Group Sues U.S. Department of Education over Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan

A nonprofit legal group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education to block its move to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some borrowers.

“Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Caleb Kruckenberg said. “It’s flagrantly illegal for the executive branch to create a $500 billion program by press release, and without statutory authority or even the basic notice and comment procedure for new regulations.”

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Motion Filed to Defend Michigan’s 1931 Law Criminalizing Abortion

Motions were filed Monday in the Michigan Court of Appeals to allow abortion opponents to intervene as appellants in the legal battle enforcing the state’s 1931 law outlawing abortion.

The Alliance for Defending Freedom, a Texas-based legal group representing Michigan Right to Life and the Michigan Catholic Conference, asked the court to allow it to defend the 1931 law in the ongoing Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan.

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Republican Leadership Pledges to ‘Repeal’ IRS Auditor Expansion if GOP Wins Majority

President Joe Biden sparked controversy for pushing through Congress increased federal funding for 87,000 new IRS employees to audit Americans, but Republican leadership has pledged to overturn that expansion if they win the majority.

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pledged at a Pennsylvania event to “repeal” the IRS expansion.

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83-Year-Old Right to Life of Michigan Volunteer Shot While Canvassing

An octogenarian was shot in the shoulder while canvassing in Ionia County 50 days before the Nov. 8 election.

Right to Life Michigan reported an 83-year-old volunteer from Lake Odessa was shot on Tuesday last week while going door-to-door to talk about Proposal 3, a Nov. 8 ballot question asking voters if they want to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution. 

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Group Files Voter Roll Complaint About SOS Benson

A complaint filed to the Michigan Board of Elections claims Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson violated the federal Help America Vote Act by outsourcing the managing of voter rolls to the Electronic Registration Information Center.

The conservative Thomas More Society filed the complaint on behalf of nonprofit Pure Integrity Michigan Elections.

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Hispanic Interest Growing for Michigan’s Schools of Choice

Hispanic parents nationally are increasingly investigating alternatives to traditional public schools, according to a survey released this week by Conoce tus Opciones Escolares.

COE reported 59% of Hispanic parents surveyed responded they were considering other education options for at least one child from each family, whereas 52% of all parents – Hispanic and otherwise – responded likewise.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Vaccine Mandates from Biden

Sandy Brick felt her freedom was on the line. The Head Start teacher taught through the pandemic and opposed a federal “jab-or-job” mandate from the president.

Judge Terry A. Doughty, on the bench of a U.S. District Court in Louisiana, on Wednesday agreed. He ruled the federal government cannot require Head Start program teachers, staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can it require adults or students to wear masks. His order “permanently enjoins the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states,” a release from the Liberty Justice Center says, and impacts 280,000 teachers, staff and volunteers.

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Democrats Block Release of Hunter Biden Financial Documents in Probe

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to block a resolution proposed by Republicans to coax out documents related to the investigation of Hunter Biden’s financial affairs.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking member of the committee, spearheaded the resolution, saying he has tried multiple times to get the relevant Suspicious Activity Reports on the Biden family’s financial dealings from the U.S. Treasury Department but has been unable to obtain the documents.

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Michigan House OKs Package to Limit Emergency Power Laws

The Michigan House approved more than 20 bills aiming to limit the governor’s emergency powers.

The Center Square reported about the bill package in June, more than two years after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer triggered a 1945 law that she said authorized her to declare a state of emergency for as long as she thought necessary.

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Gov. Abbott Declares Mexican Drug Cartels Terrorists, Calls on Biden to Do the Same

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued an executive order officially designating certain Mexican drug cartels as foreign smuggled into the U.S. to kill Americans at an alarming rate.

In one year’s time, fentanyl killed nearly 20 times more people than those killed in terrorist attacks over decades.

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Inspector General: Denying Religious Exemptions to Service Members Who Refuse COVID-19 Vaccines Violates Federal Law

A Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report has found that officials in the U.S. military who issued widespread denials of religious exemption requests by service members who refused to take the COVID-19 shots violated federal law.

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Report Reveals ‘Shocking Long-Term Gaps in Federal Oversight’ over Prison Deaths

The Department of Justice’s tally of how many people died while in custody missed hundreds of deaths over the past couple of years, a 10-month U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe revealed.

