Lawsuit seeks records of toxic exposures at Uzbek air base
Veterans’ advocacy groups have sued the U.S. Department of Defense seeking records of toxic conditions at an air base in Uzbekistan blamed for causing cancer and other illnesses among American troops who served there in support of the war in Afghanistan.
Energy secretary: US offshore wind jobs should be union jobs
The U.S. energy secretary and Danish wind developer Orsted say they want American union workers to build offshore wind farms to dot the U.S. coastlines — the building trades workers who could otherwise be left out of a transition to renewable resources.
New step to curb tech giants' power advanced by Senate panel
Congress has taken a new step toward reining in the market dominance of Big Tech. Bipartisan legislation advanced by a Senate panel would bar the dominant online platforms from favoring their own goods and services over those of rivals on the platforms.
Senators to Biden: Waive vaccine intellectual property rules
Ten liberal senators are urging President Joe Biden to back India and South Africa’s appeal to the World Trade Organization to temporarily relax intellectual property rules so coronavirus vaccines can be manufactured by nations that are struggling to inoculate their populations.
AP survey: ADs fear sharing revenue with college athletes
NCAA basketball administrators apologized to the womens basketball players and coaches after inequities between the mens and womens tournament went viral on social media. “How does that even work?” Boston College athletic director Patrick Kraft said. Permitting college athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness once seemed like a radical idea, but that will soon be a reality. The NCAA is already looking for help from federal lawmakers to set national standards for NIL compensation for college athletes. ___More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Democrats vow vote on gun bills; Biden says 'we have to act'
They are not even united themselves, as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Tuesday that he opposes the House legislation on background checks. The gun debate also highlights a larger difficulty for Senate Democrats as they try to move forward on gun legislation and other policy priorities of the Biden White House. Schumer has not said when he will bring the House legislation up for a vote. Democrats say they feel the environment around gun legislation has evolved, especially since that last major push in 2013. Many in the GOP base are still strongly opposed to gun control of any kind.
Biden says 'we have to act' after Colorado mass shooting
WASHINGTON – Democrats say they are pushing toward a vote on expanded gun control measures as the nation reels from its second mass shooting in a week. They are not even united themselves, as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Tuesday that he opposes the House legislation on background checks. It is unclear whether any of the bills up for consideration — most of them involving more restrictive background checks — would have made a difference in that case. Republicans have argued that background checks would not stop most mass shootings and would prevent some lawful gun owners from purchasing firearms. A second bill would extend a review period for background checks from three to 10 days.
Biden eyes $3T package for infrastructure, schools, families
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)WASHINGTON – Fresh off passage of the COVID-19 relief bill, President Joe Biden is assembling the next big White House priority, a sweeping $3 trillion package of investments on infrastructure and domestic needs. Biden's outreach to Senate Democrats comes as the White House is under fire for its handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. An infrastructure package would include roughly $1 trillion for roads, bridges, rail lines, electrical vehicle charging stations and the cellular network, among other items. With the House and Senate under Democratic control, the proposals are expected to draw support from all corners of Congress. A White House official said the president has been very clear about his agenda, even though the details are only just starting to surface.
Minorities underrepresented in service academy nominations
Minority students are significantly underrepresented when it comes to getting nominations from members of Congress to attend the nation's military service academies, according to an analysis released Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)Minority students are significantly underrepresented when it comes to getting nominations from members of Congress to attend the nation's military service academies, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The study by the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School included nearly 25 years of admissions nomination data from the Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy involving members of the current Congress. Members of Congress have awarded 6% of their total nominations to Black students and 8% to Hispanic students, according to the report. To be considered for admission, all service academy applicants must receive a nomination from a member of Congress, the president, the vice president, a secretary of a military service, or an academy superintendent.
Advocates seek Biden push on gun bills, but prospects iffy
The House recently passed legislation that would require background checks for gun purchases, a signature Democratic issue for decades. The two bills that passed the House last week would expand background checks on gun purchases, the first significant movement on gun control since Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. That leaves gun-control advocates hoping that the politics of gun control have shifted enough that more Republicans may be open to legislation that advocates argue is widely popular with the American public. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate, have worked together for years to find compromise on background checks. John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, pointed in particular to Democratic wins in the 2018 midterms while running openly for gun control as evidence the politics are changing.
