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Voting reform bill will likely be blocked, but still a key issue for Democrats

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the Democrats voting bill.

What is the status on the Democrats voting bill?

The Democrats are pushing a bill that would largely nationalize voting rules, which today are largely determined at the state level. The bill would make Election Day a national holiday. It would attempt to end partisan gerrymandering. It would create a uniform number of early voting days and make other reforms that are designed to standardize voting rules and increase access to voting across the country. This matters to Democrats because they think they face an existential risk to their party's political prospects. They're very likely to lose at least the House and probably the Senate this year. And they see voting changes that are being pushed by Republicans at the state level that they say are designed to make it harder to vote, particularly for minorities, a key Democratic constituency.

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Voting reform bill stalls in Congress, frustrating Democrats

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the voting reform bill.

What is the outlook for a voting reform bill passing Congress?

Well, it's not great. Congress is adjourned for the year without pushing something that's been considered a big priority for Democrats all year, which is voting reform. Voting reform is considered a critical priority because a number of Republican states after the 2020 election have moved to roll back some of the law changes that made it easier for people to vote during the pandemic. Democrats think that these laws make it harder to vote and in particular, disenfranchise minority voters. So Democrats have been working on a compromise bill that would change how congressional districts are drawn, they expand opportunities to vote early, and generally make it easier for people to vote while also reinstating some restrictions on law changes in states where there's a history of discrimination against Black voters.

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Spyware concerns prompt US Congress to move toward sanctions

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

After years of inaction from lawmakers, there are now louder and louder calls in Congress for sanctions of spyware companies. Even those from Israel, which is remarkable because it has a strong surveillance industry, but also has been a strong ally for the United States.

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From $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion: Cuts to US spending bill mean less money for families

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What does it actually mean to cut $1 trillion from the Democrats' $3.5 trillion social spending bill?

President Biden has proposed one of the most ambitious expansions of federal spending in recent memory. If he gets everything he wants, it would probably be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society, but he's not going to get everything he wants. Democrats have basically said they cannot do all $3.5 trillion in spending. They're probably going to end up around $2 trillion. So what gets cut? Well, we don't know yet. There's kind of two ways to go about this. They could either cut the number of programs that have been proposed, doing fewer things with more money on a permanent basis, or they could try to do more things, each program getting less money and potentially doing them on a temporary basis. So, a future Congress would have to extend it. What does this mean for you? Well, a lot of the money in here is designed to go directly to families, either in the form of cash payments, through the tax code, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, or subsidies for things like child care, early childhood education, and community college. And if you cut these things back, it means less money is going to go out the door to the American people. It also means less tax increases to finance it. So the implications of what's being proposed could actually end up being a big deal for a lot of Americans who would qualify for benefits under these new programs.

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Moderate Democrats will determine the infrastructure bill's fate

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What happened with the infrastructure bill in the House this week?

The infrastructure bill, $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure, roughly doubling the amount of money that the US spends on roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, water infrastructure over a five-year period was scheduled for a vote on Monday of this week. That was later delayed so that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could negotiate between progressives in her caucus and moderates, the moderates who wanted to get the bill done quickly. It was bipartisan.

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The Graphic Truth: Hispanics are underrepresented in US Congress

After Asian Americans, Hispanics are now the fastest-growing ethnic/racial group among the US population, and contributed half of America's population growth over the last decade. But although Hispanics make up 19 percent of the general population today, they hold less than one-tenth of seats in Congress. Will this change significantly by 2060, when the Hispanic share of the US population is projected to reach 28 percent? To mark Hispanic Heritage Month, we take a look at Hispanic representation in the House and Senate, compared to Hispanic share of the population, over the last 20 years.

Biden's legacy rests on pandemic leadership (not Afghanistan mistakes)

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the US Senate hearing on Afghanistan, French President Macron's popularity, and China's hostage diplomacy.

As top US military officials testify right now on Capitol Hill, just down the road, do you expect the Biden administration to suffer any long-term consequences for its botched Afghanistan withdrawal?

The answer is yes, but at the margins. I still think Biden will be most remembered overwhelmingly for how he handles the pandemic as well as for the three trillion plus dollars that will likely, but not certainly, get passed to pay for infrastructure and improve the social contract in the US. On both, he has been taking hits. Certainly the former has not gone well in terms of the pandemic response and on balance, I still think that means that the House in midterm elections is going to flip fairly solidly Republican. Means that they understand they have a narrow window to get policy done. Okay. That's it.

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