Biden to announce new steps to tackle climate crisis amid ferocious US heatwave – live | US politics

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Joe Biden is announcing his executive orders to fight climate change during a week in which much of America is facing scorching temperatures.

The midwest is among the areas hardest hit:

Oklahoma City just hit 110°. Ties All time hottest temperature for July

— Damon Lane (@KOCOdamonlane) July 19, 2022

Massachusetts, where Biden will be speaking in the town of Somerset, is also not being spared:

[7/20 430 AM] Oppressive #heat & humidity will be the main story this week. A Heat Advisory has been extended through Thu 8 PM. In addition, there is the risk for strong to severe storms Thu afternoon into evening, with the main threat being damaging wind gusts. #MAwx #RIwx #CTwx pic.twitter.com/0IRfyrjTWl

— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) July 20, 2022

Biden hasn’t said yet exactly what steps he will take to cut America’s carbon emissions, other than that he’ll use presidential executive orders to do what Congress will not. He’s found no support among Republicans for his steps to fight climate change, and Democrats’ efforts to pass a bill unilaterally collapsed last week when Joe Manchin, a West Virginia senator with extensive ties to the energy industry, said he wouldn’t take part in the effort.

Keep in mind that executive actions are frequent targets of litigation, and it would be no surprise if whatever Biden announces today gets taken to court – potentially even the supreme court, where conservatives are firmly in the majority and have shown a willingness to curb the government’s regulatory powers.

Key events:

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor and Democratic candidate for US Senate, has said he has ““nothing to hide” about his health, after suffering a stroke, and expressed confidence he can beat the celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in a race key to deciding control of the chamber in November.

John Fetterman.
John Fetterman. Photograph: Keith Srakocic/AP

“I would never be in this if we were not absolutely, 100% able to run fully and to win — and we believe that we are,” Fetterman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in his first interview since suffering the stroke in May.

The Post-Gazette reports: “Mr Fetterman, 52, said he has ‘no physical limits’, walks four to five miles every day in 90-degree heat, understands words properly and hasn’t lost any of his memory. He struggles with hearing sometimes, he said, and may ‘miss a word’ or ‘slur two together’, but he said it doesn’t happen often and that he’s working with a speech therapist.”

Fetterman enjoys consistent poll leads over Oz and has dramatically outraised him, despite Oz attracting the endorsement of Donald Trump.

You can read the interview here.

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

Pete Buttigieg fended off a Republican who used a transportation hearing to ask if Joe Biden’s cabinet had discussed using the 25th amendment to remove the president from office, saying: “I’m glad to have a president who can ride a bicycle.”

Pete Buttigieg.
Pete Buttigieg. Photograph: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The transportation secretary was appearing in front of the House transportation committee on Tuesday. Amid discussion of policy, the Texas representative Troy Nehls decided to go in a more partisan direction.

“We now see the mainstream media questioning President Biden’s mental state, and for good reason,” Nehls said. “Sadly, he shakes hands with ghosts and imaginary people, and he falls off bicycles. Even at the White House Easter celebration, the Easter Bunny had to guide him back into his safe place.”

Aides stood behind Nehls, showing blown-up pictures.

Biden, 79, fell off his bike in Delaware last month, to considerable glee on the right.

He told reporters: “I’m good.”

But with the president beset by domestic and international crises, some compared his awkward moment with one in 1979, when Jimmy Carter, who would turn out to be a one-term Democratic president, was attacked by a rabbit while fishing from a boat.

Nehls asked: “Have you spoken to cabinet members about implementing the 25th amendment on President Biden?”

Buttigieg, a keen cyclist himself, said: “First of all, I’m glad to have a president who can ride a bicycle. And, I will look beyond the insulting nature of that question and make clear to you that the president of the United States …”

Nehls interrupted.

Buttigieg said, “Of course not,” then said Biden was “as vigorous a colleague or boss as I have ever had the pleasure of working with”.

Former president Donald Trump’s legal adviser Rudy Giuliani will have to talk to a Georgia grand jury sometime next month after his legal challenge against a subpoena failed, the Associated Press reports.

Earlier this month, the grand jury in Fulton county, which includes Atlanta, subpoenaed Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team as part of their probe into his campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state, where voters chose Joe Biden.

Giuliani challenged the subpoena, but as the AP reports, he didn’t seem to put much effort into the appeal, failing to show up for a court hearing where he could explain why he shouldn’t have to testify.

The grand jury has also summoned Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, who has been challenging his subpoena.

Getting the Respect for Marriage Act through the Democratic-led House of Representatives is one thing, but could it pass the Senate? From what reporters on Capitol Hill are saying today, it doesn’t seem impossible.

The bill won the votes of all Democrats as well as 47 Republicans when it passed Congress’s lower chamber yesterday. Assuming Democrats unanimously support it in the Senate, it would need the support of 10 Republicans to overcome the inevitable filibuster blocking its passage. According to CNN, several Republican senators have already said they’d vote for it:

Thom Tillis, GOP senator from NC, told me he “probably will” support bill to codify same-sex marriage. Bill might get 60 votes, GOP senators say. Vote timing in Senate is unclear.