House passes bill to expand background checks for gun sales
The House passed two bills Thursday to require background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and to allow an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. While enhanced background checks are generally popular with the American public, even with some conservatives, Congress has so far not been able to find compromise on the issue. “These solutions will save lives.”President Joe Biden has called for Congress to strengthen gun laws, including requiring the background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons. AdThe second bill, which passed 219-210, would extend the review period for background checks from three to 10 days. While the House bills have Republican cosponsors and won a handful of GOP votes, most Republicans voted against them.
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.
Federal watchdog blasts FAA over certification of Boeing jet
The inspector general issued 14 recommendations to “restore confidence in FAA’s certification process and ensure the highest level of safety” in future passenger planes. While FAA test pilots knew about changes to the flight system, called MCAS, some key FAA personnel, including engineers, did not. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the report indicated concealment by Boeing and negligence by the FAA. AdThe same inspector general’s office reported last year that Boeing failed to disclose to the FAA changes it made to MCAS. In January, Boeing agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department to avoid prosecution for defrauding the FAA.
Trump acquitted, denounced in historic impeachment trial
Most of them ultimately voted to acquit, doubting whether Trump was fully responsible or if impeachment is the appropriate response. In closing arguments, lead defender Michael van der Veen emphasized an argument that Republican senators also embraced: that it was all a “phony impeachment show trial.”“Mr. Within a week Biden was inaugurated, Trump was gone and Pelosi sent the article of impeachment to the Senate days later, launching the proceedings. Several Republican senators voted to consider witnesses. At the same time, this year's trial carried similar warnings from the prosecutors that Trump must be held accountable because he has shown repeatedly he has no bounds.
Trump impeachment trial confronts memories of Capitol siege
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool photo via AP)WASHINGTON – The impeachment trial of Donald Trump is more than an effort to convict the former president of inciting an insurrection. It's a chance for a public accounting and remembrance of the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in 200 years. Trump is long gone, ensconced at his Mar-a-Lago club, and Democrat Joe Biden is the new president in the White House. "A public trial serves a vital purpose," he said. Pelosi led Democrats in impeaching Trump, the only president twice impeached, and the first in history to face trial after leaving office.
Trump rejects Dems' request to testify at impeachment trial
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)WASHINGTON – House Democrats asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, challenging him to respond to their charge that he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. Hours after the Democrats' Thursday request was revealed, Trump adviser Jason Miller dismissed the trial as “an unconstitutional proceeding” and said the former president would not testify. Separately, Trump’s lawyers denounced the request as a “public relations stunt.”AdThe impeachment trial starts Feb. 9. He asked that Trump provide testimony about his conduct “either before or during the Senate impeachment trial,” and under cross-examination, as early as Monday, Feb. 8, and not later than Thursday, Feb. 11. The Senate could vote to subpoena Trump, or any other witnesses, on a simple majority vote during the trial.
Latest bill would bar NCAA limits on athlete NIL rights
The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act is the third piece of legislation related to name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes introduced in Congress since December and second sponsored by Democrats. Iowa became the latest state to get in the game, with lawmakers introducing a bill Wednesday they hope will go into effect July 1. The bill would give college athletes unfettered access to the free market, allow them to organize and make group licensing deals, and hand oversight to the Federal Trade Commission. ), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, put forth an NIL bill that is narrowly focused like Murphy's, but with numerous restrictions that critics consider too NCAA-friendly. Wicker's bill would provide antitrust protections to the NCAA, shielding the association from legal challenges to its NIL rules, and allow the association to limit the types of financial agreements for athletes.
Russian hack brings changes, uncertainty to US court system
The new rules for filing sensitive documents are one of the clearest ways the hack has affected the court system. AdThe Administrative Office of U.S. Courts confirmed the court system breach on Jan. 6, joining a victims' list that includes the State Department, the National Institutes of Health, tech companies and an unknown number of Fortune 500 companies. Targets could include not just court staff, but also “soft targets” such as law firms that upload files to the case management system, known as CM/ECF. Criminal, civil and bankruptcy filings are believed to have been compromised, but not the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court system, which handles national security surveillance warrants, according to the court employees. Senators are pressing court officials and the Justice Department for a clear assessment of the damage to the legal system.
