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Today's Top News Compilation - Saturday, Jan 4th, 2020

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Below are the top political news stories of the day: ¯\_(?)_/¯

Today's Top News Compilation - Friday, Jan 3rd, 2020

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Latest Political News Feed

These are the hardest states to vote in

  • News source: Shirin Ali
  • Replies: 0
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Story at a glance


  • Election Law Journal published a new iteration of its Cost of Voting Index ahead of the 2022 election cycle.

  • Since 2020, researchers found 19 states had passed at least 33 new laws that made voting more difficult.

  • New Hampshire, Mississippi and Arkansas were deemed the three states most difficult to vote in.


Midterm elections are rapidly approaching and in some parts of the country casting a ballot has become more difficult, as an increasing number of states implemented restrictive voting laws since the 2020 election cycle.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, former President Trump prompted concerns about voter fraud and many states reacted by imposing restrictions that have resulted in making voting more difficult, while also pulling back on voting policies implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new restrictions run the gamut, with the Election Law Journal finding that within one year, 19 states have passed at least 33 new laws that made voting more difficult through restrictions on same-day voter registration, requiring a full Social Security number and mandating additional documentation in order to register to vote beyond what’s federally required.

Michael Pomante, co-author of Election Law Journal’s
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What is the Joe Manchin permitting reform fight about?

  • News source: TheHill - Most Popular
  • Replies: 0
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The last several weeks of news in Congress has been dominated by a fight over Sen. Joe Manchin’s push for permitting reforms — which took a severe blow Tuesday when the West Virginia Democrat acknowledged his proposal lacked the support to get through the Senate.

Manchin’s request that his permitting reform proposal be removed from a must-pass government-spending measure leaves a long-standing issue on the approval process for energy and infrastructure projects with an unclear future.

Powerful people — President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — had promised to make Manchin’s proposal law after he backed the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act last month, giving a huge victory to the White House that has elevated Democratic midterm prospects.

Yet the proposal itself ran into deep opposition from progressives who believe Manchin’s measure would have contributed to climate change and pollution.

In the end, however, it was really Republicans in the Senate who doomed it. The GOP senators have long griped about the length that environmental reviews in the permitting process, but they argued Manchin’s measure didn’t go far enough.

They also felt burned by the passage of the summer legislative package, which passed under an arcane budgetary process that prevented a GOP filibuster. Its passage was made possible by Manchin, who represents an otherwise deep-red state, and many in the GOP wanted revenge.

It was an unusual storyline in Washington. Republicans angered by a centrist Democrat providing a political gift to House progressives, who would have faced a tough decision if Manchin’s bill had cleared the Senate on a must-pass measure to prevent a government shutdown.

Permitting reform has long been an issue the GOP has wanted to do work on.

The Trump administration estimated that it can take an average of 4.5 years for an environmental review to wrap up, something that Manchin and many Republicans have said is much too long.

They say that this prevents the country from having sufficient energy infrastructure. Manchin proposed a series of “reforms” aimed at shortening that process.

Manchin and his backers argue that the energy approval needs to be changed so that the country can more speedily build pipelines, wind turbines, solar farms, natural gas export terminals, nuclear plants, electricity transmission lines and more.

Permitting reform is controversial as many environmentalists see long reviews as ensuring
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College tuition: high and made-up

  • News source: TheHill - Most Popular
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 0
When private, not-for-profit colleges increase tuition, the government never asks them to explain their numbers. The truth is most can’t. A tuition increase is a strategic decision reflecting what colleges believe the government and parents will accept, and what other colleges will do. State college tuition is a negotiated number between the colleges and state authorities. Any cuts in state aid usually end up as higher tuition for students. In few cases, tuition decisions are based solely or even largely on the real cost changes a college faces in any given year.

Most
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Biden asks if lawmaker killed in August accident is in attendance at White House event

  • News source: Brett Samuels
  • Replies: 0
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President Biden on Wednesday asked if Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who was killed in a car accident last month, was in attendance at a White House hunger conference.

Biden was delivering a speech at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health when he recognized the lawmakers who helped make the event a reality.

"I want to thank all of you here, including bipartisan elected officials like Rep. [Jim] McGovern (D-Mass.), Sen. [Mike] Braun (R-Ind.), Sen. Cory [Booker] (D-N.J.), Rep. ... Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie?,” Biden said, referring to Walorski.

Shortly after Biden spoke, White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice moderated a panel at the conference and acknowledged Walorski’s death.

