Wednesday, a U.S. district court judge in California slapped down the U.S. Department of the Interior’s attempts to roll back its own rule aimed at cutting the waste of natural gas, or methane, from wells and pipelines on federal and tribal lands. The Bureau of Land Management’s waste prevention rule limits routine flaring of natural gas from oil wells, calls for industry to modernize leak-detection technology and fix leaks that are found and prohibits venting natural gas directly into the atmosphere, except under certain circumstances. Flaring and venting are in some cases unavoidable, such as when new wells are being drilled or for safety purposes, and have been regulated since the late 1970s. With the new rule, BLM sought to tighten the waste of natural gas and also address greenhouse gas pollution. After Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suspended the rule, conservation groups sued.
Republican efforts in Congress to “repeal and replace” the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again. While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes — and there are 52 Senate Republicans.
After the Senate fell short in its effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is poised to use its regulatory powers to accomplish what lawmakers could not: shrink Medicaid. President Donald Trump’s top health officials could engineer lower enrollment in the state-federal health insurance program by approving applications from several GOP-controlled states eager to control fast-rising Medicaid budgets. Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Arizona and Wisconsin are seeking the administration’s permission to require adult enrollees to work, submit to drug testing and demand that some of their poorest recipients pay monthly premiums or get barred from the program. Maine plans to apply Tuesday. Other states would likely follow if the first ones get the go-ahead.
WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who interrupted brain cancer treatment to return to Capitol Hill and advance the health law repeal efforts, cast the dramatic and decisive “no” vote in the early morning hours that upended the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Senate struggled late into the night to craft and then vote on a “skinny repeal” of the health law, but came up empty as the bill was defeated in a 51-49 vote that prompted gasps in the chamber. McCain’s vote was unexpected and ends — for now — the Republican Party’s effort to kill Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) cast the two other Republican “no” votes in a cliffhanger drama that ended just before 2:00 a.m. Friday.
A new poll shows Hillary Clinton has a narrow lead over Donald Trump in New Mexico in the race for president—and that Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has an impressive showing. The poll, conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal, shows Democratic nominee Clinton holds a 35 percent to 31 percent lead over Republican nominee Trump among likely voters in New Mexico. Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, brings in 24 percent. This appears to be the best showing by Johnson in any state poll so far. Green Party nominee Jill Stein, meanwhile, gets the support of just two percent of likely voters.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson stopped on his way into a rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center to see the workings of a lowrider car with hydraulics Saturday afternoon. After he watched with awe, the most logical thing happened—the presidential candidate sat in the car as the front end jumped seven feet off the ground and lurched forward. The surrounding crowd cheered as Johnson pressed against the ceiling of the car. https://twitter.com/Anjreu/status/767070094526590976
Later, as he walked into a press conference, Johnson told NM Political Report he enjoyed himself but was still feeling the effects. “My teeth are still chattering,” Johnson said.
After months of largely being ignored for other, more relevant states in the presidential election process, New Mexico will spend a few days being essentially ground zero for presidential politics. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders brings his campaign to New Mexico today in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and heads south down I-25 to Vado on Saturday. Sanders is down in the polls, but hopes large victories in the remaining states will lead to enough superdelegates changing their allegiances from Clinton to Sanders. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will also appear in New Mexico—in fact at the same venue as Sanders—on Tuesday. The Republican candidate has drawn large rallies in cities throughout the country, sometimes with protests on a similar scale.
Gov. Susana Martinez is still quiet on if she will support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, but she will attend the convention dedicated to him this summer. Martinez said, as the head of the Republican Governor’s Association, she would attend this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. She was answering a question from an Associated Press reporter on Monday. The video is available at the bottom of this post. “It is my responsibility to also be part of the Republican convention,” she said.
For the first time since his own presidency, George H.W. Bush is planning to stay silent in the race for the Oval Office — and the younger former president Bush plans to stay silent as well. Bush 41, who enthusiastically endorsed every Republican nominee for the last five election cycles, will stay out of the campaign process this time. He does not have plans to endorse presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, spokesman Jim McGrath told The Texas Tribune. “At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics,” McGrath wrote in an email Wednesday. “He came out of retirement to do a few things for Jeb, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule.” His son Jeb Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential race in February.
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Gold King Mine spill that dumped waste from a mine into the Animas River. The spill ended up impacting three states as well as the Navajo Nation. U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and John McCain, R-Ariz., requested the hearing by the committee. Both sit on the committee and reached out to chairman John Barasso, R-Wyo., and ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., through a letter. The letter that Udall and McCain sent to the committee leadership is available at the bottom of this post, courtesy the Udall office.