Congressional Limits

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 7:56:28 AM

Congressional Limits

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President Joe Biden on Monday lambasted Republicans for their obstruction , and he spoke with business leaders on Wednesday about the harm a government default would cause. The GOP started to blink Wednesday as Democrats explored several options for raising the ceiling on their own. One solution to emerge was a one-time change to the filibuster that would let Democrats raise the limit with a party-line vote. Biden floated blowing a hole in the filibuster, telling reporters Tuesday that it was " a real possibility. It may well have forced McConnell's hand. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told Insider in an interview. The minority leader has long warned that eliminating or weakening the filibuster would plunge the Senate into chaos.

The moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have been strongly opposed to any filibuster changes, but pressure on them to reverse course would most likely have intensified as the country hurtled toward default. And default would be calamitous. Government funding would quickly freeze for Social Security beneficiaries, members of the armed services, and public workers. Hitting the ceiling would also be disastrous for the country's global strength. The US dollar serves as the world's reserve currency, and its power relies on trust in the government to pay its debt.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned September 27 that nothing would be " more harmful " to the currency than a default. She said the dollar would quickly lose its relevance, interest rates would shoot higher, and Americans' payments on everything from credit-card bills to home loans would soar. For you. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Get the Insider App. Click here to learn more. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation.

Good Subscriber Account active since Shortcuts. Account icon An icon in the shape of a person's head and shoulders. It often indicates a user profile. Log out. US Markets Loading H M S In the news. Ben Winck and Joseph Zeballos-Roig. Most of the recent voting law changes have been made this year with Republicans in control of the governorship and Legislature. Many of the new provisions curtail voter flexibility and access, including an earlier voter registration deadline and the absentee voting period being shortened by nine days. The March omnibus bill also requires polling places to close at 8 p.

Designated third parties are now limited to immediate family members, household members and caretakers. Additionally, the new law specifies that third parties who return a voter's ballot to a drop box now must do so within 72 hours of retrieving the ballot or at the close of the polls, whichever is earlier. Several new rules modifying voter list maintenance were also included in the bill. The state registrar is now required to annually verify the registration status of the state's 2. Election officials must also participate in the National Change of Address Program, which requires them to send notices and mark as inactive any voter who may have moved and did not vote in the most recent general election.

Local officials are required to submit an annual report to the state registrar stating the number of registrations deemed inactive or canceled. The state registrar is required to regularly audit voter registration maintenance procedures and refer violations to the county attorney or state attorney general. New election crimes have also been created, including a felony offense for election officials who failed to perform official duties and an aggravated misdemeanor offense for failing to perform required voter list maintenance.

It's now a misdemeanor offense for local election officials to interfere with a person authorized to be at a polling place. The state attorney general or a county attorney is required to investigate allegations of election misconduct reported to them and submit the results of the investigation to the state commissioner, explaining whether they will pursue charges. The March omnibus bill created a new specification that a ballot affidavit is only "incomplete" if the voter's signature is missing. Voters whose mail ballots are flagged as incomplete can cast a valid vote by either voting a provisional ballot, voting in person on Election Day or providing their signature at the commissioner's office by the close of polls on Election Day.

Then in June, the Iowa Legislature passed another voting bill that included the following changes:. Last year, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill limiting the powers of the secretary of state by mandating that election-related decisions made using emergency powers be approved by state lawmakers. This change has potentially wide-ranging consequences for limiting the secretary of state's discretion to make voting rules. Also in , GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order restoring the voting rights of felons once they have completed their sentences, including probation or parole, but excluding certain felony convictions for homicide and sexual abuse crimes from automatic restoration.

Bernie Sanders won Nevada's caucus by a significant margin, reflecting the state's young, diverse voting population. For the first time, Nevada allowed people to cast their votes early in the caucus through a ranked-choice voting system. Over the past few years, Nevada has seen a number of changes significantly expanding access to voting. The state recently instituted an automatic voter registration system, passed through a ballot measure. Two years ago, same-day voter registration was enacted and lawmakers granted immediate voting rights restoration for people with felony convictions upon release from incarceration. This year, Nevada made permanent many of the expansive voting laws passed as state-of-emergency measures during the Covid pandemic.

Election officials are now directed to automatically send mail-in ballots to all active registered voters for every election, unless they opt out, transitioning the state to a primarily vote-by-mail system. The Nevada Legislature also set a minimum number of polling places for early voting and Election Day voting, which is determined by county population. And any third party authorized by a voter may return a mail ballot to a drop box, by mail or to the proper election clerk.

In the same year, Nevada also streamlined voting with provisional ballots to make the option easier and more accessible. And the in-person voter registration deadline was changed to the fourth Tuesday preceding an election, the same deadline for registering by mail. The signature verification process for absentee ballots was modified so that voters will be contacted if two more election officials raise an issue with the ballot signature.

Officials must also contact voters who neglect to sign the return envelope of their absentee ballot. A registered voter can now use certain authorized methods to update their registration information after the deadline has passed. An election official can also require a voter to cast a provisional ballot if the official has reasonable cause to believe it's necessary. New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status commands significant political weight in presidential elections, often predicting which candidate is likely to win the major party nomination. New Hampshire enacted several changes to its election system this year. A law enacted in August requires voters who register using a qualified voter affidavit prior to Election Day or a sworn statement on Election Day — rather than a qualifying ID — have their picture taken by an election official to complete their registration.

Another related provision specifies that when a voter does not have a qualifying ID, the clerk may attach this registration photo to their challenged voter affidavit. The legislature also approved new rules around absentee voting. Incarceration for a misdemeanor offense, or prior to a trial, has now been added to the list of qualifying excuses for voting by absentee ballot. In addition, the secretary of state is required to update the absentee voter list at least twice a week during the four weeks before an election and at least once a week prior to that. Information compiled in the statewide absentee voter list has been expanded to include the ballot return date, as well as the voter's name, voter ID and the mail ballot request date.

A bill also passed this summer specifies that if the For the People Act becomes federal law, New Hampshire will continue to follow its state laws and not the new federal rules. South Carolina joined the early primary cohort in and has emerged as an important state for Democratic candidates hoping to garner support from its large Black voting population. While South Carolina enacted new voting rules during last year's pandemic-era election, such as allowing no-excuse absentee voting, these changes were temporary. Over the past two years, South Carolina has not enacted new, permanent voting laws, besides a measure that requires poll managers to be a resident and registered voter of the county, or adjoining county, they are appointed to work in.

During this year's legislative session, lawmakers had considered expansive voting bills, including allowing any voter to cast an absentee ballot, removing the witness signature requirement for mail ballots and adopting same-day voter registration. But ultimately, those measures were not enacted. Another bill considered this year would have extended the early voting period by two weeks, while also limiting who can vote by mail. Additionally, the bill would have banned ballot drop boxes and maintained the state's day voter registration deadline prior to an election. Ted Lasso's rapid ascent and positive infusion into our cultural zeitgeist solidified something I already knew: That coaches are an often unsung force for good, and we ought to be doing more to recognize their unique power and influence in positively shaping lives.

As a former collegiate athlete, I've long known the power of coaches, but my current enthusiasm is tied to a more recent journey of discovery and transformation alongside my own personal Ted Lasso, my friend and colleague Eric Reveno, who coaches the men's basketball team at Georgia Tech. Like Lasso, Coach Rev looks at a locker room and sees potential in his players — not just as competitors, but as compassionate, caring and capable community members and community leaders. In the past year, Coach Rev added a new element to his coaching focus: civics.

In June , following the murder of George Floyd and the public outcry for social justice reform, Coach Rev embarked on a personal mission to help his players register to vote. But his efforts didn't end with his own team. Coach Rev became the driving force behind AllVoteNoPlay, an initiative that urged athletics to take election day off from practice or games so players could vote and volunteer. Coach Rev and I met last year while I was working on my own personal mission to change the way we engage young people in the voting process.