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 20, 2022

Thune told me he will take a “hard look” at bill

“But if and when (Schumer) brings a bill to the floor we’ll take a hard look at it. As you saw there was pretty good bipartisan support in the House yesterday and I expect there’d probably be the same thing you’d see” in Senate

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 20, 2022

Asked about some of his fellow Republicans saying a vote on same-sex marriage is just a messaging exercise, Rob Portman told me: It’s an “important message,” and said: “I think this is an issue that many Americans, regardless of political affiliation, feel has been resolved.”

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 20, 2022

Lois Beckett

Lois Beckett

Congress is working on a lot of bills at the moment as the Democratic majority tries to make the most of the time remaining before November’s midterm elections, in which they could lose control of one or both chambers. Yesterday, Lois Beckett reports that the House passed a measure to codify same-sex and interracial marriage rights – which are currently protected by a supreme court ruling that could be overturned:

The US House has passed a bill protecting the right to same-sex and interracial marriages, a vote that comes amid concerns that the supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could jeopardize other rights.

Forty-seven House Republicans supported the legislation, called the Respect for Marriage Act, including some who have publicly apologized for their past opposition to gay marriage. But more than three-quarters of House Republicans voted against the bill, with some claiming it was a “political charade”.

All 220 House Democrats supported the bill, which is expected to be blocked by Republican opposition in a politically divided Senate.

Zelenska concluded her remarks by describing the Russian invasion as terrorism, and linking it to America’s experiences with such attacks.

America unfortunately knows from its own experience what terrorist attacks are and has always sought to defeat terrorism. Help us to stop this terror against Ukrainians, and this will be our joint great victory in the name of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness of every person, every family,” Zelenska said.

“This is what I’m asking for and what my husband is asking for, not as a presidential couple but as parents and children of their parents. Because we want every father and every mother to be able to tell their child, go to sleep peacefully, there will be no more airstrikes, no more missile strikes. Is this too much to wish for?”

Lawmakers in the room applauded as she finished her speech.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska told the stories of Ukrainians killed by Russia’s ongoing invasion, and appealed for more weapons from the United States.

“The war is not over. The terror continues, and I appeal to all of you, on behalf of those who were killed, on behalf of those people who lost their arms and legs, on behalf of those who are still alive and well and those who wait for their families to come back from the front,” Zelenska said.

“I’m asking for weapons, weapons that could not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to live a life in them. I’ve asked for air defense systems in order for rockets… not to kill children in their strollers, in order for rockets not to destroy children’s homes and kill entire families.”

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska is now addressing House and Senate lawmakers in Washington.

The event has gotten underway, and you can watch it on the live feed embedded above.

Viewers of the January 6 committee’s hearings – and followers of Arizona state politics – will remember Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the house of representatives in the southwest state who told lawmakers last month about Donald Trump’s efforts to get him to overturn state’s election results in 2020.

Yesterday, the state Republican party kicked him out, though not, on its surface, for anything having to do with the January 6 inquiry. Rather, the party cited as the reason Bowers’ opposition to various bills in the state legislature and collaboration with Democrats. Here’s their full statement:

The @AZGOP Executive Committee formally censured Rusty Bowers tonight— he is no longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to replace him at the ballot box in the August primary. Full press release from AZGOP coming soon.

— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) July 20, 2022

Bowers appears to know the deck is stacked against him. In an interview with NBC News this week, he said of his current re-election campaign: “If I pull this off, it’s going to be a miracle.”

Trump still trying to get Wisconsin Republicans to decertify 2020 election results

The 2020 presidential election was held 624 days ago, but a top Republican in Wisconsin said Donald Trump last week encouraged him to decertify the results of the polls in the state, which Biden won by a narrow margin.

Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, told Milwaukee broadcaster WISN that the former president called him and urged him to use a recent state supreme court ruling that ballot drop boxes are illegal to overturn the election results.

“The court case as you read it does not go back and say what happened in 2020 was illegal,” Vos told WISN. “It just says going forward it can’t happen.”

The speaker described the phone call as, “He makes his case, which I respect. He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained it’s not allowed under the constitution. He has a different opinion, and then he put out the tweet. So that’s it.”

Trump didn’t exactly tweet, since he’s banned from Twitter, but he did take to his Truth Social platform and attack Vos as a “RINO” or Republican In Name Only, who let Democrats “get away with murder.” The former president could go further. Vos is facing a primary challenge from another Republican, but Trump hasn’t announced an endorsement in the race – yet.

Oliver Milman

Oliver Milman

The climate crisis has reached the point where some of the fastest-growing American cities are increasingly uninhabitable, Oliver Milman reports:

The ferocious heatwave that is gripping much of the US south and west has highlighted an uncomfortable, ominous trend – people are continuing to flock to the cities that risk becoming unlivable due to the climate crisis.

