Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, giving Trump big win
| The Hill
“The Senate on Friday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, giving President Trump the biggest victory of his first 100 days in office.
The 54-45 vote caps a bitter political battle that began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago and resulted in the Senate triggering the “nuclear option,” breaking Democrats’ blockade and ending filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.
Three Democrats facing reelection next year in strongly pro-Trump states voted for Gorsuch: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).
Chief Justice John Roberts is set to administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m., and Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the oath at a public ceremony at the White House later in the morning.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said the fight will leave a scorch mark on the Senate because Republicans employed the nuclear option.
“It will make this body a more partisan place. It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court more of a partisan place,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, argued that the change to the filibuster, which Republicans made with a party-line vote Thursday, would restore the Senate to its tradition of not filibustering judicial nominees.
…..Continue reading @ The Hill
Four Killed By Truck Driven Into Crowd In Swedish Capital
“STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A truck plowed into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15 in what the prime minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.
Swedish police said they had arrested one person after earlier circulating a picture of a man wearing a grey hoodie. They did not rule out the possibility other attackers were involved.
“We have a person who is arrested who may have connections to the event in Stockholm earlier today,” police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“I turned around and saw a big truck coming toward me. It swerved from side to side. It didn’t look out of control, it was trying to hit people,” Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, told Reuters.
“It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it,” he said.
“It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever.”
Part of central Stockholm was cordoned off and the area was evacuated, including the main train station. All subway traffic was halted on police orders. Government offices were closed.
“Sweden has been attacked. Everything points to the fact that this is a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters during a visit to western Sweden. He was immediately returning to the capital.
Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year. Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France, last July, when a truck killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day, and one in Berlin in December, when a truck smashed through a Christmas market, killing 12 people.”
….Continue reading more @ OANN
Gov Moonbeam & California Prepare To Enact The Highest Gas Tax In The Country
| Daily Caller
“The California Senate Democrats has approved a multi-billion-dollar increase in the state’s gas tax to pay for road and infrastructure projects.
The so-called Road Repair and Accountability Act would ratchet up the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, and raise the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. It also etches out an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.
The Senate passed the bill, 27-11 on Thursday. Republicans did not support the measure.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, supports the measure and says it will raise $52 billion for transportation projects, including repairs to roads and bridges.”
…..Continue reading more @ DailyCaller
Gas-tax increase to pay for road repair clears California Legislature
Actually only 60% of the proposed funding goes to repair roads
“The state Legislature on Thursday passed a sweeping $52 billion transportation plan that will raise California gas taxes after leaders struck deals with wavering lawmakers to fund road projects in their districts.
The state Senate voted 27-11 and the state Assembly voted 54-26 – the bare minimum two-thirds margins required for a tax increase. The votes took place shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown met with Senate Democrats behind closed doors during a recess from the floor session.
The legislation will raise the money to pay for the plan over 10 years. It raises the base gasoline excise tax by 12 cents, creates a transportation improvement fee based on the value of a vehicle and raises diesel excise and sales taxes.
Republican lawmakers criticized the deal for putting a burden on ordinary Californians to pick up the bill for the Legislature’s failure to prioritize spending on roads without raising taxes.
“This institution is sick,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City. “You have to be drunk to support this measure tonight – drunk on the power that is ruining this institution, and that is making it harder and harder to live in this state.”
Brown and Democratic legislative leaders estimate that SB 1’s higher fuel taxes and fees would increase costs for the average motorist by about $10 a month.
But by afternoon, it remained uncertain whether Democrats would be able to rally votes to pass the bill. They were having particular difficulty with members representing districts that can shift parties depending on the election because the measure contains a gas tax increase.
Lawmakers began crafting a separate measure outlining spending for individual legislative districts, Senate Bill 132. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León said the projects would have been funded anyway, but the bill moves them up in the “queue.”
“The projects are transportation-worthy, no question about that, in an area that is highly congested with bad air quality and badly needed infrastructure repair,” he said.
Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Modesto, was the only Republican to vote for the deal. The measure provides $500 million in funding to Cannella’s district. It allocates $400 million for an extension of a Bay Area commuter rail line, the Altamont Corridor Express, to Ceres and Merced and a $100 million parkway project between the University of California, Merced campus and Highway 99.
“For over two years, I have fought for real solutions to California’s transportation problems,” Cannella said in a statement. “This state cannot continue to just put asphalt band aids on potholes when what we really need is major road and rail surgery to keep Californians and their economy moving. In addition, this will be transformative for commerce and commuter travel throughout the Central Valley.”
The bill also earmarks $427 million for the Riverside County Transportation Efficiency Corridor in Democratic Sen. Richard Roth’s Riverside County district. The corridor overlaps with the Assembly District represented by Sabrina Cervantes, a Democrat who also lives in Riverside.
All three members represent swing districts.
Cervantes’ office would not comment on whether the appropriation was part of a deal with the assemblywoman.
Several Republicans repeated complaints that Democrats have squandered transportation funding over the years, deferring necessary maintenance and leading to the decline of the state’s infrastructure.”
….Continue reading @ SacBee