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cwrabley's MyC-SPAN

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    Farm Credit System

    Members of the Farm Credit Administration Board, bank officials, and farmers testified at a hearing on the Farm Credit System and rural borrowers' access to credit. For the previous three years, the agricultural economy had weakened due to improving crop yields and lower demand because of global conditions. FCA Chair Kenneth Spearman told committee members that the Farm Credit System is strong and prepared to weather the economic slowdown in agriculture. Panelists criticized the credit system for a lack of oversight comparing, the government-sponsored agency to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They acknowledged a growth in the agency but farmer Jed Welder said the Farm Credit System was the only way he could receive a loan to start his farming business.

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    Education Policy and Funding

    Teacher union leaders, school superintendents, and education scholars testified at a hearing on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law in December 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. Witnesses voiced concern about the Title I funding provisions involving high-poverty schools. Other topics included educational opportunities for disabled students, attracting high-quality teachers, and the impact of the law in rural areas.

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    Judge Garland Supreme Court Nomination

    Senate Democrats held a forum on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Top legal and government officials spoke about Judge Garland’s record and character. President Obama nominated Judge Garland in March 2016, but Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing on his nomination, arguing that the next president should name the next justice.

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    Dyslexia Research

    Actor Ameer Baraka, medical researchers, and the mother of a dyslexic high school student were among the witnesses at a hearing on dyslexia research. Witnesses talked about their experiences living with and researching dyslexia, and focused on the need for more research and educational resources.

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    Hillary Clinton Campaign Event in Scranton, Pennsylvania

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, held a get-out-the-vote rally at Dunmore High School in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She talked about her family background in the region and discussed a range of issues including raising the minimum wage, college affordability, providing more treatment for the mentally ill, and balancing Second Amendment rights with gun safety measures.

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    ISIS Sale of Antiquities

    The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on how ISIS* is profiting from its theft and looting of antiquities, artifacts, and other cultural materials. The hearing also explored the terrorist group’s destruction of cultural symbols it finds inconsistent with its ideology. Witnesses included the director of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, whose mission is to protect international cultural property during periods of armed conflict, and the author of the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History that was adapted into a motion picture.

    * The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

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    Merrick Garland Supreme Court Nomination

    Senate Democrats held a news conference to urge their colleagues to sign a letter calling on Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to hold hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

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    Senator Pat Toomey Meeting with Merrick Garland

    Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. He called Judge Garland “impressive” but also said that he was more convinced than ever that the next president should nominate someone to fill Judge Scalia’s seat on the court.

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    Emergency Preparedness

    Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Department, the Government Accountability Office, and Federal Emergency Management Agency testified at a hearing on FEMA preparedness. Topics included proposed cuts to FEMA, first responders, FEMA training, and the transportation of hazardous materials.