Day 385: "A disservice."
1/ The House is scheduled to vote on a short-term funding bill to avert a shutdown and keep the federal government funded through March 11 while talks on a broader spending package continue. Funding is currently set to expire on February 18. Once the House passes the stopgap bill, the Senate would need to approve it before it can be sent to Biden to be signed into law. House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said the stopgap bill is needed to allow time for more negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on a complete $1.5 trillion appropriations package that would keep the government funded at least through September. (Bloomberg / CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico)
2/ The Supreme Court allowed a congressional map drawn by Alabama Republicans to remain in place despite a lower court saying the map violated the Voting Rights Act. A lower court had ordered Alabama Republicans to redraw the map because it resulted in one congressional district with a majority of Black voters even though they make up more than a quarter of the state’s population. “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” the lower court wrote, ruling that the state had likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote, however, means the upcoming elections will be conducted under the current map, drawn by Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent, who called the order “a disservice to Black Alabamians” who under Supreme Court precedent “have had their electoral power diminished — in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Mitch McConnell criticized the Republican National Committee for censuring two Republican lawmakers who serve on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In remarks at the Capitol, McConnell called the attack a “violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.” On Friday, the RNC approved a resolution accusing Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of participating in the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Cheney and Kinzinger are the only GOP members of the House panel. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)
4/ Biden’s top science adviser resigned after he acknowledged he mistreated demeaned his subordinates. Eric Lander, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, apologized in an email to his staff after an internal review by the White House found credible evidence that he bullied staff in violation of the White House’s “safe and respectful workplace policy.” Lander is the first member of Biden’s Cabinet to resign. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
5/ Biden threatened to “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. The pipeline, however, isn’t under U.S. control and Biden didn’t explain how he would keep that promise. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to commit to ending the pipeline if an invasion moves ahead. Although the pipeline between Russia and Germany was finished last September, it hasn’t transported any actual gas yet. (NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
6/ The IRS suspended its plan to use a private facial-recognition system to authenticate taxpayers’ identities for online access following criticism from privacy advocates and lawmakers over concerns about the collection of biometric data. The agency originally planned to start using the third-party service this summer, called ID.me, which would require all taxpayers to submit a “video selfie” to access their tax records and other services. The IRS said it would “transition away” from the facial recognition service over the coming weeks. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)
poll/ Fewer than 1 in 5 people in the U.S. say the country is doing “the right amount to combat climate change.” 64% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans say the Biden administration is doing too little to address climate change. (Politico)
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