The White House is threatening to veto legislation coming to the House floor this week that would block upcoming carbon-emissions standards for power plants.
The GOP-led bill, which the House is expected to pass, is highly unlikely to gain enough Senate traction to reach President Obama’s desk anyway.
But the veto threat issued Tuesday is part of the messaging thrust-and-parry over the White House’s climate-change plan and the Environmental Protection Agency’s power-plant rules that are at its core.
The White House, in a statement Tuesday, said the bill would threaten “the health and safety of Americans.”
The measure would “stifle progress in reducing carbon pollution by discouraging the adoption of currently available and effective technology, and would limit further development of cutting-edge clean-energy technologies,” the White House said.
Rep. Ed Whitfield, the Kentucky Republican who is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is lead sponsor of the bill.
It would greatly soften planned emissions rules for future power plants that EPA is slated to finalize this year. Republicans and some conservative Democrats say the rules are a de facto ban on construction of new coal plants and call them part of a wider regulatory assault on the coal industry.
The bill would also prevent separate planned emissions standards for existing power plants from taking effect unless Congress votes to set the effective date for the regulation, which the White House notes could delay those standards indefinitely. EPA intends to propose those rules in draft form in June.
The House is likely to pass the bill Thursday. The measure’s chief backers are Republican, but its 94 cosponsors include seven Democrats.
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Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."