We’re getting ready for a crazy week in American politics. And I’m not just talking about the Supreme Court.
- Climate change. The most important political news story this week may be one the media isn’t discussing much. Tomorrow, President Obama will give a speech at Georgetown where he is expected to announce a plan to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. This is a big deal, since existing power plants account for 40% of U.S. carbon emissions, and currently the government doesn’t have a comprehensive strategy for reducing them. Obama’s executive action is likely to be effectively a substitute for a cap-and-trade law, with big effects on both the economy and the climate.
- Supreme Court decisions. This is the last week of the court’s term and it will release decisions on gay marriage, affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. Some decisions will come this morning and others will follow later in the week, likely Thursday.
- Immigration. The Senate will vote on cloture, or cutting off debate, on the immigration bill today around 5:30 PM. A final vote should come later in the week. 60 votes are required for cloture, and the bill will easily clear that bar, but supporters are hoping and expecting to get more than 70 votes in order to put pressure on the reluctant House to take up and pass a similar bill.
- Edward Snowden. Where is he? Wherever he is, the press will be talking about him all week.
- NSA surveillance policy. A lot of people are caught up in the human drama around Snowden, but there will probably still be some room for actual policy discussion sparked by his disclosures. Bipartisan groups in both houses of Congress are pushing to force declassification of decisions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.
- Senate special election in Massachusetts. That’s tomorrow. Rep. Ed Markey (D) is heavily favoured to win.
- Farm bill. It failed in the House last week. A new one needs to be reauthorized by September 30 in order to avoid major disruptions to both food stamps and farm subsidy programs. It’s going to take some time for members of Congress to figure out next steps, but expect this to stay on the radar.
So, that should be plenty to keep us all busy.
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