We begin today’s roundup with Joe Biden’s op-ed in The New York Times calling for a renewed ban on assault weapons:
I fought hard to extend the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans in 2004. The Republicans who allowed these laws to expire asserted that they were ineffective. But, almost 15 years after the bans expired, with the unfortunate benefit of hindsight, we now know that they did make a difference. Many police departments have reported an increase in criminals using assault weapons since 2004. And multiple analyses of the data around mass shootings provide evidence that, from 1994 to 2004, the years when assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were banned, there were fewer mass shootings — fewer deaths, fewer families needlessly destroyed.
There’s overwhelming data that shootings committed with assault weapons kill more people than shootings with other types of guns. And that’s the point.
Meanwhile, former Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid writes about abolishing the filibuster:
The Senate today, after years of abusing an arcane procedural rule known as the filibuster, has become an unworkable legislative graveyard. Not part of the framers’ original vision, the modern filibuster was created in 1917. The recent use of the filibuster — an attempt by a minority of lawmakers to delay or block a vote on a bill or confirmation — has exploited this rule, forcing virtually all Senate business to require 60 of the 100 senators’ votes to proceed. This means a simple majority is not enough to advance even the most bipartisan legislation.
Republicans over the past decade — knowing their policies are unpopular and that obstruction benefits them politically — perfected and increased the gratuitous use of the filibuster. Even routine Senate business is now subject to the filibuster and Republicans’ seeming obsession with gridlock and obstruction.
At New York magazine, Ed Kilgore looks at Trump’s state-by-state approval numbers:
Civiqs shows the president’s net approval ratios being underwater (i.e., negative) in 10 states he carried in 2016: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. If that were to represent how the 2020 elections turn out, Trump would have a booming 119 electoral votes. And it’s not as though he’s on a knife’s edge between victory and defeat in all these Trump 2016 states where he’s doing poorly: He’s underwater by 12 points in Pennsylvania, 11 in Michigan, and nine in Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. And there’s virtually no indication that states that narrowly went for Clinton in 2016 are trending in Trump’s direction: His approval ratios are minus 18 in Colorado, minus 15 in Minnesota, minus 12 in Nevada, and minus 27 in New Hampshire. These are, by the way, polls of registered voters, not just “adults,” so they should be a relatively sound reflection of the views of the electorate.
USA Today’s editorial board calls out the pharmaceutical industry for fueling our nation’s opioid crisis:
Even as more people became addicted and deaths involving opioids skyrocketed (from 8,048 in 1999 to 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 in 2017), more companies ramped up the business of making, distributing and dispensing generic forms of powerful painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. [...]
If it sounds like the companies were dispensing dangerous drugs like candy or snack chips, well, they were. In one email exchange from 2009, a former Mallinckrodt national account manager, Victor Borelli, told a customer that 1,200 bottles of oxycodone 30 milligram pills had been shipped.
“Keep ’em coming!” the customer responded. “Flyin’ out of here. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are.” To which Borelli responded: “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.”
Sasha Abramsky at The Nation dives into the details of the administration’s public charge rule immigration change:
Simply out of self-interest, a country such as the United States cannot afford to drive millions of legal immigrants entirely outside the social safety net. Yet that is what the odious Trump team is now doing. From day one, they have wanted to expand public charge definitions into a catch-all that would allow them to lock the country down against poor, nonwhite immigrants. With this measure, they aim to turn legal immigrants into illegal immigrants by a bureaucratic sleight of hand designed to penalize them for even the whisper of economic insecurity.
On a final note, The Washington Post dedicates its editorial to the administration’s cruel and ineffective immigration policies:
President Trump, whose own family business has for many years employed migrants who entered the country illegally , pronounced the Mississippi action a “very good deterrent ” to unauthorized immigration. The evidence for that assertion is nil. Still, the sweep provided some useful reminders, not least that the United States cannot deport its way out of a dysfunctional immigration system. [...]
any large-scale enforcement action will inevitably result in families being broken apart — including those whose children are U.S. citizens. In 2017, two-thirds of unauthorized adult migrants had lived in the United States for more than a decade, according to the Pew Research Center; their median duration of residence was 15 years. Officials may not like the optics of crying toddlers and preteens whose parents have been taken away, but they shouldn’t be surprised. [...]
ICE officials and federal prosecutors are right that deportation sweeps are within their purview as lawful enforcement actions. The problem is that the law is so blatantly misaligned with economic, social and political realities that it is magical thinking to believe that enforcement alone, in the absence of sweeping reform of existing laws, can make a dent in the nation’s population of 10.5 millionundocumented immigrants.