Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:
With the conviction of Derek Chauvin, will there be a George Floyd Policing Reform Bill?
Unlikely right now. It's possible, but there's a big divide between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of eliminating qualified immunity. Democrats want to get rid of it. Republicans want to keep it in order to make sure that cops aren't exposed to too much liability while they're on the job. And to get anything done in the Senate, you need 60 votes, which would, of course, require 10 Republicans. So, conversations are likely to be ongoing, but this issue went nowhere during the Trump administration because both sides decided they wanted something, to make something political out of it, and I don't think that much is going to change now.
Why did President Biden flip-flop on the refugee cap?
President Biden promised during the campaign that he would lift President Trump's refugee cap from 15,000 to its old level of 65,000. But with a surging migrant crisis on the southern border, Biden decided this wasn't a priority and changed his mind a little bit on undoing the refugee cap. The administration announced this last Friday and there was a lot of pushback from migrant and refugee advocates against them for doing so. They later that evening flip-flopped again and said that sometime in May they were going to announce a new policy that would satisfy most of their allies on the left. But the issue of the border is still a big one for President Biden, one that's been dormant for quite some time. But with a surging number of children in particular rising on the southern border, it's not going to go away.
Will Washington, DC become the 51st state?
I'm standing here on a street corner in DC and I think the answer is probably also unlikely. And the reason is similar to the George Floyd Bill, that you cannot get 60 votes in the Senate to pass this. You'd have to eliminate the filibuster and even if you did that, it's unclear today if there are 50 Democrats in the Senate who would favor doing so. The House has now passed the bill multiple times to make DC a state, but the outlook in the Senate is just not that good. Stay tuned, because this is going to be a really important political issue throughout the year, especially as the Democrats look at the likelihood they might lose the House of Representatives next year.