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    Title 42: judge orders Biden to lift Trump-era immigration rule

    Title 42: judge orders Biden to lift Trump-era immigration ruleAsylum restrictions imposed at beginning of Covid pandemic are ‘arbitrary and capricious’, US district judge says A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Biden administration to lift Trump-era asylum restrictions that have been a cornerstone of border enforcement since the beginning of Covid.Migrants still being blocked by ‘really dangerous’ Trump-era Covid policyRead moreThe US district judge, Emmet Sullivan, ruled in Washington that enforcement must end immediately for families and single adults, calling the ban “arbitrary and capricious”. The administration has not applied it to children traveling alone.Within hours, the justice department asked the judge to let the order take effect on 21 December, giving it five weeks to prepare. Plaintiffs including the American Civil Liberties Union did not oppose the delay.“This transition period is critical to ensuring that [the Department of Homeland Security] can continue to carry out its mission to secure the nation’s borders and to conduct its border operations in an orderly fashion,” government attorneys wrote.On Wednesday, Sullivan granted the five-week delay “with great reluctance”, saying it would “enable the government to make preparations to implement” his ruling.In that 49-page ruling, Sullivan, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, said authorities failed to consider the impact on migrants and possible alternatives. The ruling appears to conflict with another in May by a federal judge in Louisiana that kept the asylum restrictions.Migrants have been expelled from the US more than 2.4m times since the rule took effect in March 2020, denying migrants rights to seek asylum under US and international law on grounds of preventing the spread of Covid. The practice was authorized under Title 42 of a broader 1944 law covering public health.Before the judge in Louisiana kept the ban in place in May, US officials said they were planning for as many as 18,000 migrants a day under the most challenging scenario, a staggering number. In May, migrants were stopped an average of 7,800 times a day, the highest of Joe Biden’s presidency.Immigration advocacy groups have pressed hard to end Title 42, but more moderate Democrats, including senators Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, wanted it to stay when the administration tried to lift it in May.On Wednesday, Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of America’s Voice, which advocates for common-sense immigration reform, said: “Keeping Title 42 in place has perpetuated the cruel legacy of the Trump administration and made border enforcement much more difficult and chaotic.“It’s only fitting that Judge Sullivan’s important ruling came on the same day that Donald Trump announced another run for office and only a week after the American people largely rejected … Republican candidates who took an extreme position on immigration in the midterms.”Cárdenas said the Biden administration should enact “a functional, orderly and humane set of [immigration] policies that upholds and advances our values and laws”.Under Title 42, bans have fallen largely on migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – in addition to Mexicans – because Mexico allows them to be returned from the US. Last month, Mexico began accepting Venezuelans expelled from the US under Title 42, causing a sharp drop in Venezuelans seeking asylum at the US border.Nationalities less likely to be subject to Title 42 have become a growing presence at the border, confident they will be released in the US to pursue their immigration cases. In October, Cubans were the second-largest nationality at the border after Mexicans, followed by Venezuelans and Nicaraguans.The US homeland security department said it would use the next five weeks to “prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border”.“We continue to work with countries throughout the western hemisphere to take enforcement actions against the smuggling networks that entice migrants to take the dangerous and often deadly journey to our land borders and to address the root causes of irregular migration that are challenging our hemisphere as a whole,” the department said.An ACLU attorney, Lee Gelernt, said Sullivan’s decision renders the Louisiana ruling moot.“This is an enormous victory for desperate asylum seekers who have been barred from even getting a hearing because of the misuse of public laws,” Gelernt said. “This ruling hopefully puts an end to this horrendous period in US history in which we abandoned our solemn commitment to provide refuge to those facing persecution.”TopicsUS immigrationBiden administrationUS domestic policyUS politicsUS-Mexico bordernewsReuse this content More

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    Are US politics starting to turn towards a more hopeful future? | Gary Gerstle

    Are US politics starting to turn towards a more hopeful future?Gary GerstleWe might one day look back on this midterm – and on Biden’s first two years – and discern in them a new beginning Last week was amazing for Joe Biden. The Red Wave fizzled. The Democrats kept the Senate. Even if the House slips from the Democrats’ grasp, as it is expected to, Biden will be credited with engineering the strongest midterm showing by an incumbent president’s party since 2002, and the most impressive such performance by a sitting Democratic president since JFK in 1962. Women’s anger at the supreme court’s Dobbs decision hammered the Republicans in key states. Many of Trump’s highest-flying, election-denying candidates fell to earth, damaging the ex-president’s aura of invincibility. Fights and recriminations have now broken out everywhere in Republican ranks.And there’s more from last week to bring a smile to Biden’s face: inflation moderated, the Dow rocketed skyward, and Ukrainians pushed the Russians out of Kherson, a big win not just for Ukraine but for Biden’s European foreign policy. And, oh yes, in America, young people – the country’s future – came out in relatively large numbers and, in critical contests, broke for the Democrats in a big way.And yet, what did this past week of exceptional political success yield for Biden and Democrats? Their majority in the Senate is still razor-thin. If they lose the House, their already narrow path to passing legislation will shrink further. House Republicans are likely to use a new House majority to flood media with an investigation of Hunter Biden and other vulnerable Democratic party figures – payback for the January 6 hearings. Even the most impressively conceived legislative proposals coming from the White House may be greeted with House Republican intransigence.Nevertheless, looking ahead to 2024, there are grounds for optimism, not just that Democrats can win but that they can begin to build bigger and more enduring majorities. Most importantly, three major legislative achievements of the Biden administration to date are likely to have a greater impact on the 2024 election than they did in 2022. The most important of these is the curiously titled Inflation Reduction Act. That bill has not gotten the credit it deserves, in part because of its silly name and in part because it is much smaller than the $5tn Build Back Bill from which it is descended.Watching that original bill get whittled down and carved up across 2021 and 2022 was not a pretty sight. Yet the final version of the legislation contains truly important initiatives in multiple spheres, nowhere more so than the nearly $400bn appropriated for investments in green technology and for tax breaks and subsidies to businesses and homeowners to convert to clean energy. The bill constitutes the biggest single investment that the federal government has made in a green energy future.Of nearly equal importance in Biden’s first two years were two other bills: the trillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to improve the nation’s crumbling physical infrastructure; and the Chips Act, to re-shore, in a massive way, the research, design and production of semi-conductor computer chips, those tiny, ubiquitous and indispensable components that drive every computer and virtually all of America’s (and the world’s) machines and phones.In these three initiatives, the Democrats have laid down a foundation for a program of political economy that diverges significantly from its neoliberal predecessor. This older vision of political economy, long embraced both by Republicans and Democrats, insisted on freeing markets and capital from government oversight and direction. The Biden program, by contrast, is grounded in the belief that a strong government is necessary to steer – and, in some cases, compel – markets and corporations into serving the public good. It crystallized from the extensive discussions between the Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic party across 2020 and 2021. It represents a profound departure from the last 30 of governing practice.The industrial policies being promoted by the Biden administration won’t lead to nationalization; they focus instead on incentivizing the private sector to pursue broadly agreed upon economic aims. Two of the three aforementioned bills – the Chips Act and the Infrastructure Act – passed the Senate with significant Republican support. Quietly, Biden has delivered on his promise to open a new pathway to bipartisanship. There will be opportunities to broaden this bipartisanship, especially in regard to breaking up or regulating the monopoly power of the giant social media companies. Strong support for doing so exists on both sides of the Senate aisle. One key question is whether this incipient senatorial cross-party collaboration can soften the country’s paralyzing political polarization and persuade a few House Republicans to support upper chamber initiatives. Another is whether the Democrats can use their new program of political economy to sell a broad swath of the electorate – including constituencies currently lying beyond Democratic redoubts – on the party’s vision of the good life.Judging by the midterms’ voting patterns alone, one might be tempted to say no. But there are reasons to think otherwise. For one, economic circumstances will be different in 2024 than they are now. Inflation will probably have moderated and thus may have faded as a political flashpoint. The recession that the Fed seems so determined to trigger will have occurred, and a recovery will be under way. Additionally, by 2024, corporate America (as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act) will be more deeply invested in green technology. The conversion to post-fossil fuel economy will have correspondingly accelerated, as America’s robust private sector glimpses the profits to be made in the clean energy revolution. Moreover, by 2024, the first new infrastructural projects should be nearing completion, yielding visible improvements in America’s creaking system of bridges, roads, and transportation hubs and networks. All this investment and building should generate jobs and, perhaps, the promise of a better life for many long denied it. A somnolent US labor movement is reawakening, a development that, if it continues, will help to ensure that future jobs carry with them decent wages. Perhaps word will spread that Democrats are capable of managing America’s dynamic but unruly economy in the public interest.Is this too rosy a picture? Perhaps. Biden will never be a “great communicator”. Trump’s shrinking but still ardent band of zealots will continue to threaten American democracy. The red state-blue state divide endures. House Republicans together with the US supreme court may obstruct further Democratic efforts at reform. And we don’t know what a desperate Putin might inflict on the world if he truly believed that his reign over Russia was about to end.If we take the long view, however, and concede that a progressive political order requires a long march, then we might one day look back on this midterm – and on Biden’s first two years – and discern in them the first steps toward a better future.
    Gary Gerstle is Mellon professor of American history emeritus at Cambridge and a Guardian US columnist. His most recent book is The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era (2022)
    TopicsUS midterm elections 2022OpinionUS politicsDemocratsRepublicansJoe BidenBiden administrationUS CongresscommentReuse this content More

