Senate Democrats Try and Fail To Codify Roe v. Wade Abortion Protection

Plus: Texas' social media law goes back into effect, inflation worries voters, and more...


Senate Democrats tried—and failed—to codify Roe v. Wade's protections for abortion on Wednesday, with all Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) opposing the measure, named the Women's Health Protection Act. The vote was 51–49.

"This vote clearly suggests that the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on this issue," said Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday. "A priority for all that care about this issue — the priority — should be to elect pro-choice leaders."

Democrats would have needed 60 votes to get the bill passed. But they didn't even get to a simple majority. The Washington Post has more:

The lack of a long-range plan of action has become especially conspicuous after the leak of the draft opinion, which represented the culmination of a nearly 50-year effort by conservatives to reverse Roe and pave the way for state efforts to severely restrict or prohibit abortion. The frustration was captured last week by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who responded to the opinion by asking, "Where the hell's my party? … Where's the counteroffensive?"

In another internecine squabble, many Democrats responded to the draft opinion by calling on the Senate to again debate eliminating the filibuster — the 60-vote supermajority rule that allows a united minority to block most legislation — even though a January test vote on voting rights legislation showed that there is not enough support for it among Democratic senators.

A group of lawmakers has begun meeting to plan next steps on related measures, thinking about what the Democrats can advance via legislation or administration action. The effort is being led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and includes other female lawmakers in Democratic leadership: Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), according to a Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

But interviews with lawmakers this week revealed clashing views over how best to highlight the looming threat to abortion over the coming months, including whether to hold votes on narrower bills that would protect only a portion of the rights secured by Roe and related cases but could serve to more sharply highlight the depth of the Republican opposition.

Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion is still the only one circulating within the Supreme Court, according to Politico.


Texas' controversial social media law, which punishes tech platforms for banning users over political content, is back in effect. An appeals court ruled Wednesday that the law should remain in place while its constitutionality is decided by another court. As The Texas Tribune reports:

Chris Marchese of NetChoice, a trade group that works with tech companies, described the decision as an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment.

The law is indeed a mess that will significantly compromise the ability of tech companies to remove content for any reason, since they won't want to risk lawsuits from litigious, aggrieved parties.


Rep. Katie Porter (D–Calif.) told Politico that many of her Democratic colleagues have been reluctant to acknowledge the toll that inflation is taking on working class families:

Only after Rep. Katie Porter put bacon in her cart at her local grocery store recently did she notice that its price had spiked to $9.99 a pound. Reluctantly, she put the package back.

It was a dose of reality that Porter, a California progressive and single mother of three, has long understood. But she's not sure all of her Democratic colleagues share her interest in connecting to average Americans' experiences outside the Beltway.

When Porter gave an emotional speech about how inflation has been hitting her family for months during a private House Democratic Caucus meeting last week, she said it seemed like the first time the personal toll of high consumer prices had sunk in for some lawmakers in the room.

"Too often, Congress recognizes issues too late," Porter, a top GOP target this fall in a swing district, said in an interview. "I had a colleague mention to me, 'We're not seeing it in the polls' … Well, you don't know what to ask."

Panic about inflation actually shows up quite easily in the polls, so the fact that Democrats don't recognize how much it matters to voters is a significant indictment. More than a month ago, Gallup found that concerns about inflation were higher than they have ever been.


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• Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told governors that the administration does not know "when the [public health emergency] will end."

• Finland's leaders want to join NATO.

• Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R–Ga.) and Dan Crenshaw (R–Texas) feuded on Twitter over sending aid to Ukraine.

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