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Inslee ramps up pressure campaign for DNC to hold climate change debate, says earth’s ‘on fire’

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Inslee unveils $9 trillion plan to battle climate change

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee is stepping up his push to force the Democratic National Committee to hold a primary debate solely on the issue of climate change.

“This planet is on fire and we have to have a debate on how to put it out,” the Democratic presidential candidate and longtime champion of combating climate change told reporters.

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And Inslee warned that if the DNC doesn’t drop its opposition to a climate change-only debate, he will “be talking to the other candidates” who agree with him and “we will pursue what other options we can make.”

Inslee made his comments Wednesday while campaigning in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

Inslee, a long-shot for the nomination in an historically large field of two-dozen candidates, has been aggressively and relentlessly urging the DNC and the national party committee’s chairman Tom Perez to hold a climate change debate.

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Perez reportedly told activists who confronted him at a party gathering in Florida this past weekend that holding such a debate was “just not practical.”

Inslee, firing back, added “I’ll tell you what’s impractical. It’s to be underwater, under eight feet of water as a farmer in Iowa. To have your town burned down in Paradise, California.”

And the governor emphasized that “there’s 12 debates. One of them ought to be dedicated to this effort. I’m not just saying that. Hundreds of thousands of Democrats are. It’s the right thing to do and I hope the party will reconsider.”

“There are nine state party chairs who are going to bring a resolution at the next executive committee to make sure this gets done,” he noted.

And Inslee pointed to numerous rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear front-runner right now in the Democratic nomination race, who’ve joined his calls for a climate change debate.

“There are about 14 of the candidates, including the former vice president. The former vice president said we need a debate on this yesterday. So I would encourage the chair of the party to listen to the former vice president and hundreds of thousands of grassroots folks and party chairs and me and make sure this gets a full and fair debate,” he said.

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Perez, in a Medium post on Tuesday, defended his climate change record while steering the DNC the past two years.

“Climate change is an urgent threat to our nation and our planet,” he wrote. “It imperils our children and grandchildren’s future, and it disproportionately affects our most vulnerable communities. That’s why, beginning in 2017, I made clear to our media partners that the issue of climate change must be featured prominently in our debates. That didn’t happen in 2016 — and it was wrong.”

But in explaining his opposition to Inslee’s push, Perez said “if we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had? How do we say no to other candidates in the race who may request debates focused on an issue they’ve made central to their own campaigns?”

And he pointed to other options to spotlight the issue of climate change.

“Already, a number of organizations and networks have hosted their own issue-based forums and town halls — and I hope and expect more of these will take place in the coming months,” Perez emphasized. “Nobody is prohibited from participating in a DNC-sanctioned debate because they participated in a climate change forum or town hall.”

While Inslee twice gave Biden a shout-out for joining the calls for a climate change debate, he targeted the former vice president’s efforts on the issue.

Inslee, who last week said that Biden’s new proposal to produce net-zero emissions and reach a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050 “lack teeth,” criticized the former vice president again.

“I am the only candidate who has said this has to be the first priority of the United States. I am the only candidate who has said that. He (Biden) has not,” Inslee told Fox News.

“I’m the only candidate who has said we have to get off coal with … teeth in a law in the next ten years. He has not. I’m the only candidate who has said we need to make our transportation system electric in the next decade and a half. He has not,” Inslee spotlighted. “So there are some differences.”

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U.S. president confirms no withdrawal from security pact: Japan

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday the United States has confirmed its defense treaty with Japan after a report suggested U.S. President Donald Trump considered withdrawing from the pact.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Trump has recently spoken privately about withdrawing from the treaty as he is of the view that the pact treated the United States unfairly.

“The thing reported in the media you mentioned does not exist,” Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo.

“We have received confirmation from the U.S. president it is incompatible with the U.S. government policy,” he added.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Darren Schuettler

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Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works

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Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works

It’s a headline that captures the establishment’s disdain for the president’s unorthodox style of governing.

“Trump’s Erratic Policy Moves Put National Security at Risk, Experts Warn,” says The Washington Post.

Never mind that the first three critics quoted — after a defense from Mike Pence on CNN — were Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

The other “experts” were two professors who were mildly critical and a lawyer who was supportive of Trump.

But the piece does get at a central question about this president in the wake of the aborted airstrikes against Iran, which he called off with 10 minutes to spare.

Does Trump preside over a messy and sometimes chaotic process? Of course. But sometimes that style gets results.

On Iran, for instance, many liberals liked that he pulled back on bombing over the downing of an unmanned drone, even as they say he extinguished a fire that he had started. (Maureen Dowd: “As shocking as it is to write this sentence, it must be said: Donald Trump did something right.”)