I saw a future marred by an increasingly divisive, expensive and alienating political process that didn't support a healthy, robust democracy. As a designer, educator and futurist, I was curious how practices of design, empathy, and imagination might transform the experience of voting. Together with colleagues, I created Vote by Design , a program focused on turning "apathy" into civic agency through experiential learning and practice.

Our aim is to help young voters develop the confidence and capacity to approach voting as a lifelong skill that could be nurtured through intentional practice. We instantly bonded in our shared belief that young people need and deserve to be not just informed, but empowered to participate more fully in shaping the future they're going to inherit. Who can help them understand their central role in shaping the future? Who, in the lives of young people, holds the position of trust and mentorship to deliver the necessary messages about civic participation without being dismissed as "boring", "preachy" or what "others do.

The need to educate young people about their personal power and agency in every moment of civic life — from helping a neighbor, to voting for town council, to casting that biggest of all ballots every four years. Research shows that civic awareness and engagement not only help young people find their voice in their own communities, but also increase their success and satisfaction in life. Civically empowered and educated youth are more likely to finish their education, are better prepared for future careers, show greater empathy and tolerance for differing viewpoints, and are more likely to give back to their communities through volunteerism later in life.

And the students themselves are asking for more voice and action, as evidenced by the 75 percent of NCAA-surveyed athletes who expressed interest in more civic engagement. But these outcomes don't just happen. The research tells us they're created through practice and active learning. Who knows more about setting up intentional practice to build core muscles and develop necessary skills than coaches? Coach Rev and I have spent the past several months working to create the practice plan that will help coaches translate their skills as natural leaders in the locker room, to natural leaders in civic engagement. Our work is based on the belief that "civic conditioning" can be just as powerful as "strength conditioning.

Working closely with a community of coaches, student-athletes and some of the best minds in the civic learning space, we've created the AllVoteNoPlay Coaches' Playbook , a nonpartisan, hands-on approach to "civic conditioning" for Nov. According to Rev, "Drills are where the magic happens. Our aim is to ignite the confidence within athletes that they — as individuals and as teammates — have a voice, choices, the agency to act and the power to make an impact in moments both small and large.

So this Nov. Every coach, every team, regardless of sport or division, can take part in AllVoteNoPlay. It's as easy as choosing a civic drill and trying it with your team. Gathering for a team barbecue and movie night, taking an online quiz or engaging in a game of "civic tag" may not seem like a life-changing effort, but Rev and I believe in the power of these micromoments to start building the civic muscles athletes will need for a lifetime of good citizenship and community leadership. Last week, The Fulcrum introduced "What is your take? We look forward to engaging with our readers as we share your responses and create a dialogue around different topics and issues that are important to all of us.

Please share your responses by emailing to pop-culture fulcrum. In the meantime, let's look back at The Fulcrum's first question: What piece of art, music or theater has enhanced or detracted your connection to the work you do? We were overwhelmed by the number of responses and thank everyone who participated. The responses showcase our belief that the arts have the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. Below are a few of the numerous responses we received speaking to the power of the arts to connect us as a people. When we asked our first question, we said we expected the answers to run the gamut from exasperated to humorous to anxious to hopeful. We were not surprised. We are more convinced than ever that by engaging our readers through music, theatre, poetry, dance and all the arts, The Fulcrum can help us all find our shared humanity despite the sharp elbows of the day-to-day in American life and politics.

And by doing so we hope to build upon The Fulcrum's mission of being a place where insiders and outsiders to politics are informed, meet, talk and act to repair our democracy and make it live and work in our everyday lives. Nearly all Americans agree that the proliferation of misinformation online is a problem, but few believe they have played a part in spreading it, recent polling found. Misinformation is also seen as a problem regardless of political affiliation, the survey found, with large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents in agreement that it's an issue of concern. Two-fifths of Americans are extremely or very concerned they have been exposed to misinformation, the poll found, and most people blame the spread of misinformation on social media platforms and their users, as well as U.

Blaming social media for spreading misinformation was popular across party lines, with 79 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats ascribing the issue to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other online platforms. That kind of consensus could lead to significant crackdowns on social media and tech companies. Facebook has come under fire recently for its role in spreading misinformation after a whistleblower testified in a congressional hearing that the site's algorithm amplifies misleading and harmful content. Most people were quick to blame others for this issue, with only one-fifth of those surveyed willing to take any responsibility.

People were slightly more likely to say their friends 25 percent or family 27 percent have spread misinformation, even unintentionally. To address the issue of misinformation, most Americans believed both institutions and individuals should play a role. Seven in 10 people said politicians should take steps to address the problem, and two-thirds said social media companies should do the same. Just over six in 10 people believe social media users and the U. The nationwide survey gathered opinions from 1, adults online and via phone Sept.

The margin of error was 3. Baumel is a policy analyst with The New Center. America is in the midst of a war over voting with no end in sight. But the fight is about a lot more than former President Donald Trump's false charges about the election. With COVID came extraordinary changes to how we registered, how we voted, how the votes were counted, and which officials held the power to set election procedures and litigate election disputes. Should these measures be considered the new normal moving forward? Should we revert back to the pre-pandemic status quo? Or should we opt for something in between?

These are the questions that really need to be answered to finally bring peace to our voting war. It won't be easy because voters are inhabiting two separate realities when it comes to their views on voting. A recent Quinnipiac poll asked voters to identify their biggest concerns about voting and found 82 percent of Republicans most concerned about voter fraud and 84 percent of Democrats most concerned about voter suppression.

Right now, everyone thinks the worst of partisans on the other side, which means facts or the particulars of voting reform proposals don't matter. What matters most is the widespread belief on each side that the other side has ulterior motives for what they are doing. Right now, Republican-led state legislatures across America are pushing voting and election reform measures with zero support from Democrats. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have been pushing their own voting reforms — like the federal For the People Act — without any Republican support.

Anyone interested in ending these hyperpartisan voting wars — whether at the state level or in Washington—should start by looking to the following five solutions. According to MIT's Survey of Performance of American Elections , a voter will trust the system if it's easy to find the polling place, the line is short, the equipment works, and the ballot instructions are clear — even if the voter's preferred candidate doesn't win. Adding polling places in densely populated areas, keeping equipment updated, avoiding complicated voting procedures, and erring on the side of overcommunication with voters prior to an election are all easy ways to enhance trust.

States should also put in deadlines — at least three to six months out from an election — for when election procedures can be changed to prevent confusion among voters about the implications of late-breaking voting rules. Delays in reporting election results create a vacuum that gets filled by conspiracy theories. That's why legislatures and voting officials should do everything they can to declare winners on election night — and by the morning after the election at the latest. Of course, this might not be possible in particularly close races, but there are plenty of common-sense measures, such as absentee ballot pre-canvassing, that can make the count quicker.

Early voting is an important way to promote voter access and convenience. But while a presidential campaign is a marathon, the last few weeks leading up to Election Day are a sprint, packed with ads, debates and campaign stops as each candidate makes their final push to persuade and turn out voters. However, in some states, people are voting before the campaign sprint even starts, with early voting periods beginning up to 46 days before Election Day.

States should aim to strike a balance by allowing for an early voting period that begins no more than two weeks prior to the election. Absentee and mail ballots have historically been safe and secure ways for people to vote, and there's nothing wrong with states making this option easily accessible, provided they have the proper safeguards to verify identity and prevent abuses like ballot harvesting.

