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SCOTUS’s new term, Biden visits Puerto Rico, Taiwan tensions: 3 things to watch in politics

Yahoo Finance's Kevin Cirilli joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss three top political stories to watch this week as the Supreme Court returns for a new term with controversial cases, President Biden visits Puerto Rico and Florida to survey the Hurricane Ian damage, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin commits to helping Taiwan.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, time now to look at some of the big stories likely to shape the headlines in Washington, DC. President Biden is heading to Puerto Rico today and Florida later this week as he surveys the damage from Hurricane Ian. Yahoo Finance contributor, Kevin Cirilli here to break it all down for us.

And Kevin, we're actually starting on the Supreme Court today. Probably an understatement to say the last term was monumental, questions around the court's legitimacy. I mean, what's on the docket in this term that could really shape the future.

KEVIN CIRILLI: Well, for well for Chief Justice Roberts, this is going to be a remarkable return for the Supreme Court after, as you alluded to, a very different type of recess than they've ever had. This was marked by security concerns, by concerns over protests that had gone on ever since the Supreme Court's decision to overturn "Roe v Wade." But Akiko, when they return, they're going to be tackling everything from Voting Rights Act that could dramatically reshape the Voting Rights Act.

Secondly, they could also be looking at environmental regulations as well as LGBTQIA+ rights for Americans. So a very busy, busy Supreme Court season, and one that quite honestly is going to be facing even more attention from Americans. We're just a couple of weeks away obviously, from the midterms, but also again, in the aftermath of that decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

AKIKO FUJITA: We've also got the cleanup effort still underway over in Florida from the hurricane. We are expecting President Biden to visit as well. I mean, what are we expecting on that front and the discussion around it?

KEVIN CIRILLI: President Biden headed to Puerto Rico earlier or later today rather. And then he will go to Florida midweek where he will survey the damage as a result of Hurricane Ian. We should note that he has spoken with Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis over the last couple of days to cooperate the efforts between the federal and the state responses to the damage of Hurricane Ian.

Millions of folks were without power. And of course, now close to 90 Americans having lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Ian. And this presents for President Biden as well as Governor DeSantis an opportunity to really show unity in the response efforts for those who have been impacted by this devastation.

AKIKO FUJITA: And finally, Kevin, we're still sort of trying to parse those comments that we got from President Biden on Taiwan specifically. He gave those comments on "60 Minutes" a few weeks ago. Now you've got Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin weighing in on Taiwan this weekend. What more did we learn about whether, in fact, the administration's policy on Taiwan has shifted?

KEVIN CIRILLI: Well, three things. First and foremost, Xi Jinping of China is going to be giving remarks later this month as he tries to outline his plans for his reign over China, specifically as it relates to Taiwan, to the tech sector, and manufacturing.

But last week on Friday in Washington, DC, this, Akiko, was pretty unprecedented when you had 14 indo-pacific islands signing a pledge with the United States in which they agreed to have a declaration on US-Pacific partnership that would show really a commitment to economics and infrastructure.

And then Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaking on CNN just over the weekend in which he said, quote, "In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, we are committed to helping Taiwan develop the capability to defend itself. And that work has gone on over time. And will continue into the future."

It's important to note here that the administration has been incredibly careful with the words that they've used every which way. I'm told up at the top from President Biden as well as from cabinet-level officials, they really feel that China has moved the goalpost in their handling of Taiwan and have broken with decades-long policies and how they have been able to deal with Taiwan.

And as a result of that, that's why you're seeing folks like Secretary Austin come out and be very clear that the United States intends to maintain its strong relationship with this democratic island.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK. A lot more to come on that potential tensions rising there too. Yahoo Finance contributor, Kevin Cirilli, as always, thanks so much.