Okay, last week I said that July was apparently a slow news window. I am now eating those words, because this week’s news is ten gallons in a five-gallon hat. Buckle up, y’all, because a lot is happening! (And on the subject of warnings, I would be remiss if I did not also mention a content warning: The Bad this week includes mention of child rape. It is marked with the Content Warning Caret accordingly.)
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a hearing!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
For a window with only one January 6 hearing (and only one remaining after this), the Election Rejection front sure was busy. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: Testimony Miscellany. We had another hearing on Tuesday, this one largely focusing on the role played by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. But since a star witness was former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, it also featured testimony about Trump’s attempts to obfuscate plans and screaming matches in the White House that passed for strategy sessions. Then we learned on Friday that a bunch of Secret Service texts from Jan 5 and 6 were deleted, apparently as part of a device replacement program. It was confirmed earlier today that these texts cannot be replaced to be provided to the House panel, so that’s not concerning at all. At any rate, the final public hearing will be held in a few days on July 21, and will focus on why Trump didn’t do anything for 187 minutes during the Jan 6 attack. And during the last hearing, we heard from the panel that Trump has attempted to contact the witness who will be testifying on Thursday, so clearly he has learned a lot during this whole ordeal.
There’s also a lot going on with the Biden Rebuilding section, though some of it is in Senate Dysfunction below. Here’s what has happened:
- Emergency Room Arguments. The Biden administration told hospitals at the top of the week that they had to offer life-saving abortions in instances where the pregnant person’s life was endangered, on account of, y’know, EMTALA says so. (For those of you confused about how he can order this, life saving procedures are an exception to the Hyde Amendment.) Naturally, enforcing federal laws as old as I am is so beyond the pale that Texas is already suing about it, arguing that they can’t be forced to save people’s lives because–and here I quote–it’s “flagrantly disregarding the legislative and democratic process” to, you know, follow the legislative process. Meanwhile, inflation is still at a forty-year high and that has healthcare access implications, along with everything else it messes up, which means emergency room care is likely to become even more relevant.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. Novax, a more traditionally structured COVID vaccine, was authorized for emergency use this week; experts hope that people who just don’t trust mRNA vaccines will be willing to take it. (I don’t think that’s what the hold up is, but you know what, you do you FDA.) Meanwhile, the Biden administration wants to make a second booster shot available more broadly. Here’s hoping more infrastructure is actually created, because BA.5 isn’t messing around and it’s very adept at reinfection.
- Senate Dysfunction. As foretold by literally everyone who has paid attention in the last two years, local Senate robber baron Joe Manchin went ahead and pulled the Build Better Back football away from Senate Dems this week before they could punt it towards climate change. Now Biden’s trying to get the Dems to at least shore up healthcare, which as I noted above is likely to be impacted by inflation. Meanwhile, the House managed to pass bills to codify Roe and preserve same sex marriage, which would probably be more reassuring if the Senate were capable of tying its own shoes.
- Reproductive Health Recap.^ In addition to the gross Texas lawsuit I mentioned above, there was plenty of other gross reproductive health news to go around too. An Ohio individual was charged with raping the ten-year-old girl that Biden mentioned in his speech, hopefully slowing the GOP’s (and the Wall Street Journal’s!) claims that she didn’t exist. Meanwhile, the Indiana doctor who performed the procedure had to prove that she properly reported it, which of course she did. And people are reporting difficulty accessing medications that can be used as an abortifacient, even in instances when they are clearly treating unrelated issues. The Biden administration did issue guidance this week about maintaining access to medications, but we’ll need to see if that helps anything.
- Recent Health Access Resilience. The FDA is considering an application for an over-the-counter contraceptive pill this week, which could potentially do a great deal to help maintain access to contraceptive care. Meanwhile, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has launched a new universal call code, 9-8-8, which hopefully will streamline access to call-based supports.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I think we can agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve these cuddling capybaras and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me cooler weather because heat waves are still the worst!