Wednesday February 8, 2016 5 Top Stories to Start Your Day
1. In a whirlwind day of politics, the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. The vote had to be decided by Vice President Pence as the vote ended in a tie. At approximately 5 p.m. then swore in the new Secretary. Devos has been a controversial nominee who does not have any government experience or local experience running a school board or even a school.
2. Tuesday evening, in a showdown of power in the Senate, Senator Elizabeth Warren was censured by the Majority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, for reading a letter by Coretta Scott King which detailed why King believed Senator Jeff Sessions should not be confirmed as a Judge in 1986. As Senator Warren was reading the words of Mrs. King, McConnell argued that Warren was impugning Sessions character. For that reason, Warren has been silenced by the Senate and will not be allowed to address the Senate again on the matter of the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States.
3. In yet another moment of if it wasn’t true it wouldn’t be believed, the Republican-controlled House committee voted Tuesday to eliminate the independent, bipartisan agency tasked with helping states secure their voting systems, the The Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The presidential election of 2016 has been marked by questions of voter’s security and possible hacking of election devices. Yet, Committee on House Administration voted 6–3, who voted along party lines, moved forward to dismantle the commission that was formed after the 2000 Presidential election between former Vice President Al Gore and Governor George Bush. The matter ended up in the Supreme Court due to the voting irregularities that occurred in that battle. Tomas Lopez, counsel with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program spoke on behalf of citizens who believe the agency is an important link in continuing to ensure a legal vote. Lopez stated, “A lot of Americans are expressing concerns right now about the security of the election system and their confidence in the election system, and that, the EAC is exactly the kind of place that can actually address the concerns that people have.”
4. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on Tuesday, declared a state of emergency for the state after a wave of tornados and bad weather ripped through areas such as New Orleans. Tornados believed to be in the range of EF2 tornados, with involved winds up to 135 miles per hour, destroyed homes and knocked out power to thousands of people in the New Orleans area. A NASA assembly facility was also damaged in the storm. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu stated that the tornadoes, “affected about an area that holds 5,000 properties.”
5. The U.S Army will be granting the final permit to finish the controversial Dakota pipeline. In a court filing on Tuesday, the Army said that it would allow the final section of the line to tunnel under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system. This could enable the $3.8 billion pipeline to begin operation as soon as June. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has long opposed the project near its home, promised a legal fight. There is also a group, Veterans for Standing Rock who are ready to fight the order. Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who is representing the tribe, said. “Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court.” He also stated that this plan by the Trump Administration, “Trump’s reversal of (President Obama’s) decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian tribes and a violation of treaty rights.”
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