Democrats ask ethics panel to investigate Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley
Thousands had gathered that day as Congress voted to formally certify President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in November. Hawley and Cruz led objections in the Senate to Biden’s victory, despite the widespread recognition that the effort would fail. And both senators used their objections for political fundraising,” the Democratic senators said in their letter. Cruz helped force a vote on Biden's victory in Arizona, while Hawley helped force one on Biden's victory in Pennsylvania. “This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge."
EXPLAINER: Can Trump be impeached after leaving office?
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump might argue the calendar is his friend when it comes to a second impeachment trial. In 2019, the last time Trump found himself impeached by the House, he had nearly a year left in his presidency. But on Wednesday, with the inauguration of Joe Biden, Trump will be out of office by the time any Senate trial gets started. On Tuesday, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said she doesn’t think a post-presidency impeachment trial is constitutional. The consequence the Constitution sets up for a president who is impeached and convicted is removal from office.
With Trump silent, reprisals for hacks may fall to Biden
But President Donald Trump, long wary of blaming Moscow for cyberattacks has so far been silent. But President Donald Trump, long wary of blaming Moscow for cyberattacks, has been silent. Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow did not commit to blaming the Kremlin, saying, “People are saying Russia. The Trump administration and Western allies similarly expelled diplomats over Moscow's alleged poisoning of an ex-intelligence officer in Britain. Exposing Kremlin corruption, including how Russian President Vladimir Putin accrues and hides his wealth, may amount to even more formidable retaliation.
Booker, Democratic lawmakers introducing NCAA reform bill
The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by U.S. The bill also protects the NCAA from future antitrust challenges to its compensation rules. Booker and Blumenthal's bill, however, goes way beyond NIL rights for athletes and is not nearly as NCAA-friendly. The legislation would allow college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses with minimal restrictions, through either individual or group licensing deals. — Establish a nine-member Commission on College Athletics that would include at least five former college athletes and individuals with legal expertise, including in the area of Title IX.
Biden hails historic Pentagon pick, but some Dems in a bind
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Biden administrations choice to be secretary of defense, speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. In the past, they’ve opposed naming recently retired military officers to a post typically occupied by civilians, yet they don't want to defy their party's incoming president nor be seen as blocking history. Before announcing that he'd settled on Austin, Biden was facing pressure from activists over a lack of diversity in some of the key posts of the Cabinet he was building. Now the Mattis period at the Pentagon is viewed by some as an argument against waiving the rule again. Thankfully, Biden is neither, so the circumstances don’t support a waiver.”___Weissert, Burns and Mascaro reported from Washington.
After criticism, Feinstein to step down as top Judiciary Dem
WASHINGTON – California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday she will step down from her role as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, giving up the powerful spot after public criticism of her bipartisan outreach and her handling of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings. Feinstein, 87, said in a statement that she would not seek the position in the next Congress. 2 Democrat, said he will seek to replace Feinstein as the committee's top Democrat. He led daily news conferences during breaks in the hearings with the other Democrats on the panel while Feinstein usually did not appear. “It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step down from her leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, which opposes conservative nominees to the courts.
Twitter, Facebook CEOs vow election action; GOP touts curbs
Republican senators, including Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, revived complaints of censorship and anti-conservative bias against the social media platforms. The actions that Twitter and Facebook took to quell the spread of disinformation angered Trump and his supporters. They have focused their concern on hate speech and incitement on social media platforms that can spawn violence. Twitter and Facebook have both slapped a misinformation label on some content from Trump, most notably his assertions linking voting by mail to fraud. For days after the election as the vote counting went on, copycat “Stop the Steal” groups were easily found on Facebook.
The Latest: India registers over 30,000 new virus cases
It said the country was showing a trend of declining average daily cases over the last two months. Worldwide, more than 54 million coronavirus cases have been reported with more than 1.3 million deaths. ___CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has set another weekly record for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, even with one day left to count. The state set three daily marks for confirmed cases in the past week, including a record 821 cases on Friday. The seven-day rolling average for new daily cases stood at 145,400 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Latest: Washington gov. may announces new restrictions
Washington state and county health officials have warned of a spike in coronavirus cases across the state, and pleaded with the public to take the pandemic more seriously heading into the winter holidays. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds reached 362 on Friday, the most since late August. ___KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine has introduced tight weekend restrictions as the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases hit a national record. Health Minister Maxim Stepanov said Saturday that Ukraine registered 12,524 new confirmed cases, about 800 more than the previous day. Overall, Russia has reported 1,903.000 confirmed virus cases and 32,834 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Explosion kills 2 steam pipe workers at veterans hospital
WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Two workers were killed in an explosion Friday while repairing a steam pipe in a maintenance building at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut, officials said. Alfred Montoya Jr., director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, said the men were in the basement of the small outer building and had just finished routine maintenance on a leaky pipe. He said the explosion occurred just after 8 a.m. as the pipe was being refilled with steam. “Our prayers are with the families of the victims of this explosion," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. The explosion occurred in a building that houses the hospital’s labor shops, such as carpentry and plumbing, a spokesperson for the hospital said.
