“The House passed a bill on Tuesday to protect marriage equality, a direct response to an opinion from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last month that called for reversing multiple decisions that enshrined LGBTQ rights,” The Hill reports.
“The legislation, titled the Respect for Marriage Act, passed in a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. Seven Republicans did not vote.”
Washington Post: “It’s unclear if the legislation has enough support in the Senate for passage. And Democratic leaders didn’t commit to bringing it up for a vote, stating the legislative schedule ahead of the midterms may not allow for immediate consideration.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday that he is working to get sufficient Republican support for the Senate to pass a bill that would federally protect same-sex marriages, the Washington Post reports.
The House vote to codify the right for gay couples to marry may have started out as a messaging exercise, it quickly became much more powerful than that.
That’s because marriage is not just some issue like gas prices or immigration. It’s a fundamental right — much like abortion was for 48 years before this summer’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
And the vote was great politics for Democrats because it completely unified their party while splitting Republicans.
Every House Democrat voted to guarantee same-sex marriage, along with 47 Republicans. That means 157 Republicans went on record saying they were willing to let states take away the rights of gay and interracial couples.
The House vote also suggests that if the bill were brought up in the Senate, it would almost certainly attract Republican votes as well. And it could possibly get 10 Republicans in order to bypass the filibuster and be sent to President Biden for his signature. That would be a huge win.
As a model, the vote could be used for other rights that we take for granted — such access to contraception or abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Would these efforts all become law? Maybe not. But forcing lawmakers to vote against fundamental rights we enjoy would be pretty powerful.
Jonathan Chait: “In 2004, the Republican Party was united in anger at the idea that judges would seize the issue of gay marriage from its rightful place in the legislative arena.”
Said President George W. Bush: “We will not stand for judges who undermine democracy by legislating from the bench and try to remake America by court order.”
Said the Alliance for Marriage: “The only question is whether the constitutional status of marriage will be determined by unelected judges or the American people.”
“Conservatives may finally get their wish. The matter of gay marriage is finally coming for a vote before what they have always insisted is its rightful venue: Congress. And yet, far from expressing gratitude that Congress is finally exerting its sacred Article III powers, conservatives are angry that elected officials are now meddling in business properly settled by the courts.”
Politico: Republicans freeze up on same-sex marriage.
“Many of the states rushing to ban abortion are also the biggest users of a surveillance tool that authorities could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from people’s phones,” Politico reports.
“Supporters of abortion rights are expressing growing alarm about the potential uses that police or prosecutors could find for this data after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, including to target abortion providers or the people seeking the procedure.”
“It wouldn’t be hard to do, because states across the country are already using this kind of data for other investigations.”
The Economist: “America has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world. With the overturning of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that abortion was a constitutional right, it is likely to rise. International comparisons are imperfect but in 2018, while in the Netherlands and Norway there were no more than three maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, in America there were 17.”
“Most U.S. states that now ban abortion, or soon will, allow exceptions if a woman’s life is in danger. But abortion providers and obstetrician-gynecologists say laws tend to be so vaguely worded that they often do not know if they are breaking them.”
“Attorneys for the Indianapolis doctor who helped a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim obtain an abortion took the first legal step on Tuesday in a possible defamation lawsuit against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) for his comments in a story that has captured international attention,” the Washington Post reports.
“Demand for abortion pills is soaring following last month’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, even as states move to ban or restrict access,” Axios reports.
“By a nearly four-to-one margin, Idaho Republicans at the state party’s convention in Twin Falls rejected an amendment to the party platform on Saturday that would have provided an exception for a mother who has an abortion to save her life,” the Idaho Capital Sun reports.
“A federal appeals court on Wednesday lifted an injunction on the state’s 2019 anti-abortion law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks,” Axios reports. “The law is likely to take effect later this summer.”
“White House officials plotting the administration’s post-Roe response are weighing a narrow public health directive aimed at safeguarding nationwide access to abortion pills,“ Politico reports.
“The Biden team has zeroed in on that authority in recent days. They consider it the most feasible of the White House’s limited options for protecting abortion rights, and have concluded that it could have the most immediate on-the-ground impact while also quelling Democrats’ demands for stronger action.”
