Here’s your weekly quick look at few developing stories in the political arena:
- The Obama Administration on Monday announced a plan that will try to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30% by, and could also help speed up our country’s shift away from coal. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs.” This controversial Environmental Protection Agency plan is President Obama’s largest climate change effort so far and could help other countries such as China follow suit. The rule will not take effect for at least two more years. Environmental groups welcomed the proposal, citing both its climate and public health benefits. Opponents of it say it will cost jobs and raise prices on electricity.
- Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the White House apologized for not providing Congress with 30 days’ notice, as is required by law, before transferring five Guantanamo detainees in the recent swap for prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl. Feinstein said, “It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust to justify alerting us to that.” The five-for-one trade has created an uproar, with critics of the exchange believing the U.S. received the short end of the deal, partly because of questions revolving around Bergdahl’s initial capture. Some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers have accused him of desertion. President Obama said he had no regrets about the decision, stating “I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get a young man back to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child–and we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.”
- A pair of bipartisan senators announced a deal on Thursday to help reform the Veteran’s Affairs health system. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt & John McCain, R-Ariz. came up with a plan that would give the secretary of veterans affairs greater freedom to fire employees of the department who are accused of misconduct. Sanders said, “When you have incompetent people in the VA or worse, dishonest people in the VA, they should be removed from their jobs immediately.” The bill would also start a program that would allow veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility to receive care from a private or non-profit hospital that are not part of the VA system. This proposed bill is the first action taken since the recent VA scandal broke.
- And finally, First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday announced a new initiative to help end veteran homelessness across the country by the end of. Mrs. Obama said, “When a veteran comes home kissing the ground, it is unacceptable that he should ever have to sleep on it.” The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness as it is called, calls on mayors and other state and local leaders across the country to take action to help make sure all veterans in their communities have a roof over their heads.