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    US midterm elections: Democrats retain control of Senate as House race still undecided – as it happened

    It’s been a day of celebrations and recriminations so far in US politics after the Democrats retained control of the Senate in a stunning midterm election rebuke for previously confident Republicans.A civil war appears to be under way inside the Republican party, with several senior party officials taking to the Sunday political talk shows to point fingers of blame.In one camp, “legacy” Republicans such as Larry Hogan, the retiring governor of Maryland, say responsibility for the failure rests with former president Donald Trump, and his handpicked slew of extremist candidates who flopped at the polls.Hogan, among those calling for a change of leadership, told CNN’s State of the Union:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Trump’s cost us the last three elections, and I don’t want to see it happen a fourth time.This is the third election in a row that Trump has cost us. Three strikes and you’re out.— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) November 13, 2022
    In the other faction, Florida senator Rick Scott, head of the Republican Senate leadership committee, is among the Trump loyalists attempting to scapegoat Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.Scott told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures he wanted next week’s party leadership elections postponed, claiming McConnell had strangled election strategy:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Mitch McConnell said… we’re not going to have a plan. We’re just going to talk about how bad the Democrats are. Why would you do that?Democrats, meanwhile, are jubilant. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren told NBC’s Meet the Press:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}This victory belongs to Joe Biden. It belongs to Joe Biden, and the Democrats who got out there and fought for working people. The things we did were important and popular.Things are less clear in the House of Representatives, where a number of close races are yet to be called, and Republicans are closing in on a narrow majority.And in Arizona, we’re awaiting a winner in the tight and heated governor’s race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and extremist Republican Kari Lake.We’ll have more news, commentary and reaction coming up through the afternoon.We’re closing our US midterms blog now after a day of rancor and recriminations among senior Republicans following the Democrats’ success in retaining control of the Senate.The party seems split into two factions, those keen to move on from Donald Trump as party leader and kingmaker after the failure of many of his endorsed candidates, and those who insist others, such as Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, are to blame for a lack of messaging.By contrast, jubilant Democrats were looking ahead with renewed enthusiasm, even with control of the House of Representatives yet to be determined.
    Elizabeth Warren, senator for Massachusetts, said it was “Joe Biden’s victory”, while the president himself tweeted en route to Indonesia that he was always an optimist and “not surprised” his party had recaptured the Senate.
    We’ve also been watching the heated race for governor in Arizona between extremist Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs. Lake has repeated unfounded allegations that the count is somehow improper as it approaches its sixth day.
    We’ll bring you any updates in news reports tonight, and please join us again on Monday. Meanwhile, take a read of Oliver Laughland’s report on where things stand:Democrats celebrate retaining control of Senate as Republicans take stockRead moreYounger candidates suggest a generational change is under way in the US political landscape. The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington takes a look:We are in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 6 November 2024, and after a nail-biting night two men are preparing to give their respective victory and concession speeches in the US presidential election. One of the men is days away from his 82nd birthday, the other is 78.The prospect of a possible rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in two years’ time is instilling trepidation in both main parties. It is not just the political perils that go with either individual, it’s also the simple matter of their age.What happened to the America of the new world, the young country?But in the wake of this week’s midterm elections there is a stirring in the air. The Democratic party may remain heavily dominated by the old guard – the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is 82 and the top senator, Chuck Schumer, is 69 – yet there are strong signs of fresh beginnings.From the first openly lesbian governors in the US and first Black governor of Maryland, to the first Gen Z member of Congress, as well as battle-hardened young politicians in critical swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, a new slate of Democratic leaders is coming into view after Tuesday’s elections. They may be too new to reshape the 2024 presidential race, but they carry much promise for the years to come.“There’s a generational change happening of the kind you see every few decades,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who has worked on state and congressional campaigns. “A younger generation is emerging with different ideas who aren’t necessarily wedded to the old way of doing things.”It is perhaps no coincidence that several of the names garnering attention are to be found in battleground states where their political skills and resilience have been put to the test. In Michigan, which has become a frontline state in the struggle between liberal versus Maga politics, Gretchen Whitmer handily won a double-digit re-election in her gubernatorial race against Tudor Dixon, an election denier.Whitmer, 51, proved herself not only adept at fending off election subversion misinformation in a midwestern state, but she also withstood the pressures of the kidnap plot against her which led to last month’s convictions of three anti-government plotters. “After two terms as governor, Whitmer is going to be well placed for a move on to the national stage,” Trippi said.Read the full story:New generation of candidates stakes claim to Democratic party’s futureRead moreAuthor and political analyst Michael Cohen has penned an opinion piece for the Observer, and finds America “almost perfectly divided between Democrats and Republicans”:Midterm elections in the United States are where the hopes and dreams of governing parties go to die. Since 1932, the party in power has lost on average 28 seats in the House of Representatives and four seats in the Senate. In 2018, two years after taking the White House and both Houses of Congress, Republicans lost 40 House seats and control of the chamber. In 2010, Democrats lost 63 seats. In 1994, it was 54 and eight Senate seats. Every two years, after electing a new president, voters, generally speaking, go to the polls with buyer’s remorse.But not this year. In a truly stunning outcome, Democrats reversed the historical trend lines and, at least for the time being, protected American democracy from the worst excesses of the Donald Trump-led Republican party.While all the votes still need to be tabulated, it appears that Democrats will keep control of the Senate and have an outside chance of maintaining their narrow majority in the House of Representatives. At the beginning of the year such a scenario was virtually unimaginable. Democrats were facing not only historical headwinds but also rising inflation, a teetering economy and an unpopular incumbent president. Traditionally, these are the kinds of political dynamics that portend a Republican-wave victory in November.But then in June the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, removed a 50-year constitutional guarantee protecting reproductive health rights and virtually overnight turned American women into second-class citizens. Over the summer, congressional Democrats achieved a host of notable legislative successes and President Biden announced billions in student loan forgiveness, fulfilling a promise he’d made during the 2020 presidential campaign.By the autumn, the political winds shifted in the Democrats’ direction – and no issue loomed larger than abortion. In August, a referendum in ruby-red Kansas, which would have made it easier for Republicans in the state legislature to outlaw the procedure, lost by a whopping 18 points.Democratic campaign advisers took their cues from Kansas and made abortion the centrepiece of the autumn campaign. And in the states where Republicans’ victories could have led to potentially greater abortion restrictions, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, Democrats won decisive victories. In suburban districts, the new linchpin of the Democratic coalition, white female college graduates, outraged by the supreme court decision, propelled House Democratic candidates to victory in toss-up races.Republicans compounded the problem by nominating a host of Trump-endorsed first-time Senate and gubernatorial candidates. The closer a Republican was to Trump, the worse they did on Tuesday.Read the full story:Democrats’ triumph may be miraculous but US is still split down the middle | Michael CohenRead moreJamie Raskin, the Democratic Maryland congressman who serves on the January 6 committee, and led the House prosecution at Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, says the former president might “destroy” the Republican party.Raskin was speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, five days after numerous Trump-endorsed candidates flopped in midterm election races. Emboldened by their failures, some senior Republicans are openly calling out Trump for the first time.He said he cautioned the Republican party during the impeachment last year to jettison Trump, but instead the Senate voted to acquit him:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}When I was over in the Senate with the impeachment team, I told the Republicans there that this was our opportunity to deal with the problem of Donald Trump, who had committed high crimes and misdemeanors against the people of the United States.
    And they needed to act on behalf of the country and the Constitution. But if they didn’t, he would become their problem. And at this point, Donald Trump is the problem of the Republican Party and he may destroy their party.Raskin notes on CBS that Republicans had an opportunity to convict Trump after his second impeachment and prevent him from running for office, but they didn’t, and now “he may destroy their party”— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 13, 2022
    The work of the January 6 committee investigating Trump’s coup attempt will continue, Raskin says, though the panel is mindful that Republicans might win control of the House of Representatives and close the inquiry down:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In a democracy, the people have the right to the truth. And what we withstood was a systematic assault on democratic institutions in an attempt to overthrow a presidential election. So we have set forth the truth in a series of hearings.
    And we’re going to set forth the truth in our final report, along with a set of legislative recommendations about what we need to do to fortify American democracy, against coups, insurrections, electoral sabotage and political violence with domestic violent extremist groups involved.
