What the House GOP energy bill passage means
The House passed a major Republican priority on Thursday, with four Democrats joining almost all Republicans in advancing the GOP’s energy package.
While the bill doesn’t stand to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, “it serves as a starting point for Republicans as they seek to negotiate with Democrats on finding a way to speed up the approval process for energy projects,” The Hill’s Rachel Frazin and Mychael Schnell report.
A number of Democrats have trashed the bill, dubbed the Lower Energy Costs Act, as it passed the House in a 225-204 vote Thursday.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, called it “performative permitting reform” and declared it “is not a bipartisan solution, not even a starting point for one.”
Along with speeding up the approval process, the bill contains provisions to increase fossil fuel production, repeal climate-related programs that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act, and more.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who sponsored the bill, said it’s focused on helping families “who’ve been saying for the last two years, is anybody in Washington looking out for the families who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, who cannot make ends meet, who are sick and tired of runaway inflation and higher costs?”
“And the answer is yes, House Republicans are here with an answer to this problem,” Scalise said.
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A bill in the North Carolina Senate would ban participation trophies in youth sports “or other youth recreation activities operated under the authority of a local government[.]”
The White House is releasing state-specific fact sheets detailing how it says budget cuts some Republicans are proposing would affect public safety, public health and more.
Janet Yellen said at a National Association for Business Economics meeting that, upon taking office, she and President Biden “inherited a financial stability apparatus at Treasury that had been decimated.”
Judge strikes down ACA free preventive services
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurers and employers cover preventive services for free.
“It immediately jeopardizes access to treatment for the approximately 100 million Americans who use free preventive services annually,” The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel wrote, “and it leaves the door open for insurers to impose deductibles and copays for potentially life-saving screening tests.”
Reed ruled that the U.S Preventive Services Task Force, which makes binding recommendations about which preventive services are covered, is unconstitutional because the members aren’t appointed by the president or confirmed by the Senate.
More from Nathaniel: “It is likely that the Biden administration will appeal, but if the conservative judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals uphold the order, ObamaCare could once again go to the Supreme Court.” Read more here.
US journalist detained in Russia
The White House warned Americans against traveling to Russia again after the Russian Federal Security Service detained a Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges. Russian authorities allege Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was trying to access classified information. The newspaper denied the charges.
“I want to strongly reiterate that Americans should heed the U.S. government’s warning to not travel to Russia,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday. “U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately, as the State Department continues to advise.”
A State Department advisory issued in February urges U.S. citizens living or traveling in Russia to depart immediately and exercise caution amid the risk of wrongful detentions.
White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby said the administration is “doing everything we can right now to learn more about Evan’s detention, we’re doing everything we can to try to gain consular access to him.”
The Journal reported this was the first Russian detention of an American journalist on spying allegations since the Cold War.
Read more on the story here.
Transgender Bill of Rights reintroduced
Ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced the Transgender Bill of Rights into Congress. The resolution has 103 co-sponsors.
Among its provisions are expanding the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on gender identity or sex characteristics, ensuring transgender youth can play sports on teams consistent with their gender identity, codifying a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity and expanding access to gender-affirming health care.
From The Hill’s Brooke Migdon: “Eleven states have passed laws that bar minors from accessing gender-affirming care, impacting an estimated 77,900 transgender young people, according to the Williams Institute.” Read more here.
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Dem, GOP operatives weigh in on classic election question
“Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Here’s how Democratic and Republican operatives think Americans will answer that question in 2024.
The conflict over Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’
The Hill’s Zack Budryk digs into the conflict surrounding “Cop City,” a proposed police training facility in Atlanta that has “drawn a broad, overlapping coalition of opponents on the left, from anarchists to anti-police brutality activists to environmentalists opposed to the deforestation.”
Counties in South, West see largest population growth in 2022
Nine of the 10 counties with the largest population growth last year were in Texas and Florida, with Maricopa County, Ariz., seeing the largest growth of all. From The Hill’s Gianna Melillo: “The United States’s most populous counties are increasingly located in the South and West, Census figures show, a trend that reflects long standing regional population shifts, according to the Bureau.” Read more on the latest data here.
“Restoring American energy independence” — Reps. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and August Pfluger (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy Action Team. (Read here)
“The US and Russia must join the treaty to ban nuclear weapons — for the children” — Ivana Nikolić Hughes, Ph.D., president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, senior lecturer in chemistry at Columbia University and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. (Read here)
586 days until the presidential election.
Congress‘s two-week recess begins.
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