Senate Passes Respect for Marriage Act

The Senate on Tuesday evening passed the Respect for Marriage Act to require that states recognize lawful marriages from other states while providing protections for religious liberty.

The bill passed with crossover support from Republicans, allowing it to clear the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. It will now move to the House of Representatives, which previously passed a similar package. The final count was 61-36.

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Ohio Lawmakers Prepare for the First Week of Lame-Duck Session

After taking a break over the summer and part of the fall for the general election, lawmakers are returning to the Ohio Statehouse to consider many different bills before the two-year session of this general assembly ends in December.

The committees and floor votes which occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, work to conclude urgent or unfinished bills that lawmakers have introduced. Once the session ends, lawmakers will either overlook or reject the bills and legislators, returning incumbents, and newly-elected officials will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

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Commentary: Democrats Face Historic Headwinds in Tuesday’s Midterm Elections

Regardless of all that wispy smoke Democrats and their allies in the news media are blowing, key polls suggest Republicans are still likely to win back control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections and have a better than even chance to take over the Senate.

Historically, one of the strongest indicators – perhaps the strongest indicator – of how a party will do in midterm elections is the job approval rating of the incumbent president. Parties of presidents who are down in the polls usually lose congressional seats. Parties of presidents up in the polls generally gain seats in the midterms.

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Democrat Tim Ryan Now Says He’s in Favor of Ohio State Issues 1 and 2

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) now says he is planning to vote “yes” for State Issues 1 and 2 making him the fourth and last leading statewide Ohio candidate to do so.

When asked previously about the state issues Ryan stated he had not “read them” and intends to “dig into them before I make a decision.” Vance has endorsed both state issues, calling them “common sense.” Republican Governor Mike DeWine and his Democratic contender Nan Whaley have also said they will vote for both ballot initiatives.

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Ohio Voters May Be in New House, Senate, and Congressional Districts Due to Redistricting

Ohio’s journey to develop maps for the legislative and congressional voting districts has put many voters in new Ohio House, Senate, and Congressional districts for the upcoming election.

When voters go to the polls next week they may notice that they have different lawmakers representing them at the Statehouse and in Washington.

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Ohio’s U.S. Senate Race in Virtual Dead Heat

Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and Republican control of at least one Ohio U.S. Senate seat remains a tossup as the Nov. 8 general election creeps closer.

The most recent Suffolk University and USA Today poll shows Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance in a dead heat, keeping with poll numbers from a variety of organizations over the past month.

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Proposed Ohio House Bill Looks to Eliminate ‘Third Grade Reading Guarantee’

House Bill 497 sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Phil Robinson (D- Solon) would eliminate student retention under Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.

Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee is a program utilized to identify students who are behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade. Since the 2013-14 school year, third graders must obtain a 685 score or higher on a standardized reading test or they will be held back a grade.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Expand Paid Parental Leave for State Employees

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 360, aims to increase paid parental leave for state employees.

State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the bill which would extend paid parental leave for state employees from six weeks to twelve weeks for parents of newborn or adopted children. This bill would also eliminate the waiting period of two- weeks which is required prior to accessing paid parental leave.

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Herschel Walker Down 12 Points in Latest Georgia Senate Poll

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker trails incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia by double digits amidst a scandal over him allegedly paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, per a new poll released on Wednesday.

Walker polled 38% support compared to 50% for Warnock, according to SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll for 11Alive News in Atlanta. Should Warnock gain even one vote more than 50% in November’s election, it would be enough to beat Walker outright and avoid a runoff election against him later in the year.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Address Teacher Shortage by Employing Veterans

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 361, aims to address the current teacher shortage by allowing veterans to become teachers without having a background in education provided they pass a particular set of criteria set forth in the bill.

State Senator Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) sponsored the bill, which allows a veteran to become an educator by completing four years of service, being honorably discharged, or receiving a medical separation.

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Florida Senator: Republicans Will Take Back U.S. Senate in November

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., says he believes the Republican Party will take back the Senate in November.

Scott told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “My effort right now is on the hurricane relief for this hurricane, but absolutely I think we’re at 52 seats-plus. If you look at Biden’s numbers, they’re really bad. People have rejected the Biden agenda. We have great candidates. The Democrats have to defend what Biden has done.”]

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Herschel Walker Denies ‘In Strongest Possible Terms’ Paying for Abortion, in Report Threatening Senate Bid

Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker says he will file a defamation suit Tuesday morning against a news outlet for its report that he paid for a woman’s abortion over 10 years ago – an allegation he says he denies in “the strongest possible terms.”

The report was published Monday by the Daily Beast, based on an allegation from an ex-girlfriend and could have a major impact on Walker, who’s a strong anti-abortion candidate, and his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock. 

