Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trump, Sanders Sweep to Victory in New Hampshire Primaries: NBC News

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders will win the New Hampshire primaries, NBC News projects, outcomes that are certain to send further shockwaves through the anxious political establishments of both parties.

Since he began to dominate the race after his entry last summer, Trump has bewildered party regulars with his bombastic style and his appeal to GOP voters disaffected with more traditional candidates. His win Tuesday, following a second-place finish in Iowa last week, seals Trump's position as a legitimate candidate for the Republican nomination and all but ensures a more prolonged primary fight as the GOP candidates turn their attention to the South Carolina primary in less than two weeks.

Politics in Action: H.R. 3442 & H.R. 3293

 H.R. 3442 – Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015
(Rep. Marchant, R-TX, and 35 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3442, the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015, which would impose needless, redundant burdens on the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the event that the Congress allows the Nation to come close to reaching the statutory debt limit.

The Administration already provides the information requested in H.R. 3442 in the form of the President's Budget, the Mid-Session Review, the Daily Treasury Statement, the Monthly Treasury Statement, the Monthly Statement of Public Debt, the Schedule of Federal Debt, and the Financial Report of the United States Government.  All of these reports are publicly available on the Internet.  In addition, Administration officials regularly make themselves available to testify before the Congress on the President's fiscal proposals and, in recent years, the Treasury Secretary has also gone before the Congress to urge it to fulfill its responsibility to raise the debt limit and underscore the potentially catastrophic consequences of failing to do so.  H.R. 3442 would provide no additional information for the Congress as it exercises its responsibility to raise the debt limit when necessary to avoid defaulting on the Nation's obligations.  The bill's reporting requirements are duplicative and redundant. 

The Congress's decisions on spending and revenue policies (subject to the presidential veto) ultimately determine the level of debt and when the debt limit is reached.  It is the Congress's responsibility to raise the debt limit when needed to enable Treasury to meet obligations already incurred pursuant to legislation enacted by the Congress.  As the Administration has emphasized, the Congress should exercise that responsibility judiciously to avoid putting the Nation's creditworthiness at risk and endangering the economy.

If the President were presented with H.R. 3442, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

H.R. 3293 – Scientific Research in the National Interest Act
(Rep. Smith, R-TX, and 22 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3293, the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act. 

The scientific‑peer‑based, merit‑review process that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has in place is widely regarded as the "gold standard" for funding scientific research.  In the interest of transparency and accountability, moreover, the NSF publishes online the abstracts of every one of the more than 10,000 research grants it makes every year. 

Contrary to its stated purpose, H.R. 3293 would add nothing to accountability in Federal funding for scientific research, while needlessly adding to bureaucratic burdens and overhead at the NSF.  And, far from promoting the progress of science in the United States, it would replace the clarity of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 with confusing language that could cast a shadow over the value of basic research which, by its nature, will have outcomes with contributions to national interests other than the progress of science which cannot be predicted in advance. 

If the President were presented with H.R. 3293, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill

Source: The Executive Office of the President, Office off Management and Budget

Supreme Court Blocks Obama's Carbon Emissions Plan

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama by blocking federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the centerpiece of his administration's strategy to combat climate change.

In a highly unusual move, the court voted 5-4 along ideological lines to grant a request made by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the administration's Clean Power Plan. The move means the regulations will not be in effect while litigation continues over whether their legality.

The plan was designed to lower carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels. It is the main tool for the United States to meet the emissions reduction target it pledged at U.N. climate talks in Paris in December. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post 

Note: From The G-Man received the following statement from the WH Press Secretary at 8:51 p.m.

We disagree with the Supreme Court's decision to stay the Clean Power Plan while litigation proceeds.  The Clean Power Plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives States the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change. We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits. Even while the litigation proceeds, EPA has indicated it will work with states that choose to continue plan development and will prepare the tools those states will need.  At the same time, the Administration will continue to take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions. 

President Obama Remarks on the Budget and National Security

President Obama spoke to reporters before a meeting with his national security team. Topics include his newly released federal budget for fiscal year 2017 and cybersecurity. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Oval Office Chat: Shinzo Abe & Park Geun-Hye

The President spoke by phone with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan last night to discuss North Korea's recent launch using ballistic missile technology. The two leaders condemned the launch, and they agreed that it represents yet another destabilizing and provocative action by North Korea in flagrant violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. The President assured Prime Minister Abe that the United States' commitment to the security of Japan is ironclad and that we will take any steps necessary to defend our allies. ‎The two leaders underscored the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea's provocations, including through a robust UN Security Council Resolution.  

