Here are the main events that occurred in Politics this week:
1.Senate Republicans Introduced Coronavirus Relief Package
Senate Republicans on July 27 proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package hammered out with the Trump administration, paving the way for talks with Democrats on how to help Americans as expanded unemployment benefits for millions of workers expire this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the proposal a “tailored and targeted” plan focused on getting children back to school and employees back to work and protecting corporations from lawsuits while slashing the expiring supplemental unemployment benefits of $600 a week by two-thirds. The plan sparked immediate opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats decried it as too limited compared to their $3 trillion proposal that passed the House of Representatives in May, while some Republicans called it too expensive.
2. 2020 Election: Joe Biden Announces That He Is Close To Naming His Running-Mate
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said on July 28 he will choose his Vice Presidential running mate next week. The former Vice President’s comment came during a news conference after a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. Asked by CNN whether he will meet in person with finalists for the role, Biden said, “We’ll see.” Biden has said he will choose a female running mate, and has faced pressure within the party to choose a woman of color. His campaign’s vetting process has played out amid the Coronavirus pandemic, making meetings that could allow Biden to better get to know those being considered more difficult. Noting that news crews were stationed outside his home in Delaware, Biden joked that he is “going to try to figure out how to trick you all so I can meet with them in person.” “I don’t think it matters, actually,” he said.
3. Trump Administration Rolls Back Fair Housing Provision Intended On Combatting Racial Segregation In Housing
The Trump administration moved on July 23 to eliminate an Obama-era program intended to combat racial segregation in suburban housing, saying it amounted to federal overreach into local communities. The rule, introduced in 2015, requires cities and towns to identify patterns of discrimination, implement corrective plans, and report results. The administration’s decision to complete a process of rescinding it culminates a yearslong campaign to gut the rule by conservative critics and members of the administration who claimed it overburdened communities with complicated regulations. A new rule, which removes the Obama administration’s requirements for localities, will become effective 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
4. US Senate Introduces Legislation To Curb Big Tech’s Ad Business Activities
On July 28 Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), a major critic of the big tech industry, introduced legislation that would penalize large tech companies that sell or show targeted advertisements by threatening a legal immunity enjoyed by the industry, the latest onslaught on Big Tech’s business practices. The bill, titled “Behavioral Advertising Decisions Are Downgrading Services (Bad Ads) Act,” aims to crack down on invasive data gathering by large technology companies such as Facebook and Google that target users based on their behavioral insights. It does so by threatening Section 230, part of the Communications Decency Act, that shields online businesses from lawsuits over content posted by users. The legal shield has recently come under scrutiny from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers concerned about online content moderation decisions by technology companies. On July 28, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) will hold a hearing to examine the role of Section 230. The senators recently introduced legislation to reform the federal law.
In May, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that seeks new regulatory oversight of tech firms’ content moderation decisions, and he backed legislation to scrap or weaken Section 230 in an attempt to regulate social media platforms. “Big Tech’s manipulative advertising regime comes with a massive hidden price tag for consumers while providing almost no return to anyone but themselves,” said Hawley, an outspoken critic of tech companies and a prominent Trump ally. “From privacy violations to harming children to suppression of speech, the ramifications are very real.” His recent legislation to ban federal employees from using Chinese social media app TikTok on their government-issued phones was passed unanimously by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and will be taken up by the US Senate for a vote.