“Yet such a move still faces deep skepticism from senior aides who are unconvinced it would survive the inevitable legal challenges, and who worry conservative judges will seize on any opportunity to further limit President Joe Biden’s executive power.”
“A bipartisan group of 16 senators on Wednesday released legislation that would clarify an 1887 law that then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to use as part of their attempt to overturn the 2020 election results,” the Washington Post reports.
New York Times: “The legislation aims to guarantee a peaceful transition from one president to the next, after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol demonstrated how the current law could be manipulated to disrupt the process. One measure would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge a state’s electoral votes when Congress meets to make its official count. It would also clarify that the vice president has no discretion over the results and set out the steps to begin a presidential transition.”
NBC News: “The bills come as the House’s Jan. 6 committee prepares to holds its last public hearing — at least for the time being — on Thursday outlining evidence it has received in connection to what it calls a plot to overturn the result of the 2020 election.”
Jimmy Carter and James Baker: “The act is an antiquated, muddled and potentially unconstitutional law that allows uncertainty during a critical step in the peaceful transfer of power. The act became law 10 years after several states submitted competing slates of electoral votes during the disputed Reconstruction-era election of 1876. It spawned no controversy for the next 30 presidential elections.”
“Weaknesses in the law started to become apparent after the 2000 election. On Jan. 6, 2001, as well as in 2005 and 2017, some members of the losing candidates’ political party objected to electoral slates from some states. In 2021, the ambiguities of that law helped lead to the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol as efforts were being made to toss out several states’ slates of electoral votes.”
“Fortunately, those efforts failed, and the rightful winners took office. But the threat of confusion remains. Left unclosed, loopholes in the act could allow a repeat of the same destructive path that occurred in 2021.”
“A senior Secret Service official said agency employees received two emails — at least one prior to Jan. 6, 2021 — reminding them to preserve records on their cellphones, including text messages, before their devices were essentially ‘restored to factory settings’ and texts were lost as part of a planned reset and replacement program across the agency,” NBC News reports.
“The U.S. Secret Service handed over just one text message thread in response to a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot,” CNBC reports.
The Secret Service has concluded that the texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, that the agency deleted can’t be recovered despite the House Jan. 6 Committee’s subpoena, a senior official told the Washington Post.
Almost all the records the Secret Service will hand over to the Jan. 6 panel have reportedly already been previously shared with congressional committees. The material won’t provide any important new information, according to the Post.
The National Archives sent an information request to the Secret Service about the deleted texts on Tuesday demanding the agency describe what got deleted and how it happened.
“Eleven Republican fake electors from Georgia are fighting subpoenas to testify before a special grand jury in an investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally interfered in the 2020 election in the state,” the AP reports.
“All 11 signed a certificate declaring falsely that then-President Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s ‘duly elected and qualified’ electors even though Joe Biden had won the state and a slate of Democratic electors was certified. They filed a motion Tuesday to quash their subpoenas, calling them ‘unreasonable and oppressive.’”
Former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler, who met with the January 6 committee earlier this week, “went on a profane and sexist rant on a livestream after his testimony, where he railed against the lawmakers and attacked other witnesses,” CNN reports.
“In the 27-minute livestream, Ziegler used vulgar and misogynistic language to attack Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, two women who worked for the Trump White House but have since publicly broken from the former President and cooperated with the January 6 panel.”
Said Ziegler of the lawmakers on the committee: “They’re Bolsheviks, so, they probably do hate the American founders and most White people in general. This is a Bolshevistic anti-White campaign. If you can’t see that, your eyes are freaking closed. And so, they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right?”
“Attorney General Merrick Garland reiterated Wednesday he would pursue investigations into the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, by following the facts and the law, after some advocates worried a recent memo signaled he would avoid investigating former President Donald Trump,” USA Today reports.
Said Garland: “No person is above the law in this country. I can’t say it any more clearly than that. There is nothing in the principles of prosecution and any other factors which prevent us from investigating anyone – anyone – who is criminally responsible for an attempt to undo a democratic election.”
