This week, in a moment of sober bipartisan agreement, the House and Senate voted to extend retirement benefits for the nation’s research chimpanzees.
As National Journal‘s Elahe Izadi reported a few weeks ago, the National Institutes of Health was quickly approaching a $30 million ceiling for the amount it could spend on research-chimp retirements.
This left the agency in a bind, as the NIH is phasing out many of the experiments it conducts with chimps. A 2011 report found that most research conducted on them is unnecessary, and in the coming months 310 animals (out of 360) will be retired. Though it probably wouldn’t have come to it, euthanasia could have been used if it was deemed to be in the best interest of the animals.
Chimp advocates were ecstatic at the news.
“It’s a great day for federally owned chimpanzees,” Cathy Willis Spraetz, president and CEO of Chimp Haven in Keithville, La. (the national chimp retirement community sanctuary), told The Washington Post. “I am breaking out the champagne as we speak.”
And it is exciting. Who wouldn’t want to retire to a facility with ample “climbing, swinging, and resting options as well as views of the surrounding areas,” along with 200 acres of forest and accommodations for “large social groups.”
As advertised on the Chimp Haven website: “How the chimpanzees choose to spend their day is up to them.”
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"A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf. The incident happened Monday as the vessel closed to within 1,000 meters of the USS Mahan, "despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it." After attempting to contact the Iranian vessel and sounding its whistle, it deployed the flare. After that, the ship had had enough and turned away.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick's district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."