Live updates Abortion becomes central issue as Democrats draw contrast with GOP
The only public event on President Biden’s schedule Thursday is a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House. But behind the scenes, Biden and fellow Democrats are scrambling to respond to the expected demise of Roe v. Wade.washingtonpost.com
Omicron demonstrates Covid-19 'not done with us' says WHO
The emergence of the new Omicron variant shows that Covid-19 "is not done with us" says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the opening of a special session of the World Health Assembly. Nations are meeting in Geneva from Monday to Wednesday to discuss an international agreement setting out how to handle the next pandemic -- which experts fear is only a matter of time.news.yahoo.com
Bordering on a crisis: Israel closes its doors to tourists in hopes of avoiding Omicron spread
Passengers arrive at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, as Israel shuts its borders to non-residents in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, said at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting that the measure is to protect Israel and to avoid a lockdown within the country.news.yahoo.com
Fox News Host Confronts GOP Senator: ‘Why Are You Against’ Raising Debt Limit?
Fox News SundayFox News host Trace Gallagher briefly pressed Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on Sunday over the GOP senator’s refusal to support raising the debt ceiling, wondering aloud why Barrasso is against it since it covers already authorized government expenses.Following the Thanksgiving break, the U.S. Senate is poised for an extremely busy and tense next few weeks. Democrats, who hold a very slim majority in the chamber, will be tasked not only with trying to find a way to iron out intra-partnews.yahoo.com
Many environmentalists back Biden's move to tap oil reserve
Democrats and climate activists generally support President Joe Biden’s decision to release a record-setting 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve, even as the action appeared to contradict Biden’s long-term goal to fight climate change.
Biden nominee's link to 1989 logging sabotage blasted by GOP
President Joe Biden’s nominee to oversee federal lands in the U.S. West is facing Republican pressure to withdraw over her ties to environmental activists convicted of spiking trees to sabotage a national forest timber sale more than 30 years ago.
Republican senators are privately worried the Capitol riot commission will distract them from their midterm campaigns, making it all but doomed in the Senate
GOP Whip John Thune told CNN there was concern among members that a commission "could be weaponized politically" by the Democrats.news.yahoo.com
Biden plan would spend $16B to clean up old mines, oil wells
Hundreds of thousands of “orphaned” oil and gas wells and abandoned coal and hardrock mines pose serious safety hazards, while causing ongoing environmental damage. Biden's plan would not only create jobs, but help reduce methane and brine leaks that pollute the air and groundwater. Biden's plan, which needs approval by Congress, would jump-start the well-capping effort and expand it dramatically. About $8 billion has been disbursed to states for mine-reclamation projects in the past four decades, but Biden's plan would ramp up spending sharply. AdEnvironmental groups hailed the announcement, saying unplugged wells and abandoned mines pose a significant environmental threat.
Haaland OK'd at Interior, 1st Native American Cabinet head
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo Interior Secretary nominee Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., speaks during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On March 15, the Senate confirmed her as Interior Secretary. Haaland was confirmed by a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden. Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico, thanked hundreds of supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations. Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, called Haaland’s confirmation “an unprecedented and monumental day for all first people of this country.
Pelosi pledges swift work on major infrastructure package
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday pledged swift work by Congress on a job and infrastructure package that will be “fiscally sound,” but said she isn't sure whether the next major item on President Joe Biden’s agenda will attract Republican backing. AdBut work on passing infrastructure legislation in a Senate split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris providing a tiebreaking vote will probably prove more difficult. Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., recently made clear he will block infrastructure legislation if Republicans aren't included. 3 Senate Republican, said he wants to see bipartisan support for an infrastructure legislation. Cost will be a major hurdle in passing an infrastructure plan.
Senate energy panel backs Haaland for interior secretary
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., listens during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool Photo via AP, File)WASHINGTON – A key Senate committee on Thursday approved the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be interior secretary, clearing the way for a Senate vote that is likely to make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Haaland's nomination, 11-9, sending it to the Senate floor. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Haaland, who won unanimous backing from committee Democrats. The committee vote follows an announcement Wednesday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she will support Haaland in the full Senate.
Eager to act, Biden and Democrats leave Republicans behind
But lawmakers and advocates are racing to capitalize on House rules that allow any bill to bypass lengthy committee hearings if brought forward by April 1. Senate Republicans are now threatening similar delays. Ad“We’ll be fighting this in every way that we can,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said about the COVID-19 package. McConnell wants Senate Republicans to vote in lockstep against the virus aid, calling it a bloated liberal wish list, following the lead of House Republicans who gave it zero support. That leaves Democrats negotiating with themselves on the COVID-19 package, with Biden warning they won’t like every aspect as he courts centrists.
Collins to back Haaland for Interior, sealing her approval
The announcement makes Haaland's confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland's endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland’s nomination by President Joe Biden. Collins said she also appreciated Haaland’s support on issues important to Maine, such as Acadia National Park, “as well as her deep knowledge of tribal issues, which has earned her the support of tribes across the country, including those in Maine.'' Interior oversees the nation's public lands and waters and leads relations with nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. AdThe Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland's nomination Thursday.
Native American nominee's grilling raises questions on bias
The label of Haaland as a "radical" by Republican lawmakers is getting pushback from Native Americans. The exchange, coupled with descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee as “radical” — by other white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman. “As much as I would love to see a Native American be on the president’s Cabinet, I have concerns about her record. Critics also have targeted Vanita Gupta, an Indian American and Biden’s pick to be associate attorney general, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary. That was seen in Haaland's response when asked about her motivation to be Interior secretary.
Former Michigan Gov. Granholm confirmed as energy secretary
Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to examine her nomination to be Secretary of Energy, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance.
Manchin says he'll vote for Haaland for interior secretary
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the nomination of Rep. Debra Haaland, D-N.M., to be Secretary of the Interior on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland's nomination by President Joe Biden. By contrast, Manchin said Haaland had earned his vote, despite disagreements over drilling on federal lands and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Ad“I believe Deb Haaland will be a secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her,'' Manchin said in a statement. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican who is not on the energy panel, called Haaland “a neo-socialist, left-of-Lenin whack job.''
Back in Paris pact, US faces tougher climate steps ahead
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)World leaders welcomed the United States' official return to the Paris climate accord Friday, but politically trickier steps lie just ahead for President Joe Biden, including setting a tough national target in coming months for cutting damaging fossil fuel emissions. Officially, the United States was only out of the worldwide global climate pact for 107 days. It’s the political symbolism that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity of addressing climate change.” said Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, has criticized Biden for rejoining the Paris accord, tweeting: “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise Americans’ energy costs and won’t solve climate change. The Biden administration will set unworkable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue with business as usual."
Trump rips McConnell as GOP divide deepens post-Capitol riot
The Republican Party still belongs to Donald Trump. The GOP privately flirted with purging the norm-shattering former president after he incited a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month. Ad“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said Saturday, after Trump, the only president to be impeached twice, was acquitted on a 57-43 vote. McConnell had remained loyal to Trump during nearly all of his four years in office, when the pair were the two most powerful members of the Republican Party. In his statement, Trump criticized McConnell for failing to do more to back his unfounded claims of election fraud.
Senate panel advances EPA nominee; GOP slams Interior pick
(Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – A Senate committee has endorsed President Joe Biden's nomination of Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, setting up a vote in the full Senate. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced Regan's nomination Tuesday on a 14-6 vote. Regan, who has served as North Carolina's top environmental regulator since 2017, would be the first Black man to run the EPA. A third Biden nominee, Deb Haaland, has not yet had a hearing on her selection to lead the Interior Department. AdHe also was concerned by Haaland's responses on issues such as wildlife management and access by hunters and sportsmen to public lands, Daines said.
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez seek 'climate emergency' declaration
A week after President Joe Biden signed executive orders intended to combat the worst effects of global warming, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers urged him to go even further and declare a national emergency on climate change. “If there ever was an emergency, climate is one,'' the New York Democrat told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last week, adding that an emergency declaration would give Biden “more flexibility.'' The sweeping plan is aimed at staving off the worst of global warming caused by burning fossil fuels. Sanders said the climate emergency has long been clear. But Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, said declaring a climate emergency would effectively “muzzle Congress.''
McCarthy meets with Rep. Greene; GOP faces Cheney decision
House Republicans are effectively deciding whether to prioritize the former president’s norm-shattering behavior and conspiracy theories and retain the loyalty of his voters over more establishment conservative values. AdThe House GOP Steering Committee, a leadership-dominated body that makes committee assignments for the party, also met late Tuesday but no decision was announced. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others have boosted pressure this week on McCarthy and the House GOP to act. McConnell praised Cheney, R-Wyo., as “a leader with deep convictions and courage,” but House GOP lawmakers planned to meet privately Wednesday to decide her political fate. AdThe looming decisions over Cheney and Greene represent a moment of reckoning for a party struggling with its future.
Biden warns of growing cost of delay on $1.9T econ aid plan
Biden signaled on Friday for the first time that he's willing to move ahead without Republicans. “I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it," he told reporters. "But the COVID relief has to pass. Some Biden allies have expressed frustration that the administration has not more clearly defined what the massive legislation would actually accomplish. He said, “The American Rescue Plan — it’s a plan geared toward the future, bridging the gap between January and September, when people will be able to spend more freely.”
Biden: 'We can't wait any longer' to address climate crisis
President Joe Biden signs an executive order on climate change, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. “We can’t wait any longer'' to address the climate crisis, Biden said Wednesday at the White House. “When I think of climate change and the answers to it, I think of jobs,'' Biden said. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, now Biden's climate envoy, said oil, gas and coal workers “have been fed a false narrative'' that ”somehow, dealing with climate is coming at their expense. Biden also directed U.S. agencies to use science and evidence-based decision-making in federal rules and announced a U.S.-hosted climate leaders summit on Earth Day, April 22.
In Wyoming, Cheney faces blowback for vote to impeach Trump
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington. House Republicans are expected to vote in the coming days on whether to oust Cheney from their third-ranking leadership post over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. – When Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, decided to vote to impeach a president from her own party, she knew she'd cause some waves. “Washington, D.C., mythologizes the establishment powerbrokers like Liz Cheney for climbing in a deeply corrupt game. “If people are still as angry in the summer of 2022 as they are now, Liz Cheney faces some real problems,” Warfield said.
Growing number of GOP senators oppose impeachment trial
(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)WASHINGTON – A growing number of Republican senators say they oppose holding an impeachment trial, a sign of the dimming chances that former President Donald Trump will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office.
Schumer: Trump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON – Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump over the Capitol riot will begin the week of Feb. 8, the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. Trump's impeachment trial would be the first of a U.S. president no longer in office, an undertaking that his Senate Republican allies argue is pointless, and potentially even unconstitutional. "That goal has been achieved.”Pelosi said Friday the nine House impeachment managers, or prosecutors, are "ready to begin to make their case” against Trump. A handful of Senate Republicans have indicated they are open — but not committed — to conviction. McConnell, who said this week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote.
Biden puts U.S. back into fight to slow global warming
President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.”Biden signed an executive order rejoining the Paris climate accord within hours of taking the oath of office, fulfilling a campaign pledge. After Biden notifies the U.N. by letter of his intention to rejoin the Paris accord, it would become effective in 30 days, U.N. spokesman Alex Saier said. Republican senators are expected to introduce legislation that would require Biden to submit the Paris plan to the Senate for ratification. A longtime international goal, included in the Paris accord with an even more stringent target, is to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
Pelosi sees 'momentum' toward a Covid stimulus deal as job growth slows
The sign of a flagging economic recovery comes amid a renewed congressional effort to pass a pandemic relief bill before the end of the year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "there is momentum" toward a coronavirus stimulus deal after new data Friday showed sluggish jobs growth in the face of an infection surge. President-elect Joe Biden echoed the Democratic congressional leaders Friday after what he called a "grim" jobs report. It is unclear how much the jobs report will affect the contents of a relief bill — or how quickly Congress can pass it. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the third-ranking GOP member of the chamber, cited Friday's jobs report as a testament to the strength of his party's economic policies.cnbc.com
Senior Republican sees 'completion' of impeachment trial Friday or Saturday
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The No. 3 Republican in the U.S. Senate said on Thursday Republicans were prepared to stay through the completion of President Donald Trumps impeachment trial whether late on Friday or on Saturday. Senator John Barrasso told reporters Republicans were likely to beat back an effort by Democrats to call witnesses and wrap up the trial on Friday. When asked about the possibility Democrats could employ tactics to delay the conclusion, he said, Well be prepared to stay here through completion, even if that meant a session on Saturday.feeds.reuters.com
Republicans hopeful Senate will acquit Trump in impeachment trial as early as Friday