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Bill Clinton Warns Democrats Not to Let ‘Defund the Police and Socialism’ Hurt Them This Election

Former President Bill Clinton warned the Democratic Party that it shouldn’t let “defund the police and socialism” damage their chances of winning the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton was asked how the U.S. should handle existing threats to its democracy.

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New Ohio Senate Bill Aims to Make ‘Swatting’ a Felony

In response to 8 Ohio schools going into lock down on Friday, due to an internet hoax that sent false reports about active shooters on their campuses, additional support has been gathered for Senator Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) bill (SB292) to stop ‘swatting’ and making fake emergency calls a felony in the state.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘swatting’ is: to make a false report of an ongoing serious crime in order to elicit a response from law enforcement (such as the dispatch of a SWAT unit)

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Senate Delays Vote on National Same-Sex Marriage Bill Until After Midterms

A highly contentious vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level has been put on hold until after the November midterms, as the legislation struggles to garner 60 votes in support.

Politico reports that the bipartisan group of senators working on the bill, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, made their announcement on Thursday. They had previously been considering a vote on the legislation as soon as Monday of next week, but determined that they could not garner enough Republican support to overcome a possible filibuster that would kill the legislation.

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91 Percent of Warnock’s Staff Could Be Eligible to Receive Up to $490,000 in Loan Forgiveness

The vast majority of Hill staff could fall under President Joe Biden’s qualification threshold for his loan forgiveness plan, making them eligible to receive a minimum of $10,000 in debt repayment. According to salary data, nearly 91% of Sen. Raphael Warnock’s staff could qualify.

This percentage is merely an estimation as there are several unknown factors, including whether or not the staffers went to college, if they took out loans, if they still have loans or if they had a full-ride scholarship, as well as the total household income of Hill staffers.

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Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn Lambaste Passage of ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ Warn Higher Prices, Taxes are Coming

U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) criticized President Joe Biden and their Democrat colleagues on the passage of the $740 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” Sunday. As expected, no Republicans supported the measure, and so by a 51 to 50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote.

The Inflation Reduction Act, described by Forbes as “a slimmed-down version of the Build Back Better bill,” allows the government to control the price of prescription medications, contains funding for fighting climate change, would implement larger taxes for wealthy corporations, expand the IRS by some 87,000 agents, and more more.

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Republican Senators, Manchin Revive Trump-Era Energy Reform

The Senate voted to reinstate rules helping expedite the construction of energy infrastructure that persisted under former President Donald Trump, eliminating a final rule that was previously imposed by the Biden administration.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a united Republican caucus to pass a Resolution of Disapproval in a 50-47 vote by using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the Biden administration’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, according to Senate logs. The move will accelerate federal permitting for the development of crucial future energy, mining, and infrastructure projects.

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Senate Approves Sweden and Finland’s NATO Entry

The United States Senate voted to approve a treaty to allow Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.

The treaty received bipartisan support and was passed with 95-1 votes in favor of expanding NATO, The New York Times reported. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced their support for the ratification of the treaty and the growth of the organization.

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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Faces Uncertain Future in the Senate

The U.S. House passed a bill to codify same-sex marriage late Tuesday, but whether it will pass the Senate remains up in the air.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” passed the House 267-157 with 47 Republicans voting in favor. The legislation would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. That law has been largely gutted by the Supreme Court but still remains on the books.

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GOP Leaders Call for Public Hearing on Connecticut Health Care Costs

A public hearing pertaining to rising health care costs is the focus of a new call from Connecticut’s Senate and House leadership.

Republican legislative leaders in both chambers renewed a call for a public hearing to be held at the Capitol that would focus on proposed health insurance rate filings next year for individual and small group markets.

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Legislation Could Create Licensure Reciprocity in Ohio

Ohio moved a step closer to recognizing business licenses from other states, which could help with an ongoing labor shortage, a Columbus-based policy group believes.

The House and Senate each passed versions of bills that would adopt universal occupational license recognition before the summer recess, a move The Buckeye Institute believes will make the state more attractive to newcomers and allow employers more options to fill open spots.

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Arizona Senate Race a Dead Heat, Poll Shows

The U.S. Senate race in Arizona this year is a tossup, an Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights shows.

Arizona voters have a split opinion of incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly; he has a 50% approval rating, including a 49% approval rating from self-described independents. Meanwhile, 39% disapprove of Kelly.

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Florida Senate, House Pass Legislation to Stabilize Florida’s Property Insurance Market

Within days of the special legislative session starting this week, both chambers passed bills to reform property insurance and to increase condominium safety.

