GOP paints Biden's choice for bank regulator as radical
President Joe Biden’s choice to become one of the top banking regulators endured a contentious nomination hearing Thursday, with Republican senators warning she would nationalize the U.S. banking system and Democrats saying she’s eminently qualified and would be tough overseer of Wall Street.
“How about zero?” Manchin, Sanders get heated behind closed doors
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) squabbled behind closed doors Wednesday, with Manchin using a raised-fist goose egg to tell his colleague he can live without any of President Biden's social spending plan, Axios has learned.Why it matters: The disagreement, recounted to Axios by two senators in the room, underscores how far apart two key members remain as the Democratic Party tries to meet its deadline for reaching an agreement on a budget reconciliation framework by Fridaynews.yahoo.com
A potential Powell renomination for Fed faces some dissent
Resistance to the potential renomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell intensified this week, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren becoming the first senator to publicly oppose Powell and many progressive groups pushing for some alternative leader at the Fed.
Big infrastructure bill in peril as GOP threatens filibuster
The bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden is hanging precariously ahead of a crucial Wednesday test vote as they struggle over how to pay for nearly $1 trillion in public works spending. Tensions were rising as Republicans prepared to mount a filibuster over what they see as a rushed and misguided process. With Biden preparing to hit the road to rally support for his big infrastructure ideas — including some $3.5 trillion in a follow-up bill — restless Democrats say it's time to at least start debate on this first phase of his proposals.news.yahoo.com
Bipartisan infrastructure deal back on track after walk-back
A bipartisan deal to invest nearly $1 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure appears to be back on track after a stark walk-back by President Joe Biden to his earlier insistence that the bill be coupled with an even larger Democrat-backed measure in order to earn his signature.
Ultraconservatives aiming to take control of Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is electing a new president on Tuesday amid a push to wrest control of the denomination by ultraconservatives who say some current leaders are too liberal on issues that include race and the role of women in ministry.news.yahoo.com
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 claim “tentative” bipartisan infrastructure deal
Republican senators emerged from a series of closed-door, bipartisan talks Thursday boasting of reaching a "tentative" deal on infrastructure, yet their Democratic counterparts wouldn't go that far. Why it matters: Members of the s0-called G20 group of 20 senators appear to be the last, best hope for a bipartisan agreement, but the split in where the talks stand highlights the ongoing gulf between the parties on roads, bridges and more.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insightnews.yahoo.com
Biden nominee for public lands boss faces GOP opposition
President Joe Biden's nominee to oversee vast expanses of U.S. public lands was criticized Tuesday by Republicans over her past involvement in partisan politics as a longtime Democratic aide and environmentalist, underscoring the importance lawmakers assign to a relatively small agency with broad influence over energy development and agriculture in western states. Senate confirmation of Tracy Stone-Manning to direct the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would mark a stark change from the government's catering to oil and gas interests under former President Donald Trump. It would take every Senate Republican plus at least one Democratic lawmaker to block her nomination.news.yahoo.com
States sue Biden in bid to revive Keystone XL pipeline
Committee Ranking Member Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WVa., speaks during a hearing to examine the nomination of former Gov. – Attorneys general from 21 states on Wednesday sued to to overturn President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Led by Ken Paxton of Texas and Austin Knudsen of Montana, the states said Biden had overstepped his authority when he revoked the permit for the Keystone pipeline on his first day in office. Construction on the 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) pipeline began last year when former President Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.
Virginia introduces legislation to help students refinance student loans, lower interest rates
ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia students might soon be able to catch a break when it comes to their student loans. With U.S. student debt exceeding $1.7 trillion, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Angus King introduced a bill on Friday that could help reduce student loan debt and better the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “All over the country, we have young people who made a substantial decision to invest in their future, but now find themselves saddled by overwhelming student loan debt during a pandemic that has tanked the economy and shattered the job market,” said Warner. This legislation will give student borrowers a real shot at paying back their debt so that in the near future they are able to invest in a home, start up a business, or save for retirement.”AdIf approved, eligible students in good standing would be able to refinance their existing federal student loans and lower loan interest rates. According to the bill, undergraduate borrowers would have the opportunity to lower their interest rates on federal Direct Stafford, Unsubsidized, PLUS and Consolidated loans to the lowest yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note in the previous six months plus 2.05%.
Biden urges Senate Dems to rally behind $1.9T virus bill
“He said we need to pass this bill and pass it soon. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate's dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Schumer said Senate debate would commence as soon as Wednesday and predicted, “We'll have the votes we need to pass the bill." Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. The funding was removed after some Republican lawmakers had criticized it as an example of a wasteful spending item that should not be part of the COVID relief bill.
Centrist Democrats flex muscles, create headaches for Biden
He can send the White House into a tailspin with a single five-minute interview or three-sentence statement. With a 50-50 split in the Senate leaving little room for error on tough votes, other moderate Democrats like Sens. He received a call from the White House shortly after his complaint to try to smooth things over. AdThe White House shares those political concerns. Their significance to the final vote on the COVID-19 bill means some moderates are already getting extra attention from the White House.
US agency cancels Trump policy on conservation purchases
Interior Department officials on Thursday canceled a Trump administration directive that gave local and state officials power to block purchases of land and water for conservation under a longstanding federal program. Trump administration officials had said the order would have allowed the government to fulfill goals that were set when conservation areas were created, by filling in missing pieces of them. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and others for undermining the conservation program. They accused the Trump administration of using Bernhardt’s order to circumvent the intent of Congress and squandering the bipartisan goodwill created by passing last year's law. Daines welcomed the move to revoke the order and said in a Thursday statement that the program was a critical tool for conservation.