The problems spanned many years over multiple administrations, and committee staffers said there is widespread blame for the oversight. The investigation found that changes to the methods for collecting the data and a transition of the agency within the Justice Department responsible for carrying out the act’s requirements led to the problems.

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Seven Midwest States Enter Hydrogen Coalition

Seven Midwest states entered a coalition to pursue clean hydrogen development as an alternative to gas and diesel fuel.

The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin signed onto the Midwest Hydrogen Coalition. The coalition will accelerate clean hydrogen development, from production and supply chain to distribution in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and other industries.

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Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Department Issues Order Against Flint Chemical Company

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy with backup authority from the attorney general’s office and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, issued an order Monday against Flint-based Lockhart Chemical Company.

The company must immediately cease use of its wastewater and storm water conveyance systems. Instead, Lockhart must pump the contaminated liquids and ship offsite for disposal.

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Clinton, Obama Economist Says U.S. ‘Has a Serious Inflation Problem’

Two top economists from Democratic presidential administrations are raising the alarm about inflation this week even as the Biden administration touts its progress on the issue.

Lawrence Summers, who served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton and Director of National Economic Council for President Obama, pointed to the latest consumer price inflation data, saying the U.S. “has a serious inflation problem.”

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Some Michigan Schools Keep Mum on COVID Relief Spending

Theoretically, taxpayers should be able to see how Michigan schools are spending $5.7 billion of taxpayer money to recover from COVID-19-related learning loss.

But an investigation by The Center Square through more than 80 records requests to schools statewide shows how difficult it can be to obtain itemized COVID spending records. Many schools never responded to an initial Freedom of Information Act request.

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Report: Transit Agencies May Turn to Taxpayers for More Money When COVID-19 Funds Dry Up

Transit agencies could turn to taxpayers for more money when federal COVID-19 money runs out.

With federal money dwindling, some mass transit agencies are preparing to seek more tax dollars at a time when fewer people are riding, according to a report from a credit rating agency.

Some workers never plan to return to the office, creating uncertainties for mass transit agencies and the taxpayers who fund them, especially those more dependent on riders for fare revenue. A new report from S&P Global Ratings said transit systems could seek additional tax dollars when federal COVID-19 money runs dry in 2025.

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Biden: Republican Officials Shouldn’t Interfere with His Immigration Policies

President Joe Biden doesn’t want Republican officials interfering with his immigration policies, saying their initiative to send people north from the border is “playing politics” and “un-American.”

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, he said, “Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings using them as props. What they are doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”

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Expert: Metro Detroit Public Transit Ridership Won’t Recover This Decade

The ridership of the two largest Detroit Metro public transit systems has plummeted post-pandemic and one expert says it might not return this decade.

In 2020, the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation provided free fares and reduced operations during some of COVID. The systems later revived fares and added more routes, but many people didn’t return.

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Republican U.S. Reps Urge Defense Department to End Military Vaccine Mandate

A group of 47 members of Congress are urging the Secretary of the Department of Defense to “immediately revoke” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate he issued last August for all service members, civilian personnel, and contractors. They’ve also asked him to re-instate those who’ve already been discharged for noncompliance.

In a Sept. 15 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, they wrote “to express our grave concern over the effect of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the readiness of our Armed Forces, particularly the U.S. Army.

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Michigan Snags $105 Million to Update I-375 to Boulevard

Michigan won a $105 million federal grant to replace the I-375 freeway in Detroit with an accessible boulevard. Work is expected to start in 2025.

Almost 60 years ago, government officials approved a plan that bulldozed through the mostly minority-populated neighborhoods Black Bottom and Paradise Valley in order to build I-375, displacing more than 130,000 people. The new project will replace it with a boulevard to reconnect the split communities.

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Florida and Connecticut Attorneys General Lead Bipartisan Effort to Classify Illicit Fentanyl as Weapon of Mass Destruction

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong are leading a multistate, bipartisan effort urging President Joe Biden to classify illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

“I first called for President Biden to take swift action in July and call fentanyl what it is – a weapon of mass destruction,” Moody said. “Now, I am leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 attorneys general demanding the president take action now, declare fentanyl a WMD and join us in our fight to prevent the death and destruction caused by this highly-lethal substance from getting even worse.”

