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HUD moves to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing after deaths

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By Suzy Khimm

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is drafting the first federal rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing, after an NBC News investigation revealed the lack of protections for millions of low-income residents.

At least 13 people have died from the hazardous gas in federally subsidized housing since 2003, NBC News found.

The new requirement will go through the federal rulemaking process, which means it could be months, at a minimum, before it’s implemented.

“A simple, inexpensive, widely available device can be the difference between life and death,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement on Thursday, announcing the agency’s plans to move forward with the new requirement in both publicly and privately owned HUD housing.

“Given the unevenness of state and local law, we intend to make certain that CO detectors are required in all our housing programs, just as we require smoke detectors, no matter where our HUD-assisted families live,” Carson added.

About half of states require carbon monoxide detectors in some housing, but those rules don’t always apply to older rental properties, and the regulations are sporadically enforced.

HUD currently does not require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing, despite past deaths and federal recommendations for all households with fuel-fired appliances or attached garages to install the devices. The new rule would apply to federally subsidized public housing that meets those guidelines.

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Over half of House Democrats favor Trump impeachment inquiry: Full list

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By Alex Moe and Kyle Stewart

Here are the 124 House Democrats — more than half the 235-member caucus — who support impeachment or beginning an impeachment inquiry. The list includes 17 of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceedings would begin. One independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, also favors starting an inquiry, bringing the total number of House members who back that move to 125.

Democrats:

  1. Alma Adams, N.C.
  2. Peter Aguilar, Calif.
  3. Nanette Barragán, Calif.
  4. Joyce Beatty, Ohio
  5. Don Beyer, Va.
  6. Earl Blumenauer, Ore.
  7. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Del.
  8. Suzanne Bonamici, Ore.
  9. Brendan Boyle, Penn.
  10. Anthony Brown, Md.
  11. Julia Brownley, D-Calif.
  12. G.K. Butterfield, N.C.
  13. Salud Carbajal, Calif.
  14. Tony Cardenas, Calif.
  15. Andre Carson, Ind.
  16. Sean Casten, Ill.
  17. Joaquin Castro, Texas
  18. Judy Chu, Calif.
  19. David Cicilline, R.I. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  20. Katherine Clark, Mass. (Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus)
  21. Yvette Clarke, N.Y.
  22. William Lacy Clay, Mo.
  23. Emanuel Cleaver, Mo.
  24. Steve Cohen, Tenn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  25. Gerry Connolly, Va. (Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee)
  26. Jason Crow, Colo.
  27. Danny K. Davis, Ill.
  28. Madeleine Dean, Penn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  29. Peter DeFazio, Oregon (Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  30. Diana DeGette, Colo.
  31. Suzan Del Bene, Wa.
  32. Val Demings, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  33. Mark DeSaulnier, Calif.
  34. Ted Deutch, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee, chairman of House Ethics Committee)
  35. Lloyd Doggett, Texas
  36. Mike Doyle, Penn.
  37. Eliot Engel, N.Y. (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee)
  38. Veronica Escobar, Texas (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  39. Adriano Espaillat, N.Y.
  40. Dwight Evans, Penn.
  41. Marcia Fudge, Ohio
  42. Ruben Gallego, Ariz.
  43. John Garamendi, Calif.
  44. Jesús García, Ill.
  45. Jimmy Gomez, Calif.
  46. Al Green, Texas
  47. Raul Grijalva, Ariz. (Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee)
  48. Deb Haaland, N.M.
  49. Denny Heck, Wa.
  50. Brian Higgins, N.Y.
  51. Jim Himes, Conn.
  52. Jared Huffman, Calif.
  53. Sheila Jackson Lee, Tex. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  54. Pramila Jayapal, Wash. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  55. Robin Kelly, Ill.
  56. Joe Kennedy III, Mass.
  57. Ro Khanna, Calif.
  58. Dan Kildee, Mich. (chief deputy whip of House Democratic caucus)
  59. Derek Kilmer, Wa.
  60. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ariz.
  61. Annie Kuster, N.H.
  62. Rick Larsen, Washington
  63. Brenda Lawrence, Mich.
  64. Barbara Lee, Calif.
  65. Andy Levin, Mich.
  66. Mike Levin, Calif.
  67. Ted Lieu, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  68. Alan Lowenthal, Calif.
  69. Nita Lowey, N.Y. (Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee)
  70. Tom Malinowski, N.J.
  71. Carolyn Maloney, N.Y.
  72. Doris Matsui, Calif.
  73. Betty McCollum, Minn.
  74. Jim McGovern, Mass. (Chairman of the House Rules Committee)
  75. Grace Meng, N.Y.
  76. Gwen Moore, Wis.
  77. Seth Moulton, Mass.
  78. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  79. Jerrold Nadler, N.Y. (Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee)
  80. Grace Napolitano, Calif.
  81. Joe Neguse, Colo. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  82. Donald Norcross, N.J.
  83. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y.
  84. Ilhan Omar, Minn.
  85. Christopher Pappas, N.H.
  86. Bill Pascrell, N.J.
  87. Donald Payne, N.J.
  88. Scott Peters, Calif.
  89. Chellie Pingree, Me.
  90. Mark Pocan, Wis.
  91. Katie Porter, Calif.
  92. Ayanna Pressley, Mass.
  93. David Price, N.C.
  94. Mike Quigley, Ill.
  95. Jamie Raskin, Md. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  96. Kathleen Rice, N.Y.
  97. Cedric Richmond, La. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  98. Harley Rouda, Calif.
  99. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Calif.
  100. Bobby Rush, Ill.
  101. Tim Ryan, Ohio
  102. Mary Gay Scanlon, Penn. (Vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee)
  103. Jan Schakowsky, Ill.
  104. Kim Schrier, Wa.
  105. Jose Serrano, N.Y.
  106. Brad Sherman, Calif.
  107. Adam Smith, Washington (Chairman of the Armed Services Committee)
  108. Jackie Speier, Calif.
  109. Greg Stanton, Arizona (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  110. Eric Swalwell, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee, member of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
  111. Bennie Thompson, Miss. (Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee)
  112. Dina Titus, Nev.
  113. Rashida Tlaib, Mich.
  114. Paul Tonko, N.Y.
  115. Norma Torres, Calif.
  116. Lori Trahan, D-Mass.
  117. Juan Vargas, Calif.
  118. Filemon Vela, Texas
  119. Nydia Velazquez, N.Y. (Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee)
  120. Maxine Waters, Calif. (Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee)
  121. Bonnie Watson-Coleman, N.J.
  122. Pete Welch, Vermont
  123. Jennifer Wexton, Va.
  124. John Yarmuth, Ky. (Chairman of the House Budget Committee)

Others:

  1. Justin Amash, I-Mich.

Dartunorro Clark contributed.



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Israel critics seize on Trump-Netanyahu bromance after travel ban

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WASHINGTON — Israel’s ban on two Muslim members of Congress has provided an opportunity for progressive pro-Palestinian groups in America to highlight the chumminess between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu — and to try to influence the stance of Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

“This is a watershed moment on how Democrats will engage with Israel’s increasing moves toward the far-right under Netanyahu,” said Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for Justice Democrats, which is closely aligned with Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who were both barred from entering Israel on Thursday.

The two lawmakers are among the most prominent to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel, which Israel considers an attack on its right to exist. Under Israeli law, its backers can be prohibited from entering the country.

The House of Representatives voted to condemn the BDS movement in a whopping 398-17 vote last month.

Pro-Palestinian activists said they saw Israel’s decision, under public pressure from President Donald Trump, to bar two members of “the squad” of freshman progressives as a chance to push the party toward the left in the midst of the 2020 campaign.

While many Democrats condemned Israel’s move on Thursday to keep the lawmakers out and Trump’s support for it, activists want them to go further.