Some of the fastest-growing cities in the US are among those currently being roasted by record temperatures that are baking the more than 100 million Americans under some sort of extreme heat warning. More than a dozen wildfires are engulfing areas from Texas to California and Alaska, with electricity blackouts feared for places where the grid is coming under severe strain.

San Antonio, Texas, which added more to its population than any other US city in the year to July 2021, has already had more than a dozen days over 100F this summer and hit 104F on Tuesday.

Victoria Bekiempis

Victoria Bekiempis

Victoria Bekiempis has more on the heat wave that’s striking the United States this week:

More than 100 million Americans are under either a heat warning about dangerous conditions or heat advisories amid record temperatures, as 85 major wildfires burn in 13 US states, scorching more than 3m acres.

Officials said on Tuesday that 14 new large fires were reported: seven in Texas, two in Alaska and two in Washington, as well as one each in Arizona, California and Idaho.

More than 6,800 wild-land firefighters, and other support staff, were deployed to fires across the US.

The sprawling blazes spread as record-high temperatures are poised to continue this week, leaving more than 100 million US residents under “excessive [heat] warnings or heat advisories”, the National Weather Service said Tuesday morning.

Nine Senate Democrats urge Biden to declare climate emergency immediately

Nine Democratic senators have today written Biden a letter urging him to declare a climate crisis immediately, which they say would give the executive branch extraordinary powers to lower America’s carbon emissions.

The letter comes ahead of Biden’s speech this afternoon where he’s expected to announce executive orders to fight climate change, but not declare an emergency. “For too long, we have been waiting for a single piece of legislation, and a single Senate vote, to take bold action on our climate crisis,” wrote the group of senators, which includes former presidential contenders Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren. “We urge you to put us on an emergency footing and aggressively use your executive powers to address the climate crisis, create good-paying union jobs in the United States, and liberate hard-working American families from volatile energy prices.”

They call on Biden to use powers under the National Emergency Act (NEA) to “immediately pursue an array of regulatory and administrative actions to slash emissions, protect public health, support national and energy security, and improve our air and water quality.”

Here’s more from the letter:

Declaring the climate crisis a national emergency under the NEA would unlock powers to rebuild a better economy with significant, concrete actions. Under the NEA, you could redirect spending to build out renewable energy systems on military bases, implement large-scale clean transportation solutions and finance distributed energy projects to boost climate resiliency. All of these actions would employ Americans in new and emerging industries while securing American leadership in global markets.

Joe Biden is announcing his executive orders to fight climate change during a week in which much of America is facing scorching temperatures.

The midwest is among the areas hardest hit:

Oklahoma City just hit 110°. Ties All time hottest temperature for July

— Damon Lane (@KOCOdamonlane) July 19, 2022

Massachusetts, where Biden will be speaking in the town of Somerset, is also not being spared:

[7/20 430 AM] Oppressive #heat & humidity will be the main story this week. A Heat Advisory has been extended through Thu 8 PM. In addition, there is the risk for strong to severe storms Thu afternoon into evening, with the main threat being damaging wind gusts. #MAwx #RIwx #CTwx pic.twitter.com/0IRfyrjTWl

— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) July 20, 2022

Biden hasn’t said yet exactly what steps he will take to cut America’s carbon emissions, other than that he’ll use presidential executive orders to do what Congress will not. He’s found no support among Republicans for his steps to fight climate change, and Democrats’ efforts to pass a bill unilaterally collapsed last week when Joe Manchin, a West Virginia senator with extensive ties to the energy industry, said he wouldn’t take part in the effort.

Keep in mind that executive actions are frequent targets of litigation, and it would be no surprise if whatever Biden announces today gets taken to court – potentially even the supreme court, where conservatives are firmly in the majority and have shown a willingness to curb the government’s regulatory powers.

Biden prepares to announce climate orders after Congress fails to act

Good morning, US politics live blog readers. After it became clear last week that he lacks the votes to get Congress to pass his proposals lowering US carbon emissions, President Joe Biden will head to Massachusetts today to announce new steps to tackle climate change – though he won’t declare an emergency, as some of his allies have called for.

That’s not all that’s expected today:

  • Expect to hear more about the Secret Service and its deletion of text messages following the January 6 insurrection. Last night, The Guardian reported the agency had turned over just one text message related to the insurrection that the House panel probing the attack sought.
  • Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, will address Congress at 11 am eastern time.
  • The Senate judicary committee will at 10 am eastern time hold a hearing on preventing mass shootings that will feature testimony from the mayor of Highland Park, Illinois, where seven people were killed when a gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade.
  • Congress is considering a bunch of other bills, including a Democratic spending bill to lower prescription drug and health care costs, another to improve American technological competitiveness and a measure to codify same-sex marriage rights, which the House passed on Tuesday.



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