    We’re going to put all of that out there.The January 6 final report is expected to be released before the end of the year.Here’s the Guardian’s Oliver Laughland on the ongoing fallout from the midterm election results:As the balance of power in the US House of Representatives remained unresolved on Sunday, Democrats are celebrating the projection that they won control of the Senate, marking a significant victory for Joe Biden as Republicans backed by his presidential predecessor Donald Trump underperformed in key battleground states.While senior Democrats remained guarded Sunday about the chances of keeping control of both chambers of Congress, House speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the party’s performance in the midterms following months of projections indicating heavy losses.“Who would have thought two months ago that this red wave would turn into a little tiny trickle, if that at all,” Pelosi told CNN.She added: “We’re still alive [for control of the House] but again the races are close. We don’t pray for victory… but you pray that God’s will will be done.”As of Sunday morning Republicans remained seven seats shy of the 218 needed to win control of the House, with Democrats requiring 14, an indication that a majority on either side will be slim. As internal discussions between House Republicans intensify over potential leadership roles, with minority leader Kevin McCarthy facing opposition from the far right freedom caucus, Pelosi remained circumspect about her own future, saying she would not make any announcements on her plans until after the House’s control is decided.“My decision will then be rooted in what the wishes of my family [are], and the wishes of my caucus,” Pelosi said, with reference to her husband Paul Pelosi’s ongoing recovery following an allegedly politically motivated violent burglary and attack at their family home in San Francisco last month. She added: “There are all kinds of ways to exert influence. The speaker has awesome power, but I will always have influence.”The Democrats were projected to maintain their control of the Senate on Saturday evening when a tight race in Nevada was called for the incumbent Catherine Cortez Mastro who defeated Adam Laxalt, a Trump-backed, former state attorney general.Read the full story:Democrats celebrate retaining control of Senate as Republicans take stockRead moreJoe Biden says he always felt his party would keep control of the Senate.The president is tweeting on his way to Indonesia, where he’ll meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday ahead of the two-day G20 summit in Bali. He has been following closely election developments back home.I’m an optimist but I’m not surprised Senate Democrats held the majority. Working together, we’ve delivered historic progress for working families.Americans chose that progress.— President Biden (@POTUS) November 13, 2022
    Speaking to reporters in Cambodia late on Saturday during the Asean summit, Biden congratulated Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer but appeared to acknowledge how a Republican-controlled House might affect his agenda going forward.“We feel good about where we are,” Biden said. “And I know I’m a cockeyed optimist – I understand that – from the beginning, but I’m not surprised by the turnout.”Here’s an interesting, and historic, statistic from the midterm elections, according to the States Project, an advocacy group promoting democracy at state level.For the first time in almost 90 years, covering dozens of election cycles, the party in the White House retained every state legislative chamber it was defending, and this year gained two more.HISTORY. MADE. For the first time since 1934, the party who holds the WH didn’t lose a *single* state leg chamber. AND we gained 2 new trifectas. I believe that the @StatesProjectUS historic investment made the difference. Here’s why.🧵— Daniel Squadron (@DanielSquadron) November 11, 2022
    It’s been a day of celebrations and recriminations so far in US politics after the Democrats retained control of the Senate in a stunning midterm election rebuke for previously confident Republicans.A civil war appears to be under way inside the Republican party, with several senior party officials taking to the Sunday political talk shows to point fingers of blame.In one camp, “legacy” Republicans such as Larry Hogan, the retiring governor of Maryland, say responsibility for the failure rests with former president Donald Trump, and his handpicked slew of extremist candidates who flopped at the polls.Hogan, among those calling for a change of leadership, told CNN’s State of the Union:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Trump’s cost us the last three elections, and I don’t want to see it happen a fourth time.This is the third election in a row that Trump has cost us. Three strikes and you’re out.— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) November 13, 2022
    In the other faction, Florida senator Rick Scott, head of the Republican Senate leadership committee, is among the Trump loyalists attempting to scapegoat Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.Scott told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures he wanted next week’s party leadership elections postponed, claiming McConnell had strangled election strategy:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Mitch McConnell said… we’re not going to have a plan. We’re just going to talk about how bad the Democrats are. Why would you do that?Democrats, meanwhile, are jubilant. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren told NBC’s Meet the Press:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}This victory belongs to Joe Biden. It belongs to Joe Biden, and the Democrats who got out there and fought for working people. The things we did were important and popular.Things are less clear in the House of Representatives, where a number of close races are yet to be called, and Republicans are closing in on a narrow majority.And in Arizona, we’re awaiting a winner in the tight and heated governor’s race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and extremist Republican Kari Lake.We’ll have more news, commentary and reaction coming up through the afternoon.Analysts say victory by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which secured her party’s control of the Senate for two more years, will be of massive importance to Joe Biden’s plans for filling judicial vacancies.Retaining the majority in the chamber gives the president the opportunity to keep getting his picks confirmed, something for which the incumbent senator was a key ally even before the midterms.“Cortez Masto has been an excellent senator, who has represented Nevada very well. One example is her efforts to keep the federal district court vacancies in Nevada filled,” said Carl Tobias, Williams professor of law at the University of Richmond and former lecturer in law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.“Last year, she and Senator [Jacky] Rosen recommended two well qualified, mainstream candidates whom Biden nominated and the Senate smoothly confirmed.“The Democrats’ retention of the Senate majority will enable Biden and that majority to continue nominating and confirming highly qualified judges who are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ideology and experience, like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Nevada district judges Cristina Silva and Anne Traum. “These nominees and appointees will mean that Biden and the Democrats have honored their promises to counter former President Trump’s confirmation of 231 judges, especially on the Supreme Court and the appellate courts, who are extremely conservative. “For example, Biden and the Democrats have already appointed 25 appellate judges and are on track to confirm at least five, and perhaps as many as 10 more, judges for those courts this year. Biden and the Democratic majority can build on this success for two more years. “Kari Lake, the Republican election denier trailing Democrat Katie Hobbs in the contest to become governor of Arizona, has been on Fox News complaining again about the pace of the count.Although Arizona law dictates the process, and speed, by which the ballots are counted, Lake is also unhappy that Hobbs, as secretary of state, has involvement in the election, even though her opponent’s role is at arm’s length by certifying the count when it’s complete.“I consider someone’s vote their voice. I think of it as a sacred vote, and it’s being trampled the way we run our elections in Arizona,” Lake said.“We can’t be the laughingstock of elections anymore. Here in Arizona, and when I’m governor, I will not allow it. I just won’t.”It’s a familiar gripe from Lake, who has pledged to be the media’s “worst fricking nightmare” if she wins, and has refused to say if she would accept the result of the election if she lost.Several dozen of her supporters, some in military-style fatigues, lent a menacing air to the count by gathering outside the Maricopa county elections in Phoenix on Saturday and hurling abuse at sheriff’s deputies.VOTERS: All legal votes will be counted. Your vote will count equally whether it is reported first, last, or somewhere in between. Thank you for participating.— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 12, 2022
    Lake, the Arizona Republican party, and Republican national committee (RNC), have all lobbed out unfounded allegations of misconduct and incompetence by election officials, as the count enters its sixth day.Bill Gates, chair of Maricopa’s board of supervisors, hit back, telling CNN: “The suggestion by the RNC that there is something untoward going on here in Maricopa county, is absolutely false and offensive to these good elections workers.”The county is also rejecting online grumblings:SOCIAL MEDIA BOTS: Your disapproval is duly noted but your upvotes and retweets will not be part of this year’s totals. This is not meant as an affront to your robot overlords, it’s just not allowed for in Arizona law.— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 12, 2022
    Lake said she did not expect the race to be called until at least Monday. She conceded: “I’m willing to wait until every vote is counted. I think every candidate should wait until every vote is counted.”Rick Scott, the Florida senator who heads the Republican senatorial committee, has been pouring fuel on the post-midterms fire that threatens Mitch McConnell’s future as Senate minority leader.Despite helping to mastermind the election campaign strategy that fell flat when Democrats retained control of the chamber, Scott, and other Donald Trump loyalists, say it’s all McConnell’s fault.On Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Scott repeated his call for next week’s Republican leadership elections at least until after the Georgia Senate run-off on 6 December:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Mitch McConnell said… we’re not going to have a plan. We’re just going to talk about how bad the Democrats are. Why would you do that?
    What is our plan? What are we running on? What do we stand for? What are we hell bent to get done? The leadership of the Republican Senate says ‘no, you cannot have a plan’. We’re just gonna run it on how bad the Democrats are, and actually they cave in to the Democrats.Scott, and Senate colleagues Marco Rubio (Florida) and Ted Cruz (Texas) are among those with knives out for McConnell, aided and abetted by former members of Trump’s inner circle who are keen to shift the blame for the Republican flop away from the former president.Stephen Miller, Trump’s former senior policy advisor, continued the theme, also on Sunday Morning Futures:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}You’re going to lose these close races because the Republican brand, set by Mitch McConnell on down, is not exciting, is not persuasive, is not convincing to voters.While Republicans, or some of them at least, are blaming Donald Trump for the party’s midterms misfire, leading Democrats have no doubt with whom the credit should lie: Joe Biden.Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, herself a former candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, was almost giddy in her analysis of the elections in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Donald Trump, with his preening and his selection of truly awful candidates, didn’t do his party any favors.
    But this victory belongs to Joe Biden. It belongs to Joe Biden, and the Democrats who got out there and fought for working people. The things we did were important and popular.
