Congress in one-week sprint but Maryland summer-sleepy

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngThe Congressional circus is back for one more sprint and they are hot on Trump’s trail, but also working on guns and maybe a downsized Build Back Less Bad bill, maybe… it all needs to be packed into this week, before the two-week July 4 recess…



 

The Congressional circus is back for one more sprint and they are hot on Trump’s trail, but also working on guns and maybe a downsized Build Back Less Bad bill, maybe… it all needs to be packed into this week, before the two-week July 4 recess…

More from People’s Action

Congress is hoping to pass compromise gun control legislation this week before a two week recess. Negotiators announced yesterday that they are about ready to release legislative language on a deal. According to Punchbowl News, “two of the main issues holding up a final bill — directing funds to states that do not set up red flag laws, but have crisis intervention programs instead, and closing the “boyfriend” loophole — have been resolved, with Democrats offering concessions.”

The January Select Committee will have hearings today and Thursday. From the Hill: “Election officials and lawmakers from Georgia and Arizona will appear before the committee for testimony, headlined by that of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who defeated a pro-Trump primary challenger last month.”

The Supreme Court will issue decisions on Tuesday and Thursday morning this week. We’re waiting for decisions in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (the case likely to overturn Roe v. Wade) and in WV v. EPA which could gut the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions. But the court could add more decision days next week.

Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin met twice last week on a budget reconciliation deal and Schumer’s office has been talking to the parliamentarian about action in July or August. From Politico:

“Manchin and Schumer are going line by line over what a possible deal would look like, building a potential agreement from the ground up rather than rehashing disagreements from last year, according to Democrats familiar with the matter. Much of the recent focus is on energy policy; Manchin indicated he will not support a bill that sends direct payments to companies that produce clean energy for consumer use, also known as “direct-pay,” drawing an important line in the negotiations.”

Of course, Manchin could still walk away from a deal, observes People’s Action federal coordinator Megan Essaheb. Also in her week-opener report:

the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act is getting a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this coming week. It needs to be, should be, bipartisan – Red states have been devastated by the opioid crisis.

 

ISSUE UPDATE: HOUSING

John Oliver addressed rising rents saying rents are rising higher than wages and that there is no county in the U.S. where a person making minimum wage can afford rent. He calls on the government to declare housing a human right. 

 

AND IN MARYLAND –

 Maryland Matters asks: What's with Hogan and the Baltimore test scores? In a commentary, former Baltimore City school board member Kalman Hettleman describes Gov. Larry Hogan's call for a criminal investigation into grading practices in city schools as a new low in his political grandstanding on public education in general and Baltimore schools in particular.

Inflation relief policy is mainly dependent on action by the Federal Reserve to manage interest rates,, lacking initiatives from the Administration on issues like a tax rebate for gas use or other offsets for price increases.

 Jeanna Smialek, an NYT economics writer, said this morning “The challenge for many working families is that their wages might slow down before price increases do. Fed officials predicted last week that unemployment would begin creeping up by the end of the year but that inflation would remain elevated at 5.2 percent.

That means that consumer buying power is likely to erode, after several months in which wage growth has already failed to keep up with rising prices.”

Here at home, nobody with the leverage to help is responding to calls to pause Maryland’s state gas tax; Biden is “thinking about” a pause to the fed gas tax. Driving, whatever the price of gas, is a cringeworthy contributor to our carbon footprint, but let’s face it: even in the urbanized center of the state, mass transit use is still crippled by COVID concerns and in the eastern and western reaches, you can’t get anywhere without driving. And the poorer you are, the more likely it is you can’t reach your job by mass transit because it doesn’t serve the places you can afford to live. Gas matters, right now. The dream of a gas-conserving, digitally enabled “Mobility as a Service” is for the future unless you are in Helsinki.

 Timing is everything; just as in the COVID crunch when Hogan Inc.’s mechanics for unemployment insurance sputtered so badly, getting relief to folks who are always on the edge when they need it is a problem that people in power chew on endlessly but only after the fact, when working families have been leveled by their inaction.