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Former EPA advisers say agency’s mercury proposal is flawed
Process for devising proposal to weaken Obama-era pollution rule was ‘fatally flawed,’ they say

The EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard targeted emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the EPA gets closer to finalizing changes to an Obama-era air pollution rule, a group of former agency advisers says the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken the mercury emissions regulations is based on faulty and outdated data.

The Trump administration a year ago proposed a rule that would revoke the EPA’s legal justification for issuing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule that aimed to curb hazardous air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Double standards for 2020 Democratic hopefuls? You don’t say
Kamala Harris was tripped up by obstacles her white counterparts haven’t had to face

Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential bid faced unique hurdles from the start, some of them personal, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There is a particular line that stuck with me in the just-opened film “Queen & Slim,” about a black couple on the run after an altercation with a white police officer goes awry in the depressing and terrible way you might imagine. During their perilous road trip, in a quieter moment, he (a retail worker) asks her (an attorney) if she is good at her job. “I’m an excellent lawyer,” she replies, to which he answers with a question that’s really a statement: “Why do black people always got to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?”

Since the pre-mortems were written a bit ago, it’s time for a post-mortem on the presidential campaign of California Sen. Kamala Harris, who never seemed to quite discover who she was or at least convey authenticity and excellence to enough voters or donors to make a difference.

Strange bedfellows as local battles over Airbnb attract Capitol Hill attention
Members of Progressive and Freedom caucuses allied on side of hotel industry

Hawaii Democratic Rep. Ed Case, who returned to Congress after working in the hotel industry, has attracted co-sponsors from both ends of the political spectrum for his bill that would ensure local regulations apply to short-term rental sites like Airbnb. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

 

It was the most expensive local referendum in New Jersey history. Airbnb raised more than $4 million this fall to fight one city’s regulations on short-term rentals. But in a high-profile blow as the company prepares to go public next year, the short-term lodging service lost overwhelmingly, defeated by a coalition of groups that spent one-fourth of the money.

Adam Schiff’s post-hearing review: He got nowhere
Half the country will reject his 300-page report as little more than a Democratic Party campaign document

Half the country will reject House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s 300-page impeachment report as little more than a Democratic Party campaign document, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Twenty years ago, after the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the departure of Speaker Newt Gingrich, I left my post as the speaker’s director of planning and opted to go into the business of survey research. My motivation wasn’t a great desire to enter the world of campaign politics. I was more policy animal than political consultant.

But I had learned a hard lesson during the months Republicans decided to impeach a sitting president. I learned that when either party tries to enact a major public policy initiative, which is what impeachment is, it takes more than partisan support and bravado to bring home the prize. It takes broad public support, a national consensus that the action, especially one as serious as overturning the results of an election, is truly in the best interests of the country.

Marijuana criminalization could be clouding info on vaping deaths
Restrictions on THC-related research collide with a public health emergency

Demonstrators vape during a pro-vaping rally outside the White House on Nov. 9 to protest Washington’s proposed vaping flavor ban. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

In late October, as the number of people sickened with a mysterious vaping-related illness grew, federal officials turned to the nation’s leading academic researchers for help.

“They wondered what, in our opinion, they should be taking a look at,” said Robert Tarran, director of the University of North Carolina Center for Tobacco Regulatory Science and Lung Health.

Kennedy: ‘I believe what I believe’ on Ukraine's role in 2016 election
Louisiana Republican once again defends his comments on the heated topic

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits in the elevator in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Kennedy on Tuesday held fast to his belief that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, despite the intelligence community concluding the claim is false.

“I believe what I believe. Some people believe otherwise and they’re entitled to it,” the Louisiana Republican said to reporters Tuesday.

Big Apple debates use of algorithms in policing
Advocates fear erosion of civil liberties as cities embrace new tech to safeguard residents

Advocates who favor greater oversight of the NYPD’s use of algorithms to aid in investigations are expressing concern after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio included an exemption for law enforcement in an executive order establishing a new position to monitor use of algorithms and artificial intelligence by city agencies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

NEW YORK — The extent to which artificial intelligence and automated decision-making should play a role in policing is at the center of a debate over civil liberties in the nation’s largest city.

Technologies powered by artificial intelligence, such as facial recognition and predictive policing tools, have been shown to have racial and ethnic biases, raising questions about whether their use by police could exacerbate inequalities already baked into the criminal justice system.

Why do so many people believe Trump will win?
Presidential challengers never look strong, until they do

President Donald Trump, here at the White House during last week’s National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony, has the advantage of incumbency, but multiple issues are working against him for reelection, Rothenberg writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — I often hear people predicting President Donald Trump’s reelection. Some are conservatives and Trump supporters who echo the president’s unfailing optimism. But others are Democrats who can’t resist embracing a gloom-and-doom scenario.

I usually ask those people why they think Trump will win a second term.

The impeachment holiday gift catalog
John Bolton may be counting his book deal money, but he needs to think about future sales too

For John Bolton’s holiday gift, Shapiro has some free advice: Testify before the House Intelligence panel and watch your future book sales soar. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Flush with the holiday spirit, I have decided to hand out my presents early. Of course, given the economics of 21st-century journalism, I am offering the only gifts that I can afford — free advice.

Luckily, with the House Judiciary Committee kicking off impeachment hearings this week, Washington is filled with troubled and misguided souls in both parties who would benefit from my sage and selfless counsel.

GOP report: Evidence ‘does not prove’ Trump pressured Ukraine for political benefit
Republican staff report claims evidence Democrats presented does not establish case for impeachment

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, joined by other House Republicans, speaks to the media during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Nov. 20, 2019. A GOP report by Intelligence staff says Democrats’ evidence “does not prove” Trump abused his authority to pressure Ukraine. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Evidence presented during the fact-finding stage of a House impeachment inquiry “does not prove” Democratic allegations that President Donald Trump abused his authority when pressuring Ukraine into launching an investigation of a rival that would benefit his 2020 reelection campaign, a report released by Republicans Monday evening said.

The 123-page report, authored by Republican staff of the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, pans the impeachment inquiry as “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system” and argues that the evidence does not prove Democrats’ allegations against Trump.