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Politics Live updates: Biden to focus on climate change, environmental justice; Senate examines more Cabinet nominees

14:45  27 january  2021
14:45  27 january  2021 Source:   washingtonpost.com

How to watch Biden's Cabinet confirmation hearings Tuesday

  How to watch Biden's Cabinet confirmation hearings Tuesday Five of President-elect Joe Biden's national security Cabinet nominees will face Senate panels on Tuesday in the first step of the confirmation process. © AFP & Getty Images Left to right: Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas, Avril Haines, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken The day before Biden takes office, his nominees for secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, director of national intelligence, defense secretary and secretary of Homeland Security will appear before Senate committees to be considered for their respective roles.

President Biden is seeking Wednesday to focus on climate change and environmental justice, with plans to direct federal agencies to invest in low-income and minority communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of pollution. He also plans to impose a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Biden speaks about American manufacturing before signing an executive order in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on Monday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden speaks about American manufacturing before signing an executive order in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on Monday.

A week into his presidency, the Senate continues to consider Biden’s Cabinet nominees, with three hearings scheduled Wednesday and a committee vote on his pick for transportation secretary.

The Energy 202: Biden's climate push will require support from this coal state senator

  The Energy 202: Biden's climate push will require support from this coal state senator Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) will be a crucial 50th vote and chair of the energy committee. The fate of President Biden's ambitious climate agenda rests in the hands of the last Democrat left standing in West Virginia.

Here’s what to know:

  • The Biden administration said it was on the cusp of securing an additional 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States.
  • The Senate could vote as soon as next week on a budget bill setting the stage for party-line passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan.
  • All but five Republican senators backed former president Donald Trump in a key test vote ahead of his impeachment trial, signaling that the proceedings are likely to end with Trump’s acquittal on the charge that he incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • Biden laid out a bill of complaint against Russian President Vladimir Putin, airing allegations of human rights abuses, cyberspying and more while making a hard pivot away from the deference Trump often displayed toward Russia.
  • A federal judge in Texas blocked Biden’s 100-day deportation “pause” in a ruling that may point to a new phase of conservative legal challenges to his administration’s immigration agenda.

7:22 AM: White House to coordinate first of ongoing series of coronavirus briefings

Biden’s climate change plan is all about jobs and justice

  Biden’s climate change plan is all about jobs and justice States have been using this message for the past 20 years. Although today’s agenda emphasizes a return to science-based climate change policy, the larger Biden climate plan represents an important trend in climate change politics: going beyond science to focus on questions of economic and social justice. Here’s what you need to know.

Anthony S. Fauci wearing a suit and tie: Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a briefing at the White House on Thursday.

As part of a pledge to be more transparent about its efforts to combat the pandemic, the White House on Wednesday is coordinating the first in what it pledges will be an ongoing series of public briefings.

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease official and chief medical adviser to Biden, and other members of the White House Covid-19 Response Team are scheduled to appear virtually in the late-morning briefing.

The White House said the event is part of its commitment to “regular information sharing around pandemic response efforts and coronavirus developments.”

Others advertised to be part of the briefing include: Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force; Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House Covid-19 Response Team; Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Jeff Zients, White House covid-19 response coordinator.

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden signs series of orders to tackle climate change | Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing

  OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden signs series of orders to tackle climate change | Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.Signup for our newsletter and others HERE. IT'S CLIMATE DAY.The orders President Biden will sign three executive actions on Wednesday aimed at addressing the climate crisis, kicking off the process of meeting U.S. obligations under the Paris agreement while directing the government to purchase electric vehicles and pause new oil and gas leases on public lands.

By: John Wagner

6:46 AM: Senate committees to vote on Buttigieg nomination, hold hearings on other Cabinet picks

Peter Buttigieg wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee for transportation secretary, removes his face mask to speak during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday. © Ken Cedeno/AP Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee for transportation secretary, removes his face mask to speak during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday.

A week into Biden’s presidency, the confirmation process for his Cabinet continues to grind ahead in the Senate, with three hearings scheduled Wednesday and a committee vote on the nomination of former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary.

‘It’s time to act’: Biden freezes new oil and gas leases, scraps fossil fuel subsidies as part of historic climate change action

  ‘It’s time to act’: Biden freezes new oil and gas leases, scraps fossil fuel subsidies as part of historic climate change action Biden's executive orders are likely to draw intense backlash from Republicans and fossil fuel industries, who say Biden’s push for fighting climate change will cause tens of thousands of workers to lose their jobs.President Biden took executive action Wednesday to drastically cut back fossil fuel production as part of the most aggressive effort to combat climate change in American history, with a particular focus on transitioning to renewable energy sources and ensuring environmental justice for minority and low-income communities.

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to a vote Wednesday morning on the nomination of Buttigieg, a former Democratic rival of Biden’s for the White House who pledged to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure in his hearing last week.

Meanwhile, committee hearings are scheduled Wednesday for former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary; veteran Foreign Service officer Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. ambassador; and Denis McDonough, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, as veterans affairs secretary.

How Biden is reversing Trump's environmental actions

  How Biden is reversing Trump's environmental actions President Joe Biden was clear on the campaign trail that he would roll back several of actions taken by the Trump administration. Throughout his presidency, Trump reversed several American commitments to mitigating climate change that were made during the Obama administration -- most notably pulling out of the Paris Agreement, removing clean water protections and seeking to fast-track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects, such as drilling, fuel pipelines and wind farms.

Also Wednesday, Vice President Harris plans to hold a ceremonial swearing-in for Antony Blinken, who was confirmed as secretary of state by the full Senate on Tuesday.

By: John Wagner

6:43 AM: Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan

a person sitting on a chair: President Biden signs an executive order in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex on Monday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden signs an executive order in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex on Monday.

