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With new goal of cutting greenhouse gases in half, Biden will signal US is again fighting climate change

In this Feb. 1, photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo.
In this Feb. 1, photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

President Biden will announce Thursday that the United States intends to cut planet-warming emissions nearly in half by the end of the decade, which would require Americans to transform the way they drive, heat their homes, and manufacture goods.

The target, confirmed by three people briefed on the plan, is timed to a closely watched global summit Biden is hosting Thursday and Friday, which is aimed at sending a message the United States is rejoining international efforts to fight global warming after four years of climate-change denial from the Trump administration.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the US target, first reported by The Washington Post.

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The leaders of China, India, and nearly 40 other countries are expected to join Biden virtually, and the United States hopes the announcement will galvanize other nations to step up their own targets by the time nations gather again under United Nations auspices in November in Glasgow.

The new US goal nearly doubles the pledge the Obama administration made to cut emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, though the country would have five more years to achieve it, according to the people familiar with the target, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The 2030 target will be a range that will aim to cut emissions around 50 percent from 2005 levels. It will not include detailed modeling showing how the United States proposes to meet its pledge, an administration official said.

The goal is largely in line with what environmental groups and big businesses, including McDonald’s, Target and Google, have wanted. They and others argue that cutting emissions at least 50 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade is the only way to put the United States on a path to eliminating fossil fuel pollution by mid-century. — NEW YORK TIMES

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Pelosi’s comments that George Floyd sacrificed his life draw backlash

In comments made after Tuesday’s murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked George Floyd for “sacrificing your life for justice.”

“For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that — call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe,’ " she said in remarks at an event with the Congressional Black Caucus. “But because of you, and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

Her suggestion that Floyd had sacrificed himself drew a backlash online, where a clip of her words circulated Tuesday night and Wednesday. On Twitter, people reacted with shock and outrage.

“He did not SACRIFICE his life,” tweeted Barbara Ransby, an activist and University of Illinois professor. “His life was violently taken.”

Others made similar observations.

“Nancy Pelosi’s take is awful and tone deaf,” wrote screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer. “George Floyd didn’t ‘sacrifice’ his life. He was not a soldier who died in battle. He was an American citizen murdered by a cop.”

Pelosi later tweeted a quote from her comments, adding, “George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don’t suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act.” — WASHINGTON POST

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Congressman restarts effort to expel Georgia Republican from House

Democratic Representative Jimmy Gomez of California is reigniting his effort to garner more support for a resolution that would expel Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, from Congress after Republicans tried to censure a Democrat for inciting violence but stayed silent about a member of their own party.

In a Dear Colleague letter to all congressional offices, Gomez said Greene continues to represent “a threat,” given her “documented acts of sedition and advocacy for lethal violence against the United States Government.” He also cited the reported attempt by a group of Republicans to create an “America First Caucus” that, according to a document published by Punchbowl News, would promote “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” as a reason to remove Greene. She has denied having any knowledge of that document.

“From her open support for political violence against our colleagues to her brazen promotion of anti-Semitism and racism, there is no shortage of reasons as to why Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is unfit to serve in this legislative body,” Gomez wrote after citing numerous ways her comments had incited violence, including the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

The push came a day after Republicans tried but failed to censure Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, for comments they said could have incited violence by protesters in Minneapolis had the jury reached a not-guilty verdict in the case of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. Greene joined the chorus of Republicans condemning Waters this week but took it a step further by introducing her own resolution to expel Waters.

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Before the vote Tuesday, House majority leader Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, warned Republicans that if they moved forward with the vote, Democrats would be tempted “to proceed on numerous resolutions” proposed by members to censure Republicans who they say incited violence ahead of the Capitol insurrection. He also called it irresponsible to censure Waters over comments taken “out of context to just hold a gotcha partisan vote” when they have failed to do the same with Greene.

Gomez introduced the expulsion resolution in March but did not force an immediate vote, in hopes of rounding up more support. Only 72 other Democrats have signed on since, a number that falls short of the two-thirds of the House needed to remove a member from Congress.

A Gomez spokesman said the office had conversations with Republicans who have privately agreed with the resolution’s intent but would not sign on publicly due to potential retribution from leadership, Greene, or Republican supporters who could possibly put their lives in danger. Gomez has received threats since introducing the resolution, the spokesman said. — WASHINGTON POST

Senate narrowly confirms new associate attorney general

The Senate narrowly confirmed civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, voting 51 to 49, with only one Republican breaking ranks.

Earlier in the day, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, broke with her party to support moving forward with the nomination for the number three position at the Justice Department. She later did the same on the confirmation vote.

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Murkowski explained in a floor speech that when she met with Gupta she’d been impressed with her passion for her work and that they had a long conversation about the staggering rates of domestic violence against Alaska’s Native American women.

Gupta’s nomination has been among the more controversial ones put forward by President Biden, with Republicans seizing upon previous tweets that they claimed showed too much partisanship for the position. — WASHINGTON POST