“Rudy Giuliani has been ordered to testify Aug. 9 before a grand jury in Georgia that is collecting evidence in a probe of possible criminal meddling in that state’s 2020 presidential election by former President Donald Trump,” CNBC reports.
“Giuliani spearheaded legal efforts by the Republican president to overturn the electoral results in multiple swing states that were won that year by President Joe Biden.”
“The conventional wisdom about the Jan. 6 committee hearings was that no single revelation was going to change Republican minds about Donald Trump,” Politico reports.
“What happened instead, a slow drip of negative coverage, may be just as damaging to the former president. Six weeks into the committee’s public hearing schedule, an emerging consensus is forming in Republican Party circles — including in Trump’s orbit — that a significant portion of the rank-and-file may be tiring of the non-stop series of revelations about Trump.”
“The fatigue is evident in public polling and in focus groups that suggest growing Republican openness to an alternative presidential nominee in 2024.”
“The White House and some Senate Democrats aren’t giving up on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) just yet — and are leaving the door open to pursuing climate legislation in a potential second reconciliation package,” Axios reports.
“The keep-hope-alive approach means President Biden can’t antagonize Manchin by taking immediate executive actions on issues that matter deeply to the moderate West Virginia senator, like pipeline permitting.”
“The Senate voted to advance a slimmed-down version of its bill designed to boost U.S. semiconductor competition with China,” CNBC reports.
“The bill cleared a key procedural hurdle Tuesday evening in a 64-34 vote even as lawmakers worked to finish various sections of the legislation.”
“The bill, which would provide about $50 billion in subsidies to bolster U.S. computer chip manufacturing, is a multifaceted bipartisan effort that combines the interests of several committees, ranging from national security to economics.”
Punchbowl News notes the bill might be expanded as it secured significant bipartisan support.
“Casting herself as a mother and daughter, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, addressed Congress one day after meeting with Jill Biden at the White House as their husbands seek to keep the world’s attention on the war ravaging Ukraine and the larger threat posed by Russian aggression,” the New York Times reports.
Said Zelenska: “Russia is destroying our people… An unprovoked invasive terrorist war is being waged against my country. We remain completely broken.”
“The White House on Tuesday doubled down on its assertion that Russia will try to annex additional Ukrainian territory, warning that Moscow intends to claim as its own large swaths of the country’s east and south sometime later this year,” the Washington Post reports.
“President Vladimir Putin left Russia for a rare international trip on Tuesday and received a handsome reward: a meeting with a prominent world leader who voiced a full-throated endorsement for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.
“Traveling to Iran, Mr. Putin worked to solidify an Iranian-Russian alliance that has been emerging as a significant counterweight to American-led efforts to contain Western adversaries. He met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who issued a declaration of support for Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine of the kind that even other countries close to Russia have so far stopped short of making.”
The European Union proposed a plan for countries to reduce demand for natural gas — as officials warned that Russia was “likely” to cutoff the flow to Europe, the Washington Post reports.
“Rishi Sunak will face off against Liz Truss for the Conservative leadership after Penny Mordaunt was eliminated from the contest,” the Times of London reports.
Politico: “Sunak and Truss will now go on to a wider vote of the Conservative Party’s rank-and-file members, with a spate of recent polls suggesting Sunak could struggle to beat Truss, despite comfortably securing the support of the most Tory lawmakers.”
“U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently resigned from his post but is staying on until a replacement is chosen, has faced backlash for missing multiple emergency Cabinet meetings to discuss the country’s dangerous heat wave,” Axios reports.
Janan Ganesh: “The question is whether, over a large enough sample size, a country can survive the sending of its ablest people to the private sector. In a sense, democratic capitalism is self-eroding. In allowing for private careers of such lavish pay and privacy, it makes politics into a mug’s game. The resulting decline in laws and institutions in turn threatens the economy.”
