Politics

US senators to start debate on breakthrough bipartisan gun violence bill – live


The Senate doesn’t pass gun control legislation very often, and if approved, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would be the most significant such bill since 1993.

It’s also only a small step compared to what gun control advocates would like to see happen. But Republicans have little political inclination to crack down on firearm access, and thus, this bill represents the best offer Democrats are likely to get — a fact Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is aware of.

The proposal would increase background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21, give money to states to implement red-flag laws, tighten gun ownership restrictions on people who abuse previous romantic partners and fund mental health services, among other provisions. It does not raise the minimum age to buy an assault weapon to 21, as some Democrats hoped it would, nor does it come anywhere near restoring the assault weapons ban or outlawing high-capacity magazines, as President Joe Biden has called for.

A reminder of what finally spurred lawmakers to act on the contentious subject: the massacre of 21 students and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the racist killings of 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

The supreme court has added a second upcoming decision release day to its calendar: Friday. The justices had already to issue their latest opinions on Thursday, and the additional day will give them more time to work through the backlog of cases they have yet to publicly announce rulings on.

The court is expected to continue its rightward streak in its upcoming decisions, which could deal with some of the must contentious issues in American society, including abortion, gun access and environmental regulation. Indeed, an unprecedented leak of their draft opinion on an abortion access case before them shows the conservative majority ready to overturn Roe v Wade entirely. They are also viewed as leaning towards rolling back restrictions on carrying concealed weapons and weakening the government’s ability to enforce regulations.

For an idea of how a gas tax holiday might work at the federal level, The Wall Street Journal went to Connecticut to see if the state legislature’s decision to suspend part of its gas tax made consumers any happier.

It did not:

Connecticut was one of the first states in the U.S. to suspend part of its gasoline tax, but Ana Rodriguez, after refueling her 2017 Toyota Highlander here, said she barely noticed.

The 35-year-old social worker spent $67 and didn’t leave with a full tank as she usually does.

“It affects the trust that I have in them,” Ms. Rodriguez said of state lawmakers. “It makes me not want to vote.”

President Biden is planning to call for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon, according to people familiar with the matter. If Connecticut’s experience with suspending its own 25-cent-a-gallon tax is any guide, a federal hiatus might not get noticed by consumers or relieve much political heat.

“Consumers are a very poor gauge because they don’t understand that the wholesale price of fuel may be rising just as the tax holiday was implemented, so it offsets it,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for price tracker GasBuddy.

Nina Lakhani

The federal gas tax holiday the Biden administration is set to propose is billed as an attempt to lower prices at the pump, but as Nina Lakhani reports, it may not work:

Joe Biden will call on Congress today to temporarily suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes in an attempt to quell voter anger at the surging cost of fuel.

In a speech on Wednesday afternoon, Biden is expected to ask the House to pause the federal taxes – about 18¢ per gallon for gas and 24¢ per gallon for diesel – until the end of September.

Biden will also call on states to suspend local fuel taxes and urge oil refining companies to increase capacity – just days after accusing executives of profiteering and “worsening the pain” for consumers.

If all the measures Biden will call for are adopted, prices could drop by about $1 per gallon at the pumps, according to senior officials who briefed CNN, although energy experts have questioned the effectiveness of gas tax holidays.

Hugo Lowell

Yesterday’s January 6 hearing gave further details of the fake electors plot Trump pursued to try to throw the 2020 election his way, and The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports that the justice department has taken notice of what the committee found:

The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack made the case at its fourth hearing on Tuesday that the Trump 2020 campaign tried to obstruct Joe Biden’s election win through a potentially illegal scheme to send fake slates of electors to Congress.

The panel presented a text message sent on 4 January 2021 that appeared to indicate the Trump campaign was seeking to use fraudulent election certificates they would have known were not state-certified to obstruct the congressional certification of Biden’s win.

“Freaking Trump idiots want someone to fly original elector papers to the Senate president,” Mark Jefferson, the executive director of the Republican party in Wisconsin said in the text, seemingly referring to the Trump campaign and then vice-president Mike Pence.

The Senate doesn’t pass gun control legislation very often, and if approved, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would be the most significant such bill since 1993.

It’s also only a small step compared to what gun control advocates would like to see happen. But Republicans have little political inclination to crack down on firearm access, and thus, this bill represents the best offer Democrats are likely to get — a fact Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is aware of.

The proposal would increase background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21, give money to states to implement red-flag laws, tighten gun ownership restrictions on people who abuse previous romantic partners and fund mental health services, among other provisions. It does not raise the minimum age to buy an assault weapon to 21, as some Democrats hoped it would, nor does it come anywhere near restoring the assault weapons ban or outlawing high-capacity magazines, as President Joe Biden has called for.

A reminder of what finally spurred lawmakers to act on the contentious subject: the massacre of 21 students and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the racist killings of 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.



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