A coal-state duo floated legislation Monday that would require congressional approval of President Obama’s rules aimed at slashing carbon emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of coal-fired power plants, according to a draft of the bill obtained by National Journal.
The pair of lawmakers — House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. — come from two of the most coal-dependent states in the country, and they worry that the Environmental Protection Agency’s suite of regulations aimed at addressing climate change will cripple their states’ economies and the nation’s electricity supply, which is 40 to 45 percent coal-based.
The bill would make EPA’s forthcoming rules for existing power plants as well as for modified and reconstructed plants contingent upon Congress passing a law “specifying the effective date,” according to a one-page summary of the bill and a section-by-section summary. This would not bode well for EPA given the gridlock on Capitol Hill and could essentially stop the administration from finalizing the rules, which are a cornerstone of Obama’s agenda for addressing climate change without new legislation being approved by Congress.
The bill also addresses EPA’s rules for new power plants, proposed in September. It would block the proposal and require EPA to set a standard for coal-fired power plants that has “been achieved over a one-year period by at least six units located at different commercial power plants in the United states.”
Coal-state lawmakers are concerned that EPA’s proposed rules for new plants will require technology for carbon capture and sequestration that is not yet commercially available.
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.