“What we’re trying to do is make clear that what the next U.S. president needs to do in order to achieve freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians is to put direct pressure on the Israeli government to end the occupation,” Yonah Lieberman, a founder of IfNotNow, a left-wing Jewish grassroots organization, told NBC News.

The close alliance between Trump and Netanyahu, he said, is “opening up space politically” for groups like his to make the case that Democrats should feel more confident in criticizing Israel’s actions.



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Watchdog cites possible political retribution by Trump appointees at State Dept.

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WASHINGTON — The State Department’s internal watchdog has found significant evidence of leadership and management problems, including possible political retribution against career employees, in the bureau that deals with international organizations.

In a report released on Thursday, the department’s inspector general said a review of thousands of emails and dozens of interviews with current and former employees of the Bureau of International Organizations revealed a “negative and vindictive” work environment. The review found employees complained about being frequently berated in public or otherwise mistreated by two senior Trump administration political appointees at the top of the bureau.

“Nearly every employee interviewed … raised concerns” about the bureau’s leadership and “the treatment of staff,” the report said.

Among the complaints documented in the 34-page report were allegations from career employees that Assistant Secretary of State Kevin Moley and his former senior adviser Marie Stull retaliated or tried to retaliate against them because they had served in the previous administration.

“Several career employees reported that throughout her tenure at the Department, Ms. Stull referred to them or to other career employees as ‘Obama holdovers,’ ‘traitors,’ or ‘disloyal,'” the report said. “Other career employees told (the inspector general) that Ms. Stull accused them of being part of the ‘Deep State’ and that the assistant secretary accused them of ‘undermining the president’s agenda.'”

In addition, the report says employees reported that Stull made positive comments about some of their colleagues because she believed they had contributed to Republican political candidates. It says there was no evidence that any formal personnel decisions were made as a result but “the mere discussion of them raises significant concerns as to whether Ms. Stull was engaging in political activity while on duty.” Such activity would be illegal under federal law.

Stull has since left the State Department and did not respond to the allegations. In a response to the report, Moley, who is still serving as the assistant secretary, denied any unprofessional behavior and disputed the inspector general’s characterizations of numerous meetings he had with superiors to discuss concerns about his leadership of the bureau. The report says Moley failed to respond to repeated suggestions on how to improve conditions and only reluctantly agreed to bring on a career assistant to help resolve the concerns.

“The behavior attributed to me regarding raising my voice, berating employees and contributing to a hostile work environment does not represent who I am or who I have ever been,” Moley said.

The State Department said in a statement that it would provide a corrective action plan, as recommended by the inspector general, within 60 days.

The report was conducted in part because of requests from congressional Democrats concerned by anecdotal reports that the Trump administration was retaliating against career officials perceived as opposing the president.

“Today’s report confirms what we feared: ‘disrespectful and hostile’ treatment of career employees at the State Department, including spurious accusations that public servants were ‘disloyal’ and improper retaliation against them,” said Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel called for Moley to be fired or to resign.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee who sought the IG probe with Engel, agreed.

“This report leaves no doubt that Trump Administration political appointees have mismanaged the Department and violated the public trust, and the American people deserve swift action to hold those officials accountable and to root out this systemic problem from throughout the State Department and the rest of the Administration,” he said in a statment.

And, Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the investigation showed the administration “has undermined American interests and values and placed our nation in harm’s way. For that they must be held to account — by Congress now and by the American people next year.”

The report is the inspector general’s second scathing review of the Trump administration’s management of the State Department to be released in the past week.

Last Friday, it released a report that said the administration’s 2017 hiring freeze at the State Department had devastating effects, hurting core functions such as providing services to U.S. citizens abroad and protecting embassies.

The department’s inspector general said all domestic offices and nearly all overseas missions surveyed reported that the freeze had a “negative or very negative effect on morale.” It said 96% of embassies and consulates overseas and 95% of offices in the U.S. reported negative effects on security, consular and administrative operations. Those included oversight of millions of dollars in counter-terrorism, health, human rights and humanitarian assistance programs from Afghanistan to Venezuela.

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