But Americans also tend to trust in-person voting more, and that's an important fact in this new age of mistrust. That's why Congress should make Election Day a national holiday to make it easier to get to the polls. A June poll from Monmouth University found that 80 percent of Americans support photo ID requirements and only 18 percent oppose them. But here's the problem: Some states only accept government-issued photo IDs and some voters — the elderly, low-income people, people of color, or those living in rural areas — might face extra difficulty when it comes to traveling or paying the fees necessary to get such an ID.

States can promote access and integrity by making voter ID laws universal, but also making it much easier for people to meet ID requirements. This can involve accepting a wider range of photo IDs or simplifying the process of obtaining a government-issued photo ID. In this episode of ListenFirstFriday, Martha Williams, Co-founder of BreakBread World talks about the importance of good, healthy, mindful conversations over food and shared humanity. Right at the time social media became popular, teen mental health began to falter. Between and , rates of depression and loneliness doubled in the U.

Social scientists like myself have been warning for years that the ubiquity of social media might be at the root of the growing mental health crisis for teens. Yet when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked during a congressional hearing in March to acknowledge the connection between social media and these troubling mental health trends, he replied, "I don't think that the research is conclusive on that. Just six months later, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had been doing its own research for years on the negative effects of Instagram , the company's photo-sharing app popular with teens and young adults.

Six internal documents summarizing the research, leaked by a whistle-blower, were posted in full on Sept. The details in the pages are revealing. They suggest not only that Facebook knew how Instagram could be harmful, but that the company also was aware of possible solutions to mitigate those harms. Facebook's own research strongly suggests that social media should be subject to more stringent regulation and include more guardrails to protect the mental health of its users. There are two primary ways the company can do this: enforcing time limits and increasing the minimum age of users. Academic research shows that the more hours a day a teen spends on social media, the more likely she or he is to be depressed or to self-harm.

That's important because many teens, especially girls, spend large amounts of time on social media. One study in the U. Although the internal Facebook research didn't examine links between time on Instagram and mental health, they did ask teens about what were, in their view, the worst aspects of Instagram. One of the things teens disliked the most about the app was how much time they spent on it. Teens, the report said, had "an addict's narrative about their use. They knew they were spending too much time online, but had a hard time controlling how much time they spent.

One-third of teens suggested Instagram should remind them to take a break or encourage them to get off the app. That would be a step in the right direction, but simple nudges might not be enough to get teens to close the app and keep it closed. And while parents can already set time limits using the parental controls included on most smartphones, many of them don't know how to use these controls or are unaware how much time teens are spending on social media. So better regulations might need to put teeth into time limits, such as limiting the number of hours teens under 18 can spend on social media apps. A blackout period overnight might also be useful, as many teens use their smartphones at night when they should be sleeping.

One internal Facebook study of more than 50, people from 10 countries found that half of teen girls compare their appearance to others' on Instagram. Those appearance-based comparisons, the study found, peaked when users were 13 to 18 and were much less common among adult women. This is key, as body image issues seem to be one of the biggest reasons why social media use is linked to depression among teen girls. It also dovetails with research I reported in my book, " iGen ," finding that social media use is more strongly linked to unhappiness among younger teens than older ones.

This suggests another avenue for regulation: age minimums. A law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule already sets the age minimum for social media accounts at That limit is problematic for two reasons. First, 13 is a developmentally challenging time, right as boys and girls are going through puberty and bullying is at its peak. Second, the age minimum is not regularly enforced. Kids 12 and under can simply lie about their age to sign up for an account, and they're rarely kicked off the platform for being underage.

During a Facebook event with Instagram head Adam Mosseri , the young celebrity JoJo Siwa noted she had been using Instagram since she was 8 years old, forcing Mosseri to acknowledge that it's easy to lie about your age. The problem is how to enforce an age limit online for a population that is too young for IDs. Raising the minimum age to create a social media account to 16, 17 or 18 could solve two problems at once: It would prevent kids from signing up until they're a bit more developed and mature, and it would be easier to enforce. For example, potential users might be asked to submit a photo of their state-issued ID, which most teens have by Verifying age would also make it easier to construct a safer app for younger users that might, say, hide follower counts or restrict access to celebrity accounts, both of which Facebook's research found negatively impacted girls' body images.

