Yellen says inflation and higher gas prices remain a ‘risk’:
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivers remarks during a press conference at the Treasury Department on July 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said there is a ‘risk’ that US gas prices could rise again this winter. This could lead Americans to face a spike in prices similar to the one seen in summer. When asked during the State of the Union if Americans should worry about gas prices rising, Yellen said “Well, it’s a risk. And it’s a risk that we’re working on the price cap to try to address.” The price cap is meant as a way to both lower the revenue Russia can use to support its war in Ukraine while maintaining current global oil prices. The recent decline in prices owes to recession fears having knocked down oil prices and some Americans cutting back on driving when gas prices spiked above $5 a gallon. Earlier this month, finance ministers from the G7 group of countries said they would ban the provision of “services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally” above the price cap. They intend to have the maximum price set by “a broad coalition” of countries. It would take effect alongside the EU’s next batch of sanctions, which include a ban on seaborne imports of Russian oil starting in early December.
Republicans push to restrict mail-in voting ahead of US November midterms:
A worker removes mail-in ballots from envelopes at the Sacramento Registrar of Voters in Sacramento, California, U.S., September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
The Republican Party has pushed new curbs on mail-in voting. This owes to former President Donald Trump's claims that voter fraud cost him the 2020 presidential election. This is in spite of multiple studies finding that higher mail-in voting participation generally does not turn out more Democratic voters than Republicans or improve the odds of Democrats winning. According to University of Chicago public policy professor Anthony Fowler, mail-in voting has higher risks of tampering as the ballot travels a longer distance. He concludes that voting on paper in person is safest, though he recognizes the importance of enfranchising voters unable to reach polling places, such as those lacking reliable transportation, the elderly, and residents of rural areas. According to the Brennan Center for Justice and Voting Rights Lab, 18 states, mostly Republican-controlled legislatures, passed laws after the 2020 election restricting mail-in voting access while 22 expanded it, all with the stated aim of election security. Some legislation both expanded and restricted it, such as an Indiana law limiting where voters could drop their absentee ballots while making it easier to return one for another voter and to fix mistakes on them. The most major changes have been in Texas where a 2021 law requires that election workers automatically reject mail-in ballots using a different ID number than what is registered. Their mail ballot rejection rate in March was 12.4%, according to data from the secretary of state’s office, compared to Texas’ 0.8% during the 2020 election. In subsequent, though smaller elections in Texas, the rejection rate fell to under 4%, which the law’s defenders said proved that voters had adjusted to the new requirement, but voter advocates say those elections’ turnout was too small to prove the problem was fixed.
Manchin’s big energy deal draws pushback from many Dems:
President Joe Biden hands the pen he used to sign the Democrats' landmark climate change and health care bill to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., watches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Joe Manchin, moderate Virginia Senator, has compromised with his Democratic party to pass legislation. To gain his support for a bill curbing climate change, Manchin said he secured a commitment from President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders to move a permitting-streamlining package for energy projects through Congress before Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Now the climate bill is law, but key Democratic constituency groups are opposing the proposal due to it being bad for the environment. Should this continue, it will complicate the party’s efforts to emphasize this summer’s legislative victories for the November midterm elections, which will determine which party controls the House and the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will attach Manchin’s preferred measure to must-pass legislation so as to push it through, though such legislation has yet to be released.