Biden on Wednesday plans to make tackling America’s persistent racial and economic disparities a central part of his plan to combat climate change, prioritizing environmental justice for the first time in a generation.

As part of an unprecedented push to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and create new jobs as the United States shifts toward cleaner energy, Biden will direct agencies across the federal government to invest in low-income and minority communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of pollution, according to two individuals briefed on the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it had not been formally announced.

Biden will sign an executive order establishing a White House interagency council on environmental justice, create an office of health and climate equity at the Health and Human Services Department and form a separate environmental justice office at the Justice Department, the individuals said.

Biden needs to undo Trump’s most disastrous climate decisions — fast

  Biden needs to undo Trump’s most disastrous climate decisions — fast Here’s how he can start with three of the worst ones.In an avalanche of executive actions over the past two weeks, Biden took aim at Trump’s anti-environmental legacy, kicking off the process of repealing and replacing regulations to pursue his ambitious climate goals.

Read the full story

By: Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Darryl Fears

6:34 AM: Analysis: Biden’s uphill battle to save the Iran nuclear deal

There’s probably no country in the world outside the United States that was more affected by the November election than Iran. Biden’s victory and entry into the White House was expected to mark a major shift in U.S. strategy toward the regime in Tehran. After weathering the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign and rounds of asphyxiating sanctions, Iranian officials hoped for a change in the geopolitical winds and some economic relief.

Biden and his allies say they want to undo the diplomatic harm caused by Trump’s unilateral reimposition of sanctions on Iran, which happened over the objections of European partners. Along with rejoining the Paris climate accords, salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Trump abrogated would demonstrate the Biden administration’s commitment to multilateral diplomacy with long-standing allies.

The Biden camp also believes that Trump’s hard-line tactics failed to achieve their stated goal of curbing Iran’s malign activities abroad and drove it to amass a larger stockpile of enriched uranium than before Trump took office.

Read the full story

By: Ishaan Tharoor

6:28 AM: Fact Checker: Biden’s jab that foreign company contracts went up 30% under Trump

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Biden speaks about American manufacturing before signing an executive order in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on Monday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden speaks about American manufacturing before signing an executive order in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on Monday.

“Under the previous administration, the federal government contracts awarded directly to foreign companies went up 30 percent. That is going to change on our watch.”

Environmental justice fails both the environment and justice

  Environmental justice fails both the environment and justice Policies designed to confront both issues often end up solving neither. Here's one example. Environmental justice groups oppose taxing pollution, because poorer people or minorities would end up paying disproportionately. So, instead of policies like gas taxes, American environmental policy involves costlier regulations, such as fuel economy standards. By some estimates, for the same cost to drivers and carmakers, gas taxes could have cleaned up six times as much pollution.How much justice did we get for that environmental cost? Less than nothing.

— President Biden, remarks during the signing of an executive order on U.S. manufacturing, Jan. 25, 2021

We were immediately struck by these comments during a “Made in America” ceremony to announce new rules to prod federal agencies to buy more U.S.-manufactured goods. After all, President Donald Trump frequently boasted about his “Buy American” efforts. And yet here was a figure we had never heard of before — which suggested that Trump’s administration had fallen down on the job.

Except every number needs context. This one lacks it.

Read the full story

By: Glenn Kessler

6:25 AM: S.C. lawyer says he doesn’t hesitate to represent Trump: ‘It’s what I do’

a man wearing a suit and tie: Butch Bowers speaks during a 2009 news conference at the State House in Columbia, S.C. © Mary Ann Chastain/AP Butch Bowers speaks during a 2009 news conference at the State House in Columbia, S.C.

As Karl S. “Butch” Bowers Jr. works from his one-lawyer office in Columbia, S.C., preparing to defend Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, he thinks back to the day in 1983 when his father called him before heading to federal prison.

Ever since his father served time for defrauding the government, Bowers said, he has felt that the conviction was politically motivated and unfair, and he has spent much of his career defending political figures, including two South Carolina governors, against various allegations of wrongdoing.

So he said he did not hesitate to defend Trump, a job that lawyers at big, high-profile law firms apparently did not want.

“It’s who I am. It’s what I do. It’s all about the rule of law in the Constitution,” Bowers told The Washington Post in his first interview since Trump picked him.

Read the full story

By: Michael Kranish

6:23 AM: U.S. prosecutors eye 400 potential suspects, expect sedition charges ‘very soon’ in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Trump supporters use their cellphones to record events as they gather outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. © Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Trump supporters use their cellphones to record events as they gather outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

U.S. authorities have opened case files on at least 400 potential suspects and expect to bring sedition charges against some “very soon” in the sprawling investigation of the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, officials said.

Michael R. Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Tuesday at a news conference that while new arrests in the nationwide manhunt will soon “plateau” after an initial wave of 135 arrests and 150 federal criminally charged cases, investigations continue into whether different “militia groups [and] individuals” from several states conspired and coordinated the illegal assault on Congress beforehand.

In charging papers, prosecutors have already identified a dozen members or affiliates of militant right-wing groups, including the nativist Proud Boys and the anti-government Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, the latter two of which recruit heavily among former military and law enforcement personnel.

Read the full story

By: Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner and Devlin Barrett

Environmental justice fails both the environment and justice .
Policies designed to confront both issues often end up solving neither. Here's one example. Environmental justice groups oppose taxing pollution, because poorer people or minorities would end up paying disproportionately. So, instead of policies like gas taxes, American environmental policy involves costlier regulations, such as fuel economy standards. By some estimates, for the same cost to drivers and carmakers, gas taxes could have cleaned up six times as much pollution.How much justice did we get for that environmental cost? Less than nothing.

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