    Remember, right after Joe Biden was sworn in, all of the economists and the pundits in his ear who were saying, “go slow, go small.”
    Joe Biden didn’t listen to them. And in fact, he went big. He went big on vaccinations. He went big on testing, but he also went big on helping people who were still unemployed, on setting America’s working families up so they could manage the choppy waters in the economy following the pandemic.
    We were able to address the values and the economic security of people across this country. And it sure paid off. It paid off at historic levels.Also on Meet the Press, White House senior advisor Anita Dunn reflected on Biden’s pre-election strategy of bashing extremist “Maga Republicans” named for Trump’s Make America Great Again movement:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}A lot of people thought it wouldn’t work. Former President Trump kind of adopted it himself. But it was a very effective strategy for raising for the American people the hazards of going down that path with democracy denial, threats of political violence to achieve political ends, an extremist program that involves denying women the right to an abortion, economic policies that continue to be trickled down, as opposed to bottom up and middle out.
    The Republican Party has to come up with what they’re actually for. It’s very clear what President Biden and the Democratic Party are for.The Guardian’s Sam Levine has news of a consequential victory for Democrats in Nevada:Cisco Aguilar, a Democrat, was elected Nevada’s top election official, beating Jim Marchant, a Republican who is linked to the QAnon sought to spread misinformation about the results of the 2020 race.His victory is a significant win against efforts to sow doubt in US elections, a growing force in the Republican party.The Nevada secretary of state race was one of the most competitive in the country and closely watched because of Marchant’s extreme views. It was also one of several contests in which Republican candidates who questioned the election results were running to be the top election official in their state.Thank you, Nevada!! It is the honor of my life to serve as your next Secretary of State.— Cisco Aguilar (@CiscoForNevada) November 12, 2022
    Marchant, a former state lawmaker, said during the campaign that if he and other like-minded secretary of states were elected, Donald Trump would be re-elected in 2024. He has also said that Nevada elections are run by a “cabal”, and that Nevadans haven’t elected a president in over a decade.He also has pushed Nevada counties to adopt risky and costly hand counts of ballots and leads the America First Secretary of State coalition, a group of secretary of state candidates running for key election positions who pledged to overturn the 2020 race.Aguilar had never run for elected office, but cast himself as a defender of Nevada’s democracy. His campaign emphasized the extremist threat Marchant posed. He far outraised Marchant and was much more present on the campaign trail.Read the full story:Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeats election denier in Nevada secretary of state raceRead moreRepublicans have been bashing Donald Trump on the Sunday talk shows, with Maryland governor Larry Hogan calling him the “800lb gorilla” as the former president prepares to announce a new White House run this week.The party’s less than stellar midterms performance, which included a slew of defeats for extremist candidates endorsed by Trump, have prompted growing chorus from senior officials that it’s “time to move on” from him.Leading the call Sunday was Hogan, for so long one of very few Republicans daring to speak out against the twice-impeached former president.Hogan, who is termed out of office in January, told CNN’s State of the Union it would be “a mistake” for Trump to run again, noting that the White House, Senate and House were all lost under his watch:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}He’s still the 800 pound gorilla. It’s still a battle that’s going to continue for the next few years. We’re two years out from the next election. And the dust is settling from this one. I think it’d be a mistake. Trump’s cost us the last three elections and I don’t want to see it happen a fourth time.Over on NBC’s Meet the Press, Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy also laid Republicans’ poor showing at Trump’s door, alluding to his fixation with his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden, and candidates who bought into the lie that the election was stolen from him:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Those that were most closely aligned with the past, those are the ones that underperformed.
    We’re not a cult. We’re not like, ‘OK, there’s one person who leads our party’. If we have a sitting president, she or he will be the leader of our party, but we should be a party of ideas and principles. And that’s what should lead us.
    What we’ve been lacking, perhaps, is that fulsome discussion,Read more:‘It’s time to move on’: have the US midterms finally loosened Trump’s grip on the Republican party?Read moreNancy Pelosi says Democrats are “still alive” in the race for control of the House of Representatives, but acknowledges the pathway to victory is narrow.The speaker’s party needs 218 seats in Congress to retain control of the chamber, and currently has 203. Republicans, despite losing several seats they were expected to win handily, have 211 and are closing in on the majority.On CNN’s State of the Union just now, Pelosi was asked specifically about the loss of four House seats in usually reliably blue New York, and whether they would determine control of the chamber.Pelosi said:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}You cannot make sweeping overviews the day after the election, just every district at a time. Our message, people over politics, lower costs, bigger paychecks, safer communities, served us well in the rest of the country.
    I want to salute President Biden for his campaign and President Obama, all of it raising the urgency of the election, and the awareness that people must vote and that they shouldn’t listen to those who say this is a foregone conclusion because of history, but it’s about the future and get out there and vote.
    We’re still alive. But again, the races are close.Pelosi, 82, would not be drawn about her own future if Republicans take the House, despite hinting last week that the attack on her husband would influence her decision about whether to retire. House leadership elections are on 30 November..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}My members are asking me to consider [running], but that’s just through the eyes of the members.
    We are so completely focused on our political time… and not worrying about my future, but for the future for the American peopleBut she said she was hurt by response to the attack, which included offensive mockery:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It wasn’t just the attack, there was a Republican reaction to it which was disgraceful. An attack is horrible. Imagine how it feels to was the one who was the target, and my husband paying the price, and the traumatic effect on our family.
    But that trauma is intensified by the ridiculous, disrespectful attitude that the Republicans had. There is no nobody disassociating themselves from the horrible response that they gave to it.One of the biggest midterms winners for the Democrats was Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was reelected by double digits. She’s just been on CNN’s State of the Union, speaking out against political violence she says extremists have been stoking.Whitmer herself was the victim of a kidnap plot that resulted in the conviction of several rightwing extremists, and called out a hammer attack by another on the husband of House speaker Nancy Pelosi:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}My opponent [election denier Tudor Dixon] was a conspiracy theorist, and she has regularly stoked politically violent rhetoric [and] undermined institutions. Whether it is aimed at me, or it is aimed at a Republican congressman like Ron Upton or Peter Meijer here in Michigan, it’s unacceptable.
    My heart goes out to the Pelosi family. I think that this is a moment where good people need to call this out and say we will not tolerate this in this country. Whitmer says the key to her victory was focusing on basics, while her challengers were concentrating on divisiveness:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We stay focused on the fundamentals, whether it’s fixing the damn roads or making sure our kids are getting back on track after an incredible disruption in their learning, or just simply solving problems and being honest with the people.
    Governors can’t fix global inflation. But what we can do is take actions to keep more money in people’s pockets, protect our right to make our own decisions about our bodies.
    And all of this was squarely front and center for a lot of Michigan voters, and I suspect that’s probably true for voters across the country.Among the happiest Democrats at the party’s strong midterms performance is Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who gets to keep his job for another two years.Speaking after Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada kept the chamber in Democrat hands, Schumer told reporters the results were a “vindication” of the party’s agenda, and a rejection of extremist candidates and “divisive” rhetoric put forward by the Republican party:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The election is a great win for the American people.
    Three things helped secure the Senate majority. One, our terrific candidates. Two, our agenda and accomplishments. And three, the American people rejected the anti-democratic, extremist Maga (Make America Great Again) Republicans.
    The American people soundly rejected the anti-democratic, authoritarian, nasty and divisive direction the Maga Republicans wanted to take our country, from the days of the big lie, which was pushed by so many, to the threats of violence and even violence itself against poll workers, election officials and electoral processes.
    And of course, the violence on January 6, all of that bothered the American people.
    And another thing that bothered them just as much, too many of the Republican leaders went along with that, didn’t rebut that violence, and some of them even aided and abetted the words of negativity.
    Where was the condemnation from the Republican leaders so often missing from so many of them?Americans have woken to the remarkable news that Democrats will retain control of the Senate for the next two years, secured by Catherine Cortez Masto’s projected victory over Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada that was declared on Saturday night.Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer, who will remain Senate majority leader, hailed an achievement that appeared unthinkable amid talk of a red tsunami before last Tuesday’s midterm elections.Only the Senate race in Georgia, which heads to a 6 December runoff, remains to be settled. But the outcome cannot affect control of the chamber as Democrats now have 50 seats, plus vice president Kamala Harris’s tie breaking vote.
    Things are less clear in the House of Representatives, where a number of close races are yet to be called, and Republicans are closing in on a narrow majority.
    And in Arizona, we’re awaiting a winner in the tight and heated governor’s race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and extremist Republican Kari Lake.
    We’ll have plenty more news, commentary and reaction coming up in today’s live blog, including from senior officials in both parties.While we wait for the day to unfold, here’s a catch up from The Guardian’s Dani Anguiano in Las Vegas about Cortez Masto’s majority clinching victory:Catherine Cortez Masto wins Nevada Senate race to hold Democrat seatRead more More

