This was the rare week when everything exploded over the weekend; we’ve had major developments in three stories and counting since Saturday as I type this. (Most of them are even net positive, which is doubly rare!) I’m for sure doing a little dance in my seat, because this was a fun week to document and I have to take my wins where I find them. You’re all invited to my impromptu dance party–anybody from Kansas gets in free.
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 text!–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:
This was an absolutely bananas week for Election Rejection news. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: Records and Raids. The week was already off to a strange start, when Trump announced on Tuesday that he was “backing Eric” in the Missouri senatorial election–conveniently ignoring that the frontrunners, former governor Greitens and state Attorney General Schmitt, are both named Eric. (Hilariously, when asked for comment, his spokesperson apparently said the statement “speaks for itself.”) But things only got weirder from there, when the high profile Alex Jones defamation case somehow resulted in a plaintiff’s attorney being accidentally sent two years of Infowars phone records–phone records that likely included texts about January 6, 2021. Unsurprisingly, those records were immediately turned over to the January 6 panel, as the plaintiff’s attorney involved was happy to cooperate with them. Somehow, this still isn’t the most salient news of the week, because that honor goes to Trump liveblogging about the FBI raiding Mar-a-Lago today–which of course was how we found out that the FBI probably really did raid Mar-a-Lago today. Regardless of whether anything comes of this, it is a huge deal that a warrant was granted, and we’ll almost certainly see more information in the next few days.
There’s a great deal to report on the Biden Rebuilding front, though some of it is captured under the New Normal. Here’s what has happened:
- Recent Biden Resilience. In addition to the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which we’ll talk more about below, Biden took some noteworthy executive actions. This week, he signed an executive order that provides some basic protections for abortion access–and though it’s not as comprehensive as one might hope, it does invite states to apply for Medicaid waivers to fund abortion travel. (For those folks who are wondering how this interacts with the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars to be spent on abortion access, it presumably funds the provision’s exceptions.) I also don’t think we’ve yet talked about his proposed changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which were issued at the top of last week. The proposed changes provide additional supports for people seeking abortions and gender affirming care, and I’m excited to write public comments on them.
Your New Normal:
- An Apparently Functional Senate. The other biggest story came from the Senate yesterday, where Democrats managed to pass the proposed bill that Manchin and Schumer had drafted together last week. Since it was a reconciliation bill, the GOP managed to retaliate by blocking a proposed price cap on insulin for private insurance entities at the time of passing, although the provision will apply to Medicare. Additionally, getting Sinema to fall into line was likely no mean feat, but part of onboarding her involved dropping most of the proposals about taxing the rich–frustrating, but likely inevitable. Still, the bill remains a major vehicle of change, particularly regarding healthcare and climate change. As one last follow-up to last week, I also wanted to note that the bill addressing toxic burns of veterans that the GOP sullenly blocked last weekdid make it through this week as well.
- Contagion Corner. No updates on the COVID front this week, unless you count Biden finally testing negative again for reals. That said, there’s plenty of monkeypox news–namely, that the WHO, several states, and eventually the US itself declared a public health emergency over it. At the time that I type this, the C.D.C. is reporting nearly 9,000 cases in the U.S., which is conclusively now the largest global infection rate by an order of magnitude.
- Black Lives Still Matter. The Department of Justice took a step in the correct direction this week when it charged several officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor. The charges include both those related to the execution of the warrant and those related to fabrication of evidence to obtain the warrant in the first place. I’ll definitely keep folks posted on developments on this.
- Reproductive Justice Struggles. The biggest bad news of the week is that Indiana passed a near-total ban on abortion services–the new law provides exceptions for incest, rape, risk of health of the mother, and fatality of the fetus, but otherwise bans abortion at conception. It’s the first bill of its type passed through legislature since the Dobbs opinion in June; though other states have trigger laws that kicked in automatically, none had gone through the process of voting to completion. Notably, Indiana was the state where the now-famous 10-year-old rape survivor from Ohio traveled to receive abortion services. It’s clear that this development will create a lot of unrest for both for the state and for the nation.
- 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 for once, it doesn’t feel like I kicked several puppies! Nonetheless, for making it through, you deserve this impressive Connect 4 game 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 photos of your dance moves!