Walorski was killed in an Aug. 3 accident.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

During her time in Congress, Walorski made combating hunger and malnutrition a key part of her work. She co-chaired the House Hunger Caucus with McGovern, and she co-sponsored legislation with McGovern, Booker and Braun to convene the White House conference that took place on Wednesday. Such an event had not been held at that level in decades.

Walorski died in August in a car crash. She had served in Congress since 2013.

Biden issued a statement at the time of Walorski’s death mourning her loss and expressing condolences to her family. The White House also lowered flags to half staff to commemorate her death.

Biden’s verbal slip provided instant fodder for many conservatives who have argued the 79-year-old has lost a step and is not mentally fit for the job.

“I guess Biden forgot he issued this statement unless he didn’t actually issue this statement!?!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, referencing the statement from Biden in the wake of Walorski’s death.

“This man is not mentally fit to serve as President of the United States,” the conservative group Tea Party Patriots tweeted.

Biden has repeatedly pushed back on claims that he is unfit for office, pointing to his busy schedule and his ability to handle the rigors and demands of the job on a daily basis.

“If you think I don't have the energy level or the mental acuity, then, you know, that's one thing. It's another thing, you just watch and, you know, keep my schedule. Do what I'm doing,” Biden said in a recent interview with “60 Minutes.”
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Category 5 hurricanes are rare in the U.S. There have only been 4 in its history

  • News source: Scott Neuman
  • Replies: 0
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Hurricane Ian, now making its way toward landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast, is on the cusp of topping out the scale used by meteorologists to measure hurricane strength. If its winds increase even a little, before it comes ashore, Ian could become only the fifth massively destructive Category 5 storm on record to make landfall in the continental U.S.

The four previous Category 5 storms (maximum sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more as measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale) that hit the U.S. have all made landfall on the Gulf Coast — three in...
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Lame duck spending bill is a Democrat-designed democracy detour

  • News source: Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), opinion contributor
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
If you failed to responsibly spend your employer’s money, what would happen to you? If you’re a member of Congress, probably not much. When it comes to its most fundamental duty of budgeting and funding the federal government, Congress consistently earns an “F” without consequence. Instead, taxpayers — lawmakers’ bosses — have borne the brunt of Congress’s fiscal irresponsibility.

Though Congress has successfully found clever workarounds, measures do exist to promote responsible spending. There’s an important reason the president can request a budget but only Congress is empowered by the Constitution to control the purse strings. Our Founders wanted to afford taxpayers maximum oversight over how their money is spent, so they assigned the power of the purse to the branch they considered closest to the people.

There’s a long-established process for exercising that spending power. Historically, Congress passes 12 appropriations bills each fiscal year allocating taxpayer funds across our federal government. That way, Congress can make annual adjustments based on the country’s evolving needs. But with increasing frequency, Congress is so mismanaged that it runs out of time before the next fiscal year arrives each Oct. 1 to address individual appropriations bills with the scrutiny they deserve. When that happens, Congress often considers omnibus legislation, the combination of several — or even all — of that year’s 12 appropriations bills. These omnibus bills are rarely subject to amendments or meaningful debate on the House or Senate floor. Anyone daring to scrutinize or vote against the last-minute package is tarred with the “pro-government shutdown” brush. And with bills so large (the FY2022 omnibus bill included
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'Catastrophic': Forecasters warn of 18-foot storm surge from Hurricane Ian

  • News source: Zach Schonfeld
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) increased its storm surge forecast in parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, now projecting the surge could reach as high as 18 feet when Hurricane Ian makes landfall in the coming hours.

The NHC upped its peak storm surge forecast two times on Wednesday morning as Ian approached Florida, with the worst surges expected to hit between Englewood and Bonita Beach.

“Catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 18 feet above ground level along with destructive waves are expected somewhere along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor,” NHC said in an 11 a.m. advisory. “Residents in these areas should urgently follow any evacuation orders in effect.”

The NHC as of Tuesday evening had predicted storm surges would peak at between eight and 12 feet.

Florida Gov Ron. DeSantis (R) on Tuesday said officials have issued evacuation orders for more than 2.5 million Floridians, including those in low-lying areas expected to see particularly destructive storm surges.

Ian-9-28-11am-storm-surge.png

Credit: National Hurricane Center

Lesser storm surges could hit much of Florida’s Gulf Coast, reaching as far north as Suwannee and extending as far south as the Florida Keys.

