Texas Democrats staged a late-night walkout in the state’s capitol to briefly block the local GOP’s sweeping voter suppression bill, but the fight is far from over.
Meanwhile, the New York Times obtained documents showing how Joe Biden is attempting to overhaul the country’s immigration system.
And lastly, Colombia’s government ramps up its attacks on protesters and deploys thousands of troops to combat a social movement against police brutality and income inequality, while the U.N. calls for an end to the violence.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The battle for voting rights in America is boiling over in Texas. The GOP there has passed one of the most restrictive voting bills we’ve seen this far, and the state’s minority Democratic caucus is doing everything in their power to stop it actually becoming a law.
Texas’s embattled Democrats did everything they could to slow down the bill in the State Senate, where it was eventually passed on Sunday.
It then went to the House, with a looming legislative deadline attached. At around 10:35 on Sunday evening, the leader of the State House Democratic Caucus told all his members to just pick up and leave the building. This move deprived the Republicans of the minimum number of members needed to start a vote and forced the House Speaker to adjourn the session around 11 p.m.
Even though the GOP would have won that vote on party lines, the Democrats realized they could run out the clock by simply refusing to play, and therefore throw a big wrench in the Republican’s voter suppression plans.
Now, Governor Gregg Abbott says he’ll call a special legislative session, which will give the GOP another chance to pass a similar bill. They’ll have to start over, but could just cannibalize the old bill or even make it worse.
But still, the Texas Democrats fight this weekend is an example of how difficult the Democrats should be making this kind of thing across the country. There are similar voter suppression bills being voted on or already passed in over half a dozen other states around the country already, and it’s going to take a lot more political hardball to shut them down, especially as federal efforts to ensure the right to vote are moving at a glacial pace.
Biden Immigration Plans Leak
The New York Times has obtained 46-page draft of President Biden’s prospective plan to reform the United States’ immigration system.
According to the Times’ the Clif notes version of this plan is pretty promising. Biden wants to make everything simpler, with shorter forms, fewer security hoops, and more chances for families to join one another and secure work visas.
He wants to clear the Trump-era backlog of immigration applications and generally expand the legal immigration process in all the ways that Trump crushed it, particularly by letting in more asylum seekers and granting more work visas.
The Times reports that most of Biden’s plans can be put in place without going through Congress, which means they’ll skip the chaotic gridlock that dominates our national legislature at the moment. The White House didn’t comment on the Times story, but hopefully they’ll have some public plans out soon.
All of this is good, and should be expected after the utter barbarism of the Trump administration. But we’ve got to take it with a grain of salt: this is still just reform of a system that has failed so many needy people.
The Times story at least doesn’t mention some of the more progressive immigration policies advocates have been pushing for for years, like pathways to citizenship for currently undocumented people. For that, Biden will likely have to navigate the gauntlet on Capitol Hill.
Colombia Protests Get Bloodier
Protests in the Colombian city of Cali, and across the country, have intensified in recent days, after President Ivan Duque ordered 7,000 troops to the city.
The resulting violence has killed 14 protesters since May 28, and injured 98, the majority of which were shot by the government’s guns, according to the U.N.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced “deep concern” over the situation and called for an end to the violence, which is about par for the course when a country starts shooting its own citizens in the street.
The current protest movement in Colombia has been running for most of May, after tensions over pandemic-era tax reforms spiraled into mounting protests against police brutality. The New York Times reports that Colombia’s police forces have been heavily militarized for decades due to their clashes with guerilla groups and drug cartels, but when domestic protests broke out, those guns were turned on ordinary people.
At least 42 people have died since the protests began, including the 14 that were killed just this weekend. The country’s leadership under Duque, meanwhile, has denied that police brutality is a widespread problem. The death tolls and grieving families there make that kind of talk pretty hard to swallow.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Israel’s always confusing, often corrupt government appears to be headed toward a parliamentary compromise that would oust Benjamin Netanyahu from power. There only problem is his likely successor would be either an ultra-nationalist who has boasted of killing Arabs or a centrist former TV host. Not the greatest options there.
China announced on Sunday that it would allow its citizens to have up to three children, further relaxing the country’s long standing restrictive child policies amid nationwide worries of population decline. But the New York Times reports that experts say the new policies don’t do enough to actually help people raise families, noting the lack of child care and workplace protections for mothers.
The Washington Post reports that finance ministers from each of the G-7 countries are expected to back Biden’s push for a global minimum tax on corporate products during a meeting in London on Friday. This will be one to watch over the next few weeks, as Biden’s facing an uphill fight to get corporations to pay even a shred of what they owe to the people who create their riches.
And finally, the Biden administration announced on Monday that Biden’s new direct cash payments for childcare benefits will start hitting parents’ bank accounts as early as July 15, giving a much-needed boost for many families as we emerge from the pandemic.
AM QUICKIE - June 1, 2021
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn