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Chuck Schumer plans to sidestep filibuster by expanding the Senate reconciliation process
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Chuck Schumer plans to sidestep filibuster by expanding the Senate reconciliation process

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer is maneuvering to pass a third bill this year using budget reconciliation, an obscure procedure that sidesteps the filibuster and lets Democrats ram through President Biden’s agenda without the support of a single Republican. Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, is proposing to expand the budget reconciliation process, which allows Congress to pass spending, revenue and debt measures with a simple majority of 51 votes. Reconciliation measures are not subject to the filibuster, a Senate rule that requires most legislation to clear a 60-vote hurdle to survive. The process has become the Democrats’ favored route for scoring legislative wins in a chamber split 50-50 between the parties. The downside of reconciliation is it generally can be used only once pe...
Joe Biden pressed to cancel more student loan debt
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Joe Biden pressed to cancel more student loan debt

Democratic lawmakers and their allies on the left aren’t nearly satisfied with President Biden’s moves to forgive Americans’ mountain of student debt, even though the administration has wiped away $1 billion from tens of thousands who had been scammed by for-profit colleges. Debt relief advocates are pressing the administration to cancel another $1 trillion with a sweeping move to eliminate up to $50,000 worth of debt for each of the 43 million Americans saddled with student loans. They also want Mr. Biden to bypass Congress and erase the debt with the stroke of his pen. It is a matter of racial and economic justice, they say, because the broken system has forced millions, including a disproportionate share of Black Americans, to go deeply into debt for college education. So far, Mr. Biden...
Joe Biden rips Trump plan to visit U.S.-Mexico border
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Joe Biden rips Trump plan to visit U.S.-Mexico border

President Biden said Sunday he’s going to approach the migrant surge at the southern border his way and he doesn’t care about critiques from his predecessor, dismissing him as “the other guy.” Returning from a Delaware weekend, Mr. Biden reacted to reports that former President Donald Trump will visit the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight the crisis. “We are putting in place a plan that I feel very confident about, and I don’t care what the other guy does,” Mr. Biden said. Last week, Mr. Biden said the border surge “happens every year” and he put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of attempting to persuade Mexico and Central American countries to do more to stop the influx of people heading to the United States. The president rejected the migrants’ own statements that they’re coming beca...
F-35 threatened by Pentagon budget crunch
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F-35 threatened by Pentagon budget crunch

The world’s most advanced military aircraft may be forced to adjust its flight plan — if it does not want to be grounded forever. The Pentagon’s vaunted F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, a key cog in the U.S. military’s 21st-century battle plan, is facing brutal blowback from all corners amid seemingly never-ending production delays and an eye-popping price tag of $1.7 trillion and climbing. In defense and national security circles in Washington, a once-unthinkable proposition is now open for debate: Should the Defense Department pull the plug on the entire enterprise, or at least scale it back dramatically and shift resources elsewhere amid a looming budget crunch? With President Biden and his new Pentagon team vowing to take a fresh look at virtually all parts of the defense budget, and...
Joe Manchin’s wife up for $160K Biden appointment
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Joe Manchin’s wife up for $160K Biden appointment

President Biden intends to appoint the wife of the Senate’s top swing vote, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III, to a plum federal position that pays upward of $160,000 annually. The White House announced Friday that it would nominate Gayle Conelly Manchin, a former president of the West Virginia Board of Education, to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Mrs. Manchin’s resume also shows her service as West Virginia’s first lady and West Virginia secretary of education and the arts, and her work on several other state boards and initiatives. The Appalachian Regional Commission is responsible for promoting economic development and investment in the 13 states that span the region from northern Mississippi to Pennsylvania. If confirmed by the Senate, Mrs. Manch...
Biden showing weakness both at home and abroad
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Biden showing weakness both at home and abroad

ANALYSIS/OPINION: Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once noted: “If history has taught anything, it’s that weakness is provocative. It entices people into doing things that they otherwise would not do.” Let’s hope he was wrong. Recently, President Biden slipped and fell as he ascended the stairs to Air Force One. It was, like all falls, ungraceful and difficult to watch. In its own way, however, it was totemic of the somewhat unsure start of his administration and its serial projections of weakness both at home and abroad. The meeting with Chinese “diplomats” on March 18 in Anchorage, Alaska, was the first tangible sign that something had gone wrong. At the top of the meeting, China’s representatives felt free to lecture the United States about our electoral, judicial and social ...
Pete Buttigieg says Biden weighing ‘mileage tax’ on drivers: ‘I think that shows a lot of promise’
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Pete Buttigieg says Biden weighing ‘mileage tax’ on drivers: ‘I think that shows a lot of promise’

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Friday President Biden is weighing a “mileage tax” on drivers as a way to help pay for his forthcoming infrastructure plan that could cost upwards of $3 trillion. “I think that shows a lot of promise,” Mr. Buttigieg said of a mileage-based tax on CNBC. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle — the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive, the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” he continued. “It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it.” Mr. Buttigieg said the gas tax is becoming outdated as the country seeks to pivot toward electric vehicles to combat climat...
GOP letter accuses Biden of violating restrictions on domestic snooping
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GOP letter accuses Biden of violating restrictions on domestic snooping

House Republicans who oversee U.S. intelligence are accusing the Biden administration of violating federal law by injecting a counter-foreign terrorist agency into the job of assessing domestic extremism. The March 18 letter, spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, says President Biden crossed the line that prevents overseas spying agencies from snooping on Americans. The letter went to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Her office released a report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021.” Signed by all 10 committee Republicans, the letter calls the four-page DNI report “misleading” with a “deceptive nature” and says the reason for the report is unclear. The Republic...
Democrats ‘silent’ as Joe Biden border surge spirals
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Democrats ‘silent’ as Joe Biden border surge spirals

House Democrats called more than 10 hearings during the last migrant surge to rake the Trump administration for its handling of the border. Yet now, with the Biden team slammed by a surge, Democrats have put down their gavels and clammed up. Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, demanded Thursday that things start to change. He said it’s time Capitol Hill starts to investigate the Biden border, which “worsens by the day.” He said in 2019, during the Trump surge, the panel held repeated hearings and sent staff down to the border multiple times to inspect facilities. Yet this year, there has been no peep of activity. “It appears that Committee Democrats only care about these issues when there is a Republican in the White House. However,...
China flouts Iran sanctions on oil as Trump-era pressure campaign crumbles
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China flouts Iran sanctions on oil as Trump-era pressure campaign crumbles

The Biden administration claims to be upholding the Trump-era pressure campaign on Iran, but there are clear signs sanctions are crumbling as China dramatically increases its purchases of embargoed Iranian crude oil. A tripling of Chinese purchases since President Biden took office has given Tehran a financial lifeline and new leverage to fend off outside pressure, complicating the administration’s hope for a quick revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that President Trump repudiated. Mr. Trump spent his last two years in office ramping up U.S. sanctions on Iran and on the countries and companies that tried to deal it. With China now openly flouting the sanctions, some analysts say, Tehran is emboldened to ignore Mr. Biden’s demand that it make the first concessions to come back into co...