“If the Tory circus distresses you, consider that, in Labour’s shadow team, the experience comes from someone who has spent a quarter of a century in parliament without leaving much mark (Yvette Cooper) and a failed ex-leader (Ed Miliband). Autocracies at least allow officials enough scope for graft and the indulgence of peccadillos to keep the talent coming.”
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has ordered his staff to gather information about every interaction between the U.S. military and the Chinese military over the past five years to review the growing number of interactions with the Chinese military in the South China Sea and beyond, NBC News reports.
CIA director William Burns “issued a warning to the agency’s work force last week after what appeared to be a noose was found outside a secret facility used by the agency in Virginia,” the New York Times reports.
Wall Street Journal: “While U.S. policy remains aimed at ending the North’s nuclear status, the program is now so far advanced that the priority is preventing its use.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades, told CNN on Monday that he’s “very likely” to retire sometime before the end of Biden’s first term in January 2025. And really, can you blame the guy?
“If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have COVID anymore,’ then I will be 105,’” Fauci had told Politico in an interview that came out earlier on Monday when asked about continuing with government work amid COVID-19.
The 81-year-old Fauci has worked under seven presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan.
“The United States has successfully tested a Raytheon Technologies air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound, making it the third successful test of that class of weapon since 2013,” Reuters reports.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a delegation to Taiwan in August, the Financial Times reports. “Three people familiar with the situation said the White House had expressed concern about the trip.”
“President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil called dozens of foreign diplomats to the presidential palace on Monday to tell them that he believed the country’s voting systems could be rigged, a potential preview of his strategy for an election that is 75 days away and that polls forecast he will lose in a landslide,” the New York Times reports.
“When Michelle Obama declared ‘When they go low, we go high’ about Republicans in 2016, Democrats generally agreed with the sentiment,” The Hill reports.
“After all, the party was up against Donald Trump, a man who seemed to find joy in making personal attacks part of his daily routine. But nearly six years later, the party that pledged to play nice is fed up.”
“Democrats are tired of being stomped on by the opposition. They hate the public perception of President Biden as a president in peril. And the conservative Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is pushing them past their limits.”
“Going low suddenly seems more appealing, some Democrats now say.”
Washington Post: “At each moment when Trump could have soothed an agitated nation, he escalated tensions instead, the committee has illustrated through its presentation of 18 live witnesses, scores of videotaped depositions and vast documentary evidence. At each moment when longtime loyal advisers offered their view that his election loss was real, he refused to listen and found newcomers and outsiders willing to tell him otherwise.”
“On at least 15 different occasions, the president barreled over those who told him to accept his loss and instead took actions that sought to circumvent the democratic process and set the nation on the path to violence, according to the committee’s evidence.”
“The resulting attack on the Capitol was not spontaneous, the committee has argued, but instead a predictable outcome that Trump enabled even after learning the crowd he was addressing that day was armed and baying for blood.”
“The U.K.’s annual rate of inflation rose to a new four-decade high, outpacing increasingly rapid wage growth and weakening the country’s economic outlook during a period of political vacuum,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
New York Times: “Since Russia invaded Ukraine, energy, commodity and food prices have jumped higher, worsening inflation around the world. But in Britain, this had collided with a tight labor market that is encouraging employers to offer higher wages and increase prices for their goods and services. For policymakers, there is now a difficult balancing act between raising interest rates to tackle inflation, which is running far above the rate targeted by the Bank of England, and not exacerbating a cost of living crisis by tipping the economy into a recession.”
“Top national security officials warned on Tuesday about the continuing threat of election interference from abroad, emphasizing that Russia could still seek to meddle or promote disinformation during the 2022 midterm races even as it wages war in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.
Said FBI Director Christopher Wray: “I am quite confident the Russians can walk and chew gum.”
“Iran and China also remained potent threats, mounting their own campaigns to undermine American democracy.”
“Former President Donald Trump’s administration spent years trying to add a census citizenship question as part of a secret strategy for altering the population numbers used to divide up seats in Congress and the Electoral College,” NPR reports.
“Long kept from the public, the Trump administration memos and emails were disclosed by lawmakers following a more than two-year legal fight that began after Trump officials refused to turn them over for a congressional investigation.”