President Biden says he’s reached a deal with senators on a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill that would significantly roll back the White House’s original $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan. Biden’s announcement capped bipartisan talks led by Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio.
President Joe Biden: “I clearly didn’t get all I wanted. They gave more than, I think, maybe they were inclined to give in the first place. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress. We actually worked with one another. We had bipartisan deals. Bipartisan deals means compromise.”
The White House says the emerging deal does not include any new taxes. It would see the U.S. spend $579 billion on new infrastructure over five years, with some $300 billion going to transportation and $100 billion earmarked for roads, bridges and other “major projects.” It does not include funding for major programs championed by progressives, including investments in green energy jobs and funds to combat the climate crisis.
Top Democrats, including President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, say they won’t support a compromise infrastructure bill unless senators first pass a reconciliation bill containing Democratic priorities.
The Biden administration is backing the Trump administration’s approval of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. On Wednesday, the Justice Department argued in a legal filing that an Army Corps of Engineers permitting process followed its legal obligations to consider the pipeline’s environmental impacts. If completed, Line 3 would carry more than 750,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil a day across Indigenous land and fragile ecosystems.
Anishinaabe activist Winona LaDuke responded in a statement, “This is a racist pipeline project forced down the throats of our people, an ecological time bomb and a giveaway to a Canadian multinational oil interest. If the president is genuine in his pledge to take climate justice and tribal rights seriously, his administration must stop defending the Trump administration’s decision and undertake a genuine analysis of Line 3’s environmental and human impacts.” Click here to see our full interview with her.
Meanwhile, protests and direct actions against Line 3 continue in northern Minnesota. This week, water protectors locked themselves to a horizontal drill Enbridge is using to bore under the Straight River. One water protector barricaded themselves inside the drill operating vehicle.
An unprecedented heat wave fueled by the climate crisis is set to bring dangerously high record temperatures to the Pacific Northwest. Seattle will be hotter than Miami this weekend, with forecasters predicting it could reach 106 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday. Portland, Oregon, could see a record-shattering 113 degrees. In Canada, Vancouver Island is expected to break all-time record highs that, in turn, were broken last Monday.
The National Interagency Fire Center warns surging demand for firefighters and equipment could soon outstrip fire crews’ ability to battle blazes, as an unprecedented drought worsens in the western United States. The federal fire agency says nearly 9,000 firefighters are currently battling 47 large conflagrations. There have been over 29,000 wildfires across the U.S. so far this year, about 4,000 more than would be expected at this point in an average year.
The European Parliament has voted in favor of a landmark climate law that commits the EU to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This is Swedish lawmaker Jytte Guteland.
Jytte Guteland: “Today is a historic day. Today we will enshrine into law that EU, which started as a coal and steel union more than 70 years ago, will become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 at the latest.”
But climate activists say the law doesn’t go nearly far enough. A statement from a bloc of Green Party lawmakers said, “[It] is simply not enough to limit global temperature rise to 2-degrees-Celsius, let alone the 1.5-degrees-Celsius that climate scientists say we need to achieve. … What’s on the table now are half-measures and broken promises.”
In Madagascar, the U.N.’s World Food Programme warns the climate crisis has pushed over 1 million people “to the very edge of starvation” as the country has seen a series of severe droughts. David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme, noted Madagascar has not contributed to the global climate disaster yet is suffering some of its most devastating effects. This is Tamaria, describing how her family has been surviving the drought.
Tamaria: “In the morning, I prepare this plate of insects. I clean them up as best as I can, given the near-total absence of water. It’s been eight months that my children and I have been eating this plant every day, and exclusively, because we have nothing else to eat and no rain to allow us to harvest what we have sown.”
In Canada, at least 751 unmarked graves have been found at a former boarding school for First Nations children in Saskatchewan. The graves were found near the site of the now-demolished Marieval Indian Residential School. This is Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme speaking at a press conference Thursday.
Cadmus Delorme: “We all must put down our ignorance and accidental racism of not addressing the truth that this country has with Indigenous people. We are not asking for pity, but we are asking for understanding. … We didn’t remove these headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. And we are treating this like a crime scene at the moment.”
The graves were found just weeks after the bodies of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia were discovered. Some 150,000 Indigenous children attended Canadian government-funded boarding schools, which were established in the 19th century and run by the Catholic Church. Many children were ripped from their families and sent to the schools, which were found to be rife with abuse and neglect. Canada’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the schools were committing “cultural genocide.” Public pressure is now mounting to hold the Catholic Church accountable for its atrocities and to remove monuments to Canadian leaders involved in the genocide of First Nations people.
The U.S. is banning the import of solar panel materials that are manufactured in Xinjiang, China, which the U.S. says is made by forced labor of the Muslim Uyghur minority. The U.S. added five companies to its import and export blacklist over the human rights concerns. China is the largest global provider of parts for solar power. Cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang are also prohibited following bans issued during the Trump administration.
In Florida, at least four people are dead and 99 others remain unaccounted for after a 12-story condominium near Miami Beach suddenly collapsed early Thursday morning. Rescue crews used dogs and earth-moving equipment to sift through the building’s wreckage, freeing dozens of survivors trapped beneath a massive pile of rubble. The high-rise apartment in the town of Surfside was built in 1981 and was undergoing a required 40-year recertification process. It was due to undergo repairs for rusted steel and damaged concrete. It’s not known if saltwater corrosion or neglect played a role in its sudden collapse just after 1 a.m. on Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will create a select committee to investigate the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob incited by the former president and his allies. Pelosi moved to create the panel four weeks after Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked a bill to create an independent bipartisan commission on the Capitol insurrection.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Again, January 6th was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. I’ve said it now three times. It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all.”
In Michigan, a Republican-led state Senate committee has published a report systematically debunking claims of voter fraud made by former President Trump and his allies in the Republican Party. The 55-page document concludes there was “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in the 2020 election and discredits conspiracy theories advanced by Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that hundreds of dead people voted, that voting machines were hacked or that hundreds of thousands of illegal votes were cast. However, the Michigan Senate committee’s Republicans used the report to promote voting changes that would make it harder for people to vote by absentee ballot.
A New York state court has temporarily suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license, citing his lies about the 2020 election. The court found there is “uncontroverted evidence that [Giuliani] communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign.” Giuliani railed against the court’s ruling on Thursday.
Rudy Giuliani: “I mean, I might as well be in Iran or East Germany before the change. This is a — this is a one-sided decision.”
In Minneapolis, a judge is delivering the sentence today for former police officer and convicted murderer Derek Chauvin. Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence. Chauvin was convicted in April of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death sparked a national and global uprising against police violence and racism.
The U.N. warns the pandemic has increased the vulnerability of children in conflict zones, who are at heightened risk of abduction, recruitment to fight and sexual violence. In 2020, at least 8,400 children were killed or harmed in wars. Save the Children said the U.N. report left out many perpetrators of grave violations against children, including Ethiopia, Israel and the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen, which killed 200 children last year.