Category - USA: Congress

US House Republicans vote to restrict research funding

AFP, May 21

US House Republicans voted to place limits on funding for scientific research, including climate change studies, as they passed legislation that more narrowly defines their priorities.

Many in the American scientific community criticized the bill, which passed 217 votes to 205 and sets funding guidelines for the National Science Foundation for fiscal year 2016 beginning October 1.

The America Competes Reauthorization Act still has to be reconciled with a Senate version, and the White House has threatened a veto if the measure passes as is.

[…]

Democrats fumed that the bill automatically slashes social, behavioral and economic sciences by 55 percent compared to 2015, while geosciences including climate research shrinks eight percent to $1.2 billion.

Research budgets for green energy programs would be hit too.

Conversely, Republican prioritize funding for biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physical sciences.

GOP head of Senate environment committee says carbon pollution is good for the Earth

Raw Story, By Eric W. Dolan, May 7

As carbon dioxide levels surpassed 400 parts per million globally, Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma headed to the Senate floor on Wednesday to explain the benefits of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Counter to the doomsday predictions of climate alarmists, increasing observations suggest a much reduced and practically harmless climate response to increased amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” he remarked. “Also missing from the climate alarmists’ doomsday scenarios and well-scripted talking points are the benefits from increased carbon that has led to a greening of the planet and contributed to increased agricultural productivity.”

Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, wondered why people didn’t understand that carbon pollution was good for the Earth.

“People do not realize that you cannot grow things without CO2,” he said. “CO2 is a fertilizer. It is something you cannot do without. No one ever talks about the benefits that people are inducing that as a fertilizer on a daily basis.”

Video at the link.

Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid will not seek re-election: NYT

Reuters, March 27

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will not seek re-election next year, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Reid, who represents Nevada, told the newspaper that his decision to retire from the Senate was not due to a recent accident or his party’s loss of control of the chamber in the November congressional elections.

“I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” Reid, 75, told the Times.

An obfuscatory reason were there ever one…


Obviously someone got to him. “This accident“, harumph.


Here’s one reason that might make sense, from (uh) Breitbart: The Real Reason Harry Reid is Retiring

But the real reason Reid is retiring may have nothing to do with any of these excuses and everything to do with his concerns that a possible Republican Presidential victory in 2016 would lead to the appointment of a Republican Attorney General in January 2017.

A Republican Attorney General would be almost certain to initiate a criminal investigation into Reid’s abuse of his political power in a brazen intervention in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) issuance of EB-5 visas to investors in a Las Vegas casino and hotel that was represented by his son, Rory Reid, as was highlighted in a report released by the Inspector General of DHS last week.

“I think Harry Reid’s getting out of town ahead of the posse,” former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova tells Breitbart News.

Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid Monday

Houston Chronicle, By Theodore Schleifer, March 21

Senator will be first declared GOP candidate

Washington — Sen. Ted Cruz plans to announce Monday that he will run for president of the United States, accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington.

Cruz will launch a presidential bid outright rather than form an exploratory committee, said senior advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made yet. They say he is done exploring and is now ready to become the first Republican presidential candidate.

The senator is scheduled to speak Monday at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, where he is expected to declare his campaign for the presidency.
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McConnell Urges States to Help Thwart Obama’s ‘War on Coal’

New York Times, By Coral Davenport, March 19

Washington — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has begun an aggressive campaign to block President Obama’s climate change agenda in statehouses and courtrooms across the country, arenas far beyond Mr. McConnell’s official reach and authority.

The campaign of Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is aimed at stopping a set of Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring states to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Once enacted, the rules could shutter hundreds of coal-fired plants in what Mr. Obama has promoted as a transformation of the nation’s energy economy away from fossil fuels and toward sources like wind and solar power. Mr. McConnell, whose home state is one of the nation’s largest coal producers, has vowed to fight the rules.

