Category: Policy

Nursing homes must hit minimum staffing levels under new federal rule

Nursing homes will be required to have minimum levels of front-line caregivers for the first time under a new requirement announced by the Biden administration Monday.  The final policy, unveiled by Vice President Harris, comes despite intense lobbying from the nursing home industry and opposition from bipartisan lawmakers, who argue a federal standard is unfeasible because of a nationwide staffing shortage made worse by the…

How Texas unleashed a geothermal boom

With its nation-leading renewables fleet and oil and gas industry, Texas is poised to dominate what boosters hope will be America’s next great energy boom: a push to tap the heat of the subterranean earth for electricity and industry. That technology, known as geothermal energy, has demonstrated the rare ability to unite the state’s warring political camps — and is fueling a boom in startups…

Youth voting organization looks to mobilize voters on Discord using AI chat-bot

Youth voting organization NextGen America is launching an effort to connect with potential voters in the gaming community by utilizing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot.  The new voter registration program aims to engage with the prospective electorate by leveraging the chatbot, dubbed “VOTE-E,” on Discord, an increasingly popular social platform that allows communities to organize around interests and interact over text chats and voice.  The…

Biden’s new plan for student-loan forgiveness is entering its next key stage — and millions of borrowers will have a...

President Joe Biden. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images Biden released the draft text for his new student-loan forgiveness plan. Borrowers will have a 30-day public comment period to provide feedback on the proposals. The Education Department aims to begin implementing the relief as early as this fall. Millions of student-loan borrowers are moving closer to President Joe Biden’s new plan for debt cancellation. On Tuesday,…

Iran’s attack on Israel built on lessons from Russia’s war in Ukraine

Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel showed that the Islamic Republic has learned key lessons from Russia’s war in Ukraine, employing a strategy to overwhelm air defenses with a layered assault including swarms of drones and missiles traveling faster than the speed-of-sound. For Ukraine and its supporters, the attack further demonstrated the dangerous link between Moscow and Tehran and, in their view, should strengthen…

Geothermal could revolutionize American energy. Will polarization threaten its rise?

A new form of zero-carbon, on-demand energy could help bring stability to the grid with support on both sides of the aisle — if the diverse coalition now backing it can hold together despite clashing over politics and climate action. Geothermal energy, which taps the heat of the Earth for industrial purposes or to generate electricity, represents a happy medium between Republicans’ energy security demands and Democrats’…

‘Permanent contraception procedures’ soared after Dobbs decision: Research

Rates of people seeking permanent contraception spiked after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, new research shows.   Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University looked at rates of tubal ligations and vasectomies among 18- to 30-year-olds between 2019 and 2022 using the TriNetX platform and compared them with 2022 to 2023 rates.   That platform largely gathers data from…

US restricts travel for personnel in Israel amid rising fears of Iran attack

The State Department has issued updated security warnings for U.S. government employees in Israel, amid warnings that Iran is expected to launch a retaliatory attack on the country. The U.S. Embassy in Israel on Thursday issued a security alert restricting American employees and their family members from personal travel outside of the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the southern city of Be’er Sheva “until…

McConnell: Failure to pass Ukraine aid ‘strategic and moral malpractice’

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is stepping up his pressure on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to put the Senate-passed foreign aid bill up for a vote in the House, warning Wednesday that “starving” Ukraine of military support is “strategic and moral malpractice.” McConnell told a radio host in Louisville recently that despite plans to retire from Senate leadership, he intends to stay in the…

Trump knocks Pence after abortion policy criticism

Former President Trump went after former Vice President Mike Pence early Wednesday for criticizing his recent comments on abortion. “Former Vice President (thank you President Trump!) Mike Pence has been doing a lot of talking about Abortion lately,” Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for the White House, wrote early Wednesday on Truth Social. “He never felt I would be able to kill Roe v Wade…

Trump appointees barred EPA staff from warning Senate about ‘forever chemical’ loophole: Internal staff messages

Trump administration officials barred experts from warning legislators that they were about to write a major environmental loophole into law, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staffers alleged in newly revealed internal communications.   The loophole, arising from a clause in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), enabled many companies to avoid disclosing releases of toxic “forever chemicals” to the EPA.  Internal EPA correspondence obtained by…

European court rules nations must protect citizens from effects of climate change

Europe’s Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that the Swiss government violated a duty to address the effects of climate change on its citizens, a decision that could have major impacts for other European nations. The court sided with a group of more than 2,000 Swiss women, most of them 70 or older. The KlimaSeniorinnen, or Climate Seniors, argued that as senior women they are…

McConnell: TikTok threatens security ‘on US soil’

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Monday endorsed an effort to require the Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban of the popular app within the United States, warning that Chinese ownership poses a serious national security threat. “America’s greatest strategic rival is threatening our security right here on U.S. soil… in tens of millions of American homes. I’m speaking, of…

Gen Zers, take note: Some boomers have found a simple path to happiness

Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images The World Happiness Report found happiness among young people in North America declined. Older adults in the US had higher happiness levels, even though they had fewer social interactions. It could demonstrate the importance of fewer, but more meaningful, friendships.  There might not be one true key to happiness — but some older Americans have found solutions to help them get there….

