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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First, it was Sean Spicer. Then Reince Priebus. Now, presidential adviser Steve Bannon, perhaps the administration's biggest lightning rod for criticism, is out. “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” That's not to say the parting of ways isn't controversial. Bannon says he submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, but earlier today, "the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon."
"The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups."
"Liberal groups are raising questions about a speaking appearance Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch plans to make next month at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Gorsuch is scheduled to headline a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of conservative group The Fund for American Studies on September 28, days before the next SCOTUS term begins October 2. Steve Slattery, a spokesman for The Fund for American Studies, said Gorsuch had nothing to do with venue choice, which was made long before the group asked Gorsuch to speak."
"The Trump administration has lost a handful of individuals serving in top cybersecurity roles across the federal government in recent weeks, even as it has struggled to fill high-ranking IT positions. The developments present hurdles for the new administration and speak to the longstanding challenge the federal government faces in competing with the private sector for top tech talent." Among those resigning is Richard Staropoli, "a former U.S. Secret Service agent who served as chief information officer (CIO) of the Department of Homeland Security for just three months," and Dave DeVries, the CIO at OPM. Separately, the White House announced today that President Trump has directed that United States Cyber Command be elevated to the status of a Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations.