Xavier Becerra

Trump-California auto emissions fight appears headed to courts
The fight over who can set vehicle emissions standards in California seems headed for the courts

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department on September 18, 2019, in Sacramento, California. Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols held a news conference in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to revoke California’s waiver to establish vehicle emissions standards. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s fight with California over vehicle greenhouse gas emissions appears destined to become a long court battle, with California and at least one other state vowing Wednesday to sue to sustain the state’s nearly 50-year-old authority to set its own standards.

One day after his EPA administrator vowed to revoke in “the very near future” a waiver that allows California to set stricter mileage standards than the federal government, Trump made the announcement via a series of tweets.

Federal appeals court questions legality of Obamacare insurance mandate
Case has high stakes for health care law’s future

Senate and House Democrats hold a Tuesday news conference on the Senate steps on health care coverage of preexisting conditions. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested during a Tuesday hearing it might uphold at least part of a lower court ruling to strike down the 2010 health care law.

Two judges, both appointed by Republican presidents, questioned the constitutionality of the law’s requirement that most Americans get health care coverage. A third, appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, stayed silent throughout the nearly two-hour oral argument hearing in New Orleans, which follows a December decision by federal Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas calling for the law to be struck down.

Trump energy plan faces legal blitz over weaker emissions standards
Democratic state AGs join environmental groups saying they’ll sue the federal government over the rule

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Blue states and green groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration over its new carbon emissions rule finalized Wednesday, which critics say fails to address climate change and the public health risks associated with pollution from the power sector.

The EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule rescinds the Obama administration’s ambitious Clean Power Plan and replaces it with less stringent guidelines for states and coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions.

Abortion-rights groups sue HHS over conscience rule
It’s the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that may affect abortion and contraception access

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, speaks at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. On Tuesday several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced they would file a challenge a Trump Administration rule that may affect access to abortion and contraception. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced Tuesday that they filed the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that could affect access to abortion and contraception.

The challenge comes a week after state attorneys general filed different lawsuits also attempting to block the final rule from going into effect this year.

California remains ground zero for data privacy fight
New law seeks to define internet users’ rights

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be tasked with rulemaking for the state’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed it almost a year ago, but it’s still unclear what California’s first-in-the-nation data privacy law will look like in practice. 

The law was the first in the United States to attempt to define internet users’ rights over their personal data that companies often sell for marketing purposes. But ahead of the law’s Jan. 1, 2020, implementation date, the state is still grappling with the balance between consumer protection and a light regulatory approach that has allowed the tech sector to become a major part of the California economy.

Democrats look to defend Obamacare with disaster aid amendment

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is looking to put Obamacare and Democrats' defense of it front and center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats would propose an amendment to a $13.45 billion disaster aid package that would block the Justice Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s push for a court ruling invalidating the 2010 health care law.

The move is another threat to consensus on a supplemental spending bill that leaders hoped could be negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but talks have until now been weighed down by disagreement over the package’s size and scope. Senate Democrats’ strategy introduces a new hurdle and is part of a broader push by Democrats to steer public attention toward health care.

With Obamacare under siege, Democrats fire back
Republicans defend Trump’s bid in Texas case: ‘The health care, it’s going to tank. It’s just a matter of when’

Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal said that under the Democrats’ new plan, families with an income of up to $96,000 per year would qualify for health care subsidies, while individuals making up to $46,000 would qualify. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are seeking to move beyond special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report to a different action taken this week by the Justice Department: its statement supporting Texas’ legal challenge to the 2010 health care law, which said the entire act should fall.

House Democrats, highlighting the differences between their positions and the administration’s, unveiled draft legislation Tuesday that seeks to lower health care costs for people who get insurance coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.

Data privacy bill faces long odds as states, EU move ahead
Most tech companies agree laws on how to collect and use consumer data are essential, but the specifics are still being debated

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., right, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are seen in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate policy luncheons on Sept. 25, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers want to pass a federal data privacy bill before 2020 to put Washington on par with Europe and ahead of several U.S. states. But those efforts could be delayed because of differences between technology companies and Congress over how powerful the law should be and how it should be structured.

A delay in enacting a uniform federal law could leave technology giants and startup app makers trying to meet a latticework of standards set by multiple regulations passed by many states as well as a growing international set of rules being modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Companies also could be liable for fines and face consumer lawsuits allowed by state laws.

Stacey Abrams to give Democratic SOTU response
The 2018 Georgia gubernatorial nominee may be a Senate contender in 2020

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Fresh off her 2018 gubernatorial loss and ahead of a possible 2020 Senate bid, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the selection Tuesday, a week before the address, which had been delayed in the fight over the partial government shutdown. 

Sen. Kamala Harris Aide Resigns After $400,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement Emerges
California senator did not know about the lawsuit, her office says

A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., resigned Wednesday after a settlement for $400,000 over a lawsuit levying gender harassment allegations against him surfaced. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A longtime aide to Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after another news publication asked about a $400,000 sexual harassment and retaliation settlement stemming from his time working for the California Department of Justice.

The Sacramento Bee first reported this story.