It's tempting to think regulations like these would cause teens to riot in the streets — after all, they love keeping up with their friends on social media. But the teens interviewed by Facebook for its internal research were well aware of social media's downsides. Everyone feels like they have to be perfect," one teen girl told the researchers. Other teens have spoken publicly about the negative effects of social media. More stringent regulation would help with another issue teens know all too well: the unwritten mandate to use social media or be left out.

If age limits were enforced, the peer pressure of being on social media would vanish; no or few classmates would be there. Regulating time on the app could also help if teens knew their friends wouldn't constantly be online. Facebook's research demonstrates something else: The company was aware of the issues with Instagram but chose not to set these limits itself. Congress is now considering taking action. Until they do, it will be up to parents and teens themselves to set limits. That won't be easy, but teens will be safer for it. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Click here to read the original article. While it is nonsensical to try to prescribe a diagnosis to America's current state of civic discourse — from dumping manure on the White House lawn in the name of climate action or attending the Met Gala to demand we " tax the rich " — we often blame partisan politics. But what if part of the problem is that we literally cannot understand one another? And, perhaps worse than that, the institutions we trust to lead the public have stopped trying to communicate to be understood. Let's get the figures out of the way. The National Institute of Literacy estimates that the average American reads at a seventh- to eighth-grade level. Despite these concerns, an analysis of 21 major media outlets found that consumers require a 10th grade reading level to comprehend any of them.

This is not an isolated issue. Both the government and media fail to meet Americans where they are in terms of knowledge and vocabulary on critical subjects, such as the Covid pandemic or climate change. In , President Barack Obama signed the U. Plain Writing Act , requiring "federal agencies use clear government communication that the public can understand and use. A fall analysis of federal and state websites related to Covid failed to meet the standards for communicating with the public identified by leading institutions such as the American Medical Association and National Institute for Health.

These concerns can also be applied to how we talk about climate change. Climate change is a scientific concept at its core, which means it's spoken about in scientific terms. When vital information about climate change is being communicated to the public through words like "mitigation," "adaptation," "carbon neutra," or, even worse, "carbon negative," Americans are lost. This was especially clear when a Twitter user recently pointed out that his milk boasted being " carbon positive " by Unsurprisingly, the replies were full of confusion and differing dictionaries of climate jargon.

The general consensus was that Horizon Organic really meant "carbon negative," or that the company will capture more carbon than it emits, but didn't want negative language on its branding materials. Other users also mentioned that the terms "carbon negative" and "carbon positive" actually mean the same thing, which, of course, is problematic for the average citizen just trying to make sense of it all. When the words we use to discuss one of the biggest problems of our life do more to confuse than inform, it's not a mystery as to why climate action has stalled for decades.

From 3D data segmentation to workforce solutions and now climate action, I have spent the past five years creating accessible digital media on behalf of organizations. No matter the complexity or mundanity behind policy or scientific information, one thing remains the same — language that requires highly specialized knowledge is found everywhere, and it is intentionally alienating people.

To be clear, the goal is not to make every American an epidemiologist or climate scientist. Instead, communicators in the space need to be more deliberate with the language they use and its readability. At the pandemic's beginning, media outlets came under fire for hiding their Covid reporting behind a paywall. Similarly, if we as science and policy communicators do not work to deliver our information in a way that is accessible to the public, our words are also hidden away, just in plain sight. Unlike the majority of journalists who cover U.

Twice a year she leaves her home in western Pennsylvania and drives thousands of miles across the country visiting towns and rural communities, many of which supported Donald Trump for president. In this episode of the Let's Find Common Ground Podcast, we learn more about the perspective of these voters in rural communities. Listen now. Voting rights advocates held a rally in August demanding the passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, but the bill remains stuck in the Senate.

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