POLITICO: TSA’s idea to end screening at some airports

The TSA’s latest effort to make air travel more efficient would have let passengers board flights at some small airports without being screened for threats like guns or explosives.

But then Congress got wind of the proposal. And now the TSA is backing down after lawmakers denounced the idea as bizarre and even dangerous, especially following terrorist attacks such as the March bombings in Brussels.

“From a security standpoint, it makes no sense,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who learned months ago that the TSA had refused to place screeners at a regional airport in his district.


POLITICO: Teen truckers, coming to an interstate near you

The bipartisan push to deliver the first major highway bill in a decade is drowning out warnings from safety groups about big changes they say will make the nation’s roads more dangerous: teenagers at the wheel of big rigs, budget cuts for the automobile safety watchdog and a loophole that lets auto dealers loan out defective cars.

That’s because of pressure from industry groups and lobbyists who’ve managed to insert items from their long-standing wish lists into a $350 billion bill that covers highway spending into the next decade for projects ranging from fixing crumbling bridges to studying the impact of marijuana-impaired drivers.

“This year’s bill drives safety off a cliff,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “It is packed full of pro-industry giveaways.”


POLITICO: House panel votes to cut Amtrak budget hours after deadly crash

House Republicans voted Wednesday to chop about a fifth of Amtrak’s budget, less than a day after a deadly train crash that Democrats pointed to as a prime example of the dangers of shortchanging the nation’s transportation needs.

They also rebuffed Democrats’ attempts to provide money for an advanced speed-control technology that federal investigators later said would have prevented the crash.

“Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred,” National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday evening.

Sumwalt, who is leading the crash probe, spoke hours after the House Appropriations Committee voted down a Democratic amendment that would have offered $825 million for the technology known as positive train control.


The Washington Post: From Bhutan to Riverdale, a father seeks a future for his children

The story of Kharananda Rizal, a Bhutanese refugee who left his wife and parents behind in Nepal to bring his children to America for what he hopes will be “a better future.”

After fleeing Bhutan, Rizal took his last $20 and started a boarding school in Nepal. At night, he would haul bricks up the stairs of the school for laborers to use the next morning. Over 18 years, the school grew to 1,000 students and won several awards for academic excellence.

After four months in America, he has been unable to find a job as a teacher or principal and now works the night shift at a local gas station to support his three children. He also has to serve as “Mr. Mom,” since the family matriarch stayed behind in Nepal to run the family boarding school.

One thing hasn’t changed, though. Rizal used to wake his son Divesh up every morning for school by going into his room at 6 a.m. Now, since his dad is still at work most mornings, Divesh sleeps with a cell phone on his pillow and Rizal calls right at 6. It’s their way of keeping some traditions intact, even with modification.


Albany Times Union: Ballston Lake nurse recalls 1981 Reagan shooting

March 30, 1981, started out like another routine day for Robyn Ringler, a nurse on the medical surgical floor of George Washington University Hospital in the nation’s capital.

Around 2:30 p.m., all of the nursing call lights came on.

“I went into the rooms and everyone is pointing at the TV saying ‘President Reagan has been shot and he’s coming, he’s here at our hospital,’” Ringler said.


Houston Chronicle: Texas officials balk at cost for sex offender list

The latest battleground between Texas officials and the federal government is an unlikely clash over the Adam Walsh Act, a federal law to protect children from sexual predators by creating a national sex offender registry that local law enforcement agencies could tap.


Hearst Wire: Rep. McCaul tackles ‘Monuments to Me’

Our nation is littered with landmarks honoring incumbent lawmakers. There’s Mitch McConnell Park in Kentucky, named for the current Senate Republican leader, and the James E. Clyburn Golf Center in South Carolina, after the No. 3 House Democratic leader.

But these vanity projects have an enemy in Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, who introduced legislation this week to prevent sitting members of Congress from funneling federal funds toward projects with their names attached.