It was a quieter week this week, but it feels a bit like the calm before a much larger storm–and of course, the literal large storms in parts of the country don’t help dissipate the sense of dread. I’m hoping that things stay relatively quiet for at least a bit longer, but even if they don’t, I’ll be here to tell you about it.
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 recession!–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:
There are no more public hearings, but the Election Rejection front still had plenty going on. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: New Norms. There were several stories about the Department of Justice investigation into the events of January 6, which appears to be picking up some steam in the wake of the House hearings. Meanwhile, the first convicted insurrectionist was sentenced to 7 years of incarceration for his role in events. There was also news about the Secret Service missing texts probe, as Democrats noted that maybe the guy who didn’t mention the missing texts for months shouldn’t be, y’know, in charge of investigating the missing texts. And, of course, though the public hearings have wrapped, the House Jan 6 panel is still going, and is beginning to interview former cabinet members. It’s clear we’ll continue to see news trickle in on this front for the foreseeable future.
This was a week of relatively ominous quiet for the Biden Rebuilding section, though we did get some news that’s not great. Here’s what has happened:
- The Path to Recession.* Biden did signal that he might be hopping back on the student loan forgiveness merry-go-round this week, as he considered extending the federal pause again–though nothing concrete has been announced as I type this. But the biggest administration story by far is economics more broadly. First the Fed raised interest rates again for the fourth time in one year. This coincided very closely with us learning that the economy is shrinking again for the second quarter in a row. The two signs in tandem are a big deal, because they likely forecast an oncoming recession. Nonetheless, the Biden administration is saying nothing is set in stone, and it would appear that we’re not there yet at this time.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. The big news on the contagion front this week is that the US is a world leader in monkeypox–but not in response, just in infection. As I type this, both New York and San Francisco have declared public emergencies due to outbreak rates. And in COVID news, Biden has a rebound infection; we’re also now hoping to get more omicron-responsive vaccines in place by September. I’ll definitely keep folks posted on that one.
- An Almost-Functional Senate. The Senate this week was a wild ride, particularly because Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and Senate pain in the rear Joe Manchin announced they had reached a last-minute deal on a climate change bill this past Wednesday. This is a big deal in all senses of the word, and the proposed bill would effectuate change in many areas at once, including healthcare and tax reform as well as climate change. But even though things look promising, we aren’t out of the woods yet because other Senate pain in the rear Kyrsten Sinema could still defect from party cooperation. And just in case you thought the Senate was improving, the GOP is here to correct the record; on Thursday, they refused to support veterans exposed to toxins on account of they were big mad about the Wednesday Manchin deal.
- Climate Change Struggles. Climate change was also in the news on the ground this week, as much of the country experienced another heat wave and both Missouri and Kentucky experienced dangerous flooding. The Kentucky flooding was particularly devastating due to infrastructure failures and other compounding issues; at the time that I type this, at least 37 people have died and the area is expecting more flooding today and tomorrow. These dangerous conditions are almost certainly linked to climate change issues, and infrastructure to address natural disasters needs to be part of any long-term plans and policies we set.
- Recent Labor Resilience. A semi-local Trader Joe’s in Hadley, Massachusetts was in the news for being the first Trader Joe’s to unionize in the country. The news comes just before a few other stores across the country take on union voting, so here’s hoping this is the beginning of another Starbucks phenomenon. I’ll try to keep folks posted on this–we can all use some good news, and it’s always good to see labor protections emerging.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this roman numeral joke 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 more hours in the day!