OnPolitics: One week, 18 dead from guns. How will Washington react?

President Joe Biden speaks about the shooting in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Patrick Semansky, AP)

Today is Equal Pay Day but Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wants people to know that the holiday is not one of celebration. In 2021, pay disparities and discrimination still exist between men and women. 

The disparities are higher for women of color. Since March, Black and Latina moms have stopped working, either voluntarily or due to layoffs, at higher rates than white moms.

It’s Mabinty, waiting for my money. Let’s get to the news of the day. 

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The battle over the next election has already begun 

Things got messy in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee Wednesday. Senators clashed over the For the People Act, legislation that would set federal standards on early and mail-in voting, and expand access to the polls. 

The bill: 

  • Would increase voter turnout by expanding early voting
  • Lessens identification requirements
  • Allows same-day voter registration and 
  • Requires states to set up automatic registration for federal elections for eligible voters 

The bill, one of the most expansive election reform measures introduced in Congress in decades, was lauded by Democrats and slammed by Republicans as being overreaching. 

🐴 Senate Rules Chair Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Wednesday the legislation aims to make “voting easier, getting big money out of politics and strengthening ethics rules.”

🐘 Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the top Republican on the committee, said the legislation would be a “federal takeover of the election process” and “that would be an unmitigated disaster for our democracy.”

More than 253 bills in 43 states have been introduced that would restrict access to voting, including reducing early voting hours, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law in New York City. 

The culture war over gun violence is back 

In less than a week, 18 people died from gun violence in two mass shootings. On March 16, a gunman in Atlanta targeted multiple local businesses, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian American women. On Monday in Boulder, Colorado, a man opened fire into a King Soopers grocery store, killing 10 people, including one police officer.

So how do we move forward as a nation? The violence has reignited calls for greater gun control legislation, a desire Democratic lawmakers are intent on fulfilling. President Joe Biden called on the Senate to “immediately pass the two House bills that would close loopholes in the background system.”

Yet in many Republican-dominated states, lawmakers are expanding access to firearms, arguing that such “constitutional carry” measures better protect individual liberties and public safety.

Whether any gun control legislation will be passed into law, however, is contingent on whether Democrats in the Senate can garner ten votes from Republicans to break the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes to end debate on any bill.

Interesting fact: Two-thirds of Americans back tougher gun laws, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, but Republican support has fallen significantly as the issue takes on a stronger partisan cast than it did a few years ago.

News you missed but should know: 

  • Rachel Levine makes history as first openly transgender official confirmed by U.S. Senate
  • Vice President Kamala Harris to lead White House efforts to stem migration at the border
  • Duckworth, Hirono back off threat of opposing Biden nominees in push for AAPI representation
  • What would statehood for Washington, DC mean — and could it finally happen?
  • Capitol fencing removed 77 days after deadly riot; security remains an issue amid domestic threat

Hope you’re having a good hump day! —Mabinty 

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