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    US midterms: is it still the economy, stupid? – podcast

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    The Democrats have learned hard lessons over the years about what happens when election campaigns neglect the economy, so has the party been strong enough in its messaging for today’s midterm elections? Lauren Gambino reports

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    The midterm elections are usually bad news for the party in power. Voters often view them as a referendum on the president’s performance – and the state of the economy. So Democrats went into the campaign fearing the worst. As the Guardian’s Washington correspondent Lauren Gambino tells Michael Safi, the Democratic party has learned the hard way to keep its election campaigns laser-focused on the economy. ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ a slogan used in Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, has resonated down the ages. But Democrats have spent much of the past few months campaigning on women’s rights after the seismic supreme court decision removing the constitutional right to abortion. And Joe Biden used his final major speech of the campaign to warn voters of the threat to democracy itself. Democrats go into these elections lagging in the polls and it’s left some hardened campaigners, such as Bernie Sanders, wondering if the party has neglected its most famous mantra. When it comes down to what Americans care about most in the voting booth, is it still the economy, stupid? More

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    Biden’s climate bill victory was hard won. Now, the real battle starts

    Biden’s climate bill victory was hard won. Now, the real battle startsImplementing the $369bn Inflation Reduction Act amid tight deadlines and high-stakes midterm will be a challenge The bitter fight to deliver a climate change bill to Joe Biden’s desk this summer pitted the White House and its Democratic allies against some of America’s most powerful industry lobbies and every Republican in Congress. It may prove to have been the easy part.At the heart of the hard-won Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a $369bn package of climate investments that Biden called the “most significant legislation in history” to tackle the climate crisis. Estimates suggest it could cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.That monumental potential, however, comes with a monumental to-do list and a series of tight deadlines – not to mention high-stakes political decisions in an election season when Democrats are fighting to keep control of Congress.Implementing the IRA “is a more complex policy challenge and management challenge than any that I’ve seen in my political lifetime”, Felicia Wong, the president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, told the Guardian.Greta Thunberg on the climate delusion: ‘We’ve been greenwashed out of our senses. It’s time to stand our ground’Read moreOne of the first tasks facing the Biden administration is the design and execution of $270bn worth of tax incentives affecting huge swaths of the US economy. At the same time, it must begin distributing close to $100bn in grants and other federal funds to cites, states, tribal nations, companies, non-profits and local communities. It must do so quickly since many programs created or supplemented by the IRA include rigorous timelines, such as a new $27bn greenhouse gas reduction fund, for which money must start going out the door no later than next February and be spent within two years.And the administration must distribute all of this money and roll out all of this policy while simultaneously:
    Coordinating across dozens of different departments and agencies.
    Minimizing waste and fraud.
    Investing in risky and uncertain technologies.
    Smoothing diplomatic wrinkles with international allies who object to the law’s manufacturing and sourcing requirements.
    Meeting the expectations of climate organizations and advocacy groups whose support for the IRA was contingent on promoting environmental justice and protecting workers.
    Seeking to head off the inevitable attacks and investigations of congressional Republicans.
    “It is a massive undertaking,” said Alden Meyer, a senior associate at the climate thinktank E3G. “It’s a very complex, detailed law. There are so many moving pieces to it.”The person Biden named to take charge of this massive task is the longtime Democratic official John Podesta, one of Washington’s most connected players.“This is just what [Podesta] was made for,” said E3G’s Meyer. “He knows what he’s getting into because he’s been involved in these kinds of things before, so he doesn’t have to learn on the job. He comes in knowing how to move the levers and make things happen and having the relationships with the cabinet secretaries and others that he needs to have.”While often seen as a quintessential insider, Podesta also has a less-remarked-on track record as an outside agitator on climate issues. In May, the New Republic described Podesta as “quietly nurturing the climate movement’s next generation of leaders”, including members of the progressive Sunrise Movement. Ali Zaidi, who is now serving as Biden’s national climate adviser and working closely with Podesta on IRA implementation, said Podesta was “on the cutting edge of connecting the dots between climate action and other critical progressive objectives”.Sam Ricketts, a climate policy advocate and longtime senior adviser to the Washington governor, Jay Inslee, said that Podesta’s outside efforts will be “just as important” in preparing him for his current role. Podesta has been “working in partnership with others throughout the climate community and the public sphere in designing and advocating for these policies he’s now charged with implementing”, Ricketts said. “He now gets a chance to climb inside the government and execute to make it a reality.”‘Like going to the World Series’The gears of government have already begun to turn. Podesta is managing a “core team” in the White House that “is designed to be fairly lean”, a senior administration official told the Guardian. Most of the staff working on the law are part of the agencies, though Podesta’s team includes “a small number of senior policy advisers with really specialized skills”, the official said. One team member who will start soon, for instance, is a marketing specialist hired to help the administration drive awareness of the “consumer-facing provisions in this law”, such as a new tax credit that encourages homeowners to install heat pumps.But before they can take effect, many parts of the IRA require the administration to publish detailed guidance outlining how they will actually work. The administration appears especially focused on rolling out the $270bn worth of clean-energy tax incentives created or expanded by the law. Implementing these provisions, which will be led by the treasury department but require input and expertise from across the federal government, is “a mountain of work that needs to get done fast, and it needs to get done right, and it needs to have the appropriate guardrails so that the money is well spent and not wasted”, Podesta said at a 7 October event hosted by the Roosevelt Institute.In recent weeks Podesta and his team have been “doing calls, looking for feedback, [and] looking for community input on how to design and execute on these tax credits”, Sam Ricketts, the climate policy advocate, said.Republicans plan legal assault on climate disclosure rules for public companiesRead moreThe treasury department has also issued six formal requests for public comment covering a range of tax incentives for consumers and businesses. Last week, the department announced that it would hold a number of meetings and roundtable discussions to share updates and gather external input.