Since Mr. McConnell is limited in how he can use his role in the Senate to block regulations, he has taken the unusual step of reaching out to governors with a legal blueprint for them to follow to stop the rules in their states. Mr. McConnell’s Senate staff, led by his longtime senior energy adviser, Neil Chatterjee, is coordinating with lawyers and lobbying firms to try to ensure that the state plans are tangled up in legal delays.

Al Jazeera: A frenzy over fracking in Washington
NBC: California Governor Calls Out McConnell for Coal Letter – video; “…borderline immoral”

Trillion Dollar Fraudsters

New York Times, By Paul Krugman, March 20

By now it’s a Republican Party tradition: Every year the party produces a budget that allegedly slashes deficits, but which turns out to contain a trillion-dollar “magic asterisk” — a line that promises huge spending cuts and/or revenue increases, but without explaining where the money is supposed to come from.

But the just-released budgets from the House and Senate majorities break new ground. Each contains not one but two trillion-dollar magic asterisks: one on spending, one on revenue. And that’s actually an understatement. If either budget were to become law, it would leave the federal government several trillion dollars deeper in debt than claimed, and that’s just in the first decade.
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Take a Deep Breath Before Reading What Follows

Normally I prefer to wait a day or two before posting about any news item.  More than likely there is more information to follow, and time allows for a more judicious interpretation of events.  Not today.  Not with something I read this afternoon.  Here is the text of a letter sent today from the U.S. Senate to Ayatollah Khamenei and other senior leaders of Iran.  The letter was signed by 47 Republican Senators.

 

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House Republicans want to legally forbid EPA from looking at science it doesn’t like

Salon.com, Joanna Rothkopf, March 3

Two bills are up for a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, both of which could significantly impact the way the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to use science to come up with regulations. The Secret Science Reform Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act both require the EPA to consider only publicly available, easily reproducible data when making policy recommendations. Scientific organizations and environmental groups, as well as a number of Democrats, disapprove of the bills, arguing that they favor industry over real science.

Over 50 scientific organizations spoke out in opposition to the Secret Science bill, noting that large-scale public health studies would be ineligible for consideration because large sample sizes could not be easily reproduced.
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Senate Gives Approval for Defense Secretary, if Not His Boss’s Policies

Ashton B. Carter Is Confirmed as Defense Chief, Replacing Chuck Hagel

New York Times, By Emmarie Huetteman, February 12

Washington — The Senate on Thursday confirmed Ashton B. Carter [wikipedia] to be the next defense secretary, installing a new Pentagon chief as the United States increases military action against the Islamic State.

Mr. Carter, a former deputy defense secretary who is President Obama’s choice to replace Chuck Hagel, was approved by a vote of 93 to 5, a striking scene of accord as tensions mount over the wait to confirm Loretta E. Lynch as the next attorney general. Five Republicans opposed Mr. Carter’s confirmation.

[…]

But as one confirmation moved forward, another stalled. Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee decided on Thursday to delay a committee vote to confirm Ms. Lynch, the president’s nominee to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Though several Republicans praised Ms. Lynch as her confirmation hearings ended last month, the hearings featured a heavy dose of harsh criticism of Mr. Holder’s Justice Department.

Obama to Seek War Power Bill From Congress, to Fight ISIS

New York Times, By Jeremy W. Peters, February 11

Washington – The Obama administration has informed lawmakers that the president will seek a formal authorization to fight the Islamic State that would prohibit the use of “enduring offensive ground forces” and limit engagement to three years. The approach offers what the White House hopes is a middle way on Capitol Hill for those on the right and left who remain deeply skeptical of its plans to thwart extremist groups.

The request, which could come in writing as early as Wednesday morning, would open what is expected to be a monthslong debate over presidential war powers and the wisdom of committing to another unpredictable mission in the Middle East while the nation is still struggling with the consequences of two prolonged wars.

Congress has not voted to give a president formal authority for a military operation since 2002 when it backed George W. Bush in his campaign to strike Iraq after his administration promoted evidence, since discredited, that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed unconventional weapons.

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