News From Our Blog

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

Today the Supreme Court released its decision on the health care law, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Read the decision. (PDF)

Healthcare.gov has information about how the law affects you. You can read the law, learn about key features of the law, and see a timeline of what will change and when. Learn more about the health care law.

Asked by Anonymous

My high school has a bank in it, and up until this year the people working at the bank were more than willing to make change for students who needed to, for example, break a twenty. Last month, though, the rules suddenly changed, and we can't make change at the bank anymore. When asked, the lady behind the counter said that "making change for people who aren't members of the bank is a violation of the Patriot Act". Is that true? I thought the Patriot Act was something entirely different.

The USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56) does have some rules that impact banks and deal with money laundering. However, none of them have to do with making change for people who aren’t bank members. You can learn more about these rules from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Asked by Anonymous

Is it a violation of the FCC rules for the TV Media to knowingly falsify a news report. And if so what rule is that? Thank you

The Communications Act of 1934 created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and provided the basis for how it works. It is a violation of the Act for broadcast media to knowingly falsify a news report. The FCC may penalize broadcasters for doing so.

However, another important goal of the Act was to protect free speech. So, the FCC must have real proof that the broadcaster lied on purpose before it can take action. An example of this kind of evidence might be sworn testimony from “insiders” with direct personal knowledge of an intentional falsification of the news. That’s a high bar, but Congress’s intention was to make it very hard for the government to intimidate or control broadcasters.

Learn more about how the FCC works to balance free speech and regulations or file a complaint against a broadcaster.

THOMAS.gov, a service of the Library of Congress, shows all laws passed by the current Congress and lets you search for bills in the House and Senate. You can also see the top five bills of the week or current activity in Congress.

Asked by Anonymous

I got an email from someone who claimed that SB 1698 and HR 3166 was a bill that would allow US citizens to be stripped of their citizenship if they are "engaging in, or purposely and materially supporting, hostilities against the US," without trial. Is this true?

Senate bill 1698 and House of Representatives bill 3166 are both bills to create the “Enemy Expatriation Act.” The Senators and Representatives who introduced the bills are trying to make a change to an existing law, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Immigration and Nationality Act includes a list of reasons why a U.S. citizen or national could lose his or her nationality, such as serving in the armed forces of another nation. The bills’ sponsors are concerned that the Immigration and Nationality Act might not apply to terrorists. The proposed Enemy Expatriation Act would revoke a person’s U.S. nationality for “Purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States.” 

The government cannot revoke a person’s U.S. citizenship against his or her wishes without a federal trial. The  Enemy Expatriation Act does not try to change this.

Both bills are in the early stages in the process of becoming a law. They are in committees, which is what happens after a bill is first introduced. Many bills never make it out of committee.

Stay updated on the status of S. 1698 and H.R. 3166, or read the text of the proposed legislation.