Census and summit and subpoena, oh my!
Maanvi Singh and Lois Beckett, here — with an updated summary to close out our political news day.
The Washington Post is reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will attempt to finalize a deal to raise the debt ceiling within the coming weeks, rather than waiting until September, as many lawmakers had expected.
Here’s more from The Post:
Pelosi, the California Democrat, told reporters she wants to raise the debt ceiling as part of a deal that would set spending levels for the next two years. Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill had expected a vote on a spending and debt package wouldn’t occur until September, but Pelosi indicated for the first time Thursday they needed to act more swiftly…
White House officials want to avoid another chaotic shutdown if Congress doesn’t approve a funding bill by the end of September, and many agencies had been caught unprepared during the 35-day shutdown that began in December 2018.
The White House has been trying to broker a budget deal with lawmakers for more than a month, but the Trump administration and lawmakers remain far apart on how much money they want to authorize for the federal budget.
Also announcing new policies today was Democratic primary contender Pete Buttigieg, who rolled out his “Douglass Plan” today on NPR’s Morning Edition program.
Here are the details, from NPR:
His “Douglass Plan” aims to establish a $10 billion fund for black entrepreneurs over five years, invest $25 billion in historically black colleges, legalize marijuana, expunge past drug convictions, reduce the prison population by half and pass a new Voting Rights Act to further empower the federal government to ensure voting access.
His campaign says it is equal in scale to the Marshall Plan, which used the equivalent of approximately $100 billion at current value to rebuild Europe after World War II. Buttigieg says the program would be enacted alongside potential direct reparations for slavery, not in place of it.
Turning back to the Democratic primary race…
Kamala Harris announced her goal of ending the nationwide rape kit backlog. If elected president, she vows to dedicate a total of $100 million in annual federal assistance to states that agree to improve their testing procedures.
Here’s a full report on Trump’s press conference on the citizenship question, and his executive order from The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui and Tom McCarthy.
Ari Berman, of Mother Jones, explains that though there will be no citizenship question, Trump’s press conference still included “disturbing points.”
New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said, of Trump’s executive order on the census:
“After losing in the highest court in the land last month, President Trump’s executive order is nothing more than flailing in defeat. The president has finally given up the ghost of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, meaning all New Yorkers can participate and be counted without the distraction of his increasingly empty threats. With our partners, the NYCLU will continue to fight – and win – in court against any attempt to implement his cruel anti-immigrant agenda.”
Journalists are fact-checking attorney general’s claim that Trump never hoped or planned to defy the supreme court’s ruling against printing a citizenship question on the census.
As the Trump administration backs away from a legal battle over voting rights and the 2020 census, evacuations have been ordered in New Orleans as the city anticipates a possible hurricane.
The Guardian’s Jamiles Lartey reports from New Orleans that Tropical Storm Barry could have winds of about 75mph (120km/h) and bring could have winds of about 75mph (120km/h) of rain.
Trump’s announcement that he would use his executive authority to direct federal agencies to share existing data about the number of citizens and non-citizens in the United States, rather than trying to add a citizenship question to the census, was greeted as a victory by voting rights activists.
Some conservatives, including members of Trump’s own administration, saw the news as a defeat, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported.
Trump Backs Away from Attempt to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census
President Trump backed away from an attempt to force a question about US citizenship onto the US census, announcing in a press conference that he was instead directing federal agencies to share government records in order to assemble an estimate of the number of citizens and non-citizens living in the United States.
The announcement comes weeks after the supreme court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to add a question about citizenship to the United States’ once-a-decade count of all residents, a move that civil rights groups and the Census Bureau’s own research suggested would lead to an undercount of immigrants of color.
Civil rights advocates greeted Trump’s announcement of the alternate data collection effort as a victory.
“It’s over. We won,” Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, wrote on Twitter.
Both Trump and Attorney General William Barr called the decision a logistical one, saying that there was simply not enough time to resolve the lawsuits over adding a citizenship question to the census itself.
Trump had previously pledged to use his executive power to find a new way to ask the citizenship question, raising concerns that he might try to defy or work around the supreme court’s ruling.
Speaking after the president, the attorney general insisted that concerns that the President would defy the court and print the citizenship question by “executive fiat” were nothing but “rank speculation.”
In a ruling last month, the supreme court upheld a lower court decision against Trump, saying that the commerce department’s stated rationale for adding the citizenship question – to protect voting rights – “seems to have been contrived” and was a “distraction”.
Citing the US Census Bureau’s own research, plaintiffs in the case had argued that the unprecedented inclusion of such a question was likely to lead to a significant undercount in the American population. Such an undercount, which would mostly affect minority immigrant communities, could benefit Republicans at the ballot box, according to political research unearthed during the case.