by Jacob Solis
Volkswagen CEO resigns amid emissions scandal
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned Wednesday, only a day after he acknowledged that roughly 11 million of the company’s diesel cars had been engineered to cheat emissions tests. A new CEO, Matthias Mueller of the company’s Porsche brand, was named on Friday.
All of this followed a small West Virginia lab’s discovery of so-called “defeat devices” in two of Volkswagen’s diesel cars. These devices tell the car’s computer when it’s being tested so that emissions can be reduced to acceptable levels under the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. When not being tested, VW diesels would emit 40 times the acceptable level of nitrous oxides.
The EPA has reported that nearly 500,000 VW and Audi brand cars are affected in the U.S., a fraction of the 11 million VW has said are affected worldwide. On Monday, German prosecutors launched a criminal investigation of Winterkorn, while the governments of France, Italy and South Korea have announced broader investigations.
Rep. John Boehner to step down as Speaker of the House
Ohio Republican John Boehner announced Friday that he will step down as speaker of the house and from his seat in Congress at the end of October. The surprise announcement follows weeks of strife and uncertainty on Capitol Hill over the possibility of a government shutdown.
Boehner was elected to serve Ohio’s eighth district in 1990 and was later elected as speaker in 2011 after Republicans had gained control of the House.
His tenure as speaker has been defined by repeated conflict with fellow Republicans. In 2011 and again in 2013, Boehner faced open rebellion from the GOP’s right wing as many in the party demanded harsh spending cuts in return for raising the debt ceiling. This rebellion nearly led to Boehner’s ouster from the speakership in 2013 as Republican hardliners began to gather in force.
Opposition to Boehner returned with a vengeance earlier this year as many in the GOP began calling for the government to defund Planned Parenthood. To accomplish this, conservative Republicans have drafted bills that remove funding for Planned Parenthood. If these bills are not passed, either with or without funding for Planned Parenthood, the government would shut down until a compromise could be reached.
Both Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have remained staunch in their opposition to any such funding bills. Experts are now saying, however, that Boehner’s resignation will dramatically reduce the odds of a government shutdown.
Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the current favorite to replace Boehner, though he has yet to officially throw his hat into the ring. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the favorite among more conservative Republicans, has already said he does not want the job, according to The New York Times.
4.7-magnitude earthquake strikes northern Nevada
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a 4.7-magnitude earthquake struck northwest Nevada, near the Oregon border, on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The quake was the second of that magnitude to hit the region in two weeks, though no damage was reported. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the epicenter to be 38 miles away from Lakeview, Oregon.
Jacob Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.