1/ The Senate advanced a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan after Republicans rejected a version of the bill that included the border policy changes they had demanded. The vote of 67-32 allows the Senate to begin consideration of the legislation, which would provide $60.1 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in global conflicts. The bill, however, still faces an uncertain future, and it’s unclear if the final package will clear the 60-vote threshold in Democratic-led Senate. It’s also expected to be even more difficult to win approval in the Republican-controlled House. Nevertheless, Chuck Schumer described the vote as a “good first step,” adding: “Failure to pass this bill would only embolden autocrats like Putin and Xi, who want nothing more than America’s decline.” (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios)
2/ The EPA set strict, new limits on one of the deadliest types of air pollution. The new rules will limit the annual amount of fine particulate matter – also called PM2.5 – from factories, power plants, and other industrial facilities from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9. The new standards – the EPA’s first tightening of the rules since 2012 – are expected to prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths and avoid around 800,000 cases of asthma symptoms. (NPR / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)
3/ The special counsel examining Biden’s handling of classified documents recommended “no criminal charges,” but did find evidence that Biden had “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials.” The report from special counsel Robert Hur said that while Biden’s practices “present serious risks to national security,” he wouldn’t recommend charges because Biden presents as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” The report also made clear the “material distinctions” between a theoretical case against Biden and the pending case against Trump for his handling of classified documents. “Unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating factors,” Hur writes. “Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The FCC outlawed unwanted robocalls generated by artificial intelligence. In a unanimous ruling, the FCC declared that calls made with AI-generated voices are “artificial” under the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which restricts marketing calls that use artificial and prerecorded voice messages. The move follows a January incident where thousands of voters in New Hampshire received an unsolicited robocall from a faked voice of Biden that instructed voters to abstain from voting in the first primary of the election season. (CNN / Associated Press / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios)
5/ The Supreme Court appeared broadly skeptical that Colorado had the power to disqualify Trump from the ballot for engaging in an insurrection in an attempt to remain in the White House after losing the 2020 election. The justices heard arguments on a ruling from Colorado’s Supreme Court, which found that Trump engaged in an insurrection leading up to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. At issue is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars certain public officials from serving in the government if they took part in an insurrection. During more than two hours of arguments, the court expressed concerns about the ability of a single state to disqualify a candidate from seeking national office, and appeared to be searching for a way to leave election decisions to voters. Justices from across the ideological spectrum suggested that Congress – not individual states – must set the standards before a presidential candidate can be disqualified for engaging in insurrection. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / Axios / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
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