News roundup: Dead farmers harvest millions in farm subsidies
Millions in subsidies paid to dead farmers. Activists chain selves to Book Cliffs mine equipment. Romney camp pushes back on 'Newsroom.'
Happy Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture continued to pay millions in subsidies even after farmers died, a new report shows. The Government Accountability Office says that between 2008 and 2012, the Ag Department paid an estimated 3,434 farmers some $22 million in subsidies one to two years after their deaths. [LATimes]
Topping the news: Activists protesting a tar sands mine in the Book Cliffs region of southeast Utah stopped work on a road will serve the mine, operated by U.S. Oil Sands, and chained themselves to heavy equipment. [Trib] [DNews]
-> A former Mitt Romney campaign spokesman calls out HBO's The Newsroom for portraying the candidate's press operation as unprofessional. [Trib]
-> Today marks the first day of early voting in primary elections for Utah cities. The polls will be open until August 9th, and residents can vote at any polling station. [Trib] [ABC4]
Tweet of the day: From @pkcapitol: "Doesn't @HillaryClinton seem like lead suspect in green paint scandal? Lives near Cathedral, used to work near Lincoln. Paint hit when in DC."
Happy birthday: to Sen. Orrin Hatch's spokeswoman Heather Barney.
In other news: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell pushed back against Republicans' plans to cut back budgets affecting federal lands, arguing her department's activities contributed $371 billion and 2.3 million jobs to the U.S. economy last year. [Trib]
-> New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that one in every 11 Utahns considered to be living in poverty is a college student. [Trib]
-> A new BYU study suggests Supreme Court justices get defensive when they lose a vote and start adding pointed adverbs to their opinions. [DNews]
-> Concerned Taylorsville residents contacted their city administrator on Monday when they received a survey asking if they would like to change their preferred city name to West Valley City. A typo by a USPS contractor led to ZIP code surveys meant for residents in the 84128 ZIP code on the outskirts of West Valley City to be sent to 84129, an area of Taylorsville. [Trib]
-> Sen. Aaron Osmond's suggestion to end compulsory public education in Utah has not gone down well with Republicans or Democrats in the state. [DNews]
-> Osmond, though, says critics should be patient and suggests he'll find bipartisan support for whatever he ultimately proposes. [UtahPolicy]
-> The SL Co. Council is slated to start discussing funding today for an independent evaluation of mental health services funded by the county following an announcement by Valley Mental Health that it will have to scale back services due to budget cuts. [DNews]
Nationally: Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had lunch with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday. A spokesman said that the lunch was a chance for the pair to catch up, and was largely a social meeting. [WaPost] [NYTimes]
-> House Homeland Security Committee approved a border security plan unanimously, suggesting that the House may be open to negotiating with the Senate on an immigration deal. [WaPost]
-> On Monday the Senate confirmed James Comey as FBI director with only Republican Rand Paul, R-Ky., voting no. (Yes, Sen. Mike Lee voted in favor.) But Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says some of Obama's nominees will face filibusters despite a deal on the issue, claiming the president seems to deliberately be picking "provocative" nominees. [NYTimes] [Politico]
-> With just a few days left before August recess, some are doubting that the slow-moving 113th Congress will be able to make any progress. [NYTimes]
-> GOP officials are looking to follow the example of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appeal to both Latino and women voters while staying true to the Republican values of smaller government and lower taxes. [Politico]
-> Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes Senate Republicans don't want to join the cause to defund Obamacare because they are "scared of being beaten up politically." Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are leading the fight to block the Affordable Care Act funding or shut down the government. [Politico]
-> Within the last four days splashes of green paint have turned up on three monuments in Washington D.C. On Monday a woman was arrested for throwing paint on the organ, walls and a mural at the National Cathedral, and police are investigating whether she is responsible for vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial and on a statue outside the Smithsonian Castle. [CNN] [ABCNews] [FoxNews]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz returns to D.C. for evening votes and attends an NRCC dinner.
Rep. Chris Stewart meets with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, joins a welcoming reception for Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and attends an event at the Moroccan Embassy to honor the 14th anniversary of King Mohammed VI's accession to the throne.
President Barack Obama travels to Chattanooga, Tenn., to give a policy speech on his better bargain for the middle class at the Amazon Fulfillment Center. He returns to Washington in the evening.
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Thomas Burr and Isobel MarkhamTwitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/i_markham