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER DELIVERING ‘HARD-HITTING’ SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

In negotiations, the president often makes a dramatic demand or threat, sparking a media and diplomatic furor over whether this time he’s gone too far — then hammers out a compromise and claims victory. It’s the style of a blustery New York real estate developer who’s always one minute from walking away from the table, transferred to the staid, tradition-bound world of Washington.

Over the weekend, Trump called off a wave of ICE arrests that was to begin on Sunday, which he said would begin deportations of “millions” of illegal immigrants. That set off the predictable uproar.

Trump, after a reported call with Nancy Pelosi, said he was delaying the arrests for two weeks to allow time for negotiations with the Democrats. Nobody seems to think a deal can be struck in so short a period, but Trump won points with his base by threatening the mass arrests and again drove the news agenda.

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The Post’s take: “Three policy turnarounds by President Trump this month have underscored his freewheeling governing style, an approach that some experts warn sends mixed messages and puts U.S. national security at risk …

“The results of Trump’s strategy on policy have been mixed at best — and few issues offer as complete a picture of the president’s habitual brinkmanship as his effort to overhaul U.S. trade policy.”

Remember when Trump threatened to close the Mexican border? The Beltway went ballistic. He didn’t.

PELOSI SAYS ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Then he threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican products, beginning at 5 percent, if the country didn’t crack down on migrants fleeing Central America for the U.S. border. Lo and behold, Trump got a last-minute agreement. It’s hard to judge how concrete these steps are, and The New York Times said most of them had been previously agreed to, but the perception — or perhaps the reality — is that he got Mexico to move.

Trump even used the tough-talk tactics against Canada before finally hammering out a trade deal. Whether the tariffs imposed on China ultimately lead to an agreement is another question.

The point is that while Trump’s approach horrifies the traditionalists, he rarely carries out the well-publicized threats.

I see a link between the zig-zagging negotiating style and the repeated failures of Trump’s vetting operation. Rather than wait for full-fledged inquiries and background checks, the president announces who he wants to nominate — and often has to pull back.

That was painfully on display when acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan had to withdraw over a violent family past that would have made clear he would be impossible to confirm. The same was true when the president had to drop his planned nominees to the Fed, Herman Cain and Steve Moore.

Axios obtained nearly 100 Trump transition vetting documents that clearly show the RNC and others were overwhelmed in trying to check on potential nominees. The documents show that ethical and management questions were raised about Scott Pruitt and Tom Price, who later had to resign their posts at EPA and HHS.

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As president, Trump has far more resources available to vet nominees, yet still rushes to name them before any real investigation.

This president isn’t going to win any awards for a tidy management process. But when it comes to military action and trade talks, he sometimes wins ugly.

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

A $4.5 million House bill aimed at providing more funding to migrant families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border is posing a challenge to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s grip on her party, as its liberal faction argue that the bill doesn’t go far enough while moderates worry that pushing for perfection will result in inaction at the border.

Calls for more funding at the border come amid reports that children detained entering the U.S. from Mexico are being held under harsh conditions. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News on Monday that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is dire. Azar said HHS shelters are at capacity and the budget is not there to increase it unless Congress acts.

Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer John Sanders told The Associated Press that Border Patrol stations are holding 15,000 people – more than three times their maximum capacity.

A $4.5 trillion House bill aimed at alleviating circumstances like these is up for a vote Tuesday, but liberal Democrats are calling for provisions to strengthen protections for migrant children, and challenge the Trump administration’s border policies. Democrats met on Capitol Hill with Pelosi late Monday to try and reach a compromise. The meeting reportedly eased some Democratic complaints.

PELOSI TELLS NEW YORK CROWD ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Asked before the meeting about her concerns that Democrats’ push for perfection might result in inaction at the border, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called it “a delicate situation.” Afterward, she appeared to have left the door open saying: “My main goal is to keep kids from dying,” before calling the humanitarian bill a “short-term” measure.”

But others weren’t swayed. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said after the meeting: “We cannot continue to throw money at a dysfunctional system. We are not just asking for simple changes to be made into this bill, but to go back to the drawing board and really address this from a humanitarian issue.”

The White House accused lawmakers in a letter earlier Monday of trying to undermine its efforts at the border, arguing that the House package does provide enough money to toughen border security or funds for Trump’s proposed border wall.

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Congress plans to leave Washington in a few days for a weeklong July 4 recess. While lawmakers don’t want to depart without acting on the legislation for fear of being accused of not responding to humanitarian problems at the border, it seems unlikely that Congress would have time to send a House-Senate compromise to Trump by week’s end.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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