President Biden and other Democrats have called on Congress to take action on gun control measures following the Texas school massacre but even some of them acknowledge it is not an easy road ahead.
One effort centers on banning assault weapons, which The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes has not previously been supported by all Democrats in the Senate, a host of which voted against a bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) the last time the chamber had an extended gun debate in 2013.
Despite being one of the strongest activists to ban assault weapons, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) admitted earlier this week that an assault weapons ban is unlikely to get the number of votes it needs to pass the chamber even after the most recent school shooting.
On the House side, the Judiciary Committee will markup an omnibus bill Thursday on gun control reforms including raising the purchase age to 21, codifying a ban on bump stocks and banning high-capacity magazines, which attach to assault weapons.
But gun bills in that chamber also face hurdles with its slim margins by Democrats in tough re-election races.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) has devoted much of her work to gun control, calling for a ban on high-capacity magazines. But she told NotedDC ahead of the markup that she wants the committee to debate each bill individually instead of as a package, suggesting that advancing the measures could prove difficult.
“They all do different things,” Spanberger said of the proposals within the bill. “They aren’t complementary to one another. I support them all, I am voting for them. But there’s significant value in having each bill debated separately.”
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WH to offer relief for students defrauded by college
The Biden administration intends to forgive student loans for those who attended a now-defunct chain of for-profit colleges, inching closer toward progressives’ goal of broader student loan debt forgiveness.
The Hill’s Hanna Trudo, Amie Parnes and Alex Gangitano delivered the scoop Wednesday that is sure to set the already-lit fire underneath progressives to push for Biden to cancel a chunk of student loan debt per borrower held by millions of Americans.
The most recent plan floated by the White House is forgiving $10,000 per borrower but that has not yet been finalized. Progressives want at least $50,000 canceled per borrower.
But the move to forgive the loans of students who attended Corinthian Colleges is something that some see as long overdue. The school shut down in 2015 in the face of lawsuits alleging they defrauded students out of federally backed loans.
Dem primary in NY’s newly drawn district heating up
The primary contest in New York’s newly drawn 10th congressional district is heating up by the day, with Daniel Goldman, the prosecutor who led House Democrats’ first impeachment of former President Trump, now jumping in the mix.
Goldman announced his bid Wednesday, setting himself up against former New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D) and New York Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
Goldman is up against the wall in terms of name recognition and legislative experience, but The Hill’s Tal Axelrod writes that he will most likely try to compensate for that by focusing on his efforts to take down Trump.
DeBlasio is obviously a household name beyond NYC but might face criticism for his time as mayor. And he admits that – he recently wrote an article in The Atlantic about being notoriously unpopular. He titled it “Joe Biden can learn from my mistakes.”
Jones might face backlash since he doesn’t live in the district, Axelrod pointed out, which is not a requirement to run for a congressional district.
New Yorkers will cast their ballots in the primary on August 23 to effectively decide November’s outcome. The district, which lies in Manhattan, is still considered safe for Democrats.
PRIMARY SEASON ROLLS ON
Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell is up for re-election and redistricting probably helped the incumbent on her journey after she flipped the seat two years ago. She is likely facing a challenge against Gabe Vasquez, a well-known Democrat in the general. Herrell is the only Republican in the primary and Vasquez is seen as the Democratic front-runner.
Only people who are registered as a party member (Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians) can vote in the New Mexico primaries.
There will be a Republican primary for governor, as well as for the Senate and House.
Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, is seeking re-election against South Dakota state House Rep. Steven Haugaard.
The races have been ranked as safe Republican seats by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
There is only one Democratic candidate Jamie Smith and a Libertarian candidate, Tracey Quint, who will face Noem on the ballot.
On the Congress side: Rep. Dusty Johnson (R) is up for re-election for the state’s sole House seat with nominal opposition and is expected to win.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R) is seeking reelection and faces challengers Mark Mowry and Bruce Whalen in the Republican primary.
Other states with primaries on June 7: Mississippi. NotedDC will explore more on that tomorrow. If you missed our look at California and Iowa’s primaries last week, you can find that info here.
Voting right act poised to pass in NY, stuck in Congress
New York is set to overhaul election rules to expand access to the polls and give more legal ground to voters.
The legislation is modeled off a bill currently stuck in Congress named after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), which would strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) killed another voting rights bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, in January when they voted with Republicans to keep the filibuster in place.
The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes that the bills in New York would create a pre-clearance program that would require local governments with history of discrimination to prove that any new rules would not discriminate against people of color before they take effect.
If Republicans take back the Senate in November, these bills are almost guaranteed not to move forward. Even now, Democrats see it as near impossible for any of these to get 60 votes, adding to a list of defeats leadership blame on unwillingness to abolish the filibuster.
House panel probes Washington commanders
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will level up their investigation into the Washington Commanders’ hostile workplace culture, inviting the head honchos to Capitol Hill for a hearing.
The committee asked National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and Commanders owner Dan Snyder to testify on June 22, part of the panel’s next step in investigating the “culture of harassment and abuse” in the Commanders’ front office.
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) berated the NFL and the Commanders in Wednesday’s letter, saying the panel has been “met with obstruction” at every turn throughout their investigation.
The probe began in October after allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct within the organization swirled, leading the NFL to lay a $10 million fine on the Commanders in July 2021.
If Goodell and Snyder attend, the hearing might produce fireworks, with the NFL already denying claims that they have been uncooperative in the committee’s investigation.
“The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee’s lengthy investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee’s staff.”