Democrats Prepare $6 Trillion Infrastructure Bill That Sidesteps GOP

Senate Democrats are in talks over a $6 trillion reconciliation package that would sidestep Republican opposition and contain provisions over and above President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposals to address the climate crisis and expand Medicare. The package would adopt many provisions from Biden’s twin economic packages, the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.9 trillion American Families Plan. It would include provisions to expand the child tax credit and establish universal pre-kindergarten and paid leave, according to The Washington Post — all provisions that are currently missing from the infrastructure proposal offered by centrist senators, which has been panned by progressives.

Biden to Set Goal for Half of All Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by...

Environment & Health New COVID Variants Threaten to Make Pandemic Permanent Economy & Labor COVID Relief Packages Dramatically Reduced Poverty. They Should Be Permanent. Economy & Labor Predatory Banks at Walmarts Made Over 100 Percent of Profits From Overdraft Fees Environment & Health Biden to Set Goal for Half of All Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by 2030 Environment & Health MO Coroner Says He Alters Death Certificates If Families Dislike COVID Inclusion Environment & Health Biden Made Big Compromises on Climate — and Movements That Backed Him Are Livid President Joe Biden is launching a push on Thursday to curb vehicle emissions and set a benchmark for the U.S. to begin phasing out gas vehicles. Biden is expected to sign an executive order setting a goal for half of all vehicles sold in the United States to be electric by 2030, which will likely play a key role in helping the U.S. meet Biden’s climate goals. He is also expected to reinstate and tighten tailpipe emission standards set under President Barack Obama (but rolled back by Trump) to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ramp up vehicle efficiency. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., making up 29 percent of emissions in 2019, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Without swift vehicle electrification, climate goals set by the administration like cutting emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 will be hard to reach, experts say, Still, Biden’s announced goal for vehicle electrification will be difficult to achieve, logistically and politically. “There’s a battle on every front. There’s a battle in Congress. There’s a battle in the courts. There’s a battle against time,” Jody Freeman, Harvard Law School environmental and energy law director, told The Washington Post. Indeed, as this summer’s climate events have demonstrated, time is of the essence on climate legislation. And with climate measures being carved out of the infrastructure plan, there are few options left for legislators who want to curb the climate crisis to do so. In the latest and possibly final version of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure funding ended up being cut by nearly 96 percent of Biden’s original proposal. Vehicle manufacturers have said that their compliance with Biden’s order hinges on funding and support for building more charging stations from Congress. The latest bipartisan bill calls for only $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, half of the $15 that was allocated for charging stations in the June bipartisan framework. Car manufacturers like Ford, General Motors and Honda have signalled their support for Biden’s electrification goals. But the American manufacturers and United Auto Workers will only take the pledge to make 40 to 50 percent of their new car sales electric if the bipartisan bill passes with the $7.5 billion in EV charging funding. Biden will also reinstate vehicle mileage standards rolled back by Donald Trump. Starting with 2023 car models, Biden will propose higher mileage standards in hopes of cutting emissions by 3.7 percent a year, mirroring a California vehicle emissions reduction plan. In 2025, the emissions cuts will ramp up by a 5 percent increase annually, and possibly more after that, the Associated Press reports. Climate and environment groups have shared mixed views on Biden’s plans. “This proposal is headed in a better direction, but the Biden administration can and should be more ambitious,” Environment America Carbon Campaign Director Morgan Folger said in a statement. “Over 5 years ago, the Obama-Biden administration took the strongest federal action to reduce global warming pollution in history, only to be stalled out by the automakers reneging on their promise…. We can’t turn back the clock 5 years, so we have to go even faster to zero out pollution from our cars and trucks and solve this climate crisis.” Simon Mui, deputy director for clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the administration for taking action but told The Washington Post, “This proposal delivers less carbon pollution reductions than the Obama-era standards and includes unfortunate loopholes that undercut progress.” Climate advocates have also recently taken umbrage with Biden for making major compromises on climate despite early promises for ambitious emissions reductions. “Today, the prospect of serious action on the scale needed to address the climate emergency, and the image of the Biden administration as being committed to climate action, are both in shambles,” wrote Basav Sen for Truthout. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Will Weed Ever Be Federally Legal In The US? What The Experts Say

By Tia MoskalenkoMany states have already passed laws and legislation to legally allow the sale and use of marijuana. The question is whether the U.S. will federally legalize the drug.With a...