“They have a lot of guidance to put out, and they need to put it out quickly to maximize the impact” of the tax provisions, Sarah Ladislaw, who heads the US program at the climate thinktank RMI, said. The fact that the treasury department set a 4 November deadline for submitting comments “shows that they’re moving quite expeditiously and trying to provide guidance as quickly as possible”, Ladislaw said.Behind the scenes in the treasury department, Biden administration appointees and non-partisan civil servants are working around the clock. Shelley Leonard, a deputy tax legislative counsel, described the rollout as a “sprint” made particularly complex “because of the number of other agencies involved and because of the high-profile nature of everything that we’re trying to do all at once”.The internal complexity is matched by external interest in how the guidance will take shape. Leonard recounted leading a recent webinar on some of the new law’s tax rules. She expected an audience of 40 people; in the end, some 1,600 people signed up.“For tax nerds like us at treasury, implementing something as far-reaching and impactful as the IRA is like going to the World Series,” Lily Batchelder, the treasury’s assistant secretary for tax policy, said in a statement.A ‘three-legged stool’ of oversightOverseeing this frenzy of activity alongside Podesta’s team are agency inspectors general, who are responsible for investigating waste, fraud and misconduct in federal agencies, and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Together, they are taking what the senior administration official described as a “three-legged stool approach” to executive branch oversight.Podesta’s implementation team is responsible for setting a tone for accountability and “send[ing] a very clear signal to the agencies” that they are expected to coordinate closely with their inspectors general “at the front end”, the official said. Meanwhile, OMB “will be the one supporting the tracking of resources and conducting oversight to make sure the agencies are both in shape to execute according to plan, and then delivering on that plan over time”, Jason Miller, OMB’s deputy director for management, said.Asked how the White House was approaching oversight of IRA funding, Miller said that while the administration will watch where money goes – information agencies are already required to report publicly – it is particularly focused on tracking how the money is actually used. Oversight “is not just, ‘I’ve handed the dollars to somebody’”, Miller explained. “How are they spending those dollars? When are they spending those dollars? What are the outcomes that they’re getting?”‘Transformational’: could America’s new green bank be a climate gamechanger?Read moreThe administration wants to embed detailed reporting requirements into IRA programs and formalize those requirements before money is distributed. Miller said that this approach, outlined in two recent OMB memos centered on the rollout of the American Rescue Plan and the infrastructure law, reflects a lesson that the Biden team learned from the first Covid-19 package approved under the Trump administration: “It is very hard once those dollars go out the door to ask recipients to implement reporting requirements and provide data that you did not ask for upfront.”‘An endless educational curve’Successful implementation will require Podesta and the Biden team to balance spending the money quickly while also spending it effectively and equitably.“One of the biggest tensions here is actually going to be speed because there’ll be many incentives to get the money out the door quickly,” said the Roosevelt Institute’s Felicia Wong. But “if speed is your only criteria, then you’re going to end up probably deeply shortchanging the democracy element of all of this because speed and input are often at odds”, Wong said.“It is an uncomfortable tension to sit in,” Dana Johnson, the senior director of strategy and federal policy of We Act for Environmental Justice, said. “And in some ways it’s not really aligned with environmental justice, which says that … we move at the speed of trust” in communities. Because of the aggressive timelines included in the law, “the time that it takes to build trust is not there.”Johnson’s comments reflect the fact that the greater existence of federal resources does not automatically translate into greater on-the-ground impact. Ozawa Bineshi Albert, a co-executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance, pointed to IRA provisions that invest in rural electricity and provide support for coal miners with black lung disease as examples of the types of programs that need to be locally targeted to achieve their potential.“There’s some implementation that can happen uniformly, and then there’s some implementation that needs to happen very specific to the needs of certain communities,” Albert said. “Indigenous communities have a much different way of engaging with the government. What does that look like? What does it look like for communities who are experiencing land loss and displacement because of sea level rise? They can’t afford to not be consulted or have their experience shape the solution.”Can Biden’s climate bill undo the fossil fuel industry’s decades of harm?Read moreThe outreach challenge is exacerbated by the fact that significant portions of IRA money, such as $5bn in new grants to reduce climate pollution, will end up at the disposal of state governments. Some are controlled by Republican governors who might choose to reject the funding “instead of redistributing it to communities of color or low-income communities”, as Maria Lopez-Nuñez, deputy director of the New Jersey-based Ironbound Community Corporation, put it.Moreover, discovering funding opportunities, applying for them and meeting their reporting requirements – the same requirements that help the government track whether money is being used as intended – can be complicated and resource-intensive. Working to take advantage of these opportunities “is almost an endless educational curve”, Lopez-Nuñez said. There is a risk that “programs don’t become dispersed based on need, they become dispersed on who … can afford the most skillful consultant to write the grant for them.”In that case, the IRA could end up reinforcing, rather than disrupting, existing economic and racial disparities. Underlying this fear are the provisions of the law that extend federal support for fossil fuels, including provisions that offer new oil and gas leasing opportunities on public lands.“Much of what is being built” through oil and gas permitting, or even through investments in new technologies like carbon capture and storage, “could be built on top of existing fossil-fuel infrastructure”, explained Roosevelt’s Felicia Wong. “The argument is that if environmental justice groups and if communities of color are always the ones who are harmed the worst by existing fossil-fuel infrastructure, this does nothing to change that power dynamic.”‘You’ve got a product that is going to impact … millions of people’Despite the complexity of the task ahead, for many in the climate movement the IRA’s passage has sparked an all-too-rare feeling: hope.“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I have never seen more energy policy in one piece of legislation,” said RMI’s Sarah Ladislaw. “If you take the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Chips and Science Act, it is the most comprehensive energy policy delivered in legislative form that I’ve ever seen.”The law “could really transform the politics of climate change over the next several years as these huge programs roll out across the economy”, said Alden Meyer of E3G. “These programs are going to be so popular and so supported by both Republicans and Democrats that it will be hard to take them away.”This enthusiasm is reflected within the ranks of the Biden administration. “You’re putting in a lot of hard, long nights,” said Krishna Vallabhaneni, the treasury department’s tax legislative counsel, who recently found himself sending an email about IRA tax provisions at 3.13 am. “It can be draining at times. But at the end of the day, you’ve got a product that is going to impact – and, you hope, in a positive way – [the] lives of millions of people.”TopicsClimate financeUS politicsBiden administrationfeaturesReuse this content More

