Democrats target gun violence as crime becomes big midterm issue

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In today’s edition: President Biden will announce a plan today to cut gasoline prices as inflationary pressures persist… Postmaster General Louis DeJoy talks about the role of the Post Office mid-term… Vladimir Poutine meets the Belarusian president, and “brutal tactics” are expected in Russia’s push east… but first…

Democrats target gun violence as crime becomes big midterm issue

Several House Democrats will introduce a package of bills today designed to help prevent mass shootings and help the communities that have experienced them.

The legislation is the latest evidence that Democrats are making efforts to address gun violence a priority a year later President Biden urged Congress to pass new gun laws following shootings in Colorado and Georgia. The new push also comes as some party members say Democrats need to do more to show voters, especially women, that they are serious about tackling crime ahead of the midterm elections.

Biden announced new measures to restrict so-called “phantom guns” on Monday at a Rose Garden event and introduced his second candidate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives, Steve Dittelbach. He also called on Congress to enact a universal background check bill, which he pledged to pass in the 2020 campaign.

The bills that six House Democrats — Joe Neguse Representatives (Col.), Veronique Escobar (Texas.), Ted Deutsch (Florida.), Lucy McBath (Georgia.), Andre Carson (ind.) and Nikema Williams (Ga.) — will introduce today are more modest in scope.

The legislation would provide funding for mental health in communities where shootings have taken place and expand a Justice Department grant program to include active preparation for shooters, among other measures.

In an interview, Neguse – whose district suffered a mass shooting last year that killed 10 people – told the Early he saw the legislation as a complement to the background check bill stalled in the Senate. for more than a year.

“If there are actions we can take to save lives and secure our communities, our retail businesses, our places of public accommodation, then we must take those actions,” Neguse said.

Although the bills did not attract any Republican co-sponsors, Neguse said he had conversations with a number of GOP lawmakers.

“I anticipate that these bills will receive a positive response from at least some of my colleagues across the aisle,” he said.

Gun violence advocacy groups have welcomed the measures Biden announced on Monday, but some are also urging him to go further.

March for our lives and tear down america – who gave Biden a D+ for his record on guns in a recent newsletter — urging Biden to create a new White House position dedicated to fighting gun violence.

The idea also drew support from Democrats in Congress.

Nearly a dozen House Democrats, including Neguse and McBath, sent Biden a letter Friday urging him to hire a national director of gun violence prevention. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also said Politics last week that the White House should consider taking such a step.

Ivor Volskyexecutive director of Guns Down America, told The Early by phone from the White House after Biden’s speech that he wanted Biden to appoint a gun czar “who can travel the country, meet with affected communities who live with the daily scourge of gun violence and communicate the President’s vision to reduce all forms of gun violence.

“It just wasn’t done,” he added.

Guns Down America and March for Our Lives also pressed the Senate to vote on the background check bill, which passed the House last year but languished in the upper house. They want the Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer to put the bill to a vote even if it doesn’t have the votes to pass – an echo of the demand suffrage advocates made earlier this year.

“We need to get people registered and see where they are,” said Zeenat Yahya, March for Our Lives Policy Directory. “So I think it’s important to vote.”

The White House said it plans to continue directing its efforts against gun violence from the Domestic Policy Council, where Susan Rice leads a 12-person team working on the issue, rather than creating a new role of gun czar.

Such an approach allows the administration “to avoid the silos that too often impede progress”, Steve Felmana Domestic Policy Council official, wrote in a blog post last month.

Other gun violence advocacy groups are also not convinced that appointing a gun czar would be helpful.

“I think the proof is in the pudding,” said John Feinblattthe president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Susan Rice has mobilized a whole team of people across the federal government to address all aspects of gun violence, and frankly, we wouldn’t be here without her.”

The Democrats’ renewed emphasis on guns comes less than seven months before the midterm elections, with the looming possibility that the party could lose control of the House, Senate or the entire Congress.

Celinda Lakewho was one of Biden’s top pollsters in 2020, said efforts to tackle phantom guns resonate particularly strongly with women – who are crucial to Democrats’ hopes of retaining control of Congress.

“Our roadmap to victory is to have women support Democrats more than men support Republicans,” Lake told Early. The “problem of phantom guns and gun safety is really very strong among women”.

But Neguse said gun violence prevention was the one issue he didn’t care about whether the issue helped or hurt his party politically.

“Politics just doesn’t come into the equation,” he said.

Biden to announce plan to ease gas prices as inflationary pressures persist

It’s happening today: “The White House plans to roll out new policies aimed at lowering gasoline prices as it prepares for a crushing new report that will show inflationary pressures on millions of Americans have only intensified. this year”, our colleagues Jeff Stein and Evan Halper report.

  • “Biden to announce plans for Environmental Protection Agency to allow blended form of gasoline which uses ethanol, known as E15, which will be sold this summer – a move long resisted by some energy and environmental groups that could help provide short-term relief at the pump.

DeJoy says USPS will speed up midterm polls and stand firm on electric trucks

Postmaster says: Postmaster Louis DeJoy sat down with our colleague Jacob Bogage, in an extensive interview, to discuss the state of the Postal Service and its future. Here is an exerpt :

Bogage: Was there any doubt that the postal service would exist in 10 years?

  • Treat yourself : I arrived and they said, “We’re going to run out of money and we’re going to lose $20 billion next year. The Government Accountability Office put us on the high risk list for 10 years. The only way we survived was by not paying for employee health care benefits. I was the person to take it seriously. Now you will read: “The Treasury Department will never let that happen. OK. I do not know. Perhaps? What kind of carnage are we going to get here at the Postal Service and for the nation by testing this model to see if the Treasury will step in? I took it seriously.

Bogage: Will the Postal Service commit to using the same “extraordinary measures” – dedicated expedited ballot procedures – in the 2022 midterm elections that it used in the 2020 and 2021 elections ?

  • DeJoy: The answer is yes. This has never been questioned. It’s like tying your shoes when you walk through the door and see a judge saying, “You’ll have to tie your shoes in the future.” It was a bit of a ridiculous accusation. And listen, it’s not me. It was the organization that was here before. Now I may have aligned the network, had more meetings, done a few more things. And when you look at all the changes I’m making, I’m one person. I did not call on outside consultants. It’s internal postal genetics. So we always use the extraordinary measures. We don’t need a judge to tell us, we don’t need a nonprofit to tell us. We do our best to ensure that every ballot we get our hands on will be delivered. We did it. It shows in the results. So we will continue to do so.

The new Maryland Congressional map, visualized: “Maryland has passed a revamped congressional map that changes the outlook for its midterm races — and moves thousands of voters into new, more compact districts that no longer ‘look like prehistoric animals,’ as says an anti-gerrymandering group,” our colleagues Meagan Flynn and Nick Moutoupalas report.

  • “After a legal fight thwarted a previous Democratic card, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) endorsed this redesigned version, which retains one secure Republican seat and seven Democratic-held districts. But one of those seven now promises to be much more competitive, which worries some Democrats.
  • “Additionally, the new map draws some of the Democratic incumbents’ favorite institutions, and even some of their homes, out of their districts, marking a major shift from how state congressional maps have traditionally been drawn.

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