Land conservation plan stirs fight over Trump restrictions
U.S. officials on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, released details on proposed land conservation purchases for the coming year amid bipartisan objection to restrictions on how the government's money can be spent. – Proposed land conservation purchases in dozens of states would preserve more natural areas within tourist destinations, U.S. officials announced Friday, as lawmakers from both parties pushed back on Trump administration restrictions on how the money can be spent. Bernhardt's order also limits land acquisitions to property inside the existing boundaries of parks and refuges, rather than expanding their footprint. An Interior Department official closely involved in the development of the spending plan defended Bernhardt’s order. Tester spokesman Roy Loewenstein said the senator would push the administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to quickly strike down Bernhardt's order.
Hardening partisan map steepens Democrats' climb in Senate
Yet as states increasingly sort themselves along hardening partisan lines, it's complicating Democrats' drive to win the majority and keep it. Thanks to this month's elections, Democrats will own all four Senate seats from purple Arizona and increasingly blue Colorado next year. In addition, three current Senate Democrats are from states that President Donald Trump carried easily this month despite losing to Democrat Joe Biden. “The problem is a Democratic Senate majority runs through red states, and that is an inherent structural difficulty." In the 2022 elections, Democrats will defend Senate 13 seats — all from states Biden won.
Republican duo reshapes Montana politics in Trump's style
They worked in tandem to attain huge riches in the corporate world before leveraging that success into a political juggernaut that has reshaped the state’s Republican Party. It's a shift Montana Democrats argue is out of step with the state’s independent-minded electorate. Gianforte, one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. House, has been boosted in his run for Montana governor by Daines’ clout. Democrats as recently as 2014 held both Montana U.S. Senate seats, the governor’s mansion and a bevy of other statewide offices. Daines and Gianforte “fit the party like a glove right now,” University of Montana political analyst Rob Saldin said.
Public lands chief hangs on despite nomination getting nixed
That's not how it works," Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said of the May order in an interview. Prior to joining the Trump administration, he had called for the government to sell its public lands. Interior Department spokesperson Conner Swanson confirmed that the arrangement outlined in Pendley's order means he will continue to lead the bureau. After joining the government, he declared that his past support for selling public lands was irrelevant because his boss, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, opposes the wholesale sale of public lands. Under Trump, the land bureau has sought to scale back some protections for public lands, including proposals to ease restrictions on oil and gas exploration, mining and grazing.
Public lands chief hangs on despite nomination getting nixed
"You dont want the deputy director of policy and programs being able to dictate whos in charge of the (bureau.) Its too important an agency.Interior Department spokesman Conner Swanson confirmed that the arrangement means Pendley will continue to lead the bureau. Whether another nominee will be named is up to the White House, Swanson added. The May 22 order from Pendley, which was also signed by Interior Department Assistant Secretary Casey Hammond, had specified such records were to be kept. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is seeking to topple Republican Sen. Steve Daines in the November election.
Post Office warns states across US about mail voting
Voters and lawmakers in several states are also complaining that some curbside mail collection boxes are being removed. Postal Service is sufficiently prepared to fulfill.Meanwhile, the removal of Postal Service collection mail boxes triggered concerns and anger in Oregon and Montana. All three members of Montanas congressional delegation two of whom are Republican raised concerns about the removal of mail boxes in letters sent to Postmaster DeJoy. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson said the Oregon removals were due to declining mail volume and that duplicate mail boxes were taken from places that had more than one. The Postal Service said four mail boxes were removed in Portland this week.
Lawmakers: Postal changes delay mail-order medicine for vets
Postal Service facility in McLean, Va. Postal Service. Postal Service are taking a toll on military veterans, who are reporting much longer wait times to receive mail-order prescription drugs, according to Democratic senators. The lawmakers called on DeJoy to reassess the impact of the postal changes on veterans and urged him to work with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to reduce delays. Those who gave so much to serve this country should be able to count on the nations Postal Service to deliver their medications in a timely manner, the lawmakers wrote Friday.
Clarification: Election 2020-US House-Montana story
FILE In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Matt Rosendale greets supporters in Helena, Montana. In the race for Montana's lone U.S. House seat, Republican Matt Rosendale faces opponent Democrat Kathleen Williams. (AP Photo/Eliza Wiley, File)HELENA, Mont. In a story published July 20, 2020, The Associated Press reported that Democratic candidate for Montanas U.S. House seat Kathleen Williams said there has been a lack of leadership on a federal testing policy for COVID-19. The story should have made clear that Williams criticism was directed specifically at current U.S. House Rep. Greg Gianforte.
VA says it lacks adequate medical gear for 2nd virus wave
FILE - In this March 27, 2019, file photo Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, left, speaks with Veterans Health Administration Executive in Charge, Dr. Richard Stone, second from left, before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. To handle a possible second wave of COVID-19, it would need a six-month supply. A future pandemic wave may test all of us in our preparation, Stone told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The Associated Press previously reported that VA health care facilities struggled with shortages of workers and protective equipment, forcing employees to reuse masks for days or weeks, even as VA leaders denied that it lacked adequate supplies. As of Tuesday, VA had 1,665 staff cases of COVID-19, including 133 that were considered active. At least 33 VA employees have died of the virus, according to VA data.
VA says it wont stop use of unproven drug on vets for now
Still, it acknowledged that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie had wrongly asserted publicly without evidence that the drug had been shown to benefit younger veterans. In the first week of May, 17 patients had received the drug for COVID-19, according to VA data obtained by the AP. VA has not endorsed nor discouraged the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients and has left those decisions to providers and their patients, the VA said. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the drug combination and said hydroxychloroquine should only be used for the coronavirus in formal studies. The analysis of VA hospital data, done by independent researchers at two universities with VA approval, was not a rigorous experiment.