Wednesday's politics & policy stories

Capitol Police "closely monitoring" Sept. 18 pro-Capitol riot rally

Members of the Proud Boys make a hand gesture while walking near the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Jan. 6. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol Police Department is "closely monitoring" a Sept. 18 rally planned in support of individuals arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, USCP chief Tom Manger said Wednesday in a written statement shared with reporters.

Driving the news: The rally — spearheaded by former Donald Trump presidential campaign official Matt Braynard — is known as "Justice for J6" and will be held on the Capitol grounds, WUSA9 reports.

Updated Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Progressives call on Senate to reject Rahm Emanuel's ambassador nomination

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rahm Emanuel. Photos: Kevin Dietsch (left); Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.) urged the Senate on Wednesday to reject Rahm Emanuel's nomination for U.S. ambassador to Japan, accusing the former Chicago mayor of helping "cover up" the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a police officer in 2014.

Why it matters: Their statements reflect progressives' anger at President Biden's decision to nominate Emanuel, a close ally who also served as President Obama's chief of staff from 2009 to 2010.

CAIR lawsuit offers revelations into organization's inner workings

Muslim Americans protest against Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in 2015. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A legal battle between one of the nation's most prominent Muslim advocacy groups and one of its former senior officials threatens to escalate allegations of sexual misconduct and reveal details of the organization's internal workings.

Why it matters: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a large and influential civil rights group. Its defamation lawsuit against former board member and senior executive Lori Saroya poses some major reputational risks.

Exclusive: Government can't reach one-in-three released migrant kids

Migrants attempt to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. Photo: Nick Ut/Getty Images

The U.S. government has lost contact with thousands of migrant children released from its custody, according to data obtained by Axios through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Why it matters: Roughly one-in-three calls made to released migrant kids or their sponsors between January and May went unanswered, raising questions about the government's ability to protect minors after they're released to family members or others in the U.S.

Biden: Texas abortion law "blatantly" violates constitutional rights

President Biden speaking at the White House on Aug. 31. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said in a statement Wednesday that Texas' new law that outlaws most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy "blatantly violates" the constitutional right established by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The law went into effect early Wednesday after the Supreme Court did not act on requests from reproductive rights advocates to block the ban, which is one of the most restrictive in the U.S.

Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: White House seeks to coordinate debt-ceiling message

White House slide for congressional briefing about debt increase, obtained by Axios.

Biden administration officials are briefing senior Democratic Senate aides about why Congress needs to raise or suspend the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: By coordinating its message with Congress, the White House is trying to ensure Democrats stay unified on a simple argument: that 97% of the $28.7 trillion national debt was incurred before President Biden assumed office.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 1, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Treasury hopes to tackle climate insurance risks

Homes, cars and streets are overwhelmed by water in Lafitte, Louisiana, after Hurricane Ida. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Treasury Department just launched a new effort to grapple with how climate change is affecting the insurance market and, by extension, financial markets more broadly.

Driving the news: Treasury, via the Federal Insurance Office, is soliciting information on topics like data needed to measure and assess the sector's climate-related risk exposures and "climate-related issues or gaps in the supervision and regulation of insurers."

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 1, 2021 - Economy & Business

There's no such thing as an independent central bank

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The skirmish over Jay Powell's future as Fed chair provides a glimpse of a much bigger fight — one that could mark the beginning of the end of the modern era of independent central banking.

Why it matters: Powell epitomizes the way in which central banks, working alongside the government, took on the role of rescuing the economy from the shock of the pandemic. Now some lawmakers want to keep the relationship much closer than it has been in recent decades, to harness some of the power only central banks have.

Updated Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Unprecedented Texas abortion ban goes into effect

Protesters of the abortion ban march in Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A law that bans abortions after six weeks, including in cases of rape and incest, went into effect in Texas on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The law, one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., prohibits the practice after a fetal heartbeat is detected — before many people know they are pregnant.

Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The GOP's Afghanistan message machine

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republicans in Congress have begun coordinating their attacks on Afghanistan, with new plans to try to harness unease about the U.S. withdrawal in order to regain power in 2022.

Why it matters: President Biden's poll numbers have fallen as the Afghanistan exit was engulfed by chaos and tragedy. Now, Republicans are seizing the moment in hopes of making it a defining issue ahead of the midterms.

Exclusive: Rice, McMaster push for Afghan orphan extractions

Condoleezza Rice and H.R. McMaster. Photos: Marla Aufmuth for Watermark Conference for Women (left); Mark Wilson via Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster are making a joint appeal to top U.S. and United Nations officials to extract orphans from Afghanistan before they're taken by the Taliban, calling it "not just a humanitarian issue" but a "critical issue of national security."

Driving the news: They make their case in a letter, obtained by Axios, that was sent late Tuesday to first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. secretaries of State and Defense, congressional leaders in both parties, the executive director of UNICEF and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

First person: Virus protocols add hours to some school pickups

Parents wait in line to pick up preschoolers from a New Mexico school under strict and lengthy COVID-19 protocols. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

Schools restarting across the U.S. are juggling mask mandates and COVID-19 testing requirements. But in my daughters' first three weeks back, I've become familiar with another headache: the three hours it now takes each day for drop-offs and pickups.

Why it matters: Restrictions on how students enter and leave campuses are forcing parents to plan how to navigate long car lines — and often maskless crowds.

Sep 1, 2021 - Health

The pandemic hasn't helped or hurt Medicare's solvency

Medicare's hospital trust fund is projected to be depleted by 2026. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Medicare won't be able to fully pay for patients' hospital bills by 2026, a similar forecast from last year, according to the latest report from Medicare's trustees.

The bottom line: The coronavirus pandemic both drastically lowered payroll taxes that fund Medicare and stymied care that Medicare pays for. But the virus "is not expected to have a large effect on the financial status of the trust funds after 2024," the trustees said.

Updated Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden defends ending mission in Afghanistan

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden said on Tuesday that ending the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan "was designed to save American lives."

Why it matters: While Biden said he didn't regret pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan, he made a commitment to get Americans still in the country out, even without a military presence.

Updated Sep 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

5 missing after U.S. Navy helicopter crashes off San Diego coast

One person was rescued and five others were missing after a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed into the sea off the coast of San Diego on Tuesday.

Details: The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet said in a statement that search and rescue operations were continuing "with multiple Coast Guard and Navy air and surface assets" following the crash.

Ron Klain doubts U.S. will ever recognize Taliban government

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on MSNBC on Tuesday that he wasn't sure whether the U.S. would ever recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's legitimate government.

Driving the news: MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan asked Klain whether the U.S. would be recognizing the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan any time soon.

Florida man faces fraud charges over alleged Gaetz family extortion plot

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) addresses supporters at Melbourne Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Florida man was accused Tuesday of trying to extort $25 million from Don Gaetz, the father of Rep. Matt Gaetz, in an alleged scheme linked to a federal sex trafficking investigation into the Republican congressman.

Driving the news: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida announced Tuesday that Stephen Alford was indicted by a federal grand jury over an alleged scheme "to obtain money based upon false promises or guarantees he made" to Don Gaetz that he "could deliver a Presidential Pardon for a family member."

Va. Supreme Court sides with teacher who refused to use transgender students' pronouns

Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Virginia Supreme Court this week upheld a lower court's ruling that reinstated a Loudoun County teacher who was suspended for refusing to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender students.

The big picture: The judges were sympathetic Monday to physical education teacher Tanner Cross, who cited religious opposition to drafted school policy requiring staffers to use students' chosen names and pronouns.