Excess salt is not confined to frozen pizzas and chips. It sneaks into a number of unsuspecting foods. […]
Recent Episodes in Trump’s Russian Connection Trump’s Russian Connection 1:28 F.B.I. Director Confirms Russia Investigation Election 2016 3:34 Donald Trump’s Russian Connections Trump’s New Government 2:07 Why Michael Flynn Resigned Donald Trump 2:39 Putin on Trump, Prostitutes and Hoaxes Donald Trump 1:06 Trump Urges Russia to Locate Clinton Emails Election 2016 1:47 Trump Calls for Better Ties with Russia News Clips: Politics 0:42 Putin Praises Trump in Year-End Address Breaking News 0:45 Trump expects ‘very good relationship’ with Putin Breaking News 1:21 Trump: “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin” U.S. & Politics 0:27 Ryan Disavows Trump’s Putin Remarks Trump’s New Government 3:05 Flynn’s Controversies: Islam, Russia and More U.S. & Politics 0:43 Jeff Sessions’s Testimony on Russia Contacts Trump’s Russian Connection 2:41 Sessions: ‘I Have Recused Myself’ […]
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump has finalized his first budget for the federal government, a blueprint that would make deep cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency and other domestic programs while significantly increasing spending on the military. The budget, to be submitted to Congress on Thursday, was widely expected to cause political pain for Republicans and Democrats, who will have the final say on spending in the arduous budget process. Trump has promised a spending plan that fulfills his campaign promises to boost national security, from spending more on defense to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Though he repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill. Republicans have groused about some of the preliminary plans, including elimination of the $3 billion community development block grant program that’s popular among local GOP officials; a 25 percent cut to the EPA and elimination of 3,000 jobs; and the scuttling, essentially, of a $300 million per-year program to clean up the Great Lakes. Trump’s plan to eliminate community development block grants was dismissed on Capitol Hill by those who remember how a modest cut to the program sank a spending bill not long ago. The United States spends more than half a trillion dollars on defense, more than the next seven countries combined. But Trump has signaled he would make the Pentagon the big winner with a $54 billion boost to defense spending. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development faced a budget cut of about 31 percent, according to several officials. Democrats are unlikely to support the cuts, and Republican defections raise the possibility of a congressional train wreck and a potential government shutdown when the 2018 budget year begins Oct. 1. The budget, known as a “skinny budget,” was unlikely to have many of the details expected on Capitol Hill. It will be limited to the discretionary, $1 trillion-plus portion of the $4 trillion annual federal budget that pays for Cabinet agencies and departments. The remainder of Trump’s budget — proposals on taxes, mandatory spending and deficits and projections on the economy — won’t come out until May. Preliminary reports on the budget show some domestic Cabinet agencies, such as the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, would see increases, including $3 billion for Trump’s promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. People familiar with the budget who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public release say the White House is seeking a 30 percent cut from an Energy Department office that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy. The office has funded research on projects such as LED light bulbs, electric trucks, advanced batteries and biofuels. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is targeted for at least $700 million in cuts from its current $2.1 billion budget, said Scott Sklar, chairman of the steering committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition. The Energy Department could see steep cuts for its 17 national laboratories, which conduct cutting-edge research on topics from nuclear power to advanced materials for energy generation, storage and use. Trump’s preliminary budget, delivered in secret to agencies last month, proposes a 37 percent cut to the State Department and foreign aid budgets. Those cuts and others were subject to revision in the back-and-forth the White House had with agencies leading up to the release this week. […]
Seventeen Republican members of Congress from diverse districts — including representatives from coastal Southeastern states, Nevada, Utah, upstate New York, and Pennsylvania — submitted a resolution in the House Wednesday acknowledging that “human activities” have had an impact on the global climate and resolving to create and support “economically viable” mitigation efforts.
The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Elise Stefanik of New York, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, is being submitted in the midst of an unprecedented effort by the most anti-science administration in recent American history to remove climate science studies and data from federal agencies.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that President Donald Trump is about to sign an executive order repealing President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and to order a reconsideration of the government’s use of the “social cost of carbon” metric, which measures potential economic damage related to climate change.
