The House of Representatives passed a bill on December 10 that would allow the government of the District of Columbia to use public funds to pay for abortions and also allow the city government to legalize the medical use of marijuana. If enacted into law, this legislation would move the District closer to exercising the same sorts of sovereign powers as state governments, with profound long-term structural implications for our federal system.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) stated on December 11 that the federal government must borrow at least $1.8 trillion more in 2010 if the United States is to avoid defaulting on its debts. This would be over and above the current $12.1 trillion national debt limit.
When congressional negotiators agreed to a final version of a transportation bill, it included an amendment to allow Amtrak passengers to take their guns with them — unloaded, locked, and only in their checked baggage.
CBS News reported on December 9 that Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have determined that at least 15 percent of the $217 Billion dollars spent through November in the economic stimulus package has been pure waste. The list of dubious projects funded by federal stimulus funds includes some odd uses of tax dollars. These included $219,000 to study the "hookup" behavior of college coeds and $389,357 for people to keep journals of their malt liquor and marijuana use. Funding was also provided to renovate martini bars in Missouri and to conduct fossil research in Argentina.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has placed five employees on administrative leave pending the results of the agency’s investigation of how a confidential passenger-screening manual was posted online without proper redaction of classified information.