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Former Delta pilot named to lead FAA as Chao seeks Max 8 audit
The agency faces questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane, involved in two catastrophic crashes

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is escorted into her chair by R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, before a Senate Environment and Public Works Senate Committee in Dirksen Building titled “The Administration’s Framework for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America” on March 01, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Delta Air Lines executive and pilot Stephen M. Dickson was nominated Tuesday to take over as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency facing questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane involved in two catastrophic overseas crashes.

Also on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she had asked the department’s inspector general to conduct a formal audit of the certification process for the 737 Max 8.

Latest fundraising numbers from Beto O’Rourke and others are ridiculous
Texas Democrat raised more in 24 hours than earlier top candidates did in an entire cycle

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke reported raising $6.1 million within 24 hours after announcing his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When covering campaigns on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to lose perspective, particularly when it comes to money. Million-dollar figures are thrown around without much thought. But the amounts of money being raised by candidates right now, particularly Democrats, are absurd.

I glanced back at competitive races nearly 20 years ago for some context, and the comparisons between a day of presidential fundraising and entire, top-tier congressional contests are staggering.

Colorado joins effort to elect presidents by popular vote, go around Electoral College
Colorado is the latest state to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote

Trump's election in 2016 boosted interest in the national popular vote — at least among Democrats. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado has become the latest state — and the first swing state — to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote.

Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that requires those states to select their presidential electors based on who wins the most individual votes nationwide, regardless of which candidate wins in the state.

FAA: New data led to grounding of 737 Max jets
All Max 8 and 9 models in the air right now ‘will be grounded’ today as soon as they land, Trump told reporters

The Boeing 737-8 is pictured on a mural on the side of the Boeing Renton Factory on March 11, 2019 in Renton, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Updated 5:40 p.m. | The Federal Aviation Administration ordered all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 airliners grounded on Wednesday after enhanced satellite data showed similarities between Sunday’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and an October crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia.

President Donald Trump announced the decision, which came after the European Union, Great Britain, China and some airlines had already grounded the planes and members of Congress were calling on the FAA to follow suit.

These lawmakers want to know when the Senate gets hacked
The bipartisan duo of Sens. Wyden and Cotton called for more disclosure of Senate cyber attacks

Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called on Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to reveal cyber attacks against the Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan Senate duo wants to know about any successful hacks of Senate devices and networks.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton wrote to Senate Sargent of Arms Michael Stenger calling for an annual report on when Senate computers and smartphones have been compromised, and when hackers have otherwise gained access to sensitive Senate data.

House Democrats show improved response to Republican messaging votes
Democrats easily defeated a Republican motion to recommit Friday to their HR 1 government overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., center, had voted for several Republican motions to recommit this year but he argued against the one the GOP offered to HR 1 Friday, calling it a “joke.” Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., right, meanwhile was one of six Democrats who voted with Republicans on that motion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats seem to have sharpened their response to Republican motions to recommit after the GOP twice bested the new majority using the procedural tool this year.

The improved messaging and whip operations around motions to recommit, or MTRs, since Democrats lost a second one early last week on a priority gun control bill seem to have quelled an immediate desire to overhaul the procedural tool.

Nancy Pelosi joins House and Senate Democrats launching new push to restore net neutrality
Legislation expected to move quickly in the House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are pushing legislation to restore net neutrality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic majority intends to move quickly on legislation that would revive and codify net neutrality, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Joined by Democrats from both chambers including Pelosi and top party leaders, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. said the bill would be a priority for his committee. It would codify the 2015 open internet order from the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, which was rolled back after President Donald Trump took office.

5 ways Congress may try to fix the Highway Trust Fund
Better mileage and slower growth in miles traveled have combined to produce less revenue than Congress voted to spend

A symbol based on the original Route 66 road signs is seen painted on the highway near an abandoned gas station (L) and Cafe in Ludlow, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

For nearly half a century, taxes on gas and diesel fuel funded what Congress spent from the Highway Trust Fund on roads, bridges and, after a 1982 compromise, mass transit.

For the past decade, however, better mileage for cars and trucks and slower growth in the number of miles Americans traveled combined to produce less revenue than Congress voted to spend.

Financial transaction tax will be a test for Democratic presidential candidates
Questions will be asked about whether others will join New York’s Gillibrand in support

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., is leading the House version of a proposed trading tax. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The many congressional Democrats making runs for the White House will have to decide whether to support a new tax on traders and investors.

With Democrats on both sides of the Capitol unveiling proposed taxes on financial transactions that they say would target high frequency trading while providing new revenue for Democratic priorities, the issue could put several candidates on the record. 

Sen. Jeff Merkley will run for re-election instead of president
Oregon Democrat: best contribution to help the Senate be a full partner in addressing challenges

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference with fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee on Republican opposition to Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Merkley announced Tuesday that he won’t run for president and will make a bigger difference by running for reelection in the Senate.

The Oregon Democrat has been publicly contemplating a presidential bid for almost a year.