Emerson Poll: Approval of Supreme Court, Congress Even Lower Than Biden

Job-approval ratings for Congress and the Supreme Court are even worse than that for President Joe Biden, Emerson College Polling results said Friday.

Only 19% of voters approve of the job being done in Congress, with a whopping 70% disapproving, Emerson College Polling (ECP) found.

That was slightly better than the Supreme Court, which earned a job-approval rating of 36% and a disapproval-rating of 54%.

“Independent voters align more with Democrats on Supreme Court approval: 71% of Democrats and 58% of Independents disapprove of the job that the Supreme Court is doing whereas a majority, 56%, of Republicans approve of the job they are doing,” ECP Executive Director Spencer Kimball said.

Biden, meanwhile, has just a 40% job approval — up two points from last month — and a 53% job disapproval.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 59% of voters think Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion nationwide, Emerson found.

The support for the legislation was higher among women, with 62% — compared to 55% of men — saying Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion.

“While a majority, 65%, of Republicans oppose Congress passing a law to legalize the right to abortion, the policy has majority support among Democrats and Independent voters, 81% of Democratic voters and 58% of Independent voters support federal legislative action to legalize abortion,” Kimball said.

Congressional legalization of the right to abortion has the highest support among voters aged 18-29 — 76% support a federal legalization of abortion.

That compared to 59% of voters aged 30-49, 50% of voters aged 50-64, and 56% of voters over 65.

The Emerson poll found that 46% of voters plan to vote for the Republican congressional candidate in the 2022 midterm elections while 43% plan to support the Democrat congressional candidate.

The Emerson survey also found that a majority (57%) said they or someone they knew have had an abortion.

The Emerson College Polling national poll of voters was conducted June 28-29 among 1,271 registered voters. The data sets were weighted by gender, region, age, education, and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling.

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U.S. House Passes Gun-Safety Legislation, Sends to Biden

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed significant gun-safety legislation for the first time in three decades, sending it to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

The House voted 234-193 for the bill, one day after a Supreme Court ruling broadly expanded gun rights. No Democrats were opposed, while 14 Republicans backed the measure, a rare defeat for U.S. gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.

House action followed a late Thursday Senate vote of 65-33 to pass the bill, with 15 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in favor.

Gun control has long been a divisive issue in the United States with multiple attempts to place new controls on gun sales failing time after time until Friday.

Passage of what some Democrats characterized as a modest, first-step bill followed mass murders last month at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

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Rep. Brooks Slams ‘Flawed’ Jan. 6 Hearings, Offers Conditions for Testifying

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., on Thursday wrote a lengthy letter to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, unrest at the Capitol, detailing his feelings about being subpoenaed for testimony and questioning the fairness of hearings that don’t provide opportunities for witness cross-examination.

Brooks also submitted a series of conditions for providing sworn testimony to the House panel, all of which were available for public consumption on his Twitter account.

The letter initially reads:

“I understand the Committee wishes to depose me concerning January 6 events and have heard rumor the Committee ‘issued’ a subpoena for my appearance. I have on countless occasions been in public venues in Alabama, in my Congressional office, on the House Floor, and numerous places in between, yet no Committee subpoena has been served. This is puzzling.

“I don’t believe I have knowledge of January 6 events that are not already known or that add to what the Committee already knows.

”As the Committee knows, I have already made multiple, lengthy sworn statements in the Eric Swalwell lawsuit in federal court and made multiple, lengthy written and oral statements elsewhere.

”Presumably, the Committee has already obtained and reviewed these statements,” said Brooks, who recently lost Alabama’s GOP runoff primary for a U.S. Senate seat to Republican Katie Britt.

“I have numerous reservations about the Committee. Here are a few examples:

  • “The Committee refused to seat all of the majority party’s Republican appointees (a first in the history of the House of Representatives). This means minority party witnesses who might illuminate different views are less likely to be called and appropriate cross-examination questions are not asked, thereby failing to reveal truth (the purported goal of the Committee). No court of law would use such a flawed process. Why? Because judicial processes are designed to find truth.”
  • “The Committee insists on doing the public’s business (deposing witnesses) clandestinely and in secrecy. Hence, the Committee’s processes conflict with time-honored judicial processes designed to maximize the likelihood that viewers reach a fair, just and accurate impression of the truth of a matter.”
  • “I have read about leaked witness testimony. This distorts truth perception among the American people because the testimony leaked is in bits and pieces, not the whole, thereby depriving Americans of testimony and facts needed to make an informed decision about January 6 events.”
  • “A witness’s demeanor is critical to determining veracity and truth. This is one of the reason why judges and juries responsible for discerning truth view witness testimony in person. Failure to observe live testimony, in its entirety, reduces the ability of Americans to determine the truth of this matter.”