GOP presses ahead after election with Russia probe review
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., questions former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, on a probe of the FBI's Russia investigation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump may have lost his bid for reelection, but that hasn’t stopped Senate Republicans from pressing forward with their politically charged probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation. “This is a last ditch, desperate undertaking to deal with President Trump’s grievances about that election,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said of the hearing. Most of the criticism of the Russia investigation has centered on flaws in applications to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Even so, a Justice Department inspector general report from last year concluded that the Russia investigation was opened for a valid and legitimate purpose.
GOP pushes Barrett’s nomination ahead, Dems decry ‘sham’
A former Notre Dame Law School professor, Barrett would be the only one of her Supreme Court colleagues not groomed in the Ivy League. But Barrett is the most open opponent of abortion nominated to the Supreme Court in decades. She refused to say whether the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights was correctly decided, though she has signed two ads against it. Others testifying Thursday included Laura Wolk, the first blind woman to be a law clerk for the Supreme Court, who told senators that Barrett’s encouragement and support were life-changing. “Her brilliance is matched only by her compassion,” said Wolk, who also spent a year as a law clerk for Barrett.
The Latest: Barrett's confirmation hearing ends for the day
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)WASHINGTON – The Latest on the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett (all times local):6:05 p.m.Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearing has gaveled to a close for the day, wrapping up three days of testimony. ___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BARRETT HEARINGS:Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was back on Capitol Hill for the third day of her confirmation hearings. The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett paused for about 40 minutes because of audio difficulties. ___9 a.m.Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is back before the Senate Judiciary Committee to face more questions from senators at her confirmation hearing.
Barrett faces senators on health care, legal precedent
“I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,” he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally. Allowing Trump to fill the seat with Barrett “poses a threat to safe and legal abortion in our country," Harris said. Democrats warn that she would be a vote to undo the law and strip health coverage from millions of Americans. "I'm not hostile to the ACA,” Barrett told the senators. “You would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett,” she declared.
Senators lay out plan for college athletes bill of rights
A group of senators led by Cory Booker of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Thursday released a plan for reforming college sports with an athletes bill or rights. The legislative plan calls for college athletes to have the ability to earn money for their names, images and likenesses with minimal restrictions, and much more. The senators also want to ensure for the athletes long-term medical coverage and treatment, enforceable medical standards, academic freedom and revenue sharing agreements. Booker and Blumenthal questioned Emmert about athlete welfare and said then their plan for a bill of rights was in the works. ___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Pelosi says election threats from Russia, China aren't equal
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday the threats of interference in the U.S. presidential election from Russia and China are not equal, pointing to a more serious risk with Moscow's efforts to boost President Donald Trumps reelection bid. Theyre not equivalent, said Pelosi, D-Calif. Russia is actively 24/7 interfering in our election. Pelosi said trying to equate China and Russia on the threat of foreign election interference doesnt tell the story. Trumps national security adviser, Robert OBrien, said Sunday that the U.S. is taking any threat to U.S. elections seriously. He said that China has engaged in cyberattacks and phishing with respect to our election infrastructure.Were not going to put up with it, he said.
US intel: Russia acting against Biden; China opposes Trump
Asked about the intelligence assessment Friday evening in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump appeared to dispute the idea that Russia was disparaging Biden. I think the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have ever, he said. But the president seemed to agree with the intelligence indicating China didnt want him reelected. Though U.S. officials allege that China has its own preference, Fridays statement did not directly accuse Beijing of election interference or taking action to prop up Biden. Instead, the statement said, China views Trump as unpredictable and does not want to see him win reelection.