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Inflation data, U.S.-Taiwan relations, Twitter hearing: 3 things to watch in politics this week

·Contributor
·3 min read

The House returns from its August recess this week, officially kicking off a countdown to pass a government funding bill by the end of the month or else face a government shutdown.

While Washington awaits the government funding theater, here are three other political stories on investors' radars this week regarding inflation, Taiwan, and Twitter.

Inflation data

Has the United States reached peak inflation? We could find out on Tuesday when the government releases the monthly consumer price index (CPI) report.

Economists anticipate that inflation will have risen 8.1% in August compared to the prior year. Although inflation is likely to remain elevated, that estimate would show a slight decline from July's 8.5% year-over-year increase and from June's record 9.1% inflation print.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Salt Lake City, before the premiere of a film commemorating Marriner Eccles, who led the Fed from 1934 until 1948. Powell is stressing the importance of an independent central bank
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Salt Lake City, before the premiere of a film commemorating Marriner Eccles, who led the Fed from 1934 until 1948. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The latest inflation data could provide the Federal Reserve with more evidence that its rate hikes have been effective in lowering inflation. The reading will also be politically significant as voters have been paying close attention to inflation. A recent poll suggests the issue is top of mind for Republicans and swing voters nationwide ahead of the November midterm elections.

U.S.-Taiwan relations

This week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is planning to restructure the Taiwan Policy Act, which serves as the long-term bipartisan blueprint for U.S. foreign policy with Taiwan.

The proposal, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), marks the first time lawmakers have sought to shape the U.S.-Taiwan relationship since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

FILE - In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Taiwanese President President Tsai Ing-wen wave during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. The U.S. government has announced talks with Taiwan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, on a trade treaty in a new sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy claimed by China’s ruling Communist Party as part of its territory. The announcement comes after Beijing launched military drills in an attempt to intimidate the island after Pelosi's visit. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP, File)
In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wave during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP, File)

Geopolitical watchers will be paying careful attention to see whether the committee tries to temper the policy that would designate Taiwan as a "major non-NATO ally" and allow for a more streamlined process of military sales to Taiwan.

The proposal comes as support for NATO has remained incredibly strong in the United States and as China continues to threaten military action against Taiwan.

Senate Twitter hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee will convene a hearing to investigate claims made by a Twitter whistleblower earlier this year. In the complaint, Twitter's former head of security, Peiter Zatko, alleged the social media platform failed to address widespread user data and security concerns.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Peiter Zatko, who is also known as Mudge poses for a portrait on Monday August 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. He has worked for Google and Twitter. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Peiter Zatko, who is also known as Mudge poses for a portrait on Monday August 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. He has worked for Google and Twitter. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In Tuesday's hearing, lawmakers are expected to focus on how the tech company plans to battle disinformation in what will likely be the highest profile tech hearing on the Hill ahead of the midterms.

The hearing is also notable given Elon Musk's efforts to scrap a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform. Last week, Musk's legal team argued that Twitter's $7 million severance payment to Zatko violated the terms of Musk's deal to acquire the company.

Kevin Cirilli is a visiting media fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global China Hub and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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