The Biden administration will approve a new oil drilling project, U.S. Customs and Border Protection finds tunnels under the border wall, and what’s a lion’s preferred flavor of popsicle? These stories and more highlight the daily afternoon rundown for Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.
Rep. Ilhan Omar removed from House Foreign Affairs Committee
House Republicans unanimously approved a resolution to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution said she should be removed because of statements she has made about Israel and 9/11. Those statements include equating the United states and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. Omar’s fellow Democrats condemned her statements, but when it comes to the Foreign Affairs Committee, members largely had her back, and she has since apologized.
FBI investigating Rep. George Santos
The FBI is investigating whether George Santos helped a veteran raise $3,000 for his dying dog, but never gave him the money. Veteran Rick Osthoff is disabled and homeless, and says the money was raised through Santos’ pet charity. However, the charity is not listed in a 501(c)(3) database.
According to reports, Osthoff and his representative were both contacted by the FBI for the investigation. Santos denies the allegation. The congressman is also being investigated by the House Ethics Committee and prosecutors in New York after admittedly to lying about nearly every aspect of his life.
Republicans, Manchin challenge Biden ESG rule
All 49 Senate Republicans and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are introducing a bill to terminate a new Biden administration rule on ESG investing. The rule would allow retirement plan managers to consider environmental and social issues when they make investment decisions.
The senators say it would politicize retirement savings for 152 million Americans. Sen. Mike Braun told Fox, the last thing we should do is encourage fiduciaries to make decisions with a lower rate of return for purely ideological reasons. The rule was set to go into effect on Jan. 30, and is being challenged in court by 25 states.
Biden administration to allow oil drilling in Alaska
The Department of the Interior is expected to approve an oil drilling project in Alaska that the energy industry has championed and environmentalists have criticized.
The project is called “Willow” and it’s an $8 billion venture led by ConocoPhillips. This area of Alaska has an estimated 600 million barrels of crude oil. The original proposal was for five drill sites, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is expected to say it prefers three. The BLM and White House are also considering measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, like delaying the permit for one drill site so they can plant trees.
Customs and Border Protection finds tunnels under border wall
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has discovered 40 tunnels underneath the southern border wall since 2017. That includes 11 tunnels in 2020, when former President Donald Trump built 300 miles of barrier. One of the tunnels was described as the longest ever discovered, another was found in one of the most fortified stretches of the border in California.
The information was obtained by the CATO Institute through a Freedom of Information request. They also found that in 2022, the border wall was breached 4,100 times.
Zoo animals lick blood ice to cool off
During the summer, people like going out for ice cream and getting their favorite flavor, maybe it’s mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, or something tropical like pineapple. But not for the lions and jaguars at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo. They prefer giant chunks of ice with flavors including chicken, minced meat and bovine blood. How’s that for a popsicle? Temperatures at the zoo have reached 122 degrees during recent days. There’s no word yet on what the humidity does to the lion’s mane.