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Gas tax, abortion, gun reform: 3 things to watch in D.C. this week

·Contributor
·3 min read

The shortened week in Washington is packed with issues that could upend the upcoming midterm elections.

The Biden administration is continuing to look for a solution to high gas prices, which are seen as politically perilous. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision on Roe v. Wade looms, and a legislative gun reform package could be up for a vote.

Here are the top political headlines in Washington, D.C., this week that intersect with business:

Gas prices

On Monday, President Biden said he may decide this week whether to seek a federal gas tax holiday ahead of upcoming Fourth of July celebrations. 47.9 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles for the holiday this year, AAA predicted.

President Joe Biden stops and speaks to members of the media as he walks on the beach with his granddaughter Natalie Biden and daughter Ashley Biden, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Monday, June 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Joe Biden stops and speaks to members of the media as he walks on the beach with his granddaughter Natalie Biden and daughter Ashley Biden, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Monday, June 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

This comes as Americans battle record inflation and record-high gas prices. The move would save Americans an estimated 18.4 cents per gallon at the pump at a time when the average price nationwide is just below $5 per gallon, according to AAA.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the high gas prices a “substantial burden on American households” while speaking in Toronto on Monday.

Initially floated by Democrats in February as a way to ease high fuel costs, suspending the federal gas tax would require approval by Congress.

Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court is expected to decide as early as this week whether to overturn Roe v. Wade. Should the case be overturned, it would grant states the authority to regulate abortion rights.

Abortion rights campaigners participate in a demonstration following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud
Abortion rights campaigners participate in a demonstration following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud

The decision has drawn high-profile criticism from abortion rights advocates and opponents nationwide, particularly after Politico published an exclusive report earlier this summer after obtaining a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a May PBS News/Marist poll. Though, that same poll found that 68% of Americans “support some type of restrictions on abortion.”

Gun reform

The timeline for bipartisan gun control measures is growing more uncertain as negotiations continue.

Lawmakers are up against a self-imposed deadline to advance a gun reform legislative package before the Senate departs for a two-week Fourth of July recess by the end of the week. The push to expand gun reform comes after a spate of mass shootings earlier in the summer.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., conducts a news conference after the senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., also attended. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., conducts a news conference giving an update on bipartisan gun reform after the senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of senators – led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) – backed a framework deal that would in part require more stringent background checks for Americans between the ages of 18 and 21 who wish to purchase guns and increase funding for mental health resources.

But now the group of bipartisan lawmakers must produce legislative text on the framework if they hope to get a vote before their recess. ABC reported the text needs to be ready for a vote by Tuesday.

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