Last week, meanwhile, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administator, Scott Pruitt, suggested that carbon emissions have nothing to do with climate change.
Curbelo, whose Miami-area district is already experiencing dramatic effects of rising sea levels, has been spearheading the effort to gather pro-science members on his side of the aisle since last year, when he coaxed 10 Republicans to join a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which now has 30 members from 13 states, half of whom are Republican.
The resolution being submitted Wednesday states, “That the House of Representatives commits to working constructively, using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism, to create and support economically viable and broadly supported private and public solutions to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates, including mitigation efforts and efforts to balance human activities that have been found to have an impact.”
During a call with reporters Tuesday, Curbelo said there are “many, many more” Republicans in the House who are interested in the issue and “want to learn more, and who are considering joining this effort officially by putting their name on it.” He said his goal is to “move on to solutions that we can all rally around and that we can work on with our Republican and Democratic colleagues.” This would include, he said, pressing the administration to add projects to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as seawalls, in its expected infrastructure plan.
While prospects for a swell of GOP political support seem dim, given the president’s stated position that climate change might be “a Chinese hoax” and his EPA administrator’s open animosity toward the issue, Curbelo said he sees a possible wedge via members of Trump’s inner circle — presumably including his daughter Ivanka, who has reportedly lobbied her father on the issue.
“We know there are people very close to the president who understand this issue,” Curbelo said, without naming anyone. “These are people who have already been a very good influence on items such as the Paris Agreement, and we are looking forward to engaging those individuals so that we can take this conversation to a good place.”
Curbelo called Pruitt’s comments on carbon “disconcerting” and added, “What he said was akin to saying the Earth is flat in the year 2017. We must insist on evidence-based and science-based policies.” He also chastised Pruitt last week in a statement, saying,“Rising carbon emissions have been a contributing factor to climate change for decades. That is a scientific fact and the reality facing communities like my district. The EPA is tasked with the very responsibility of helping to lower the impact of carbon emissions, and for Mr. Pruitt to assert otherwise without scientific evidence is reckless and unacceptable.”
One of the resolution’s signatories is Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who represents a section of his state known as the Low Country. Sanford, who grew up on a farm in the area, says he has seen firsthand the effects of rising sea levels, in acreage lost to salt water.
“The Low Country makes Miami Beach look like high ground,” Sanford said. “I just think there is inherent danger in the three-monkey routine — see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil — related to climate change. To deny its existence is to deny what our country was founded on. The Founding Fathers designed a reason-based political system, and without reason the system doesn’t work.”
Curbelo’s climate caucus co-chairman, Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, released a statement Wednesday morning welcoming the GOP effort. “Americans don’t see climate change as a partisan issue, and neither should Congress,” he said. “As the Democratic co-chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, I applaud my Republican colleagues for introducing this important resolution on climate change. We’re going to need lawmakers from both sides of the aisle working together, engaging in robust debate, following the science and finding bipartisan legislative responses to the growing threats of climate change.”
Polls have shown that a majority of Americans are concerned about climate change, and those fears among constituents, plus the fact that Republicans now control all branches of government and are thus a last line of defense, might be prompting more Republicans to reject the administration’s anti-science position. “The polling is very clear,” Curbelo said. “A clear majority understand this is a challenge we are facing, and among younger voters the numbers are staggering. Over 80 percent of millennials consider this a major issue. The House is the most representative institution in our government. This issue was regrettably politicized 20 years or so ago, and we are trying to take some of the politics out and reducing the noise.”
Others who signed the resolution are Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), John Faso (R-N.Y.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Mia Love (R-Utah), Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla).
