Biden releasing 15 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve:
The Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an oil storage facility, is seen in this aerial photograph over Freeport, Texas [File: Adrees Latif/AP Photo]
President Joe Biden has announced the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the United States strategic reserve. This move follows OPEC cutting its production despite the Biden Administration’s attempted negotiations. Biden told reporters, “With my announcement today, we’re going to continue to stabilize markets and decrease the prices at a time when the actions of other countries have caused such volatility.” The release has brought the US’s strategic reserve to its lowest level since 1984. According to the White House, the US government will restock the strategic reserve when oil prices are at or lower than $67 to $72 a barrel. Part of the reason for the Administration’s urgency is the run-up to the November 8 midterm elections, which will decide the makeup of the US legislature and determine how effectively the president can enact his agenda. They also suggest the possibility of further releases during the winter to keep prices down. Biden also used the conference to call for an increase in US clean energy production, saying lawmakers needed to pass reforms to help alleviate roadblocks.
US appeals court temporarily blocks Biden's student loan forgiveness plan:
On Friday, a US appeals court temporarily blocked President Joe Biden's plan to cancel billions of dollars in college student debt. This comes one day after a judge dismissed a Republican-led lawsuit by six states challenging the loan-forgiveness program. The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided to bar the discharge of any student debt under the program until it rules on the states' request for a longer-term injunction while Thursday's decision is appealed. US District Judge Henry Autrey in St. Louis ruled on Thursday that while the six Republican-led states had raised "important and significant challenges to the debt relief plan," they lacked the necessary legal standing to pursue the case. Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina said Biden's plan skirted congressional authority and threatened earnings of state entities that invest in or service the student loans. Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, a Republican who is leading the lawsuit, welcomed the temporary stay by saying, "It’s very important that the legal issues involving presidential power be analyzed by the court before transferring over $400 billion in debt to American taxpayers.” The case reaching the 8th Circuit is one of a number that conservatives have filed in hope of halting the debt forgiveness plan announced in August. Biden said the US government will forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year, or $250,000 for married couples. The policy fulfilled a promise that Biden made during the 2020 presidential campaign to help debt-saddled former college students. Democrats are now hoping the policy will boost their support in the Nov. 8 midterm elections as control over Congress is at stake.
Illegal border crossings to US from Mexico hit annual high:
Migrants wait along a border wall Aug. 23, 2022, after crossing from Mexico near Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
According to US Customs and Border Protection, rising migration from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in September have brought the number of illegal crossings to the highest level ever recorded. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time in August and is more than twice the highest level during Donald Trump’s presidency. 78,000 of the migrants stopped came from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua while about 58,000 from Mexico and other northern Central America countries which account for most of the flow historically. The geographic shift is at least partly a result of Title 42, a public health rule suspending asylum under US and international law to prevent the spread of COVID-19. US officials say Venezuelan migration to the United States has plunged more than 85% since Oct. 12, when the US began expelling Venezuelans to Mexico under Title 42. The expansion of Title 42 for Venezuelans to be expelled to Mexico came despite the administration’s attempt to end the public health authority in May, which was blocked by a federal judge. The report is the last monthly reading of migration flows before US midterm elections, an issue that many Republicans have emphasized in campaigns to capture control of the House and Senate. Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee released a one-sentence statement Saturday in response to the numbers: “You’ve got to be kidding.”