Dec 21, 2013
During the first week of December, the House of Representatives
passed bills to extend an insurance program that provides taxpayer
bailouts to private space exploration companies, made changes to
TSA policies, tried (again) to deregulate Wall Street gamblers, and
tried to shut down patent trolls.
Executive Producer: Brandon K. Lewis
Information Presented in this Episode
H.R. 3547: "Space Launch Liability Indemnification
- Extends an existing government insurance program for private
companies that launch vehicles into space through 2014.
- The program has three tiers:
- The private companies buy insurance from a private insurance
company for the "maximum probably loss" that would occur if there
were an accident; the insurance is capped at $500 million. The
"maximum probable loss" is determined by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA); the Government Accountability Office says
that the FAA's method for calculating the risk
- If the "maximum
probably loss" is not actually the maximum loss, taxpayers will pay
up to $2.8 billion (in 2013 dollars -this number increases with
inflation) for damage caused by the private companies'
- Any amount over the insurance payment plus the taxpayers' $2.8
billion must be paid by the private company who caused the
- The insurance program extension has been requested by the
private companies who stand to profit from launching vehicles into
space. [caption id="attachment_1162" align="aligncenter"
width="261"] Rep. Lamar Smith (TX), author of H.R.
- Rep. Lamar Smith (TX), author of H.R. 3547, has taken money for
the 2014 election from companies requesting the insurance program.
[caption id="attachment_1163" align="aligncenter"
width="773"] Source: OpenSecrets.org on December 20,
- Passed the House of Representatives on December 2, 2013
[caption id="attachment_1165" align="aligncenter"
H.R. 1095: "TSA Loose Change Act"
- Would divert approximately $500,000 per year in abandoned
change from airports from TSA airport security, where it currently
goes, to building areas of "rest and recuperation" for
military families at airports.
[caption id="attachment_1166" align="aligncenter"
width="273"] Rep. Cedric Richmond (VA), December
3, 2013 Congressional Record[/caption]
- Passed the House of Representatives without a recorded vote on
December 3, 2013.
H.R. 2719: "Transportation Security Acquisition
H.R. 3626: Extends Undetectable Firearms Act for 10
- Was signed into law on December 9, 2013.
- It is illegal to "manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver,
possess, transfer, or receive a firearm not detectable by metal
- Plastic Guns Made With 3-D Printers
Pose New Security Concerns by Carrie Johnson, NPR, November 14,
H.R. 1105: Deregulate Wall Street
- Real name: "Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation
Act" (hello, Orwell).
- Exempts private equity fund advisers from registering with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- Passed largely along Party lines, getting almost unanimous
- Unsurprisingly, the bill was supported by Democrat Jim Himes of
Connecticut, a former Vice President of Goldman
id="attachment_1169" align="aligncenter" width="647"] Rep. Jim Himes (CT), OpenSecrets.org as of
- Just a few weeks ago, the House passed H.R. 992, an even more
offensive bill that would allow United States' government bailouts for domestic AND FOREIGN
banks that participate in credit default swaps trading - the
type of behavior that crashed the global economy.
H.R. 3309: "Innovation Act"
- Requires more details when filing a lawsuit for patent
- Losers of lawsuits must pay expenses and fees of the winners,
but the court can intervene.
- Limits discovery requests; they must be specific.
- Patent claims must be available on a searchable, public
- Limits lawsuits down the supply chain (for example, patent trolls have been suing coffee
shops and hotels for offering Wifi and have sued podcasters, including Adam
Corrolla, claiming they own the technology
- The bill passed on December 5, 2013 with 91 Representatives
voting against it because they say the bill was rushed and not
examined closely enough for unintended consequences.
Representatives Quoted in This Episode (In Order of
Music & Other Audio in This Episode Intro
and Exit Music: Tired of Being Lied To by
David Ippolito (found on Music
Alley by mevio) National Geographic's Seconds from Disaster - Challenger