On Thursday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) schooled oil company executives over their demand for greater access to federal lands for drilling — using some stark props as visual aids.
"How many acres of public land are already leased by fossil fuel companies and not even used yet?" asked Porter, standing in front of a car parked in a driveway. "Just available for drilling whenever you decide?"
"Congresswoman," said one of the oil executives in the hearing. "Again, I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding as to how this process works and the time and resources—"
"Reclaiming my time," cut in Porter. "Reclaiming my time, the answer is 13.9 million acres. To visualize how much land that is, if each grain of rice were one acre, that would be 479 pounds of rice."
She then flipped open the trunk of the car to reveal several bags containing a combined 479 pounds of rice.
"The American Petroleum Institute even opposed pausing more leasing on our lands and even sued to stop it," she continued. "Because apparently, this acreage wasn't enough. Mr. Worth, you serve on the American Petroleum Institute's executive committee. Do you support a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land?"
"Congresswoman, access to a resource in this country is essential to ensure the energy security of our country, and—" the executive began.
"Mr. Waller, do you support a pause?" asked Porter, turning to another executive.
"The administration — it's our hope that the pause ends soon," said the executive. "We think it's important to go forward—"
"I reclaim my time, thank you for your answer, the answer there is no," said Porter.
She then went around asking all of the executives the same question, and all of them responded they did not.
"You already have 13.9 million acres!" said Porter, holding up one of the bags of rice. "This is equivalent to Maryland and New Jersey combined. How much more do you need? How much more acreage? You have two of our 50 states at a price that makes the Louisiana Purchase look like a ripoff, and you're not even using it. What more do you need? Iowa? Colorado? Virginia? Our public land belongs to the American people, not to Big Oil. When you lobby and you sue so that you can take more of our public land, you're saying too much is never enough. The American people are tired of this charade."
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page earlier this week ran a letter to the editor from former President Donald Trump in which he falsely claimed that Attorney General Bill Barr and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, among others, were responsible for stealing the 2020 election from him.
The editors defended their decision to run Trump's letter in a Thursday column in which they said it was important to get an unfiltered view of the former president's thinking.
"We think it's news when an ex-President who may run in 2024 wrote what he did, even if (or perhaps especially if) his claims are bananas," the editors wrote.
They then went on to debunk some of Trump's claims, even though they acknowledged that the exercise was pointless because Trump would simply come out with even more false claims.
"He insinuates that the presidential results include thousands of tardy votes, and 'none of these should have been counted.'" they write. "They weren't, per a directive by Justice Samuel Alito... Mr. Trump says that "25,000 ballots were requested from nursing homes at the exact same time." His citation for this -- no kidding -- is a Nov. 9 cable-TV hit by Sen. Lindsey Graham."
After debunking some of Trump's claims, the Journal defended its decision to run his letter.
"Mr. Trump is making these claims elsewhere, so we hardly did him a special favor by letting him respond to our editorial," they write. "We offer the same courtesy to others we criticize, even when they make allegations we think are false."
'Shame on her': Kyrsten Sinema buried by Arizona columnist for tanking most popular part of Biden agenda
Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts on Thursday wrote a scathing column attacking Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for tanking key parts of President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda.
In particular, Roberts took Sinema to task for killing a plan that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs for recipients.
"Shame on her for that," wrote Roberts, who noted that the measure was "wildly popular."
Roberts then detailed why allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is such a vitally important policy that could help tens of millions of Americans.
"The idea of unleashing the bargaining power of Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices seems like a no brainer," she wrote. Yet Republicans and a few moderate Democrats are against it, buying the pharmaceutical companies' rationale that barring them from gouging sick Americans would stifle the development of new life-saving drugs. Pharmaceutical companies get away with charging Americans close to three times what they charge, on average, in other countries, according to a 2021 analysis by the Rand Corporation."
Roberts then cited polling data showing the proposal highly popular with Arizona voters while she also noted that even Sen. Joe Manchin said he was on board with the plan.
Roberts concluded by pointing to the massive donations that Sinema has received from the pharmaceutical industry as the likely reason for being so determined to kill price negotiations.
"She snagged $120,000 from pharmaceutical companies during the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, according to Kaiser Family Foundation's pharma contribution tracker," she writes. That's double what she collected when she was actually running for the Senate. And now, in a strange twist of coincidence, the wildly popular plan to allow Medicare to bargain for a better deal on prescription drugs is going ... going ... gone."
IN OTHER NEWS: 'It's shocking': Racist rant roils Texas school as district faces pressure from right-wing group. WATCH:
‘It's shocking’: Racist rant roils Texas school as district faces pressure from right-wing group youtu.be
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