TEXANS FINALLY GETTING POWER BACK, BUT WATER STILL A PROBLEM FOR MANY: Many of the millions of people in Texas who were without electricity and heat for days after a winter storm brought record low temperatures finally got power back yesterday (February 18th). The number without power was down to 325,000 homes and businesses, after having been three million a day earlier. However, rolling blackouts could return, utility officials said. There were still concerns with safe drinking water, with seven million people having been told Wednesday to boil tap water before drinking it after lines froze and water pressure dropped as many people left their faucets dripping to prevent pipes from freezing. Water problems were continuing yesterday, with Houston’s mayor, for one, saying residents will likely have to keep boiling water for a few more days. Federal emergency officials sent generators to Texas for water treatment plants, hospitals and nursing homes, along with food, water and blankets, and President Biden called Governor Greg Abbott yesterday offering more federal support.
SIX CAPITOL POLICE OFFICERS SUSPENDED, 29 UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ACTIONS DURING CAPITOL ATTACK: Six U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and 29 others are under investigation for their actions during the attack on the Capitol last month, department spokesman John Stolnis told CNN Thursday. (February 18th). Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said one of the suspended officers took a selfie with someone who was part of the attacking mob, and another wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and started directing people around the building. Capitol Police issued a vote of no confidence in the force’s top leaders earlier this month in the wake of the January 6th attack. Officer Brian Sicknick was killed as a result of the attack, and two other officers committed suicide shortly after it happened.
ADMINISTRATION SAYS READY FOR TALKS TO RETURN TO IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: President Biden‘s administration said yesterday (February 18th) that it’s ready to take part in talks with Iran and other world powers about returning to the 2015 nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018. In related steps, the U.S. also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored, and eased restrictions on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats at the United Nations. Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the news, saying, “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal.”
DEMOCRATS UNVEIL BIDEN’S IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION: Administration officials and congressional Democrats unveiled President Biden‘s proposed immigration legislation Thursday (February 18th). The wide-ranging legislation includes things like an eight-year path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally, an increase in visas, greater funding for processing asylum requests, and more. However, Democrats signaled willingness to act on parts of the legislation separately, instead of insisting on trying to get the entire proposal passed.