Lawmakers passed two bills, Senate Bill 2D, Property Insurance, and Senate Bill 4D, Building Safety. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed them both Thursday.

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Georgia Bill Requires Superior Court Judge to Grant Bail in Human Trafficking Cases

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation to keep defendants facing human trafficking charges from immediately returning to the streets after their arrest.

Senate Bill 461 adds human trafficking to the list of violent and sexual offenses that require a Superior Court judge to grant bail. The list also includes treason, rape, murder and aircraft hijacking.

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Senate Confirms Biden’s ‘Radical’ FTC Pick Criticized for Anti-ICE Stance

The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee Alvaro Bedoya to the empty fifth seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The 50-50 Senate vote was broken with a tie breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris, and gives Democrats a 3-2 advantage at the FTC. Bedoya, who is professor at Georgetown Law, was previously criticized by Senate Republicans for his past comments on social media and in other outlets opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after President Joe Biden announced his nomination.

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Rand Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.

According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.

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Tennessee Lawmakers Approve Sales Tax Deal for New Chattanooga Lookouts Stadium

State sales tax funding for a new baseball stadium in Chattanooga was passed in the last week of Tennessee’s legislative session.

House Bill 2609 was approved 79-11 by the House and 28-0 in the Senate. It would allow the Chattanooga Lookouts to move to a new stadium in the city and retain a sales tax deal where the Lookouts keep the first 5.5% of the state’s 7% sales tax for sales at the stadium and would extend the deal to apply to non-baseball events at the stadium.

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Minnesota House and Senate Pass $25 Million Broadband Expansion Bill

It will cost Minnesota taxpayers $25 million in fiscal year 2023 to expand high-speed broadband access across the state if the governor signs a bill both legislative houses passed this week.

HF 4366, an omnibus agriculture and housing bill, includes increasing availability of grant funding for broadband from 50% to 75% of the total cost of a project, or up to $10 million, rather than a $5 million limit. Under the bill, the Office of Broadband Development must report to broadband policy and finance committees’ leaders by the end of 2022 how the bill changes the number and amounts of grants awarded.

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Carbon Reduction Bill for Connecticut’s Electric Grid Awaits Governor’s Signature

A plan to phase the Connecticut’s electric grid to zero-carbon status by 2024 is the focus of a bill that now awaits Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature.

The governor announced Senate Bill 10 focuses on a reduction on carbon emissions, which was established through an executive order in 2019, that allows state policymakers and companies in the electric sector to fully transition the grid away from natural gas and oil.

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Americans Support Trump’s China Tariffs as Republican Senators Push to Remove Them

As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.

“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”

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Tennessee Senate Passes Amended Campaign Finance Reporting Bill

Tennessee’s Senate passed a bill on Thursday that could require more reporting requirements for political action committees (PAC), candidates and some nonprofits.

An amended Senate Bill 1005 could require any PAC registering after July 1 to include a name and address from an ID for its officers if it becomes law.

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Arizona GOP Senate, Gubernatorial Primaries Remain Tight, Poll Shows

No one is running away in the Arizona Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries just yet.

An Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights released this week shows that both primaries would be competitive if held this week and that many primary voters haven’t made up their minds.

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Tennessee Legislature Passes New Public School Funding Formula

A bill that will change the funding mechanism for Tennessee’s public schools passed the Legislature on the final day of session on Thursday.

Senate Bill 2396, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement, could set up a new formula for Tennessee’s schools to be funded beginning in the 2023-24 fiscal year.

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Democratic Virginia State Sen. Joe Morrissey Says He’ll Vote for Gov. Youngkin Massive Tax Cut

Live from Virginia Wednesday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820 / FM 92.7 – Richmond; WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia; WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 p.m.) Hampton Roads; WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke; and weekdays 6-10 a.m. and 24/7 stream –  host Fredericks welcomed State Senator of Petersburg, (D) Joe Morrissey to discuss Governor Glenn Youngkin’s pressure on Virginia House and Senate members to pass a budget.

Fredericks: Joining us now is State Senator, Petersburg Democrat Joe Morrissey. Joe, great to have you with us.

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Ohio House Passes Bill Aimed at Nuclear Power Development

“In recent years, there has been a global shift in attitudes toward the development of new nuclear technologies to deploy scalable clean energy,” Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, said. “This legislation will bring Ohio to the forefront of advanced nuclear innovation and strengthen our domestic supply chains. This legislation is a proactive measure to tell the federal government Ohio is here to be a solution to find a clean, carbon-free energy source.”

The new authority, according to a news release, would be responsible for the development of advanced nuclear reactor commercialization, isotope production and nuclear waste reduction.

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GOP Sen. Collins Says She’ll Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she’ll will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, guaranteeing President Biden’s judicial nominee at least a slim path toward confirmation.

