Category Archives: 2019-News
A shipyard in Northern England that builds nuclear submarines has reportedly been evacuated after what is being called a bomb scare.
- Nowitzki, 40, finishes with 30 points on 31 shots in 33 minutes
- Future Hall of Famer will play final game of career Wednesday
Dirk Nowitzki notched season highs in points, shots and minutes before telling Dallas Mavericks fans that his record 21st season with the same franchise would be his last.
Wednesday’s top story: Netanyahu declares ‘tremendous victory’ despite neck-and-neck race with rival Benny Gantz. Plus, why poo is no longer taboo
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Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.
It’s Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
Standing nearly 20 feet high, 43 US presidents’ busts, remnants from a bankrupted theme park, are stored in Croaker, Virginia, on the property of Howard Hankins who is seeking to restore the massive sculptures. Hankins has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to relocate the statues to a place where they can be visited by all
A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday deferred a ruling on whether to approve or reject a motion by PG&E Corp to pay up to $350 million in bonuses to 10,000 employees after the power producer said the plan excluded senior executives and would help it fight devastating wildfires. The plan covers 2019 and takes the place of a previously proposed 2018 bonus program for some 14,000 employees that PG&E scuttled after criticism from wildfire victims and their lawyers. The U.S. Trustee, the government’s bankruptcy watchdog, had also objected to the new plan, saying it did not make clear insiders are excluded and expressing concern about its cost.
Republicans trigger ‘nuclear option’ to speed Trump nominees
“It is time for this sorry chapter to end. It’s time to return this body to a more normal and reasonable process for fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities no matter which party controls the White House,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. | AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Democrats blasted the move as a blow to the Senate and a sign the filibuster might soon be on its way out.
By BURGESS EVERETT
04/03/2019 03:47 PM EDT
Updated 04/03/2019 05:52 PM EDT
Senate Republicans used the “nuclear option” Wednesday to unilaterally reduce debate time on most presidential nominees, the latest in a series of changes to the fabric of the Senate to dilute the power of the minority.
The move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately paves the way for quicker confirmation of President Donald Trump’s judicial and executive branch picks and comes amid deep GOP frustration with Democratic delays. Future presidents will benefit too, though McConnell and Trump stand to gain inordinately as they seek to fill 130 District Court vacancies over the next 18 months before the 2020 election.
Story Continued Below
The nuclear option — a change of the Senate rules by a simple majority — gained its name because it was seen as an explosive maneuver that would leave political fallout for some time to come. But it’s now been deployed three times in just six years amid continuous partisan warfare over nominations.
McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer engaged in an ugly round of recriminations ahead of the rules change, barely able to make eye contact as they groused at each other.
Schumer asserted that he was “so sorry that my Republican colleagues have gone along with Sen. McConnell’s debasement of the Senate.” The New York Democrat called the change “disgraceful” and said it was a “sad day in the Senate’s history.”
McConnell absorbed the criticism, cracking a smile at times as Schumer castigated him. Then he stood up and said Schumer was responsible for the quagmire, having launched filibusters of President George W. Bush’s nominees.
“He started this whole thing,” McConnell said, pointing at Schumer. “This is not a sad day. This is a glad day.”
Republicans first sought to cut debate time on executive nominees, with the Senate voting 51-48 to overrule existing precedent. It then did the same to judicial nominees a couple hours later with another 51-48 vote.
Two GOP senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, voted with Democrats to preserve the current rules.
McConnell trashed Democrats’ “systematic obstruction” as he stumped for his effort on the Senate floor. His move is particularly consequential in divided government when much of the Senate’s time is now spent confirming executive nominees and lifetime judicial appointments. Under the change, debate time on District Court nominees and subcabinet executive nominees is slashed from 30 hours to 2 hours, a shift that will allow Republicans to fill dozens more vacancies over the coming months.
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“It is time for this sorry chapter to end. It’s time to return this body to a more normal and reasonable process for fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities no matter which party controls the White House,” McConnell said on Wednesday afternoon. Of Democrats’ slowing Trump nominees, McConnell said: “This is new. And it needs to stop.”
The GOP leader’s lieutenants took to the Senate floor to make his case. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) called Democratic resistance to Trump’s nominees “offensive.”
Of course, McConnell and the GOP also fought against President Barack Obama’s nominees, sometimes in ruthless fashion. The Kentucky Republican’s decision to deny Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016 set off the latest round of nomination battles, leading to a Democratic filibuster of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the GOP’s subsequent elimination of the supermajority requirement on high court judges.
“He seems to have completely forgotten the Obama administration,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), quoting at times from a McConnell op-ed on nominations “fittingly” published on April Fool’s Day. “He led the most famous blockade that’s ever happened in the Senate. And that was the blockade of Merrick Garland … it was shameful.”
The reality is that both parties have increasingly sought an edge using the Senate’s rules in the majority and minority — forcing unnecessary procedural votes for nominees that will be confirmed anyway, watering down the filibuster and in McConnell’s case, holding open Obama’s judicial vacancies for Trump.
“Republicans believe, regardless of who the president is, they should be able to hire their staff,” insisted Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who noted he had offered a previous temporary deal shortening debate time for nominations during Obama’s presidency. “I was told no by every single Democrat.”
Democrats accused Republicans of putting their ideology ahead of the institution. Schumer made a lengthy argument that conservatives are trying to institute their agenda through the courts because it can’t pass Congress.
“I don’t know why they are continuing to pursue this except that they want to ram through judges, they want to ram through Justice Department people,” said Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). “It will be a sad day for this chamber.”
