February 2015 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of February 2015.
New England Beats Seattle to Take Fourth Super Bowl (Feb. 1): The New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, and win their fourth Super Bowl. Tom Brady is named Super Bowl MVP for the third time after throwing four touchdowns and leading the team to a ten point fourth quarter rally. The Patriots are the first team to come back and win after a ten point deficit in the Super Bowl. It is the fourth Super Bowl win for Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. The victory comes after the team had been under scrutiny for possibly deflating footballs during last month's AFC Championship game, a scandal dubbed by the media as deflategate.
Obama Asks Congress for Authority to Fight ISIS (Feb. 11): President Obama formally seeks authorization from Congress to conduct a three-year campaign against ISIS. The request covers airstrikes and limited ground troops. It specifically says the U.S. would not "engage in enduring offensive ground combat operations."
Senate Approves Carter as Secretary of Defense (Feb. 12): In a 93-5 vote, the Senate approves Ashton Carter as the new U.S. Secretary of Defense. Carter succeeds Chuck Hagel who resigned last year. Carter has served previously as deputy defense secretary and as the chief weapons buyer for the Defense Department. He will be President Obama's fourth defense secretary.
Facing a Criminal Investigation Oregon Governor Resigns (Feb. 13): Recently elected for a fourth term, Gov. John Kitzhaber resigns due to a pending criminal investigation. The investigation involves Kitzhaber and his fiance, Cylvia Hayes. Hayes has been involved in several controversies, but the latest involves her work as a renewable energy consultant while being Kitzhaber's advisor on the same topic, a conflict of interest. Kitzhaber will step down officially on Feb. 18. Oregon's Secretary of State Kate Brown is his successor. Brown will be the state's second female governor. She also becomes the first ever openly bisexual governor.
Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Is Blocked (Feb. 16): Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of the Federal District Court for the Southern District, issues a preliminary injunction against Obama's executive action on immigration. Hanen's injunction temporarily blocks the provisions of the executive order that will give deportation deferrals to parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the U.S. for more than five years and expand a 2012 program to allow people under age 31 who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for two-year deportation deferrals and work permits. Hanen's ruling allows the states to pursue a lawsuit to permanently shut down the program, which can potentially prevent the deportation of some 5 million people. The Obama administration halts implementation of the program in light of the ruling and the Justice Department files an appeal. The White House defends Obama's action, saying both Congress and the Supreme Court have said that federal officials have discretion in deciding who to deport and therefore Obama is authorized to issue the executive order. "Those policies are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws," says Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
FCC Votes to Regulate Internet Service (Feb. 26): The FCC votes 3-2 to regulate internet service as a telecommunications service, and thus subject broadband providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to strict government regulation. The ruling will prevent those companies from blocking or slowing traffic on the web as well as creating faster internet for their paying subscribers. The ruling is the toughest yet on broadband providers.