• Ron calls for renewal of CHIP at Randall Children’s Hospital

    As part of Ron’s work to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), he spoke on Friday in Portland with pediatricians, medical officials and healthcare advocates for the African-American and Latino communities.

    What Ron heard during his meeting at Randall Children’s Hospital was agreement on the need for Congress to extend CHIP -- and to do so quickly so that state legislatures nationwide can know they can count on the federal program as they put together their budgets.

    “What I am hearing from advocates like you is the need for certainty and predictability,’’ said Ron, who also toured the children’s hospital--Oregon’s largest provider of pediatric inpatient and trauma services. 

    About 10 million children rely on CHIP for access to comprehensive, affordable health care. In Oregon, that includes 128,000 children, a number that would fill each seat in Portland’s Moda Center six times over.

    The uninsured rate for children has dropped dramatically since CHIP’s enactment, nationally from 14 percent in 1997 to a record low of 7 percent in 2012--and in Oregon over the same time period, the rate of 10 percent in 1997 has been nearly cut in half.

    We should build on this success,” Ron said, “not put it at risk.”

  • Reviews are in: Cyber Bill Fails Security, Expands Spying on Americans

    Privacy and security experts agree: the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act doesn’t make us safer and flings open the door for even more surveillance of law-abiding American citizens. It is a surveillance bill by another name.

    “All of those vague terms, Greene argues, widen the pipe of data that companies can send the government, expanding CISA into a surveillance system for the intelligence community and domestic law enforcement”

    “A coalition of nearly 50 technologists, privacy groups and campaigners wrote to the committee earlier this month urging rejection of a bill that would “significantly undermine privacy and civil liberties” and potentially permit corporations to “hack back” at perceived network intrusions.”

    “The bill also allows companies to bypass DHS and share the information immediately with other agencies, like the intelligence agencies, which ensures that DHS's current privacy protections won’t be applied to the information. The provision is ripe for improper and over-expansive information sharing.”

    “Instead of focusing on ways to make our data (and the devices we store it on) more secure, Washington keeps offering up "cybersecurity" proposals that would poke huge holes in privacy protections and potentially funnel tons of personal information to the government, including the NSA and the military.”

    “Jake Laperruque, a privacy and surveillance fellow at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said that, despite the revisions, CISA still amounted to a "cybersurveillance measure." Of particular concern, Laperruque said, was that the committee-passed legislation "required real-time 'insta-sharing' with the NSA" once data is handed over to the government—a mandated scheme that he said gained even more authority under the amended language.”

    “But civil liberties advocates say the bill needs more safeguards to protect consumer information that is being shared with government entities. If corporations are legally protected when they share data into the government, where does the individual user look for recourse?”

    "Reading through the latest publicly available draft of the bill, CISA’s provisions seem unusually broad and designed to allow future invasions of privacy. Although the bill says its purpose is to prevent hacker attacks, it encourages the sharing of all sorts of user information with wide swaths of the federal government. The bill's language is extremely vague, and could include everything from user account information to IP address login history to geolocation and even what type of phone a customer uses."

  • Ten Sunshine Moments

    Since I first came to Congress, I've fought for government transparency. I believe that openness is the heart of democracy and makes for better policies that help all Americans. Whether it's transparency in funding to ensure accountability, pricing in order to drive down costs, or interpretations of the law to protect Americans' rights, openness is a good thing.

    Sunshine Week highlights all the good work agencies, lawmakers, organizations and Americans do to keep the government accountable and what else still needs to be done. And while there's plenty more on my sunshine to-do list, here are some highlights.

    10 ways I'm standing for sunshine:

    1. End secret holds in the Senate (where a Senator can block a bill anonymously)

    2. Stood against mass surveillance of Americans by warning of secret interpretations of the Patriot Act and fighting to end the dragnet

    3. Make public secret interpretations of intelligence laws:

    4. Disclose when and where oil trains carrying volatile material travel to protect Oregon communities and prepare emergency responders

    5. Audit the Pentagon so every taxpayer dollar for our defense is spent wisely and accounted for

    6. Open up the Medicare claims database to help drive health costs down by shining a light on payments that physicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners and other providers receive through Medicare (You can explore some of that data here: https://data.medicare.gov/)

    7. Student Right to Know Before You Go Act so students can access data to help them determine the best investment for their higher education dollars

    8. Founded the Whistleblowers Caucus to ensure workers who report waste, fraud and abuse in our government are protected from retaliation

    9. Stand by your ad provision that requires candidates to be identified and take personal responsibility for their campaign ads

    10. Campaign finance reform to require disclosure of dark money given to Super PACs