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Thursday, Dec 08th

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Obama vetoes anti-climate change measures passed by Congress

obamaPresident Barack Obama has vetoed two measures that would have blocked steps that his administration is taking to address climate change.

One would have nullified carbon pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The second would have voided a set of national standards designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants.

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Pelosi unsure omnibus can pass

PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she’s unsure whether the $1.1 trillion year-end government spending bill will pass the House — despite support from President Obama and congressional leaders in both parties and chambers.

Asked if she's “confident” the package will win enough Democratic votes to move through the lower chamber, Pelosi didn't pause for a second.

“No,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “We're talking it through.”

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Dem senators call on Pentagon for transparency on child sex abuse

Dem Senators want probe into miitary chile abuseThree female Democratic senators are pushing the Pentagon for more transparency on child sex abuse cases in the military, following a recent report highlighting the prevalence of such cases.  

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) sent Defense Secretary Ashton Carter a letter Tuesday urging him to reform the military judicial system "so that it is transparent and accountable."

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Ex-Benghazi investigator alleges Rep. Gowdy violated federal law

gowdt broke lawsThe legal battle between the House Benghazi Committee and its former investigator, Todd Podliska, escalated Monday afternoon, when Podliska’s lawyers alleged that Chairman Trey Gowdy violated government confidentiality rules and federal law in responding to allegations made by Podliska.

“Both Representative Gowdy and the committee have clearly violated terms of the confidentiality agreement and the Congressional Accountability Act,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, one of Podliska’s attorneys, to MSNBC on Monday afternoon.

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Evidence comes under attack: How Congress is quietly killing one of the best ideas in government.

Evidence under attack“Every man has a right to his own opinion,” investor Bernard Baruch said in 1950, “but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

Politicians are, of course, sometimes wrong on the facts, but the federal government is actually making significant progress to bring hard evidence into the policymaking process. It might sound obvious, but it’s actually one of the most promising ideas in governance: “evidence-based policymaking,” the use of credible research to drive public policy, and independent evaluation to decide which government programs work, and which don’t.

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Obama signs Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness bill

Boulder wilderness billLess than three days after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill approving the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains area for wilderness designation, President Barack Obama has signed the bill into law, ending a 40-year effort.

Obama signed the Senate's approval of H.R. 1138, the “Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act,” which designates three new wilderness areas (encompassing about 275,665 acres) in Idaho as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System; releases four wilderness study areas so that the land would be managed for multiple-use activities; and provides for several land conveyances in Idaho.

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Meryl Streep asks Congress to revive ERA

Meryl StreepNo actor or actress can match Meryl Streep's 19 Academy Award nominations, and only Katharine Hepburn has bested her three Oscars for acting. So maybe it's conceivable that Streep's letter Tuesday to each member of Congress can somehow revive the Equal Rights Amendment, politically dormant since its high-water mark four decades ago.

"I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality - for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself - by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment," Streep writes. Each packet includes a copy of "Equal Means Equal," a book by Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition.

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