Regarding the conditions for offering sworn testimony, Brooks is seeking:

(1) A public hearing: The testimony must be provided in an open setting, meaning that TV/Web viewers would have live access to Brooks’ comments.

(2) Jan. 6 scope: Every question must have relevance to the events of that day in 2021.

(3) Questions by congressional leaders only; congressional staffers and any other non-elected leaders would not be permitted to submit queries to Brooks.

(4) Document disclosure: Brooks would require a minimum of seven days of preparation time, before commenting on prior statements, electronic communications, written communications, etc.

(5) Deposition date options: The testimony must be provided on days when Brooks was already slated to be in Washington.

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Senators Say Agreement on Gun Violence Compromise Is at Hand

Senators have moved to the brink of an agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill, Democrats’ lead negotiator said Tuesday, potentially teeing up votes this week on an incremental but notable package that would stand as Congress’s response to mass shootings in Texas and New York that shook the nation.

Nine days after Senate bargainers agreed to a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last enacted a major measure curbing firearms — Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told reporters that a final agreement on the proposal’s details was at hand.

The legislation lawmakers have been working toward would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities aimed at improving school safety and mental health initiatives.

“I think we’ve reached agreement,” Murphy said. “And just we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s right now. I think we’re in good shape.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the chief Republican bargainer, spoke on the Senate floor moments later and said he, Murphy and the other two top Senate bargainers had “reached agreement.”

The senators did not initially say how they’d resolved the two major stumbling blocks that had delayed agreement on the plan’s legislative language.

One was how to make abusive romantic partners subject to the existing ban that violent spouses face to obtaining guns. The other was providing federal aid to states that have “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take firearms away from people deemed dangerous or to states that have violence intervention programs.

If enacted, the election-year measure would spotlight a modest but telling shift in the politics of an issue that has defied compromise since Bill Clinton was president.

After 10 Black shoppers were killed last month in Buffalo, New York, and 19 children and two teachers died days later in Uvalde, Texas, Democrats and some Republicans decided that this time, measured steps were preferable to Congress’ usual reaction to such horrors — gridlock.

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In a Boost, McConnell Backs Senate Bipartisan Gun Deal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support Tuesday for his chamber’s emerging bipartisan gun agreement, boosting momentum for modest but notable election-year action by Congress on an issue that’s deadlocked lawmakers for three decades.

The Kentucky Republican said he hoped an outline of the accord, released Sunday by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, would be translated into legislation and enacted. McConnell’s backing was the latest indication that last month’s gun massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, had reconfigured the political calculations for some in the GOP after years of steadfastly opposing even incremental tightening of firearms curbs.

“If this framework becomes the actual piece of legislation, it’s a step forward, a step forward on a bipartisan basis,” McConnell told reporters. He said the proposal “further demonstrates to the American people” that lawmakers can work together on significant issues “to make progress for the country.”

McConnell’s comments were striking, coming five months before midterm elections in which Republicans hope to win control of the Senate and seem likely to win a majority in the House. For years, GOP candidates could risk their careers by defying the views of the party’s loyal gun-owning and rural voters, who oppose moves seen as threatening their ownership and use of firearms.

McConnell seemed to suggest that backing this gun measure wouldn’t doom some Republicans’ prospects in November. While he said senators should take a position “based upon the views of their states,” he said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a chief architect of the deal, presented GOP polling data at a closed-door senators’ lunch saying support among gun-owners for the agreement’s provisions is “off the charts, overwhelming.”

The plan would for the first time make the juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 part of required background checks. Money would be sent to states for mental health and school security programs and for incentives to enforce local “red flag” laws that let authorities win court approval to temporarily removes guns from people considered dangerous.

Senators and aides hope to translate their broad agreement into legislation in days, in hopes that Congress could approve it before leaving for its July 4 recess. Both sides acknowledge that is a difficult process that could encounter disputes and delays.

Some Republicans expressed unhappiness with the plan Tuesday, with much of the criticism aimed at its encouragement of “red flag” laws. Nineteen states mostly dominated by Democrats and the District of Columbia have them, but Republicans have blocked efforts in Congress to pass federal legislation on the subject.

