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Green New Deal Generates Enthusiasm

Despite few details and much doubt, the Green New Deal generates enthusiasm. NPR: "For a non-binding resolution with an uncertain future, the Green New Deal is getting a lot of attention, along with a decidedly mixed reaction. Dozens of Democrats Thursday introduced the measure, an ambitious framework for future legislation designed to eliminate the U.S. carbon footprint by 2030. "Our energy future will not be found in the dark of a mine but in the light of the sun," said Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA as he announced the legislation on Capitol Hill. The resolution has few details, but aims to overhaul the U.S. economy and spread wealth more evenly. It calls for a speedy shift in energy generation, from fossil fuels to renewable sources like wind and solar, and for "a fair and just transition for all communities and workers." Much of the early criticism revolves around the scope of the plan, which backers say is big to match the challenge of the climate change problem. "All great American programs, everything from The Great Society to The New Deal, started with a vision for our future," said co-sponsor, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY."

SCOTUS Protects Roe v. Wade For Now

Brett Kavanaugh just declared war on Roe v. Wade. Slate: "On Thursday night, the Supreme Court blocked a stringent Louisiana abortion law by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals to keep the measure on hold. Roberts’ vote is surprising, but not a total shock: The Louisiana statute is a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and until the court overturns that decision, the Louisiana law cannot take effect. To Roberts, this precedent matters. To Justice Brett Kavanaugh, it does not. Kavanaugh so disagreed with the majority that he wrote a dissent explaining why the Louisiana law should be allowed to move forward—an opinion that should not be taken as anything less than a declaration of war on Roe v. Wade."

GOP Wants To Block UT Medicaid Expansion

GOP wants to block Utah’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion and replace it with something worse. Vox: "Utah voters decided to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in November. But the state’s Republican leaders are now doing everything in their power to scale back the voter-approved plan. GOP leaders introduced a bill last month that would, in effect, replace the voter-approved Medicaid expansion with a more limited version that would actually cover fewer people while spending more money in the first few years. That plan has already passed the GOP-controlled state Senate and a slightly altered version could pass the state House this week. Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has also signaled his support. Republican lawmakers and Herbert are making a colossal gamble: that they will be the first state to receive approval from the Trump administration for a partial Medicaid expansion. If they don’t get the federal approval, the future for any kind of expansion would be in doubt. The Senate-passed legislation stipulates the entire expansion would be repealed, reversing the will of the voters completely. The House has updated their bill to keep a partial version of expansion in place through at least 2021 — but it would create a budgetary cliff that imperils the program’s future."

House Nears Border Compromise

Lawmakers say they're closing in on border deal to prevent shutdown. The Hill: "Lawmakers on Thursday said they are closing in on an agreement to prevent a second partial government shutdown and resolve the months-long fight over President Trump's proposed border wall. Congress has until Feb. 15 to send the president legislation, but negotiators consider Monday their unofficial deadline to ensure an agreement has enough time to make it through both chambers and to Trump's desk by next Friday. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said negotiators hadn't clinched a deal yet, but that staffers were aiming to "conclude" one by Monday. "I hope we can get this concluded, and the next 72 hours are very crucial," Shelby said. "The trajectory is very positive right now."

House Holds First Gun Hearing In Years

The parents of Parkland victims refused to let the GOP lie. Mother Jones: "On Wednesday, the House held its first hearing on gun violence since 2011. The flurry of mass shootings and federal inaction on the issue in the interceding years had created pent-up frustration, which erupted into full view Wednesday from Democrats and a packed room of gun violence victims and activists—especially when Republicans and GOP witnesses pushed unsubstantiated claims about gun violence. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who represents Parkland, interrupted witness testimony to correct Joyce Lee Malcolm, a law professor and gun rights expert appearing on behalf of Republicans, when she said that Stoneman Douglas High School decided arming teachers was “the best way to protect students.” (It was a state-appointed commission that recommended the Florida Legislature allow teachers to carry concealed weapons.) Deutch vigorously shook his head and mouthed, “No way,” as Malcolm spoke. “When important declarations are factually wrong, it’s important to call them out,” he said when she finished speaking, a gesture that broke with the hearing’s parliamentary procedure."

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