Republican Party Faces a Crossroad
As the Biden Administration settles in with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress, Republicans are deeply split. During the Trump presidency, Republicans generally voted in a partisan majority, but now, with reelection campaigns settled, the party must choose: will they continue the Trump-era path of Republicanism or return to traditional conservatism and try to cooperate with the Democrats?
Congressional election results proved telling on where the party stands. Several traditionalist Republicans who had been hesitant to bend over backwards for the President were replaced by more radical, extremist politicians, most notably Rep. Marjorie Greene, who has now been linked with conspiracy theory and extremist groups encouraging the execution of Democratic lawmakers. The GOP House Minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, visited Pres. Trump after Biden took office, and so far few traditionalists have stood up strongly for their views—in fact, many Congresspeople who were in favor of impeaching the former president have received death threats and other forms of intimidation.
A Look at Biden’s first actions: rejoining the Paris Climate Accord
As one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on January 20th for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Late last year, the U.S. had officially left the agreement after Donald Trump started the exit procedure in 2017. (For those who don’t know, the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal is to maintain global temperature averages in order to avoid devastating climate changes). During his campaign, Biden was very adamant on working on the US’ carbon emissions count as the United States is the second largest global contributor to carbon emissions, with China in the lead. Rejoining the accord may encourage other parts of the world to start getting serious about climate change again. It will take 30 days for the U.S. to rejoin the agreement officially, but we are well on our way.
Abortion Restrictions Reversed
Restrictions on abortion access both domestically and internationally were reversed by the Biden Administration on Thursday. A presidential memorandum signed by Joe Biden allowed for the restrictions created by the Trump Administration to be lifted. The Mexico City Policy—a policy that is notoriously known for attacking women’s health rights and limiting a woman’s control over her own rights—was also rescinded. It restricted access to abortions and resources for reproductive health.
This memorandum does not come as a surprise since the lifting of the policy was a campaign promise during the 2020 election. The signing also allows the Health and Human Service Department to possibly rescind the Trump administration’s policy that blocks health care workers in the Title X family planning program from referring patients for abortions. Reversing these policies decreases the negative stigma around abortions and reproductive health. With this decision, the pro-choice and pro-life debate continues.
Also in the News…
-January was the worst month for Suffolk County Covid-19 cases, at 143,498 reported cases. It is the 17th worst county in the country for cases and deaths.
-Auto maker GM has pledged to phase out fossil fuel powered cars by 2035, rocking the American car industry.