Jackson will need 51 votes in final Senate vote – with the chamber evenly split among 50 Democrats and 50 Republican. With no GOP support, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the decisive, tiebreaker vote.

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Georgia Senate Signs Off on Fiscal 2023 Budget

Georgia State Capitol

The Georgia Senate has signed off on a fiscal year 2023 state budget that increases spending by 10.8% over last year.

The Senate voted 56-0 in favor of an amended House Bill 911, a more than $30 billion spending plan that includes pay raises for many state employees and largely returns spending to pre-COVID-19-pandemic spending levels.

The budget proposal includes pay raises for certified teachers and other school workers, including nutrition workers, bus drivers and school nurses. It also increases funding for law enforcement, including for the Georgia Department of Public Safety to hire state troopers and expand crisis intervention training for officers across the Peach State.

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All-Star Panelist and Senior Editor-at-Large for The Epoch Times Roger Simon Visits Cordell Hull to Watch How the Sausage Is Made

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Senior Editor at Large for The Epoch Times, Roger Simon in-studio to describe his recent visit to the Tennessee State Capitol.

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St. Paul-Based Corporation Matched Donations to Minnesota Freedom Fund

A St. Paul-based corporation encouraged its employees to donate money to a nonprofit that has bailed out countless violent criminals.

In an email to Alpha News, a spokesperson with Ecolab confirmed that the Ecolab Foundation provided a 50% match for employee donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

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Virginia Democrats Encourage House GOP to Back Felon Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment

Virginia House and Senate Democrats are urging House Republicans to support resolutions to allow voters to decide the fate of two proposed constitutional amendments: the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons and same-sex marriage rights.

To adopt a constitutional amendment, both chambers of the General Assembly must pass two identical resolutions two years in a row, with a House of Delegates election in between those years. If approved in the Legislature, the proposed amendment would appear on the general ballot during the fall elections. If supported by the majority of voters, the proposed amendment would be adopted.

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Arizona Senate Study Estimates 200K Ballots Counted in 2020 with Mismatched Signatures

Astudy of Maricopa County’s mail ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimates that more than 200,000 ballots with mismatched signatures were counted without being reviewed, or “cured” — more than eight times the 25,000 signature mismatches requiring curing acknowledged by the county.

Commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, the signature verification pilot study was conducted by Shiva Ayyadurai’s Election Systems Integrity Institute, which released its final report to the public on Tuesday. Ayyadurai is an engineer and entrpreneur with four degrees from MIT who bills himself as the inventor of email, a claim which critics have alleged is exaggerated.

Of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots that Maricopa County received and counted in the 2020 presidential election, the county reported that 25,000, or 1.3%, had signature mismatches that required curing, but only 587 (2.3%) of those were confirmed mismatched signatures.

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Postal Service Legislative ‘Fix’ Will Dump Workers on Medicare

A bill to “fix” the troubled United States Post Office (USPS) is on the verge of passage in the Senate but does it solve more problems than it creates? The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 3076 was scheduled for a vote earlier this month but was blocked by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) on a procedural technicality.  “We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott said of the bill.

Now it’s back and on track for a vote in the Senate.

The biggest financial liability facing the USPS is the legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance for its workers. Congress has found a way around that by dumping the future postal workers on to Medicare.

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Two Key Senate Races Moved in GOP’s Direction by Noted Election Handicapper Cook Political Report

Richard Burr and Michael Bennet

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted its forecasts for two 2022 Senate races in the direction of Republicans.

The report moved the North Carolina Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr moved from “toss-up” to “likely Republican.” And moved the Colorado Senate race, in which Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet is seeking a third term, from “solid Democrat” into the “likely Democrat” catagory.

The North Carolina GOP primary is now a competitive race between former President Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker, with (with Budd and McCrory currently deadlocked).

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Democrats, Environmentalists Stay Silent on U.S. Energy Independence Amid Ukraine Crisis

Democrats and environmental groups were silent when asked about the importance of U.S. energy independence in light of the energy market volatility caused by the Ukraine crisis.

Several Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who hold leadership roles on committees or subcommittees tasked with overseeing energy policy ignored requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday about the importance of promoting U.S. energy independence. In addition, five major environmental groups chose not to address the issue or stayed silent when asked about the issue.

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Michigan Governor Whitmer Signs into Law Savings Program for ‘First-Time’ Homebuyers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed into law two bills ostensibly aimed at assisting first-time homebuyers.

House Bill 4290 and Senate Bill 145 will allow first-time homebuyers to save down payments and closing costs tax-free. The bills establish the Michigan First-Time Home Buyer Savings Program within the state’s Department of Treasury.

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