The NHC forecasts Tampa Bay will see peak surges of between four and six feet, a more optimistic outlook for the
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Harris: Recent behavior by China 'disturbing'

  • News source: Julia Shapero
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
Vice President Harris on Wednesday called China’s recent behavior in the East China Sea, South China Sea and Taiwan Strait “disturbing” and accused Beijing of attempting to undermine the “international rules-based order.”

“China has challenged the freedom of the seas,” Harris said aboard the USS Howard at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. “China has flexed its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbors."

Tensions between the U.S. and China have been high since Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a controversial trip to Taiwan last month, the highest-ranking American official to visit the disputed island in decades.

China responded to the visit with a series of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

Harris, however, on Wednesday accused China of using Pelosi’s visit as a “pretext.”

“We anticipate continued aggressive behavior from Beijing as it attempts to unilaterally undermine the status quo,” she said.

President Biden has
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The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Hurricane Ian barrels into Florida nearing Category 5 winds

  • News source: Cate Martel
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2

To end partisan gridlock, start on your own side of the aisle

  • News source: Peter T. Coleman, opinion contributor
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
This summer, I learned how daunting it is to be a tolerant, politically engaged American in these times.

Amidst the turmoil of the Jan. 6 congressional hearings,
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White House hosts first conference on hunger in decades: 'No child should go to bed hungry'

  • News source: Joseph Choi
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
The Biden administration on Wednesday hosted the a conference on hunger, nutrition and health, the first such conference the White House has hosted in more than 50 years.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, President Biden called for the U.S. to build on the measures passed under his administration meant to improve financial security for families, such as the expanded child tax credit and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Biden also proclaimed his aim of ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030.

"This goal's within our reach. Let's look at how far we've come on child poverty. 30 years ago, as was referenced, one in four children lived below the poverty line. Today, one in 20 live below the poverty line. So I know we can tackle hunger as well," said Biden.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the conference will seek to identify nutrition problems within the U.S. and map out immediate recommendations to address these issues. He stated that the food insecurity issues that former President Franklin D. Roosevelt once noted at a nutrition conference in 1941 are still relevant today.

"The first White House conference on food and nutrition more than 50 years ago made significant progress towards reducing food insecurity. Today, USDA runs nutrition assistance programs that serve one in four Americans every year. However, food and nutrition insecurity still remains unacceptably high," Vilsack said.

Biden noted the efforts made during his term so far to improve the economy, such as the more than $1 trillion COVID recovery package, which he said have helped to address food insecurity issues.

"Soon after I came to office, I signed what's called the American Rescue Plan into law. It helped put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of millions of American families. It helped our economy create nearly 10 million new jobs. Most jobs created in that timeframe in American history," Biden said.

"Overwhelmingly, working families use the child tax credit to buy food and other basic needs for their families. And has helped cut child poverty by nearly 50 percent in the United States. 50 percent. And it cut food insecurity for families by 26 percent."

The White House's
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DEA says 36M lethal fentanyl doses seized during enforcement surge

  • News source: Olafimihan Oshin
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced on Tuesday that it has seized more than 36 million lethal doses of fentanyl during an enforcement surge across the U.S.
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Biden calls out for late Rep. Jackie Walorski at White House hunger event

  • News source: Ximena Bustillo
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
President Joe Biden mistakenly called out for the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, the Indiana Republican who died in a car crash in August, while giving opening remarks at a White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health,

Walorski was one of four cosponsors on a bill to fund the conference and had been an advocate for reducing hunger in America.

"Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie," he said looking out into the audience. "She was going to be here."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August, Biden and...
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Wrongful detentions of Americans by foreign powers are fast rising, a new study says

  • News source: Jason Breslow
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
The number of Americans who are wrongfully held by state actors such as China, Iran and Russia has seen a dramatic increase compared to a decade ago, according to a new study that finds a growing list of nations are targeting U.S. nationals to exert political leverage over Washington.

The study, released Wednesday by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, details how a practice once primarily carried out by terrorist organizations and other militant groups has increasingly become a tool of adversarial governments, resulting in the detention of...
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Hurricane Ian sucked water away from Florida's coast as it moved north

  • News source: Bill Chappell
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 2
Hurricane Ian delivered an eerie omen to coastal Florida residents Wednesday morning, as the powerful storm's winds pulled massive amounts of water away from beaches and shorelines, exposing the seabed that's normally covered by feet of ocean water.

Spectators and photographers gaped at the suddenly remade coastlines — but the water is expected to return with a vengeance: The latest storm surge estimates predict up to 12-18 feet of water above ground level hitting an area from Englewood south to Bonita Beach, the National Hurricane Center said...
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