Day 392: "Clear and present risk."
1/ Biden warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “remains distinctly possible” despite Putin’s claim that Moscow had withdrawn some troops from the border and that he was open to renewed talks to end the standoff with the West. Biden said the U.S. has not verified Russia’s claim that it has begun to withdraw troops, saying its forces “remain very much in a threatening position.” NATO added that it had not seen “any de-escalation on the ground” by the Russian military. Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he saw reason for “cautious optimism” after Putin said Russia would “partially pull back troops.” Biden vowed to “give the diplomacy every chance” to prevent an invasion, but warned that if Russia does invade the “human” and “strategic” costs would be “immense” and an attack “would be met with overwhelming international condemnation.” Following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said Russia would continue pushing for a rollback of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe and a guarantee that Ukraine would never join the alliance. The U.S. and its allies have rejected those demands, while Scholz suggested that NATO’s expansion was “not on the agenda” as a way of defusing the tensions. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NBC News / Associated Press / CNN / CNBC)
2/ NOAA reported that U.S. shorelines are projected to rise by as much as a foot over the next 30 years as climate change accelerates, leading to a “dramatic increase” in exposure to flooding for millions of Americans. “Sea level rise driven by global climate change is a clear and present risk to the United States, now and for the foreseeable future,” the report said. Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said the U.S. “is expected to experience as much sea level rise in 30 years as we saw over the span of the entire last century,” noting that while “current and future emissions matter,” U.S. coasts will rise “no matter what we do about emissions.” (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press)
3/ Senate Republicans boycotted and delayed a Senate Banking Committee vote on Biden’s five nominees to the Federal Reserve because one of the candidates pledged to focus on the ways climate change threatens financial stability and the economy. In order to prevent Sarah Bloom Raskin’s advancement, Republicans held up the vote on all five nominees, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term and Governor Lael Brainard to be the Fed’s No. 2. Biden nominated Raskin to serve as vice chairwoman for bank supervision. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The Senate confirmed Dr. Robert Califf as FDA commissioner, which has been without a permanent leader for more than a year. The final vote was 50-46 for Califf, with five Democrats opposing him because of his prior work with the pharmaceutical industry and what they called the FDA’s lax record on opioids. The White House relied on six Republicans to move Califf across the finish line. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)
5/ A 30th House Democrat will not seek re-election in 2022, adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its majority in the House. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice is the latest lawmaker to announce that she won’t seek re-election. In total, 22 House Democrats have announced they will retire and 8 other are seeking another offices, compared with 14 Republicans. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Axios)
poll/ 28% of Democrats said the party didn’t take advantage of having control of the White House and Congress in 2021, while 47% blamed Republicans for derailing their plans, and 25% said the party had accomplished its goals. (The Hill)
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