“If we’re not going to pass a federal red flag law, and we shouldn’t, why would we incentivize states to do something that we think is a bad idea?” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

A final agreement on overall legislation would be expected to receive solid support from Democrats. But it would need at least 10 GOP votes to reach the Senate’s usual 60 vote threshold, and McConnell’s praise raised hopes that Republican backing would grow even beyond that.

Approval seems likely by the Democratic-run House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has praised the measure as a first step toward strong restrictions in the future.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would schedule votes on the legislation as soon as it is ready. He contrasted recent days’ progress with Congress’ failure to act after a parade of mass shootings in recent decades.

“After Uvalde and Buffalo, perhaps this time could be different. To many senators on both sides, this debate certainly feels different,” Schumer said.

Congress’ last major gun measure was an assault weapons ban that took effect in 1994 but expired 10 years later.

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McConnell: House Supreme Court Security Bill Won’t Pass Senate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., assured reporters Monday a House bill seeking to provide bodyguards for Supreme Court justices and clerks would not pass the upper chamber, The Hill reported.

The statement comes after a bill only protecting the high court’s justices forwarded by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Coons, D-Del., passed the Senate unanimously May 9.

“The version of the Supreme Court security bill that apparently they’re going to try to pass on suspension tonight is not going to pass the Senate,” McConnell said.

“The security issue is related to Supreme Court justices, not nameless staff that no one knows,” he added.

Senate Republicans have increased pressure on the House to pass legislation to protect Supreme Court justices after a man was charged with attempted murder for allegedly planning to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The 26-year-old, Nicholas John Roske, was armed with a pistol and tactical knife. Investigators also claim he told them the possibility of the Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade was a reason for his decision, according to NBC News.

A month before the incident, Cornyn and Coons’ Supreme Court Police Parity Act passed the Senate in response to prior threats against Supreme Court justices in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson draft majority opinion leak.

“Threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families are disgraceful, and attempts to intimidate and influence the independence of our judiciary cannot be tolerated,” Cornyn wrote in a statement.

“I’m glad the Senate quickly approved this measure to extend Supreme Court police protection to family members, and the House must take up and pass it immediately.”

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Judge Denies Navarro’s Request for Delay, Issues Gag Order

Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s request for a 45-day stay on a charge of contempt of Congress was denied by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who also slapped Navarro with a gag order before his June 17 arraignment.

The gag order restricts Navarro from discussing evidence in the case, which is related to Navarro’s refusal to violate former President Donald Trump’s claim to executive privilege on private communications between the president.

“The court will not delay the upcoming arraignment and status conference, as the public interest weighs in favor of moving this case forward through its preliminary stages,” Mehta wrote in the ruling Monday.

“To be clear, this is not a ‘gag’ order,” on restricting Navarro about speaking to the media on evidence in the case,” he added.

“The protective order does not bar defendant from making public statements about these proceedings; rather, the protective order places limits on defendant’s use of discovery materials produced by the government,” the ruling read. “Defendant must abide by its terms, absent a modification by the court.”

Navarro’s arrest came just days after he filed a lawsuit against the House Jan. 6 Select Committee and a federal prosecutor to block the subpoena ordering him to provide testimony and documents on communications with the president surrounding the 2020 presidential election, allegations of election fraud, and the subsequent storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Navarro told Newsmax‘s “Eric Bolling: The Balance” he will be using his September-released book “Taking Back Trump’s America” as his “legal defense fund.”

“I’m looking at what experts are telling me could be up to a million dollars or more in legal fees to fight this bogus charge,” Navarro told Bolling on Monday after the court ruling dropped. “A bridge too far here for the Department of Justice and the FBI. I mean, what they did was outrageous, Eric.

“I mean, I literally live across the street from the FBI. It’s common when you have this white collar offense – that’s not even fraud, it’s just a technical offense – to arrange what’s called a voluntary surrender, and I had reached out to the FBI agent two days before they took me down at the airport said, ‘Hey, whatever you need, I’m there.’

“They didn’t do that. And that just cemented the idea that this was a show trial. I asked for an attorney when they arrested me. I didn’t get that. They put me in a jail cell and leg irons for a couple of hours while I waited, and meanwhile they leaked it to the press that I had been arrested.

“I mean, all of that tells you that this is more about politics than the law, and people should be indignant about this, particularly in Trump land.”

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Bannon Subpoenas Top Democrats, Jan. 6 Panel to Fight DOJ Charges

Steve Bannon’s legal team subpoenaed top House Democrats, members of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and their staffers last week, CNN reported.