The President also spoke by phone with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea last night to discuss North Korea's recent launch using ballistic missile technology. The two leaders condemned the launch, and they agreed that it represents yet another destabilizing and provocative action by North Korea in flagrant violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. The President assured President Park that the United States stands in solidarity with the ROK and will take the necessary steps to fulfill our ironclad commitment to defend the ROK and our other allies in the region.  The two leaders underscored the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea's provocations, including through a robust UN Security Council Resolution. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

White House Briefing: Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Proposal


House Budget Director Shaun Donovan and other senior administration officials briefed reporters and answered questions about the fiscal year 2017 budget proposal. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

James Clapper Testimony on Global Threats

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, providing an annual assessment of top global threats. He said homegrown attacks by ISIS* pose the most significant threat to Americans at home and the terrorist group would continue plotting against U.S. interests overseas. Director Clapper said North Korea had expanded its Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor that could start recovering spent fuel in weeks or months. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart also provided testimony. 
* The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Senator John McCain on Donald Trump Remarks on Waterboarding

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) takes to the Senate floor to condemn comments made on the campaign trail by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in support of waterboarding, saying it "is not in the best interests of justice nor our security." 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Elected Officials to Celebrate the 4th “African American Abrazo in New York”

Bronx, NY - Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, in conjunction with  New York State Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda and Michael Blake, will celebrate the 4th Annual “African American Abrazo in New York.” 

The event will honor the contributions of the African-Americans to the State and City of New York.  

The event, which is by “invitation only will be attended by more than 500 people, will take place at Maestro’s Caterers located at 1703 Bronxdale Avenue, Bronx, New York, Friday, February 19,  from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

The elected officials organizing the event, will  be presenting  proclamations to (4) distinguished members of the African-American community.

For more information and tickets, contact  the office of  Assemblymen Michael Blake 718-538-3829, Marcos Crespo 718-893-0202, Luis Sepulveda 718-931-2620 or Senator Ruben Diaz at (718) 991-3161.

Source: The Office of State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

Bernie Sanders Loves This $1 Trillion War Machine

 Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

By Tim Mak

The socialist trumpets his antiwar record. But he doesn’t mind expensive war machines—if they’re based in his home state.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Sen. Bernie Sanders has railed against big defense corporations at rallies, but he has a more complex history with the military-industrial complex. Most notably, he’s supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that’s considered by many to be one of the bigger boondoggles in Pentagon history.

Sanders has made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness a cornerstone of his campaign. But he hasn’t exactly been anti-war all his career. When it has come time to choose between defense jobs and a dovish defense policy, Sanders has consistently chosen to stand with the arms-makers rather than the peaceniks—leading to tension with some of the most adamant adherents of progressive ideology.

In 1985, for example, protesters massed at the General Electric plant in Burlington, Vermont, where Sanders was serving as mayor. They were protesting the fact that the plant was manufacturing Gatling guns to fight socialists in Central America.

Jim Condon, now a Democratic state legislator in Vermont, was news director of a local radio station at the time and describes himself as an “old acquaintance” of the senator.

“There were protesters who were unhappy that General Electric was manufacturing Gatling guns at the plant, and so they would lock themselves to the gates and engage in civil disobedience. And so the mayor, Bernie, finally got cops to go in and arrest the protesters,” Condon told The Daily Beast. “The GE plant was one of the largest providers of jobs in the city. So it was economically important that the plant stay open and people who worked there went to work.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

Trailblazers in Black History: Alice Walker

Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, African-American novelist and poet most famous for authoring The Color Purple. 

Click here for more information on Ms. Walker's legacy and life.

Source: Biography.com

Today in History: February 9th

New Hampshire Primary: Full Coverage and Live Updates

Tuesday is the country's first primary — and New Hampshire will be a critical factor in the race to the White House. 

The basics 

When do they vote? Most polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. The last polls close at 8 p.m. 

Who can vote? All eligible voters can participate in the New Hampshire primary. Undeclared voters are required to choose a Republican or a Democratic ballot when they go to the polls. New Hampshire also allows same-day voter registration. 

Delegates up for grabs: 23 Republican delegates, awarded proportionally; 24 Democratic delegates, plus 8 super-delegates. 

The polls: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump held comfortable leads in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polling. 

Full coverage: Follow our live blog below for all the latest news and analysis. Full coverage can be found at Decision 2016. 

Source: NBC News

Maryland Restores Voting Rights for Over 40,000 Felons

More than 40,000 Marylanders will have their right to vote restored after the state Senate voted Tuesday for a bill that re-enfranchises felons.

Lawmakers originally passed the bill last year, but it was vetoed in May by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Last month, the House voted to override Hogan's veto. With Tuesday's vote, which was 29-18, the Senate did likewise. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats.

The bill will allow felons to vote upon getting out of prison, rather than having to wait until they've completed parole and probation. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Michigan Board Approves Petition to Recall Gov. Rick Snyder

A Michigan state board has approved circulation of a petition to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder — but not over the water crisis in Flint.

The Board of State Canvassers, part of the secretary of state's office, rejected nine other recall petitions, six of them based on Snyder's widely criticized handling of lead from corroded pipes that began leaching into Flint homes following a cost-saving move to pump water from the Flint River.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Hawaii's Big Island Declares Emergency Over Dengue

The mayor of Hawaii's Big Island has declared a state of emergency to deal with an outbreak of dengue fever, spread by infected mosquitoes, with 250 cases confirmed over the past four months.

As a result of Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi's order people on the Big Island will be allowed to resume disposing of old tires in landfills, since tires left lying around are a known breeding spot for mosquitoes.

There have been 250 confirmed cases of dengue on the island since Oct. 29, making it the largest outbreak in the state since the 1940s, according to the mayor's declaration and Hawaii health officials. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News