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Poll: Voters Say Biden Has Further ‘Divided’ Country

The majority of Americans say President Joe Biden has further divided the country, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the polling data, which showed that 58.7% of surveyed voters say that “Biden has divided the country during his time as president.”

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Pending Federal Grant Approval May Determine Whether Michigan Nuclear Plant Reopens

Taxpayers are being asked to fund the reopening of the Palisades nuclear plant in Southwest Michigan through a federal grant.

When it was still in operation, Palisades provided more than 800 megawatts of of carbon-free power and employed 600 people. The plant’s former owner closed the plant on May 20 after the plant’s fuel supply ran out and the power purchase agreement with Consumers Energy expired.

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Tentative Deal Reached to Avoid National Rail Strike

The freight railroad industry reached a tentative deal with rail worker unions Thursday morning to avoid a national rail strike that threatened to cripple the nation’s already stressed supply chain.

The tentative agreement still must be ratified in a vote of the unions’ workers.

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Two More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 29

Two more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 29 the total that have done so so far, with more expected to follow.

The judges and county commissioners of Wharton and Burnet counties this week signed resolutions calling for “additional measures to secure the border, stop the invasion at the border, and protect our communities.”

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Michigan Supreme Court Likely Democrat-Dominated After Chief Justice Bridget McCormack Leaves Bench This Year

The Michigan Supreme Court will likely be weighted toward Democrats after Chief Justice Bridget McCormack announced she’s leaving the bench later this year.

The vacancy will allow Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to appoint a judge to the bench whether or not she wins re-election in November.

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Four More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 22

The judges and commissioners of four more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 22 the number of counties that have done so.

Jasper, Madison, Throckmorton and Wichita counties are the latest to declare an invasion.

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Appeals Court Hands Air Force Class Action Plaintiffs a Win in Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

A panel of three Sixth Circuit judges have denied the Air Force’s attempt to overturn class certification granted to all members of the Air Force by a federal district court judge in July. In doing so, they handed another win to roughly 10,000 airmen and women fighting against the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The appeals court judges denied an emergency motion made by the Air Force requesting it stay the class certification and injunction granted in Hunter Doster, et al. v. Hon Frank Kendall, et al., by U.S. District Judge Matthew W. McFarland of the Southern District of Ohio. In July, McFarland granted class status and issued a preliminary injunction preventing retaliation against those in the Air Force who don’t comply with the mandate as the lawsuit continues. His order remains in effect.

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Report: Record 63 Percent of Small Businesses Freeze Hiring

Small businesses are increasingly unwilling to hire because they can’t afford to take on new costs, according to a newly released survey.

The small business network company Alignable released the survey Wednesday. It found that 63% report putting hiring on hold “because they can’t afford to add staff, and 10% of that group is laying off workers.”

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GOP Governors to Biden: Student Loan Plan Will Be Costly for American Taxpayers

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will be costly for American taxpayers, a coalition of GOP governors said in a letter sent Monday to the White House.

The letter, signed by 22 GOP governors, tells Biden to “withdraw” the plan, citing cost estimates of up to $600 billion, or $2,000 per American taxpayer.

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few,” the coalition wrote.

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Michigan Taxpayers Footing $27 Million for Hemlock Semiconductor Expansion

semiconductor

Michigan taxpayers are footing $27 million for a Hemlock Semiconductor Operations project that the company says will create 170 jobs at its Saginaw County headquarters.

The company says it is spending $375 million on a new project to meet the increasing global demand for hyper-pure polysilicon in the semiconductor and solar industries.

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Flint Water Crisis Trial Could Cost Taxpayers $90 Million

The taxpayer cost of the 2014 Flint water crisis litigation might grow to as much as $90 million after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Dana Nessel’s appeal of a decision that she must use a “taint team” to separate legal documents.