As senators questioned both the Trump legal team and the Democratic managers of the trial, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz offered an expansive defense of presidential power that provoked astonishment among Democrats. Late on Thursday, White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin was asked if Trump agreed that foreign interference in U.S. elections is illegal. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) talks to media near the Senate floor during a brief recess from the day's Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2020. CLASSIFIEDOn Wednesday, the White House objected to the books publication. The manuscript was submitted to the White House for pre-publication review, a process that civil libertarians have said gives the government too much power to censor speech.feeds.reuters.com
Trump could be acquitted in impeachment trial as early as Friday: U.S. Senator
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Democratic push to force Republicans to accept witnesses at Donald Trumps impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate appeared to be flagging on Wednesday, raising the possibility the president could be acquitted as early as Friday. Other Republican senators were predicting a similar outcome in conversations with reporters during breaks in the trial on Wednesday. Bolton left the White House in September after several sharp disagreements with Trump over the direction of foreign policy. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) talks to media near the Senate floor during a brief recess from the day's Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2020. A Bolton spokeswoman had no comment on the White House letter.feeds.reuters.com
Senior Senate Republican sees 'momentum' to end impeachment trial Friday
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican Senator John Barrasso, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, told reporters on Wednesday that Republicans seemed to have the momentum to move to end the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by Friday, without calling witnesses. Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmannfeeds.reuters.com
Dow drops 170 points to end the week as coronavirus fears grow
Stocks fell on Friday after the second U.S. case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed, stoking concerns over the sickness' impact on the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 170.36 points, or 0.6%, at 28,989.73 after jumping more than 100 points earlier in the day. The 30-stock average briefly fell more than 300 points before recovering some of those losses as Boeing shares turned around. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day 0.9% lower at 9,314.91. Treasury yields fell, pushing bank shares lower.cnbc.com
'Even Democrats are pushing the panic button' GOP senator-doctor rips Warren's 'Medicare for All'
"Even Democrats are pushing the panic button on this one," said Barrasso, the third-ranking Senate Republican leader. Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden has been highly critical of Warren's health-care proposal, which she said last Friday would cost the country "just under" the estimated $52 trillion-over-a-decade cost of the current system. During Wednesday's "Squawk Box" interview, Barrasso ripped Warren's plan as a "fantasyland" with numbers that don't add up. "It's a complete government takeover of health care," he said, adding that Americas who get insurance through their work would be forced into the public system. Last month, the House Republican Study Committee released a health-care plan that it said would protect Americans with "pre-existing conditions, chronic illness, and serious health issues while reducing premiums, deductibles, and overall health care costs."cnbc.com
Mitch McConnell blasts Trump's Syria withdrawal as 'a strategic nightmare'
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) looks on during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon September 10, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday blasted President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, calling the move "a grave strategic mistake" in an op-ed for The Washington Post. "The recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration's reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place," McConnell wrote in the op-ed. While his piece does not explicitly lay blame at Trump's feet or even mention his name it warns that the Trump administration's sudden foreign policy shift "will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances." The White House had announced earlier in October following a call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey would be moving forward with its long-planned incursion into northern Syria, where U.S.-backed Kurdish forces had been fighting ISIS.cnbc.com
Senators back big jump in federal highway spending
It would boost spending by 27 percent over the prior highway bill, but lawmakers must find about $85 billion in additional revenue to pay for those repairs through 2025, officials said. The current spending bill expires in September 2020. In recent years, Congress abandoned the practice of largely requiring road users to pay for repairs. Since 2008, Congress transferred about $141 billion in general revenues to the Highway Trust Fund, according to the Government Accountability Office. Congress has not boosted the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gasoline tax since 1993, which is now worth just 11 cents after adjusting for inflation.feeds.reuters.com
Huawei expansion in Western nations may be 'a Trojan horse,' warns a top GOP senator
The increased presence of Chinese tech giant Huawei around the world, including in NATO countries, is troubling, GOP Sen. John Barrasso told CNBC on Friday. It could be a Trojan horse," said the third-ranking member in the Senate Republican leadership. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that China will demand the U.S. remove its restrictions on the sale of American technology to Huawei. If Trump were to accept those terms, that move would not sit well with Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. Huawei "is not something that can be used as a bargaining chip in trade," he said.cnbc.com