News You Can Use for a slow week between one holiday and the next. Keep your footing for Giving Tuesday, and consider if you like your fresh water to stay fresh, how guaranteed income is working out in Charm City, how SWAT teams for voter fraud flopped, and Congress with one eye on the calendar more than ever.
Giving Tuesday is tomorrow, November 29 – at this point, most folks know enough about this growing tradition so the term “Giving Tuesday” doesn’t draw a blank. This year it’s estimated people across the US will donate $3.2 billion in that one day, up from $2.7 billion in 2021. So folks are catching on. Progressive Maryland, like lots of other advocacy organizations, depends a lot on the generosity of those around Maryland (and sometimes elsewhere!) to help support activist work and power building the year around. That way we have the means to counter the self-interested clout of big corporations and those who have their hands in the corporate pocket. Progressive Maryland aims to build power so that our communities and community leaders can do more than just try to keep their heads above water. To flip the flip-able cliché, the best defense is a good offense. Winning is what we are after.
More Salt, Coming to Fresh Water Near You: Across the world, sodium levels in freshwater rivers, lakes and reservoirs have been trending upward. The causes are difficult to pinpoint and will likely be even harder to reverse.” Scientists in Virginia and elsewhere are working on the problem. But road safety often means salting icy highways. “Winter road salt isn’t the only source of the problem. Powdered laundry detergents often contain salt, which is then flushed with the wastewater to the nearest treatment plant or through a septic system. Industrial cooling systems, like those used at large data centers, include salt as a disinfectant in water. Wastewater treatment doesn’t remove salt, so it eventually makes its way to the nearest creek, river or bay.” The Bay Journal
Guaranteed Income Aiding B’more Residents: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is among more than 100 mayors across the country participating in the Mayors for Guaranteed Income initiative. He worked with groups such as the nonprofit CASH Campaign of Maryland (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope), on the details. CASH operates the program. Billy Jean Louis/The Baltimore Sun.
RELEVANT STATE & LOCAL NOTES
Voter Fraud: New state law enforcement units in Florida, Georgia and Virginia meant to find and prosecute cases of voter fraud have found no evidence of systemic problems in the 2022 Midterm Elections. Georgia’s Bureau of Investigations has not initiated any investigations; Virginia’s Attorney General’s office wouldn’t say if it had launched any investigations. (Associated Press)
Meanwhile: State officials say elections were secure. The Maryland Board of Elections said they were "unaware of any incident that had a material effect on the 2022 Gubernatorial General Election. The entire election process was free, fair and secure.” Baltimore Banner (paywalled) So someone’s keeping track without Special Ops for elections…
NATIONAL STUFF, CONGRESS ETC
From Megan Essaheb at People’s Action: “Congress reconvenes this week for the end of year session. The Senate expects to pass the Respect for Marriage Act this week. Other major end of year priorities include the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the government spending bill. House Republicans are threatening to hold up the NDAA until next year when they have control of the House. Speaker Pelosi can’t pass the bill without some Republican support since many progressives vote against the bill due to its bloated military budget.
“The Fiscal Year 2023 government spending bill called the omnibus is still up in the air,” Essaheb continues. “Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t decided whether to deliver the 10 Republicans needed to pass the bill by the end of the year. House Republicans would like to hold it over until they are in control of the House in 2023. However, since House Republicans are likely to risk a government shutdown over unreasonable demands, McConnell may decide to get it out and done this December. Some Republicans are eager to deliver more aid to Ukraine through the omnibus and the highest ranking Republican appropriator, Senator Shelby, wants to get it done as he is retiring at the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, Punchbowl News sez discussions about a stopgap CR to expire Dec. 23 (!!!) seem to have prompted Politico Playbook’s scoop that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is sending a letter to Capitol Hill asking that lawmakers pass a bill funding the government for a full year that reads in part: “We can’t outcompete China with our hands tied behind our back three, four, five or six months of every fiscal year.”
Joe Manchin’s push to pass a “dirty” permitting reform bill during this year’s lame duck session is looking wobbly, according to SemaFor News. The senator needs GOP support for legislation that would speed the approval of new energy projects and finally authorize a major natural gas pipeline in West Virginia that’s been tied up in legislation. But The Hill reports that Republicans are wary of handing him any major policy victories he can take home before running for re-election in 2024. As News You Can Use fans know, Manchin is likely to be facing GOP Rep. Alex Mooney, formerly major right-wing hot dog of the Maryland General Assembly.
After more, seemingly unending, deadly mass shootings, President Biden called for a ban on the sale of assault weapons. Politico reports that measure is unlikely to get the 10 Republicans needed to pass before the end of the year. But let Andy Harris know how you feel, anyway.
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