As is fitting for late October, we’re starting to see the specter of elections really shift the news, especially on Capitol Hill. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at least for this week, it sure is insufferable. Here’s hoping things get a bit less dysfunctional in DC in coming weeks.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m mostly summarizing the news within my area of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a debt ceiling!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
We’re seeing an exponential increase of nonsense on the Election Rejection front, and it does feel like this will get worse before it gets better. Here’s what happened this week:
- Election Rejection Eruption. January 6 news is exploding, particularly regarding the House panel subpoena fight. The panel is moving to subpoena former Trump official Jeffrey Clark because they believe Clark has information about how Trump attempted to misuse the Justice department to claim election fraud. Meanwhile, former Trump aide and overall garbage human Steve Bannon pissed off so many people with his flagrant refusal to testify last week that the panel is moving to hold him in criminal contempt. Notably, President Biden has already given his blessing on that tactic, saying that his Justice Department should go after anyone who ignores the committee’s subpoena. And Trump is suing the panel because they’ve subpoenaed his records, as well as apparently threatening to get voters to stay home if GOP candidates don’t adopt his election fraud narrative.
We also saw some Biden Rebuilding news, particularly regarding immigration. Here’s what I have for you:
- Immigration Updates. A thing I’ve noticed about this administration is that they tend to wait until they’ve done something very unpopular, immigration-wise, and then they pull a Trump-era policy reversal out of their pocket like Ron Swanson producing a permit. This week’s policy decision curtailing workplace ICE raids is no exception; it coincides with preparations to reinstate the Remain in Mexico asylum policy created under the Trump administration. In the administration’s vague defense, the latter is by court order, and I could fill an entire roundup with what I think of that august opinion. But since Mexico appears to have its own legal challenge going, we might not see the Remain in Mexico program reinstated by mid-November anyway.
Your New Normal:
- Current Senate Dysfunction. The House did vote to pass the temporary debt relief bill from last week, so that’s over with until December, although notably no Republicans voted to pass the damn thing. But now we’re just back to Democrats fighting with Joe Manchin again, as he refuses to back key climate change and child care provisions of the Build Back Better legislation. Though progressives are downplaying it, it’s looking very likely that the party will have to cave to Manchin’s singular demands, which is galling when those demands come from an obvious conflict of interest.
- Broken Supply Chain.* Several outlets have run stories this week on our country’s ongoing supply chain issues, which are causing shortages in various places around the country and the world. President Biden announced that he would dramatically expand work hours at the Port of Los Angeles to facilitate processing of goods; the Port of Long Beach’s hours were dramatically expanded a few weeks ago as well. But the shipping crisis is only part of a much larger problem, because price jumps from shortages and rent increases are also fueling inflation issues. It’s likely we can expect this to continue into 2022, because the pandemic created all kinds of issues that won’t resolve overnight.
- State of the COVID-19. COVID news was pretty focused on boosters again this week, with the FDA recommending booster shots for some Moderna recipients who are over 65 and immunocompromised and for all adults who got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. There’s some question about how the J&J recommendation will be implemented, though, because experts don’t agree about whether the second shot should be a different vaccine or the same one. And speaking of shots, the White House is also urging states to prepare for the release of pediatric vaccination, which might come as soon as next month. With so much of the international population potentially vaccinated, the U.S. is also opening its borders to vaccinated international travelers.
- Can We Use Cannabis (DOJ Edition). There was scant good news this week, but we did get a small gem in the Senate: Senators Booker and Warren are requesting that the Department of Justice remove cannabis from the federal schedule of controlled substances. The senators are hoping that this move will encourage more states to legalize its use, but it seems like they’re hoping to pass federal legislation as well.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this how-to cat sushi video as well as a more consistently improved government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me more things to put under the Good section!