Bernie Sanders Invites Oil Executives to Testify at Hearing on Climate Crisis

The federal government provides fossil fuel companies with $15 billion in direct subsidies each year.

Most Voters Think Trump Running in 2024 Would Be Bad for the Country, Poll...

Environment & Health New COVID Variants Threaten to Make Pandemic Permanent Economy & Labor COVID Relief Packages Dramatically Reduced Poverty. They Should Be Permanent. Economy & Labor Predatory Banks at Walmarts Made Over 100 Percent of Profits From Overdraft Fees Environment & Health Biden to Set Goal for Half of All Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by 2030 Environment & Health MO Coroner Says He Alters Death Certificates If Families Dislike COVID Inclusion Environment & Health Biden Made Big Compromises on Climate — and Movements That Backed Him Are Livid Most Americans don’t think Donald Trump running for president again in 2024 would be a good thing for the country, a new poll from Quinnipiac University reveals. The survey, which asked a number of questions about elections in 2022 and 2024, revealed challenges and opportunities that both political parties will face in those years relating to voters’ preferences on what type of candidates they want to elect. On the question of the former president’s potential run in 2024, 49 percent of respondents in the poll said they believe Trump will indeed make a run for the nation’s top office that year, while only 39 percent said he would not. On whether his candidacy would be good for the country, only 32 percent said another campaign by Trump to become president would be beneficial. Conversely, 60 percent of Americans say that Trump running for president again would be bad for the country, according to the poll. The former president has not officially indicated whether he will run in 2024 or not, but has made several comments in public hinting that he will. “I do know my answer but I can’t reveal it yet because that has to do with campaign financing and everything else. But I absolutely know my answer,” Trump said when asked if he was running during a Fox News interview last month. “We’re going to do very well and people are going to be very happy.” If Trump does decide to run, he would have high chances of being picked as the Republican Party nominee, as 73 percent of GOP-leaning respondents in the poll viewed his running again as being a good thing. Regarding the midterm elections that are set to commence next year, those taking part in the poll had mixed views about who they wanted to see win. Asked who should run the House of Representatives, 45 percent said they preferred to have Democrats retain control while 42 percent said they wanted Republicans to lead in the House. But the polling results also suggested that Democrats have a possible path to winning in 2022 if they pushed more progressive and ambitious legislation, while simultaneously linking their opponents to Trump. Backing for either political party was well below 50 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll, with only 38 percent of respondents saying they approved of Democrats in Congress, and just 26 percent saying the same about Republicans. But on policies that Democrats are pushing — including a $3.5 trillion spending bill that contains aspects of President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan — there was overwhelming support from voters in the survey, with 62 percent saying they wanted that bill to be made into law and only 32 percent saying they opposed it. Progressive commentators, noting that the party of the president traditionally performs poorly in their first midterm elections race, have suggested that Democrats need to continue promoting big ideas in order to defy historical precedent and win again in 2022. “Democrats need to follow through on Biden’s working assumption: act big and boldly,” wrote The Nation magazine’s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel in an op-ed for The Washington Post in May. “That means reforms that make a material difference in people’s lives, counter the efforts to suppress the votes, and limit the effect of big money on our elections.” Vanden Heuvel added that Democrats winning in 2022 “isn’t a question of changing rhetoric or dodging Republican insults, it is about getting big things done.” Being anti-Trump won’t hurt, either, as the poll indicated that if Trump endorsed a candidate for office, voters would be less likely to support them. A plurality of respondents in the poll, 41 percent, said that a Trump-backed candidate would make them less likely to want to vote for that person, with 37 percent saying his endorsement wouldn’t matter. For comparison, only 29 percent of respondents said that a candidate endorsed by Biden would make them less likely to vote for a person, with 53 percent saying it’d make no difference. With the midterms still more than a year away, much can change between now and then that could affect either party’s chances of winning. But this poll suggests that the conventional wisdom, that Democrats are inherently poised to lose seats in the House, may not hold true if Democrats take certain actions and follow certain paths. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Feds Execute Search Warrant at Giuliani’s House, Office, Seize His Cell Phone

