Manchin rails against 'revenge politics' on permit plan
Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday railed against what he called “revenge politics″ being used against him, as liberals in the House and Senate team up with Republicans to oppose his plan to speed permits for natural gas pipelines and other energy projects.
Surprise Senate vote would overturn Biden environmental rule
In a surprise victory for Republicans, the Senate on Thursday voted to overturn a Biden administration rule requiring rigorous environmental review of major infrastructure projects such as highways, pipelines and oil wells — a victory enabled in part by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Many environmentalists back Biden's move to tap oil reserve
Democrats and climate activists generally supported 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 linked to 1989 sabotage draws Republican ire
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.
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
“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.'' AdBesides Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, the climate bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Democratic Sens.
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.
GOP split over Trump, election runs across deep-red Wyoming
– A deepening divide among Republicans over President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election runs prominently through Wyoming, the state that delivered Trump's widest prevailing margin by far. The Wyoming Republican Party has made party fealty a core issue and punished state party officials seen as disloyal. I just don't think that's going to play out in Wyoming," University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King said. Though Wyoming voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2020 and 2016, the state embraced Trump reluctantly. In 2016, Republicans in Wyoming initially backed Cruz over Trump almost unanimously for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Latest: Nancy Pelosi reelected speaker of the House
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to the media, Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The group of House and Senate Republicans are echoing President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. Democrat Nancy Pelosi was set to be reelected as House speaker by her party, which retains the majority in the House but with the slimmest margin in 20 years. Hawley specifically defended himself against criticism from GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania as he challenges that state’s election results. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is set to be reelected as House speaker by fellow Democrats, who retain the House majority but with the slimmest margin in 20 years.
Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill
The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Make no mistake,'' he said, the new legislation "will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date.'' Marty Durbin, a senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce, called the package — the first major energy bill in more than a decade — “truly historic” and among the most significant action Congress has ever taken to address climate change. The bill will not only address climate change, but also "promote American technological leadership and foster continued economic growth,'' Durbin said. The dramatic if gradual reduction of HFCs in particular “will bring significant climate relief relatively quickly,'' said Matt Casale, director of environment campaigns for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Congress seals agreement on $900 billion COVID relief bill
U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is seen at the U.S. Capitol at night after negotiators sealed a deal for COVID relief Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Washington. “There will be another major rescue package for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in announcing the agreement for a relief bill that would total almost $900 billion. Still, delays in finalizing the agreement prompted the House to pass a one-day stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown at midnight Sunday. It combined $900 billion for COVID-19 relief with a $1.4 trillion government-wide funding plan and lots of other unrelated measures on taxes, health, infrastructure and education. It also would carry numerous clean energy provisions, $7 billion to increase access to broadband, $4 billion to help other nations vaccinate their people, $14 billion for cash-starved transit systems, Amtrak and airports.
Congress averts shutdown; fight continues over pandemic aid
The virus aid talks remained on track, both sides said, but closing out final disagreements was proving difficult. The Democrats said the GOP proposal would deprive President-elect Joe Biden of crucial tools to manage the economy. “Undermining that authority could mean less lending to Main Street businesses, higher unemployment and greater economic pain across the nation." The COVID-19 package would be added to a $1.4 trillion governmentwide appropriations bill that would fund federal agencies through next September. Standard & Poor’s said in a report Tuesday that the economy would be 1.5 percentage points smaller in 2021 without more aid.
McConnell, Schumer to lead, but Senate majority uncertain
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., won another term as Republican leader, his office said, cementing his role as the longest-serving GOP leader in U.S. history. But it’s still to be determined whether McConnell will retain his role as majority leader or cede it to Schumer as the final races for the U.S. Senate play out. Republicans brushed back Democratic challengers in several states, but failed to lock down the seats needed to retain their majority. The math has become more challenging for McConnell because the vice president of the party holding the White House casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. A Democratic majority in the Senate, the party that also controls the House would give the party a firm grasp on power in Washington.
Senate GOP's virus relief bill expected to fall in vote
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON A GOP coronavirus relief package faces dire prospects in a Senate test vote, and negotiators involved in recent efforts to strike a deal that could pass before the November election say they see little reason for hope. Democrats have indicated they will shelve the Republican measure as insufficient, leaving lawmakers at an impasse. Unless something really broke through, its not going to happen, said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen. The GOP bill also lacks money for election security that lawmakers from both parties have supported.