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    ‘I’m changing Congress’: how Cori Bush brought her lived experience to Capitol Hill

    Interview‘I’m changing Congress’: how Cori Bush brought her lived experience to Capitol HillDavid Smith in Washington Member of ‘the Squad’ on how her abortion experience, sexual assault and front-line fight in Ferguson, Missouri, affected her politicsHer new memoir is bracingly, sometimes painfully honest, but there is one passage that Cori Bush seriously considered striking out before publication.She had an abortion when she was 19. Walking into the white-walled room of a reproductive health clinic, Bush writes, she began to have reservations about the procedure. Twice she told a nurse, “I don’t want to do this,” but twice the nurse ignored her objections and carried on.Bush heard “the awful sounds as the vacuum sucked the fetus out of my body … I remember the intense pain and the feeling of helplessness in that moment. I was furious. That doctor ignored my pleas. I was just another person in his assembly line, just another little Black girl.”The doctors leaving anti-abortion states: ‘I couldn’t do my job at all’Read moreAs the prologue observes, The Forerunner is not your typical political memoir. Bush, 46, is not your typical politician. She is a registered nurse, ordained pastor, community activist and organiser and single mother. A Democrat from St Louis, she is the first Black woman to represent Missouri in the US Congress. She is also a survivor and embodiment of resilience.She realises that her frank recollection of abortion as a traumatic experience is politically loaded and could be seized upon by anti-abortion activists to further their cause. It comes just a month before midterm elections in which Democrats hope to tap into public anger over the supreme court’s decision to torch the constitutional right to abortion.“I know that many supporters of reproductive rights will be outraged by my decision to share this story,” the congresswoman writes.Yet in a phone interview, she tells the Guardian she has no regrets about including it. “It was a difficult position but this memoir is me telling my story,” she says. “To silence me, to tell me you shouldn’t tell this story because someone else can use it and weaponise it, that’s not an answer. We’ve got to fix the problem. The way to make sure that the problem is highlighted and awareness is placed on the issue is to talk about it.”While the abortion debate is often oversimplified, Bush is offering a reminder of the messy, nuanced reality that she faced as a young Black woman restrained by white medical providers. She continues: “Speaking about what happened wasn’t to condemn abortion providers at all because I work closely with a bunch of providers and reproductive health clinics and I support them.“It’s something that should not have happened to me and it is our work to not only fix certain parts of the system of harm; it is to do the work to fix all of it. But as I also wrote in my book, I was still able to have the services that I needed and the decision was mine to make. In the end, I made the right decision for me.”On the day in June that the supreme court’s rightwing majority overturned its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, Bush happened to be back at the same clinic where she had undergone that difficult abortion (along with a previous abortion that resulted from a rape when she was 17). The congresswoman was meeting with providers, advocates and the health secretary, Xavier Becerra, when the news came through.“My chief of staff walked up to me during the conversation and showed me his phone and I couldn’t believe it at first. I kept blinking and looking at his phone. Even though we knew that it was most likely going to come any day, it was still hard to see and for that reality to set in.“Someone said it out loud and stopped the conversation: ‘The supreme court just overturned Roe.’ We all embraced one another. I shed tears, I yelled, I hollered out because I was thinking about the millions of people across this country that will be affected by this.”The court’s decision led to a surge of women registering to vote in some states. In Missouri’s neighbour Kansas, people voted overwhelmingly to continue to protect abortion in the state constitution. But recent midterm opinion polls suggest that Democratic anger over Roe v Wade could be eclipsed by Republican concerns over inflation and crime.Bush insists, however: “It’s a huge motivator because we have to remember that this is something that had been in place since 1973 – this was in place when I was born. There are a lot of us that only know a Roe v Wade society and there are people who may not agree with abortion but they also don’t agree with their rights being stripped away. Those folks are saying that’s going to make me show up to vote for the Democrat because I don’t want my rights being taken away.”Bush brings lived experience to Capitol Hill in ways unthinkable for a career politician. Having been evicted from her home several times, forcing her to sleep in her car with her children, last year she slept on the steps of the US Capitol in protest after Congress failed to pass legislation to extend an eviction moratorium (the White House eventually issued a new eviction moratorium).In 2014 she was on the frontlines of the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown. This made her a target for harassment. Her tyres were slashed while her car was parked in front of the complex where she lived. She came home and found her front door had been tampered with.Bush needed to move home. In 2016, a few weeks after losing a Democratic primary election for the Senate, she saw a social media post by a local faith healer advertising a house to rent. When she got in touch and went to see it, the man raped her. She describes the assault in unflinching, unforgiving detail and writes: “I whimpered through the pain. It seemed like forever. I felt like dying. I wanted to die.”Bush explains by phone why she choose to open her memoir with this candid account: “That changed everything and I am still in therapy now. I’m still walking out that journey to healing. It affected my life the way that it did because, when I thought about the sexual assaults I had back when I was 18, early adult, I went for the next 20 years blaming myself, like it was because my shorts were really short or my shirt was low or where I was when I met the person. I carried that for all of those years.“This time I had just completed my first run for office and lost; I was grieving that but I was a registered nurse now, I was taking care of two kids, I had just come from work, I was in my scrubs uniform, I was going to a place to see a home. That’s what really rocked me. Before, I thought it was because of something I did; I didn’t do any of those things this time; I wasn’t drinking, any of it.“So that’s why the book had to start with that, because my life turned upside down but, as I’m working through it, I’ve been able to help so many others and so many others have also helped me to be able to move forward.”Can Democrats win tight midterm races with a pro-choice message? Pat Ryan says yesRead moreAfter the rape, Bush was horrified by the lack of discretion she was afforded. She tells how “a caravan” of people followed her to hospital and she was subjected to the humiliation of a rape kit. A forensic exam found that the encounter could have been an assault or, as the rapist had claimed, consensual rough sex. Bush went to court four times to get a protection order against the faith healer but repeatedly lost.As a Christian, has she been able to forgive the man who raped her? She pauses. “Let me just say I have some forgiveness but is there a blanket all-is-forgiven? I’m still working through that. I’ve always believed that forgiveness is for you, not for the other person, and so usually I’m quick to forgive.“But in this instance, because there was some trust there and he hurt me the way that he hurt me and then he lied as a man of God and preacher of the gospel, and he continues on in this lie and continues to evade the system, that has made it difficult for me to just be like, yes, I forgive him and I’m going on with my life.”The Forerunner also gives Bush’s insider account of joining thousands of activists on the streets in response to the 2014 shooting of Brown in Ferguson. She recalls how the skin on her face and arms burned after police fired teargas. The uprising went on for more than 400 days and, Bush argues, became a pivot point in the centuries-long struggle for Black liberation.It also foreshadowed the nationwide protests for racial justice that followed the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. But calls from Bush and others to “defund the police” met with a predictable backlash, even from Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. Some fear that the momentum of Black Lives Matter is again being lost.But Bush contends that the working and the organising goes on: “Even if we’re not on the streets every single day chanting and marching, are we organising folks to get them to the polls? Are we organising groups to be able to teach people what to do if you get pulled over by the police? Are we organising groups to teach white people how to talk about and understand racism? Are we mobilising people to support our immigrant community if they’re under attack? Are we organising for repro rights?”She accuses Republicans of wilfully distorting the central idea of defund the police, which means reallocating funding away from police departments to mental health workers, social workers and other government agencies. “They would rather scare their people instead of educating them.”Bush became a leader of the movement seeking police and criminal justice reform in Ferguson and across the St Louis area. She lost a Democratic primary race for a congressional seat in 2018 but, with the backing of progressive group Justice Democrats, prevailed in 2020 over a 20-year incumbent. She was instantly embraced as a member of “the squad” in the House of Representatives; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes her as a “sister-in-service”.There have been wins and losses under Biden, a longtime moderate. The president declared racial equity a central plank of his agenda, appointed a diverse cabinet and far outpaced his predecessors in nominating women and people of colour to the federal bench. But legislation on police reform and voting rights stalled in a Congress where Democrats command only narrow majorities. Bush regards the glass as half full.“Joe Biden has absolutely surprised me,” she says, citing his decisions to commute the sentences of 75 people serving time for nonviolent drug offences, cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt and lift a pandemic-related expulsion policy that effectively closed America’s asylum system at its border with Mexico.Many idealists have arrived in Washington only to find their dreams crushed by compromise. Is Bush changing Congress or is Congress changing her? She laughs. “Congress is changing me a little bit in the way of helping me to see how, by pushing, our government can work for the regular everyday person. Not understanding the inner workings of Congress before, I wasn’t able to see it but I knew that I needed to go inside of it to push for the change I wanted to see.“But mostly I’m changing Congress because I’ve been there less than two years and we have been able to bring about some change and, if nothing else, my colleagues know where I stand on issues. They don’t have to wonder what’s going to happen if a policing bill comes forward, if we talk about Israel-Palestine, if they relate to equity and inclusion, anything that has to do with incarceration rates. There is no question. People know that I stand on the side of equity and equality.”TopicsCori BushUS politicsUS midterm elections 2022Biden administrationAbortionRoe v WadeinterviewsReuse this content More

