The newly GOP-controlled US Senate has approved the Keystone XL Pipeline in a 62-36 vote, with three Democrats joining all 53 Republicans.
However, the issue is far from over.
Now the White House will be in an embroiled battle with the US Congress, as the Senate and House versions of the Keystone legislation must still be synchronized.
The White House and liberal Democrats have been fighting the Keystone Pipeline for years now. Notable Democrats opposed to the energy project are Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Boxer told the AP that passing the Keystone Pipeline was a “disgrace.”
“This bill is a disgrace,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, the top Democrat on the Senate environment committee. “We tried on our side to make this a better bill and they turned us away.”
via BREAKING: Senate Approves Keystone Pipeline | The Hayride.
The U.S. military and intelligence community now suspect that one of the five Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May of last year has attempted to return to militant activity from his current location in Qatar, CNN has learned exclusively.
The development has led to an ongoing debate inside the administration about whether there is a new threat from this man, and potentially the other four.
This is the first known suggestion that any of the detainees involved in the exchange may be trying to engage again in militant activity. It comes at a politically sensitive time as the administration has quickened the pace of prisoner release in an effort to encourage the closure of the Guantanamo, and the Army must decide in the coming weeks whether and how to punish Bergdahl for leaving his post.
via Officials: Detainee swapped for Bergdahl suspected of militant activities – CNN.com.
Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year, Treasury officials said Wednesday. It’s the first time they have given estimates for how many people will be subject to a fine.
The penalty is $95, or 1% of income above a certain threshold (roughly $20,000 for a couple). So you could end up owing the IRS a lot of money.
Take a married couple with $100,000 in income – their bill comes to $797, according to the Tax Policy Center ACA penalty calculator.
The penalty for remaining uninsured rises to the larger of $325 or 2% of income in 2015.
via Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty – Jan. 28, 2015.
The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.
Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.
That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.
It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.
If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.
President Barack Obama pledged to members of Congress in 2009, as his signature insurance overhaul law was being hotly debated, that ‘the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.’
It would be a significant discount if the White House could return to that number today.
via Obamacare program costs $50,000 for every American who gets health insurance | Daily Mail Online.
The stunning five-count criminal complaint accused the Manhattan Democrat, an Albany power broker for decades, with pocketing millions in bribes and kickbacks in return for wielding his massive influence.“Speaker Silver lied and misled the public about his outside incomes,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a news conference hours after Silver turned himself in.“These charges go to the very core of what ails Albany — a lack of transparency, lack of accountability and a lack of principle joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism and self-dealing.”
via Sheldon Silver accused of $4 million corruption scheme – NY Daily News.
There’s a growing demand for schools to feed students dinner before they come home, according to the Associated Press.
Many low-income students are already provided with breakfast and lunch while they are at school. As part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act—a law signed by President Obama in 2010—a pilot program was developed to provide free or low-price meals after school as well.
As of last year, about 1 million students across the country received dinner or an after-school snack before going home.
via About 1 Million Kids Are Now Eating Dinner at School.
ISIS militants have executed 13 teenage boys for watching the Asian Cup football match between Iraq and Jordan last week.
The young football fans had been caught watching the game on television in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is controlled by the Islamic State.
The teenagers were rounded up and publicly executed by a firing squad using machine guns, anti-ISIS activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reports.
via ISIS execute 13 football fans for watching Iraq play Jordan on TV | Daily Mail Online.
Ever wonder how lowly paid lawmakers leave office filthy rich?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is showing how it’s done.
The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings — so it can lease space more expensively — and the real estate company of the California senator’s husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1 billion in commissions.
via Senator’s husband stands to profit big from government deal | Page Six.
A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.
“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.
via Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says – NYTimes.com.
In a shocking revelation from the documents that surprises absolutely no one who spent any fraction of their late teens in the company of other people in their late teens, it turns out Ted Cruz was once ticketed for possessing alcohol as a minor, after a 1987 police stop that revealed an unopened case of cheap beer in his trunk. The Presidential contender then pled guilty to the misdemeanor. And then, decades later, an Internet news organization is utterly scandalized.
via Oh No! Ted Cruz Was Once Ticketed for an Unopened Case of Beer | The American Spectator.