS effort is enabled by some of the $80 billion in funding for the agency included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Joe Biden signed into law last year. About a quarter of that money is set to be clawed back as part of his recent deal with congressional Republicans to temporarily suspend the nation’s debt limit.

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Fetterman Bill Would Ensure Striking Workers Can Receive Federal Food Aid

“I’m proud to introduce this bill that will eliminate the need for workers to choose between fighting for fair working conditions and putting food on the table for their families,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 7-27-2023 by Common Dreams

Senator John Fetterman. Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr/CC

As multiple work stoppages continued across the United States, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania on Thursday introduced legislation that would enable striking workers to qualify for federal food aid.

Called the Food Secure Strikers Act of 2023, Fetterman’s bill would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to ensure that striking workers aren’t excluded from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In addition, the bill would preserve food stamp eligibility for public sector workers who are fired for striking and clarify that any income-eligible household is entitled to SNAP benefits even if a member of that household is on strike.

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More Proof of FBI Abuse Sparks Calls for Congress to Stop Warrantless Spying

“Government self-policing will never be an adequate substitute for the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement,” said one expert as U.S. lawmakers consider whether to reauthorize or reform Section 702.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 7-22-2023 by Common Dreams

FBI Director Christopher Wray discusses the importance of lawful access during an October 4, 2019 summit on the issue at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: FBI

Privacy advocates renewed calls for swift congressional action to rein in warrantless spying on Americans following the Friday release of documents showing U.S. law enforcement’s further misuse of a powerful surveillance tool.

“These disturbing new revelations show how Section 702 surveillance, a spy program the government claims is focused on foreign adversaries, is routinely used against Americans, immigrants, and people who are not accused of any wrongdoing,” said Patrick Toomey, deputy director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in a statement.

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