Racial Justice Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity Politics & Elections Tucker Carlson Is Emblematic of Today’s Republican Party Prisons & Policing Police Convictions Are Not the Goal. Abolitionists Have Bigger Dreams. Environment & Health Prescription Drugs in US Are Quadruple What They Cost Elsewhere, Report Finds Politics & Elections Biden Unveils American Families Plan, Which Would Establish Paid Leave Program Environment & Health No, Biden’s Not Banning Burgers — But Meat Is a Real Climate Problem Federal agents executed a search warrant on Wednesday morning on properties owned by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also served as former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. The warrants are part of an ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors within the Southern District of New York (SDNY), who are looking into whether any laws were broken regarding Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine in 2019. Investigators searched the former Trump confidante’s home and office in New York City. Several electronic devices, including Giuliani’s cellphone, were also seized as part of the investigation. The search of Giuliani’s home and office were described by The New York Times as an “extraordinary action for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president.” Giuliani’s own lawyer, Robert Costello, decried the investigation into his client, suggesting the searches were unnecessary because Giuliani had offered to answer all questions except those he deemed as privileged conversations with Trump. Costello also attempted to use Giuliani’s career as a shield against allegations that he had done anything wrong. “Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States,” Costello argued. Prosecutors are examining whether Giuliani, while he was actively trying to find political “dirt” on then-potential candidate for president Joe Biden, had illegally lobbied for Trump to fire Marie Yovanovitch, who was then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in order to make the efforts at gaining compromising information on Biden easier to accomplish. Yovanovitch was seen as someone who would not go along with the plan for using foreign officials and oligarchs as a means to help Trump win reelection. The efforts at pressuring foreign officials, including Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, into agreeing to help the former U.S. president by launching an investigation into the actions of Biden and his family in that country, was the subject of Trump’s first impeachment, which began in the fall of 2019. Efforts to obtain a warrant to search Giuliani’s properties and belongings began long before Biden took office. Federal agents had sought a warrant several months ago, but were blocked by Trump’s political appointees in the Department of Justice while Trump was still president. Objections were lifted after Biden’s pick for attorney general, Merrick Garland, was confirmed by the Senate to his appointment. “Trump’s stooge Bill Barr blocked this very warrant to search for and seize evidence of Clown Rudy’s crimes on behalf of Trump. What a difference a principled and independent Attorney General makes!” tweeted Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe after the search of Giuliani’s properties was reported. Although a warrant to search his home and office makes it clear that the investigation is ongoing, it is not clear at this time whether Giuliani will face any criminal charges stemming from the current inquiry by SDNY. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Commission on Capitol Attack Contemplates Requesting Jan 6 Trump Call Logs

The select committee in the House of Representatives examining the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building is contemplating whether to pursue White House call logs from that day. The call logs could reveal who communicated with former President Donald Trump on the day that a mob of his loyalists attacked the U.S. Capitol following an incendiary speech delivered by Trump.

Elizabeth Warren Unveils $700 Billion Plan to Establish Universal Child Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) reintroduced a $700 billion plan on Tuesday to make child care more affordable for families and establish a universal child care program over the next decade. The proposal would create a network of child care centers so that everyone, regardless of income, can have access to quality child care. It would also make child care free for those who make below two times the federal poverty line, and would ensure that no low- and middle-income families have to pay more than 7 percent of their income for public child care. Warren has previously unveiled a version of the plan in 2019, when she was campaigning for president.

Biden Eyes Tax Hikes on the Wealthy to Pay for Free Community College

Such programs could help bolster work on the more traditional infrastructure projects as they allow working-class Americans the opportunity to get back into the workplace or advance their own career paths. “Child care is infrastructure. Paid leave is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure. Because if we don’t invest in all three, families can’t get back to work,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) recently tweeted.

Over 80 House Democrats Urge Biden to Lower Medicare Eligibility Age

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) organized over 80 House Democrats to sign a letter calling on President Joe Biden to expand Medicare in his administration’s upcoming American Families Plan. The lawmakers are asking Biden to lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60 or even 55, require Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and add benefits such as dental, vision and hearing to Medicare coverage. In the letter, the Democrats argue that this would be “a critical investment in health care to bolster the security of our country’s economy and families.”