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    US economy bounces back to growth despite surging inflation

    US economy bounces back to growth despite surging inflationCommerce department estimates show 2.6% annual growth rate for third quarter, snapping two straight quarters of contraction The US economy grew at a 2.6% annual rate from July through September, snapping two straight quarters of economic contraction and overcoming punishingly high inflation and interest rates.Thursday’s estimate from the commerce department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product – the broadest gauge of economic output – grew in the third quarter after having shrunk in the first half of 2022. Stronger exports and steady consumer spending, backed by a healthy job market, helped restore growth to the world’s biggest economy.Still, the outlook for the economy has darkened. The Federal Reserve has aggressively raised interest rates five times this year to fight chronic inflation and is set to do so again next week and in December.Fed chair Jerome Powell has warned that the Fed’s hikes will bring “pain” in the form of higher unemployment and possibly a recession.The government’s latest GDP report comes as Americans, worried about inflation and the risk of recession, have begun to vote in midterm elections that will determine whether Joe Biden’s Democratic party retains control of Congress. Inflation has become a signature issue for Republican attacks on the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy.With inflation still near a 40-year high, steady price spikes have been pressuring households across the country. At the same time, rising interest rates have derailed the housing market and are likely to inflict broader damage over time. The outlook for the world economy, too, grows bleaker the longer that Russia’s war against Ukraine drags on.Last quarter’s US economic growth reversed annual declines of 1.6% from January through March and 0.6% from April through June. Consecutive quarters of declining economic output are one informal definition of a recession. But most economists have said they believe the economy skirted a recession, noting the still-resilient job market and steady spending by consumers. Most of them have expressed concern, though, that a recession is likely next year as the Fed steadily tightens credit.Preston Caldwell, head of US economics for the financial services firm Morningstar, noted that the economy’s contraction in the first half of the year was caused largely by factors that don’t reflect its underlying health and so “very likely did not constitute a genuine economic slowdown.” He pointed, for example, to a drop in business inventories, a cyclical event that tends to reverse itself over time.Higher borrowing costs have weakened the home market, in particular. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, just 3.09% a year ago, is approaching 7%. Sales of existing homes have fallen for eight straight months. Construction of new homes is down nearly 8% from a year ago.Still, the economy retains pockets of strength. One is the vitally important job market. Employers have added an average of 420,000 jobs a month this year, putting 2022 on track to be the second-best year for job creation (behind 2021) in labor department records going back to 1940. The unemployment rate was 3.5% last month, matching a half-century low.Hiring has been decelerating, though. In September, the economy added 263,000 jobs – solid but the lowest total since April 2021.International events are causing further concerns. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted trade and raised prices of energy and food, creating a crisis for poor countries. The International Monetary Fund, citing the war, this month downgraded its outlook for the world economy in 2023.TopicsUS economyEconomicsBiden administrationUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Biden implores US oil companies to pass on record profits to consumers

    Biden implores US oil companies to pass on record profits to consumersPresident announces release of 15m barrels of oil from strategic reserve as he fights to keep gas prices in check before midterms Joe Biden has called on oil companies to pass on their massive profits to consumers as he announced the release of 15m barrels of oil from the US strategic petroleum reserve.Biden is fighting to keep gas prices in check ahead of November’s midterms. He blamed Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the global spike in oil prices and said his administration was doing all it could to keep prices in check.“Gas prices have fallen every day in the last week,” said Biden. “That’s progress, but they’re not falling fast enough. Gas prices are felt in almost every family in this country. That’s why I’ve been doing everything in my power to reduce gas prices.”He called on US oil companies to help. In the second quarter of 2022, the six largest US oil companies reported profits of $70bn, said Biden.“So far, American oil companies are using that windfall to buy back their own stock, passing that money on to shareholders, not consumers,” he said. “My message to all companies is this: you’re sitting on record profits. And we’re giving you more certainty. You can act now to increase oil production. You should not be using your profits to buy back stock or for dividends – not while the war is raging.”The announcement of the latest oil release speeds up the sale of the last of the 180m barrels that Biden announced in March would be sold. The announcement comes after the oil-producing Opec+ nations said they would cut oil production, driving up prices, in a move that angered White House officials.Established in 1975 to help mitigate shocks in US oil supply, the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) is thought to be the largest emergency supply in the world. Stored in underground tanks in Louisiana and Texas, the SPR has capacity for 714m barrels of oil and is currently at its lowest level since 1984.The reserve now contains roughly 400m barrels of oil and Biden said more oil could be released if the situation does not improve. The administration has called the situation a “bridge” until domestic production can be increased and said the US will restock the strategic reserve when oil prices are at or lower than $67 to $72 a barrel.Biden faces political headwinds because of gas prices. AAA reports that gas is averaging $3.87 a gallon, down slightly over the past week, but up from a month ago. The recent increase in prices stalled the momentum that the president and his fellow Democrats had been seeing in the polls ahead of the November elections.An analysis Monday by ClearView Energy Partners, an independent energy research firm in Washington, suggested that two states that could decide control of the evenly split Senate, Nevada and Pennsylvania, are sensitive to energy prices. The analysis noted that gas prices over the past month rose above the national average in 18 states, which are home to 29 potentially “at risk” House seats.The hard math for Biden is that oil production has yet to return to its pre-pandemic level of roughly 13m barrels a day. It’s about a million barrels a day shy of that level. The 15m-barrel release would not cover even one full day’s use of oil in the US, according to the Energy Information Administration.The oil industry would like the administration to open up more federal lands for drilling, approve pipeline construction and reverse its recent changes to raise corporate taxes. The administration counters that the oil industry is sitting on thousands of unused federal leases and says new permits would take years to produce oil with no impact on current gas prices.Environmental groups, meanwhile, have asked Biden to keep a campaign promise to block new drilling on federal lands.Because fossil fuels lead to carbon emissions, Biden has sought to move away from them entirely with a commitment to zero emissions by 2050. When discussing that commitment nearly a year ago after the G20 leading rich and developing nations met in Rome, the president said he still wanted to also lower gas prices because at “$3.35 a gallon, it has a profound impact on working-class families just to get back and forth to work”.The Associated Press contributed to this storyTopicsJoe BidenBiden administrationOilOpecCommoditiesUS midterm elections 2022US politicsnewsReuse this content More