Day 422: "Consequences and implications."
1/ The House passed legislation to revoke Russia’s “most-favored-nation” trade status, which would allow the U.S. to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods. The legislation would suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, as well as require the U.S. trade representative to urge Russia to be suspended from the World Trade Organization and to stop Belarus’s membership application process. The bill now heads to the Senate, where the chamber already has a matching bill with bipartisan support. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / NPR)
2/ Biden’s national security adviser warned Moscow that there would be unspecified “consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.” According to a new global threats report, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency assessed that “Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences.” Putin already has put Russia’s nuclear arsenal on a state of higher alert. Prior the report’s release, Russia threatened the U.S., saying it had “the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place.” Putin, meanwhile, promised to cleanse Russia of the “scum and traitors” who disagree with him, claiming that “a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country.” Biden called Putin a “murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.” (New York Times / Reuters / Bloomberg / New York Times / Bloomberg / The Hill / The Guardian / CNN)
3/ Senior Biden health aides are concerned that Covid-19 cases could soon rise again as a more contagious Omicron subvariant has rapidly spread in Europe. While cases in the U.S. are at an eight-month low, about a dozen European nations are seeing spikes in coronavirus infections caused by the subvariant, with Germany and Austria approaching or having exceeded record caseload levels. The White House Covid-19 task force and the CDC, meanwhile, have met to game out how to respond if cases begin to rise drastically. More than $15 billion in Covid-19 funding has stalled in Congress, despite the White House warning that the U.S. will soon run out of funding for future Covid-19 booster shots, new treatments, and testing efforts. And, the White House coronavirus coordinator announced he was leaving the administration next month. Jeff Zients will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
4/ A federal appeals court lifted a ban that blocked the federal government from accounting for the social cost of carbon when issuing new regulations, approving infrastructure projects, and other projects. On his first day in office, Biden issued an order that estimated each ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere would cause $51 in societal damages. The Trump administration had reduced the figure to about $7 or less per ton. The court’s decision reverses a February ruling by a district judge, who had sided with 10 states with Republican attorneys general that the carbon metric could cause them a real injury. (Politico / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Joe Manchin advised a conference of oil and gas executives that they should look for a “return on investment” when making campaign donations. Manchin, the Senate’s top recipient of coal, oil, and gas donations, said fossil fuel executives should “demand more” from politicians who solicit donations, which he referred to as the “mother’s milk.” Manchin added: “We haven’t been good at […] We haven’t told our story. There’s an old story in politics: Tell your story before someone tells one on you. It’s hard to play defense. It’s much easier to run an offensive play, then make your adjustments.” (The New Republic)
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