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Chad’s Morning Brief: Federal Climate Change Report Due Out Tuesday Showing Dire Picture, Student Loans Next on Democrats’ Agenda, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 6, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Important Election Dates:

Early Voting for City and School Board Election: FINAL DAY IS TODAY!!

Election Day for City and School Board: May 10

Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23

Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27

Satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Handout, Getty

 

Climate Change

Good news! For the next few days, global warming/climate change will be in the news. According to the AP, the Obama Administration will be presenting a report Tuesday that present a dire picture. Reports also claim that Obama will use Executive Orders to move along his climate change agenda.

The Obama administration is more certain than ever that global warming is changing Americans’ daily lives and will worsen — conclusions that scientists will detail in a massive federal report to be released Tuesday.

Once people thought global warming was more in the future and more of an issue in other parts of the world, but the National Climate Assessment will emphasize how the United States is already paying the multibillion-dollar price for man-made climate change, said study co-author Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois.

“We’re already seeing extreme weather and it’s happening now,” Wuebbles said Monday. “We’re seeing more heat waves, particularly in the West and in the South.”

This final report is a rewritten and shortened version of a draft that was released in January 2013, with more scientific references, reviews by experts and the public, and a thorough review by the National Academy of Sciences, said Wuebbles and report lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut. There is even stronger evidence than in 2013, Yohe said.

The draft came out just as meteorologists calculated that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the United States, but last year was slightly cooler than the 20th century average. And in the time since the draft report was released, the United States has seen lots of extremes.

Nineteen different state records were set for individual months, such as the hottest January in California this year. Six were for heat: Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and California. Nine states set monthly records for being too wet: Iowa (twice, setting records for April and May last year), Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Two states set records for lack of rain: New Mexico and Utah. Two set records for coldest individual months: Maine and North Dakota.

And since the draft was released, there’s been a dramatic new extreme that a good part of the country is worrying about: The drought in California, where a few rural places are in danger of running out of water.

In January 2013, none of California was in either extreme or exceptional drought; now nearly 77 percent of the state is. It is too early to point directly at the near-record California drought as another sign of global warming, but it fits the pattern, Yohe and Wuebbles said.

The Obama administration will likely use the 840-page report as scientific justification to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gas from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil and to encourage local communities to adapt to changes in the climate. White House counselor John Podesta called it “the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information” on how climate change will hit all parts of the nation and the economy.

“Hundreds of the best climate scientists from across the U.S., not just in the public sector but in the private sector as well, have worked over the last four years to produce this report,” Podesta said in a Monday briefing at the White House. “This assessment is about presenting actionable science.”

Dems Eye Student Loans

Senator Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats are preparing to launch their next agenda item. According to POLITICO, student loans are now the big target for Democratic lawmakers.

 

Senate Democrats are lining up their next election-year agenda item: college affordability.

And they are drafting one of their party’s highest-wattage stars, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, to play a central role in the debate.

Democrats are preparing to hold a vote on higher education legislation toward the beginning of June, according to a senior Democratic aide, likely based off a Warren bill expected later this week. The Democratic legislation seeks to allow people locked into sky-high interest rates years ago to refinance their student loans at much lower rates.

Last year’s deal on federal student loans deeply divided the Democratic Party, as liberals like Warren angled for much lower rates than a bipartisan agreement negotiated by the White House and drafted by senators like Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). That compromise resulted in a new law that reversed a doubling of interest rates last July but left many progressives unsatisfied, with 17 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus voting against the legislation.

Now Democrats are seeking to use student loans as a unifying force, slotting it as the next item in their “Fair Shot Agenda” that’s included votes on raising the minimum wage and paycheck fairness already this year. These bills are designed to contrast Democratic values with those of the GOP by daring Republicans to reject poll-tested legislation.

“Our next fair shot agenda item: This week, Elizabeth Warren will introduce legislation on making it easier to pay for college,” said Fair Shot architect Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an interview on “Morning Joe” on Monday. He indicated the Democratic bill will seek to allow students to refinance with interest rates as low as 3 percent and warned that growing student loan debt is hurting the housing market’s recovery.

But actually passing the legislation is another matter and the bill will have trouble getting GOP support because it will require revenue, likely through changes in the Tax Code. Several Senate Republican sources were unaware of the legislation, placing doubts on whether such a bill can attract bipartisan support and the 60 votes required to pass the Senate.

“There is a path to success on the student loan issue. And bipartisanship is the path,” a senior GOP aide said. “Young people see through this: They know that a Democratic press release doesn’t mean anything specifically to them.”

 

Other Top Stories:

Neugebauer Spends Most on Auto Leases

Dist. 3 Candidate Stanley Receives Donation from Area Developer

Dewhurst and Patrick Debate

Inside Battleground Texas

Cruz Talks Religious Liberty

Diversity Gap in Education 

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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