Speaker Johnson urges competing factions to back House’s FISA bill

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is pitching colleagues on the chamber’s latest proposal to extend the nation’s warrantless surveillance powers, warning of urgent deadlines and a risk of Senate intervention. The Reforming Intelligence and Surveillance Act unveiled Friday would extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the government to spy on noncitizens located abroad. Johnson sold the legislation as a reform…

Outgoing DHS lawyer calls to up security ahead of ‘next Jan. 6’

A departing top lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who also counseled the House Jan. 6 committee warned of the need to bolster security ahead of the upcoming election to ensure a coordinated response to the “next Jan. 6.” Joseph Maher, DHS’s principal deputy general counsel, has left the department to become a partner at Nixon Peabody, where he will advise clients both…

Severe weather threat shifts to East Coast

A spring storm system that brought heavy rain, wind, snow and tornadoes across several states Tuesday is now making its way to the East Coast, putting potentially millions more in the path of severe weather. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a bulletin Wednesday that residents from the Great Lakes region, New York, New England and the mid-Atlantic region could all be affected through Friday….

Palestinian-American doctor walks out of White House meeting over handling of Gaza war

Thaer Ahmad, a Palestinian American doctor, said he walked out of a meeting at the White House Tuesday evening over President Biden’s handling of war in Gaza. Ahmad, an emergency medicine physician who worked in Gaza in January, said he showed up to a stakeholder meeting at the White House, which was set up in place of a Ramadan celebration. Attendees insisted that there shouldn’t…

Virginia Democrat slams proposal to name airport after Trump: ‘I’d suggest they find a federal prison’

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) on Tuesday criticized a recently-introduced GOP bill that would rename Washington Dulles International Airport after former President Trump. “Donald Trump is facing 91 felony charges,” Connolly, whose district includes a portion of Dulles, said in a statement. “If Republicans want to name something after him, I’d suggest they find a federal prison.”  Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) introduced the bill Friday proposing…

Russian journalist who covered Navalny’s trial jailed in Moscow on extremism

Antonina Favorskaya, a Russian journalist that covered the trial of late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, has been jailed in Moscow on extremism charges. Favorskaya, identified also as Antonina Kravtsova, was ordered by a Moscow court Friday to remain in custody pending an investigation and trial until at least May 28, The Associated Press reported. Mediazona, an independent news site, reported that the journalist and…

Russian veto halts UN monitoring of North Korea nuclear sanctions

Russia this week vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts tasked with monitoring the enforcement of U.N. sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.  Thirteen U.N. Security Council members voted in favor of extending the panel’s mandate for an additional year, while China abstained.  North Korea has been under sanctions for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006…

Thousands of student-loan borrowers got their debt wiped through a new repayment reform. 11 GOP states just filed a lawsuit...

President Joe Biden listens during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House on October 23, 2023. Anna Moneymaker Eleven GOP state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block the SAVE income-driven repayment plan. They argued that the shortened timeline for debt relief through the plan is unconstitutional. An Education Department official said Congress allows the authority to set terms for…

Battle heats up over proposed federal funding for Baltimore bridge

The battle over Congress’ role in repairing a landmark bridge in Baltimore is already heating up on Capitol Hill, just days after it collapsed. President Biden on Tuesday vowed that the federal government would cover the massive cost of rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major artery feeding the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the country. The bridge was…

Breyer predicts Supreme Court will see ‘more and more and more’ abortion-related cases

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer predicted Wednesday that the high court will see a jump in abortion-related cases in the future. Breyer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the “harmful” decision in 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade — ending the federal right to abortion access — would not reduce the number of abortion-related cases brought before the high court. He added that he and other liberal…

Climate change endangers 70 percent of world’s wine regions: Study

Rising global temperatures could decimate global wine production over the new few decades, according to a new study published Tuesday in the science journal Nature. Researchers estimated that as much as 70 percent of the world’s suitable regions for wine will become too warm this century, including as much as 90 percent of wine’s best traditional regions in Spain, Italy, Greece and Southern California. Increasing…

A $0 monthly student-loan payment could hurt some borrowers in the long term. An upcoming policy could change that.

Silhouette of college graduate Getty Images A Philadelphia Federal Reserve paper examined $0 monthly student-loan payments on income-driven payment plans. It found that while $0 payments can help borrowers in the short-term, it might not be as benefical down the road. That’s likely because those borrowers become disconnected from the system and do not recertify their incomes. A $0 monthly student-loan payment might only help…

13 activists arrested ahead of Supreme Court abortion pill hearing

Thirteen activists were arrested Tuesday morning outside the Supreme Court, ahead of oral arguments in a case that could dramatically limit access to mifepristone, a widely used abortion pill. At approximately 8:45 a.m. EDT, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) arrested 13 people who, a police spokesperson said in a statement, were “illegally blocking roads and then a walkway.” The spokesperson added that USCP officers warned the…

Use of abortion pills for self-managed abortion spiked sharply post-Roe: Research

The number of abortion pills obtained outside the traditional U.S. health care system spiked considerably in the months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to new data.  There were nearly 28,000 additional doses of pills for “self-managed” abortions in the six months after the fall of Roe, more than four times the number of pills per month that were reported before the…

Trump signals Cuban regime could ‘be changed’ if he’s reelected

Former President Trump signaled that the leadership in Cuba could “be changed” if he’s reelected in November. “I want to express my admiration and support for all of the brave people of Cuba, who are standing up against the vile communist regime,” Trump said in a video posted Friday to Truth Social. “It’s not easy and we appreciate it and it’s gonna be changed.” “Under…

Some parents and high school seniors are running low on time to figure out how they’ll pay for college as...

University of Pennsylvania campus. Jon Lovette/Getty Images The Education Department has started sending students’ FAFSA forms to colleges. The process is months later than usual this year, leaving students and colleges with limited time to evaluate financial aid packages. There’s already been a decline in forms submitted compared to last year. It’s no secret that college is expensive — and parents need time to figure…