The court said justices were “not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

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Chipmakers Receiving Taxpayer Subsidies Under New Law Can Resume Business in China After 10 Years

Chipmaking companies that receive U.S. taxpayer funding under the $280 billion CHIPS Act of 2022 will be able to do business with foreign countries like China after a 10-year waiting period, according to guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday.

The legislation that President Biden signed last month was designed to build a domestic supply chain for computer chips, used for electronic devices and vehicle technology, as a way to reduce reliance on other countries like China and Taiwan.

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Merchant Banking Organization: Gun, Ammunition Purchases by Credit Card Will be Coded

An unloaded handgun sitting on the center console of a vehicle with the magazine clip next to it

The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores.

The International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss a request made by Amalgamated Bank to set up such a code.

An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.

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Number of Americans Citing ‘Hardship’ from Inflation Rises

The majority of Americans say inflation is causing them financial hardship, according to a new poll.

While the Biden administration heralded a pause in the rise of inflation for the month of July, a new Gallup poll indicates that Americans are feeling the pain more now than at the beginning of this year.

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Michigan Court of Claims Declares Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled the state’s 1931 law that bans abortion, triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, is unconstitutional.

Gleicher said the law violates the Michigan Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

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Independent Voters Say Biden’s Attacks on ‘MAGA Republicans’ Went Too Far

President Joe Biden has turned up the rhetoric against Trump supporters and what he calls the “ultra MAGA” wing of the Republican party, but new polling shows most Americans fear his comments are too divisive.

Biden’s rhetoric, and the concern that he has gone too far, ratcheted up when the president gave a primetime speech last week blasting the “ MAGA Republicans” as a “threat to Democracy” and “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

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Gas Prices Continue Decline, Still Much Higher than Last Year

Gas prices have continued a steady decline in recent weeks, coming down from record-high gas prices this summer, but the Congressional Budget Office says natural gas prices may see an increase from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

According to AAA, the current national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.78, down from $4.08 a month ago and down significantly from earlier this summer when prices surpassed $5 per gallon. Prices have dropped about a nickel in the past week.

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Feds Reimburse Michigan $50 Million for Emergency Road and Bridge Repairs

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded Michigan $50 million to reimburse emergency road and bridge repairs after heavy rain and dam failures in 2020 caused widespread flooding in mid-Michigan.

The deluge caused more than 10,000 people to evacuate from 3,500 homes, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. Whitmer welcomed the reimbursement.

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Kentucky Life Expectancy Falls Sharply

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the overall health of Kentucky and the rest of the nation. Now, researchers can point out how the coronavirus has affected the population.

According to the University of Louisville’s Kentucky State Data Center, the life expectancy at birth for a Kentuckian has dropped by 3.4 years from 2019 to 2021.

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Michigan Library Defunded over LGBTQ Books Hits $245,000 on GoFundMe

A GoFundMe fundraising site has garnered more than $245,000 in support of a Michigan library for about a year after voters rejected its millage, angry over LGBTQ books.

Patmos Library in Jamestown Township faced closure next year after voters rejected an Aug. 2 library millage renewal in protest of some graphic LGTBQ content in the library’s collection, The Center Square reported in early August.

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Union Deletes Document After Report Shows Taxpayer-Funded Collusion with Biden Administration

A national labor union representing over 100,000 federal employees pulled a document off its website after a report showed the Biden administration was using taxpayer dollars to help public unions grow their members, and as a result, their budgets.

The Center Square reported the story, which cited a news release on the National Federation of Federal Employees’ website where the labor group explicitly thanked the Biden administration for helping it recruit more federal workers.

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More Americans Expect Civil War than Not in Next 10 Years, Poll Finds

Political tensions have ramped up year after year, and now nearly half the country thinks a civil war could happen in the U.S. in the next decade.

Newly released polling data from YouGov and The Economist show that “two in five Americans believe a civil war is at least somewhat likely in the next decade.”

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U.S. Department of Labor Awards Michigan Jobless Agency $6.7 Million Equity Grant

Inside DMV, people standing in line

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency a $6.7 million grant to improve access to workers in underserved communities.

The grant aims to reach workers who have historically had difficulties applying for benefits, such as rural and urban areas with limited internet access and those with language barriers.

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