Happy Wednesday, OnPolitics readers!
As oil company executives testified before Congress Wednesday to explain the skyrocketing rise in gas prices, the White House called on the industry to invest in immediate production.
“This is not the time to sit on record profits,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a video message.
Gas prices, which were already on the rise, jumped further after Russia invaded Ukraine, and the president’s subsequent decision to ban the US import of all Russian energy products to target “the main artery of Russia’s economy.”
Biden has ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day over the next six months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The action will represent the largest release from the reserve in its nearly 50-year history.
Biden will release up to 180 million barrels of oil in total, but some experts believe that it is likely not enough for consumers to see relief at the pump. Read more here.
It’s Amy with today’s top stories out of Washington.
Getting personal: Biden admin sanctions Putin’s daughters
President Joe Biden’s administration imposed sweeping new economic sanctions Wednesday on Russia that include targeting Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters in response to atrocities in Ukraine that the White House you have called war crimes.
Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, daughters of Putin and his ex-wife, Lyudmila Shkrebneva Putina, face sanctions that will cut them off from the US financial system and freeze any assets they may hold in the US
The new round of sanctions, which also bans US investment in Russia and hits Russia’s largest bank and financial institution, follows disturbing reports and images of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha near the capital of Kyiv. The moves continue Biden’s strategy of steadily ramping up sanctions as Russia’s war in Ukraine escalates.
The US believes many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members. The sanctions also target the wife and daughter of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. Vorontsova leads state-funded research programs focused on genetics research that are personally overseen by Putin, and Tikhonova is a tech executive whose work supports the Russia defense industry.
Live updates on Ukraine: The mayor of the encircled Ukrainian city of Mariupol said more than 5,000 civilians, including 210 children, have been killed during the monthlong Russian siege.
Vadym Boichenko said Wednesday that Russian forces bombed hospitals, including one where 50 people burned to death, and have destroyed more than 90% of the southern port city’s infrastructure.
Real quick: stories you’ll want to read
- First woman to lead military branch: President Joe Biden announced he is nominating Adm. Linda Fagan to serve as the next Commandant of the US Coast Guard, which would make her the first woman to ever lead a US military branch if confirmed.
- More money for more mail: President Joe Biden signed the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 into law on Wednesday, providing the agency with a much-needed financial overhaul.
- ‘A readiness issue’: Senators pressed Pentagon officials and other experts Wednesday for solutions to the military’s suicide crisis and highlighted the need to expand access to mental health counseling.
- DeSantis vs. Democrats: Florida is set to become the first state in the country to restrict how workplaces can talk about racism and bias through Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ‘Stop WOKE’ Act passing through the state legislature.
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Climate change comes at a cost per White House report
The climate crisis could cost the US government $2 trillion each year – an annual federal revenue loss of 7.1% – by the end of the century, the White House said in an assessment published Monday.
“The fiscal risk of climate change is immense,” Candace Vahlsing, the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for climate, energy, environment and science, and Danny Yagan, OMB’s chief economist, wrote in a White House briefing room blog.
“Climate change threatens communities and sectors across the country, including through floods, drought, extreme heat, wildfires, and hurricanes that affect the US economy and the lives of everyday Americans,” Vahlsing and Yagan said. They added that the federal government often acts as “an insurer of last resort” and that the growing crisis will “add new pressures on the Federal budget and taxpayers.”
Beyond the annual $2 trillion cost, the OMB also found that the federal government could spend an additional $25 billion to $128 billion each year on coastal disaster relief, flood insurance, crop insurance, health care insurance, wildland fire suppression and flooding at federal facilities. For example, more than 12,195 federal buildings “could be inundated under ten feet of sea level rise” with a total replacement cost of $43.7 billion, Vahlsing and Yagan said.
Fox News Update: US Capitol Police captured – and later euthanized – a fox, who bit Rep. Rep. Ami Bera and a journalist at the US Capitol, Tuesday afternoon after receiving multiple reports of “aggressive fox encounters.” — Amy
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism