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The Paper Trail: January 9, 2023

Boeing Back in Hot Water; Millions Could Lose Access to Affordable Internet; Threadbare Psychiatric Care at VA Clinics; and More. 

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Announcements

Applications are now open for a two-day intensive virtual Boot Camp on the art and practice of oversight and investigations hosted by POGO, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy, and The Lugar Center. This training is only open to staff in Congress. Apply at THIS LINK by January 26.

Top stories for January 9, 2024

U.S. investigators probing whether Boeing 737 MAX panel was properly bolted: The NTSB said it could not yet tell whether a cabin panel that blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane in mid-air last week had been properly attached. The comments came after Alaska Airlines and the other U.S. 737 MAX 9 operator, United Airlines, said they had found loose parts on multiple grounded aircraft. (David Shepardson and Lisa Barrington, Reuters)

🔎 See Also: Boeing supplier ignored warnings of “excessive amount of defects,” former employees allege (Katya Schwenk et al., The Lever)

🔎 See Also: Boeing 737 near-catastrophe lands company back in hot water (Alex Fitzpatrick, Axios)

Education withholds payments from student loan servicers: The Education Department says three student loan servicers — including a subsidiary of Maximus, which services about a quarter of all federal student loans — are not sending timely and accurate statements to borrowers. (Nick Wakeman, Washington Technology)

Millions could lose affordable access to internet service with FCC program set to run out of funds: The Affordable Connectivity Program, which pays for internet service for low-income Americans, is set to run out of money later this year. The FCC says that it’s difficult to predict how many will lose their connectivity, but it suspects the number will be in the millions. (Willie James Inman, CBS News)

Yellow school buses are going green with a $1 billion investment: EPA funding will allow school districts to purchase electric and low-emission buses, but it could be a bumpy transition for some districts. While districts haven’t had difficulty purchasing electric school buses, they have encountered problems charging them. (Maxine Joselow and Anna Phillips, Washington Post)

hydroxychloroquine could have caused 17,000 deaths during COVID, study finds: Nearly 17,000 people in six countries may have died after taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine between March and July 2020. (Mari Eccles, Politico)

Insurrection

Not political prisoners: Federal judges have shown leniency in nearly all Jan. 6 cases: In 82% of the 719 January 6-related cases that have been resolved, and in which the defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted, judges on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia have issued lighter sentences than prosecutors requested. (James Risen and Margot Williams, The Intercept)

🔎 See Also: Multiple Jan. 6 fugitives arrested at Florida ranch 3 years after Capitol attack (Meredith Deliso, ABC News)

Special counsel probe uncovers new details about Trump’s inaction on Jan. 6: Jack Smith’s team uncovered previously undisclosed evidence that former President Trump refused to help stop the insurrection as he watched the events unfold on TV. (Katherine Faulders et al., ABC News)

🔎 See Also: Apparent “swatting” incidents target judge and prosecutor in Trump election case (Alan Feuer, New York Times)

Russia-Ukraine War

Pentagon’s Ukraine coffers run dry, threatening Kyiv’s grip on Its territory: The Washington stalemate over U.S. policy at the southern border is beginning to reverberate on the Ukraine battlefield, where Kyiv’s troops are running out of ammunition while the Pentagon says it can’t provide more without emptying its own arsenal. (Lindsay Wise et al., Wall Street Journal)

Defense and Veterans Affairs

The White House will review Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s lack of disclosure on his hospital stay: The Biden administration will review what rules or procedures weren’t followed last week when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin did not disclose his hospitalization for days to the president and top Pentagon and National Security Council officials. (Seung Min Kim, Zeke Miller, and Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press)

Staff warned about the lack of psychiatric care at a VA clinic. They couldn’t prevent tragedy: The military has long drawn recruits from remote towns across America, promising them a lifetime of health care in return for their service. But the VA has seldom staffed those communities with the mental health professionals needed to help them once they return home. (Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi, ProPublica)

Tech

Lawmakers push U.S. to consider trade limits with A.I. giant tied to China: The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party claims G42, a technology company controlled by the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, works extensively with China's military, intelligence services, and state-owned entities. (Edward Wong, Mark Mazzetti, and Paul Mozur, New York Times)

TikTok quietly curtails data tool used by critics: TikTok has quietly restricted one of its few tools to help measure the popularity of trends on the video app, after the tool’s results were used by researchers and lawmakers to scrutinize content on the site related to geopolitics and the Israel-Hamas war. (Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times)

Health Care

The FDA warned an asthma drug could induce despair. Many were never told: The FDA’s handling of Singulair illustrates systemic gaps in the agency’s approach to addressing troubling side effects from medicines approved long ago, and to warning the public and doctors when serious issues arise. (Christina Jewett and Benjamin Mueller, New York Times)

Red Cross declares nationwide emergency due to critically low blood supply: Blood donors are needed now more than ever as the Red Cross faces a national emergency shortage, with the number of donors at a 20-year low. (Natalie Brand, Dana Carullo, and Sara Moniuszko, CBS News)

ICYMI

Immigration and Border Security:

U.S. sees drop in illegal border crossings after Mexico increases enforcement

New Jersey governor asks bus companies sending migrants to state for advance notice

Other News:

N.Y. AG calls for $370M fine against Trump and lifetime ban from real estate industry in the state

Roger Stone spoke with cop pal about assassinating Eric Swalwell and Jerry Nadler

Skipping school: America’s hidden education crisis

The new space race is causing new pollution problems

Law firm registers as foreign agent for Hunter Biden-linked company 8 years later

Upcoming Events

📌 National Park Service’s Deferred Maintenance Backlog: Perspectives from the Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General. House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations and Federal Lands. Wednesday, January 10, 10:15 a.m., 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

📌 Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration. House Committee on Financial Services. Thursday, January 11, 10:00 a.m., 2128 Rayburn House Office Building.

Hot Docs

🔥📃 House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds: How to Partner with Whistleblowers on Oversight. January 8, 2024 (PDF)

Nominations & Appointments

Nominations

  • Jennifer D. Gavito - Ambassador, Libya
  • Vanesa Soledad Simon - Member, National Council on the Arts