(LONDON) — Britain lurched closer to leaving the European Union Monday when Parliament stopped resisting and gave Prime Minister Theresa May the power to file for divorce from the bloc. But in a blow to May’s government, the prospect of Scotland’s exit from the United Kingdom suddenly appeared nearer, too. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for a referendum on independence within two years to stop Scotland being dragged out of the E.U. against its will. In an announcement that took many London politicians by surprise, Sturgeon vowed that Scotland would not be “taken down a path that we do not want to go down without a choice.” Sturgeon spoke in Edinburgh hours before the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed its final hurdle in Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords. The House of Commons approved the bill weeks ago, but the 800-strong Lords fought to amend it, inserting a promise that E.U. citizens living in the U.K. will be allowed to remain after Britain pulls out of the bloc. They also added a demand that Parliament get a “meaningful” vote on the final deal between Britain and the remaining 27 E.U. nations. Both amendments were rejected Monday by the Commons, where May’s Conservatives have a majority. A handful of pro-E.U. Conservatives expressed their unhappiness, then abstained from the vote. The bill returned to the Lords, in a process known as parliamentary ping pong. Faced with the decision of the elected Commons, the Lords backed down and approved it without amendments. Labour peer Dianne Hayter, who proposed the amendment on E.U. citizens, said the Lords had done their best, but “our view has been rejected in the elected House of Commons, and it is clear the government is not for turning.” Once the bill receives royal assent — a formality that should be accomplished within hours — May will be free to invoke Article 50 of the E.U.’s key treaty, triggering two years of exit negotiations, by her self-imposed deadline of March 31. May was forced to seek Parliament’s approval for the move after a Supreme Court ruling in January torpedoed her attempt to start the process of leaving the bloc without a parliamentary vote. The House of Commons and House of Lords battled over the bill’s contents, with the status of E.U. nationals in Britain — and Britons in fellow E.U. member countries — drawing especially emotional debate. Both British and E.U. officials have said such residents should be guaranteed the right to stay where they are, but the two sides have so far failed to provide a concrete guarantee, leaving millions of people in limbo. Scottish National Party lawmaker Joanna Cherry told the House of Commons that one constituent, a Lithuanian, had told her “the uncertainty caused by this government and this Parliament is making her feel worse about her personal situation in Britain than she did in Lithuania under the Soviets.” Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers the government had a “moral responsibility” to the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain and the 1 million Britons in other member states, and intends to guarantee their rights as soon as possible after exit talks start. “That is why we must pass this straightforward bill without further delay, so the prime minister can get to work on the negotiations and we can secure a quick deal that secures the status of both European Union citizens in the U.K. and also U.K. nationals living in the E.U.,” he said. Pro-EU lawmakers accused the government and Brexit-backing lawmakers of running roughshod over the concerns of the 48% of Britons who voted to stay in the E.U. Conservative legislator Dominic Grieve called the government’s opposition of handing Parliament a final vote on Brexit “deranged,” and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas said lawmakers should not just hand ministers a blank check. “We were not elected to be lemmings,” Lucas said. Euroskeptics accused pro-E.U. legislators of trying to frustrate the will of voters who passed a June referendum to leave the EU. “The simple truth is this — deal or no deal, vote or no vote, positive vote or negative vote, this process is irreversible,” Conservative legislator Edward Leigh said. “We’re leaving the E.U., and that’s what the people want.” May is now free to trigger Article 50 as early as Tuesday, but the government signaled the move would come much closer to the March 31 deadline. May spokesman James Slack repeated the government’s position that it would happen by the end of March. “I’ve said ‘end’ many times, but it would seem I didn’t put it in capital letters strongly enough,” he said. The government’s satisfaction at victory in Parliament was tempered by the prospect of an independence vote that threatens the 300-year old political union between England and Scotland. Sturgeon said she would seek to hold a referendum between the fall of 2018 and the spring of 2019 so Scottish voters could make an “informed choice” about their future. While Britons overall voted to leave the E.U., Scottish voters backed remaining by 62 to 38%, and Sturgeon said they should not be forced to follow the rest of the U.K. into a “hard Brexit” outside the E.U. single market. In a 2014 referendum, Scottish voters rejected independence by a margin of 55% to 45%. But Sturgeon said the U.K.’s decision to leave the E.U. had brought about a “material change of circumstances.” May — whose government would have to approve a legally binding referendum — accused Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party of political “tunnel vision” and called her announcement “deeply regrettable.” […]
The rest is here: A Thundering Drumbeat Like No Other
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