Morning Action: Democrats Try to Avoid Vote on “War on Coal” Amendment

“WAR ON COAL”.  Senate Democrats are avoiding a vote on a fiscal 2015 spending bill because it contains a provision that could have stopped the EPA’s bid to regulate carbon emissions (sub. req’d):

The war over the “war on coal” has been postponed after Democrats pushed off a second fiscal 2015 spending bill in the Senate.

Late Wednesday, the Appropriations Committee decided not to move forward as scheduled with Thursday’s markup of the bill that funds the Energy Department, as well as water development projects.

The move avoids a potentially problematic vote for Senate Democrats and the Obama administration that could have stopped the Environmental Protection Agency’s bid to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants — regulations that have the affect of targeting pollution from coal.

KEYSTONE.  Hillary Clinton seems to want to avoid discussing her position on the Keystone pipeline, and she didn’t delve into the issue in her new book:

The big question hanging over U.S.-Canada relations at the moment is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension, which could transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the United States if it were approved. Yet that’s precisely the question which rumored 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton seemed most determined to avoid during her book tour through America’s neighbor to the north.

During a Q&A with Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail last week, Clinton recused herself from discussing the pipeline because of her prior involvement in its approval process.

COMMON CORE. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has pulled Louisiana from Common Core, but his decision is already being met with challenges:

“We want out of Common Core.” With that pronouncement, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday delivered a clear message to state residents.

On the heels of similar moves by Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, Jindal acted to make the Bayou State the fourth state to exit the national education standards known as Common Core. Bypassing the legislature and issuing a series of executive orders, the Republican governor pulled Louisiana from Common Core and all federally subsidized standardized tests.

Some educators, however, are challenging the legal groundwork for the governor’s decision. John White, state superintendent of schools, argued that Jindal cannot unilaterally withdraw Louisiana from Common Core.  He insisted the state will “continue to implement” the national standards.

DEFENSE SPENDING.  Today the House considers its Defense spending bill (sub. req’d):

The House faces a long day of roll call votes on a $570.4 billion fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill (HR 4870), taking up hot-button issues such as whether to keep the Air Force’s A-10 Warthog close-air support planes flying for another year. Questions about immigration and security along the southern border are also creeping into the debate, as lawmakers try to address the child migrant crisis.

The Obama administration has not submitted a detailed war request, riling members of both parties. The bill contains a placeholder of $79.4 billion for operations in Afghanistan, and aides say they expect the request right before Congress breaks for the July Fourth recess. CQ’s reporters and editors will track the fate of dozens of amendments. The bill would prohibit funding for transfers of detainees to the United States or its territories from Guantánamo Bay and deny funding to modify any facility in the United States to house detainees, and also addresses concerns that the White House broke the law when it made a deal with the Taliban for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.


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