Both the House and Congress are in session this week.
Guns: Over the weekend, a bipartisan group led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), agreed on framework to address gun violence.
- The challenge has been to find common ground that will attract the 10 Republican votes needed to pass. While this is only a framework and not a bill, it will take some time to translate the intent of the legislation into text. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has given his support for the legislative intent of the bill, becoming the 11th Senate Republican to publicly back it. If ready, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he would bring the bill to the floor as early as this week.
- Most Republicans are holding back their support until they see the final text. The framework includes funding for states to establish ‘red flag’ laws and enforcement, funding for school safety and addresses mental health issues.
Healthy H20 Act: This week, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced the House companion bill for the Healthy H20 Act. The original legislation, which ASA lent its support for, was introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in March. The bill would address funding for clean water in rural and underserved communities that may have been overlooked by previous funding efforts.
New Jersey A3949: ASA joined its coalition partners and sent a letter to the New Jersey Assembly supporting A3949, that would require lead reduction in drinking water at institutions of higher learning, while encouraging bill authors to adopt current federal and industry standards for filters and endpoint devices.
Tuesday Primary Night: On Tuesday night, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina all held their primaries – with a ground shaking result in a special election for a Congressional seat in Texas. 26 states remain that have not held primaries yet.
- Texas’ 34th Congressional District Special Election: Former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, represented this majority Hispanic, South Texas district since its inception in 2012. Republican Mayra Flores, a healthcare practitioner and the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress, defeated Democratic attorney Dan Sanchez 51%-43% with 97% of the votes in. While the term for the seat only lasts until January and part of the district will be in a new one defended by Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX) this fall, it shows the continuing trend of Texas Republicans winning in Hispanic-majority Congressional Districts. Rep.-Elect Flores will be sworn in once the vote is certified. Along with Rep. Connie Conway (R-CA), who was sworn in this week after winning the seat formerly held by retired Rep. Devin Nunes, the House will have 220 Democrats and 210 Republicans.
- Nevada Senate: Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) easily defeated his challenger, Sam Brown, 55%-36%. Laxalt, the grandson of former Republican Nevada Senator and Governor Paul Laxalt, received the Trump endorsement and sailed to victory, even with polls over the last few weeks showing the race tightening. Laxalt will go on to challenge Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, considered to be one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats this fall.
- South Carolina: A split decision in races where former President Trump was trying to defeat two Republican incumbents with whom he has been at odds with. First, Rep. Nancy Mace easily dispatched her Trump-endorsed opponent, Katie Arrington, 53%-45%. In SC-7, Rep. Tom Rice fell to his Trump back challenger, Russell Fry, 51%-25.
Alaska Special Election Primary: On Sunday, the Special Election Primary took place for the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s seat.
This race saw 48 candidates running, from former Governor and 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin to Santa Claus (no joke), with the top four vote getters moving on to the General. As of this writing, Sarah Palin was in the lead with 29.8%, Republican Nick Begich with 19.3%, Independent Al Gross with 12.5%, and Democrat Mary Peltola with 7.5%.
Generic Congressional Ballot (RCP Average): Republican +3.5
President Biden Job Approval (RCP Average): 38.9% Approve – 54.6% Disapprove
Retirement Tracker: Senate: (1 D, 5 R); House: (33 D, 22 R).
Special Elections: Republican-held: Nebraska’s 1st (06/28/2022), Minnesota’s 1st (General: 08/09/2022), Alaska At-Large (Primary: 08/16/2022), New York’s 23rd (08/23/2022). Democratic-held: Texas’ 34th
(06/14/2022), New York’s 19th (08/23/2022).
The House now has composition of 220 Democrats to 209 Republicans (with 6 vacancies). The Senate is comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans – with Democrats controlling the chamber as the Vice President also serves as the President of the Senate.
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