Notably, the latest rules change came with little of the drama of past maneuvers, in part because this reform is relatively modest but also because changing the Senate’s precedents is now increasingly common.
Though history was being made, the whole exercise seemed rote and the outcome already assured. Some senators fiddled with their phones as McConnell and Schumer argued. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) flipped through a newspaper in the Republican cloakroom while Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) talked on the phone in the Democratic cloakroom.
The history of the nuclear option has been written at an increasingly rapid pace over the last two decades. The Senate defused the nuclear option and saved the filibuster during Bush’s presidency, but not before Schumer and other Democrats blocked Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court.
Nearly a decade later, then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the nuclear option to kill the 60-vote requirement on most nominees. In 2017, McConnell made that rule apply to Supreme Court appointments. Then on Wednesday came the latest change, which Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called “Miguel Estrada’s revenge.”
By KYLE CHENEY
Facing an increasing deficit in the federal courts, Democratic activists want the party to commit to further reforms like adding seats to the Supreme Court if Democrats take the Senate and win the White House.
“Mitch McConnell is setting a precedent that it’s OK to change the Senate rules to confirm more of your side’s judges. Democrats should take this ball and run with it once we regain power,” said Brian Fallon, a former Schumer aide and executive director of Demand Justice, a group pushing the party to be more aggressive on judges.
Senators in both parties fear that the legislative filibuster will be next. That’s particularly true if one party wins the White House, House and Senate in 2020 and finds its big ideas stymied by a Senate minority.
McConnell sought to squelch that debate on Wednesday as he pushed the nuclear button yet again, even as other senators say the end of the filibuster as they know it could be just around the corner.
“The legislative filibuster is central to the nature of the Senate. It has always been, and must always be, the distinctive quality of this institution,” McConnell said. “We all know that both parties will possess future 51-vote majorities somewhere down the line. It will happen. The Senate’s long traditions on legislation therefore, need to remain in place.”
Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.
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By Emily Yoffe
By Jack Shafer
By Tamir Kalifa
By Stephen I. Vladeck
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The White House Reacts to court Conquer immigration by saying Trump”will do whatever it takes” to keep Americans safe
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke out in harsh terms against “Medicare for All’’ Tuesday at the American Hospital Association (AHA) conference in Washington, D.C.
House Democratic leaders scrapped a scheduled Wednesday vote on a budget measure backed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., amid opposition from left-wing members of the caucus.
During a congressional hearing, Barr was repeatedly challenged by Democrats who raised suspicions that he may have misrepresented Mueller’s report to paint the Republican president in a better light. Barr, an appointee of Trump who last month announced what he said were the main findings of the report, said he would be as open as possible about redactions of sensitive information when he hands over the full document. “Within a week I will be in position to release that report to the public and then I will engage with the chairmen of both judiciary committees about that report, about any further requests that they have,” Barr said at his first appearance before Congress since receiving the report on March 22.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Outside allies of President Donald Trump have launched a public campaign urging him to nominate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as his next secretary of Homeland Security.
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The men became involved in a fracas in Belgium but police and witnesses could not tell them apart.
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Angus King (I-ME) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) urged Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Vice Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to fully fund the Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program (Title XVII) under the Department of Energy.
The Senators said in part,“Title XVII helps developers of breakthrough, first-of-a-kind technologies obtain otherwise difficult financing needed to bring promising energy projects to commercialization. The DOE Loan Program Office oversees Title XVII and issues government-backed loans that guarantee a maximum of 80% of the project cost. These loans help energy innovators bridge the “valley of death” and help attract the private sector to provide financing. In order to qualify for a Title XVII loan guarantee, developers must undergo a rigorous two-part application process requiring applicants demonstrate that the project meets rigorous standards for innovation.”
Read the full letter below or click here.
Dear Chairman Shelby, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairman Alexander, and Ranking Member Feinstein:
We write in support of the Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program (Title XVII). We believe Title XVII is successful and continues to provide valuable contributions to American innovation in the energy sector, and we respectfully request that you work with us to find ways to continue to fund this vital program within the Department of Energy (DOE).
Title XVII helps developers of breakthrough, first-of-a-kind technologies obtain otherwise difficult financing needed to bring promising energy projects to commercialization. The DOE Loan Program Office oversees Title XVII and issues government backed loans that guarantee a maximum of 80% of the project cost. These loans help energy innovators bridge the “valley of death” and help attract the private sector to provide financing. In order to qualify for a Title XVII loan guarantee, developers must undergo a rigorous two-part application process requiring applicants demonstrate that the project meets rigorous standards for innovation.
Furthermore, applicants must prove satisfactory financing requirements to see the project to completion, as well as pay application fees that begin at $50,000 in the first phase of the application and increase dramatically in the second phase of the application. Currently, there are numerous viable projects in the application pipeline from companies that have already invested considerable time and money in the application process. These projects are deserving of an opportunity to move forward with their work but need certainty from Congress and the Department of Energy that Title XVII is available to utilize. These projects will provide innovative energy solutions for a cleaner and more efficient energy future. These projects include nuclear, fossil and renewable energy solutions from all parts of the country and will support new jobs and economic growth.
Title XVII has a loss ratio well below that of conventional lenders, and has a demonstrated history of successful investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Ultimately, the program helps to ensure that the United States continues to be a leader in promoting the successful development of innovative energy technologies that help provide meaningful solutions to our nation’s energy challenges.
We ask that you maintain robust funding for Title XVII. We appreciate your consideration of this request and for your attention to this matter.