National News Roundup: Year 6, Week 1 (January 16–22)
Wednesday night was a rough night for democracy, and I know many of us are disappointed. But there’s a lot of work left to do, and we will do what we can. I’m here if I can help.
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 COVID test!–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:
As seems to be true every week, there are a lot of Election Rejection updates to report, and some of them are even promising. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. As the January 6 investigation continues, we meander closer and closer to Trump culpability. This week, the subpoenas include several of Trump’s attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. The panel also is beginning negotiations to interview Ivanka Trump due to her direct knowledge of the day’s events. Meanwhile, the first set of Trump’s disputed documents are being turned over to the panel–but more on that below.
We did also see a bit of progress on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s what has happened:
- Biden’s Omicron Microprogression. The Biden administration announced several more pandemic supports this week. He launched an initiative to send four antigen tests per household to households that order them at covidtests.gov, beginning in late January. Similarly, the administration is making plans to distribute 400 million N-95 masks, which will be available at community health centers in the near future. Nonetheless, as this week marked the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, many outlets were talking about the ways in which Biden’s pandemic response has fallen flat, and Biden himself has expressed regrets about his delayed responses as well.
Your New Normal:
- Recent Senate Dysfunction. As foretold by prophecy, debate began on Tuesday in the Senate regarding federal voting rights legislation; unsurprisingly, the debate lasted for many hours. But when the vote came down on the filibuster issue on Wednesday night, both Sinema and Manchin voted against permitting the Senate to pass the bill by simple majority, and that doomed the Act to fail with a 48–52 vote. Sinema has been officially censured by the AZ Democrats for her actions as I write this, and some PACs have pulled funding as well.But in the Senate, advocates are shifting back to talking about Build Back Better, accepting that the voting rights bill is truly dead. As I type this, Biden’s current theory is that the main provisions will need to be passed piecemeal–the original Build Back Better Act is dead in the water as well.
- State of the COVID-19. I do have a bit of positive news for you regarding the Omicron wave, which is that case rates are going down in some of the country as I type this. There have also been several recently-published studies showing the high efficacy of boosters, and some experts are beginning to speculate about what “hybrid immunity”–created when vaccinated people get mild breakthrough infections–will mean for us as a country. But there is a lot of less positive news, as well; hospitals are still overwhelmed in many parts of the U.S., and people are needing sick leave in unprecedented numbers. Meanwhile, there’s yet another vaccine mandate lawsuit pending, and jackasses rallied in Washington over their right to refuse to vaccinate themselves this past Sunday.
- Recent Jan 6 Resilience. The current Supreme Court managed to (mostly) clear a low bar this week, when everybody except Thomas voted to release Trump’s records to the House January 6 panel. That may not feel like a huge victory, but given the rest of the current judicial season, and how many justices Trump personally appointed, it’s still worth writing home about. Additionally, a Georgia DA is seeking a special grand jury to investigate Trump’s interference with the Georgia 2020 election, and it will be interesting to see what happens there.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve Jorts the cat’s book deal 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 tea cause we’re running out!