The one-time chief adviser to former President Donald Trump signed off on the decision to build his defense against a Department of Justice indictment dating from last November.

Those charges included two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and produce documents for the Jan. 6 committee.

But Bannon’s new subpoena is an attempt to fight back after he pleaded not guilty. It targets 16 lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C..

All nine members of the select committee, three committee staffers and Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House of Representatives, are also included in Bannon’s subpoena.

Former Deputy New York Attorney General Danya Perry told Axios that subpoenas to members of Congress and their staffers “are likely to be quashed swiftly” due to the shields for documents and testimony under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.

But two Democratic congressmen listed in the subpoenas — Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California — could be the exception. According to Perry, both have involved Bannon in marketing material for their books.

Raskin and Schiff “have a vested interest now, whether financial or reputational or personal, in ensuring that the committee’s conclusions are consistent with their books. We can’t have that kind of committee,” Bannon lawyer David Schoen told the outlet.

Bannon is not the only Republican to challenge the legitimacy of the Jan. 6 select committee, according to CNN.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has refused to comply with his subpoena, claiming it is not legally valid. Meanwhile, former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro has been charged with the same counts as Bannon after refusing to comply with the committee.

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Staff Shortages Threaten Nursing Home Closures

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc for nursing homes across the United States.

It means an increased risk of closures due to staff shortages and higher operating costs, according to a survey released Monday by the American Health Care Association (AHCA).

Nearly 98% of nursing homes are “experiencing difficulty hiring staff,” with 73% of nursing homes reporting they “are concerned about having to close” due to “staffing woes.”

“The survey shows the severe and persistent workforce shortage nursing home providers have been facing with too many facilities still struggling to hire and retain staff despite making every effort,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA, told WCIV Charleston.

“Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long-term care residents and staff, and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges. As a provider that uniquely relies on government funding, policymakers must help nursing homes better compete for nurses and nurse aides, as well as build up the pipeline to incentivize more people to pursue a career in long-term care.”

The AHCA says nursing homes are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, healthcare professionals will share their views with members of Congress at the association’s Congressional briefing event.

“We all agree that nursing homes need to hire more caregivers — the question is how,” Parkinson conclude. “Unfunded staffing mandates would only make the crisis worse. Congress must invest in our long-term care workforce and protect access to care for millions of seniors.”

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Report: Political Parties Wooing Sen. Joe Manchin to Get Legislation Passed

Both Republicans and Democrats are desperately trying to get the support of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for pieces of legislation they want to see passed through Congress before the midterm elections, which could strip Democrats of their congressional majorities.

According to The Hill, Manchin is a “must have” vote for Democrats to get any piece of President Joe Biden’s failed $2.4 trillion “Build Back Better” spending agenda that Manchin effectively killed in the fall by saying he would vote “no” on the package in the Senate.

Part of the persuading includes Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pressing Manchin to support smaller elements of the plan including climate change and lower prescription drug prices.

“If [Manchin] gets something within the parameters as he’s discussed it, I think he is a possible ‘yes,'” Mike Plante, a West Virginia-based Democratic strategist, told The Hill. “Obviously, we’re running out of time here.”

Manchin’s vote in the Senate is required for Democrats to reach a 50-50 tie with Republicans so that Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote and get any legislation across the finish line.

“It’s got to be something that comports with his view of what’s appropriate. I don’t think there’s a lot of wiggle room for Joe Manchin on what he would find acceptable,” Plante said. “I think there’s a very narrow path on that. It would have to be something that dealt with prescription drugs, climate, deficit reduction, and didn’t contribute to inflation.”

Manchin was elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving four years as governor of the staunchly red state, according to his official Senate biography.

According to a report from Axios Thursday, Manchin had been in talks with Republicans about energy policy, but those talks ended unsuccessfully, forcing him to team up with Schumer for a budget reconciliation type of legislation that can pass without GOP support.

“These talks had been a long shot to begin with,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told Axios. “Manchin informed us in the last meeting that reconciliation is probably the route he’s going down.”

In addition to energy and climate change, Manchin said Tuesday that lowering drug prices must be a priority for Congress.

“Drug pricing is something we all agree on,” Business Insider reported he said at a West Virginia AARP event on Tuesday. “If we do nothing else this year — I think we can do a lot more — but if we do nothing more this year, that’s the one thing that must be done.”

The Democrats are pushing to give Medicare the ability to negotiate prices with drug companies in the same way the Veterans Administration has been able to do, the report said.

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