This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
Just over a year into her tenure as FTC chief, Ramirez has given the agency a renewed focus on consumer-privacy protection. She led the FTC as it took action against Amazon and Snapchat — and she could have another major company to deal with in the near future, as some lawmakers are calling on the commission to target Facebook for manipulating its users’ news feeds.
Edith Ramirez (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California
Eshoo, who represents parts of Silicon Valley, is the House Democrats’ leader on many technology issues. As the ranking member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, she successfully fought to ensure that valuable wireless frequencies would be set aside to boost Wi-Fi networks. She is also a champion of net neutrality. An ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Eshoo could become even more influential if she defeats Rep. Frank Pallone in the race for the top Democratic spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Communications Commissioner
Rosenworcel, a Democrat, has indicated a willingness to challenge her own party, and is therefore emerging as a crucial vote at the FCC as the agency heads into one of the busiest years in its history. She was appointed to the commission in 2012 and was approved unanimously by the Senate after spending many years on Capitol Hill. Before entering public service, she practiced communications law in New York.
Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
During the six months that Clyburn, a Democrat, served as interim chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, she got a lot done. She opened up new airwaves to auction off to wireless companies, lowered the price of prison inmates’ phone calls, and saw through a big merger. Before joining the FCC in 2009, Clyburn served on the South Carolina Public Service Commission for 11 years. She is the daughter of Democratic Rep. James Clyburn.
Susan Molinari, Vice President for Public Policy, Google
A Republican former member of Congress, Molinari is helping Google buck its image as a company aligned only with Democrats. Since taking over as the Web giant’s top Washington lobbyist in 2012, she has helped to fend off an antitrust investigation and is often at the center of debates over online privacy. The company recently moved its D.C. operation to a lavish new office near Capitol Hill, complete with several dining areas and a video-game room.
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"Congressional negotiators released a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to fund federal agencies and programs through April 28." The 70-page continuing resolution includes $170 million to aid Flint, Michigan's water supply, and a waiver that would allow Ret. Gen. James Mattis to assume the role of secretary of Defense.
"A number of Capitol Hill Democrats have revived proposals to reform or abolish the Electoral College," chief among Michigan's John Conyers, who "held a panel on Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss options for eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a system where a national popular vote elects the president. ... The plan with the most support to reform the election college at the panel was the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a proposal first developed in 2001 that would give the national popular vote winner the majority of electoral college votes through an agreement between the states."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.