Eye on 2016: Pace of presidential prep picks up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just about everyone thinking about running for president is kicking it into gear now, slowpokes included.

For months, many prospective 2016 presidential candidates have been rubbing shoulders with donors, networking with party leaders, getting on TV and otherwise auditioning for the contest ahead, especially on the Republican side.

Their pace is picking up. A few are even admitting now what has been obvious for eons: They're interested in the presidency, even if they aren't ready to commit.

French Greens bickering, divided as EU vote looms

PARIS (AP) — France's Greens could well be upbeat: They tallied record results in recent municipal elections. They got an unprecedented offer for the No. 2 post in a Socialist-led Cabinet. They champion environmental issues that many French have been contemplating ever since Paris skies were recently coated in heavy smog.

Instead, they're bickering — and the rift threatens to muddle the message of one of Europe's most visible and power-wielding ecology parties before next month's European parliamentary elections, potentially deflating the ability of avowed tree-huggers to shape policy at a time of rising environmental concerns.

Nominee selected for La. flood board seat

HARAHAN, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to undo a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against the oil and gas industry edged forward Thursday at the Legislature and in a nominating panel that gave him a chance to replace a member of the board who supported the lawsuit.

Tyrone Ben, a human resources manager for a mental health and counseling service in Chalmette, became the second of two nominees that could fill the seat now held by Tim Doody on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

Unemployment extension set for Senate passage, minus Keystone

Roll Call

A bill to extend unemployment benefits continued to move through the Democratic-controlled Senate, with a vote expected on the measure next week, but without Republican amendments including one to approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Roll Call reports.

GOP hopes to undermine oil & gas backing for Landrieu


Republicans are seeking to characterize Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu as impotent despite her taking the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, but records of her campaign donations seem to show the GOP will face a big challenge denting oil and gas industry support for her, E&E reports. 

Top US court's ruling eases donation limits

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court struck down some limits on campaign contributions, creating the potential for big donors to play an even greater role in U.S. congressional and presidential campaigns.

The narrowly divided court on Wednesday rejected a ceiling, now set at $123,200, on overall contributions to candidates, parties and political action committees over a two-year period. But the impact of this ruling is limited because it does not undermine restrictions on contributions to individual candidates, now set at $2,600 per candidate, per election.

Still, the ruling further erodes restrictions put in place to reduce the influence of big spenders on U.S. politics. It follows a major 2010 case that lifted limits on independent spending by corporations and unions. Under that ruling, big donors have been able to work around the restrictions by going outside the campaign regulatory system and spending an unlimited amount of money on attack ads.

Green groups say High Court's campaign ruling aids polluters

The Hill

Environmental groups protested the Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday to strike down limits on aggregate contributions to candidates, committees and parties, saying the move opens the door for heavy polluters to have more influence on the nation's electoral process, The Hill reports.

Hoeven promises new move on Keystone next month

The Hill

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Republicans are ready to act to push approval of the Keystone XL pipeline should President Obama fail to make a decision when the State Department's completes its final review next month, The Hill reports.

Ryan budget targets Obama climate plans, EPA carbon rules

The Hill

The budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., targets President Obama's climate change fight while supporting expanded oil and gas drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline, The Hill reports.

McConnell tries to block EPA plants rule with amendment on jobless bill

The Hill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will try to block the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants with an amendment to the bill restoring unemployment benefits, The Hill reports.


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