1/ Biden approved the first $900 million in U.S. funding to build EV charging stations in 35 states. The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Congress approved in November, allocated $7.5 billion to build a national EV charging network. By 2030, Biden wants 50% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models and 500,000 new EV charging stations. “America is confronting the climate crisis with American workers leading the way,” Biden said. “It used to be to buy an electric vehicle you had to make all sorts of compromises. Not now […] It’s all changing. Today, if you want an electric vehicle with a long range, you can buy one made in America.” (CNBC / CBS News / Reuters / Washington Post)
2/ Amtrak will shut down all long distance passenger trains starting Thursday because of the possible freight rail strike. The majority of Amtrak routes operate on tracks owned by freight railroads. Amtrak trains that operate between Washington, D.C. and Boston, however, would not be affected because Amtrak owns most of those tracks. Two unions representing the engineers and conductors who make up the two-person crews on each freight train are demanding changes to the scheduling rules that keep them “on call” every day they’re not at work and penalizes them for going to routine doctor visits or responding to family medical emergencies. Negotiators face a deadline of 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Friday to avert the freight shutdown. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)
3/ The EPA’s inspector general office is investigating the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi where roughly 150,000 residents have been under a boil-water advisory for seven weeks. The city issued a boil-water advisory after finding cloudiness in the water that could cause illness. The office issued a memo saying it will look into the federal response, as well as city and state officials. The current crisis began when heavy rains caused the Pearl River to flood and overwhelmed the water treatment plant, which was already using backup pumps because the pumps at the main water treatment facility were already damaged. (CNN / Politico / ABC News)
4/ Marco Rubio will co-sponsor Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks, which has received a tepid response from Republicans who say they “prefer this be dealt with at the state level.” In Indiana, the first new abortion ban passed by a state legislature since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June will take effect on Thursday. The West Virginia Republican-majority Legislature, meanwhile, passed a near-total abortion ban. Under the new measure, rape and incest victims could obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy, but only if they report to law enforcement first. And in Texas, the state delayed publication of its study on pregnancy-related deaths until after the midterms and the state’s upcoming legislative session. The delay means lawmakers likely won’t be able to use the data until 2025. The most recent state-level data available is nine years old. (Miami Herald / NPR / CNBC / NBC News / Houston Chronicle)
5/ The special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to examine the origins of the Russia investigation appears to be winding down after three years. The federal grand jury John Durham used to hear evidence for his investigation has expired, and there are no plans to revive it. Durham and his team are working to complete a final report by the end of the year, which will be up to Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide whether to make its findings public. In 2019, then-Attorney General William Barr tapped Durham to review the FBI’s Russia probe and Barr later upgraded Durham to “special counsel” status shortly before the 2020 election, ensuring that Durham’s work would continue after Trump left office. (New York Times / CNN)
6/ House lawmakers proposed bipartisan legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 – the first major legislative response to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The bill, called the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, is similar to the bipartisan effort in the Senate to clarify the limited role of the vice president in certifying election result, raising the threshold for members of Congress to object to states’ presidential electors, and promoting an orderly presidential transition. (NBC News / Axios)
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