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This week in wins: House overwhelmingly passes 9/11 first responders bill

There was a lot to celebrate this week, including a joyous World Cup victory for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

By Dan Desai Martin - July 12, 2019
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9/11 first responders
New York City Fire Battalion Chief Dan Daly, right, attends a 9/11 memorial ceremony in the presence of a Hungarian fireman two days ahead of the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers in the Central Museum of Disaster Management in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Chief Dan Daly took part in the rescue operations as a first responder at the World Trade Center, where he lost 50 of his own men.

News coverage this week focused a lot on the fallout of a child sex trafficking scandal that forced Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to resign.

While chaos once again reigned at the White House, the rest of the country had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Here is some good news for the week.

House overwhelmingly passes 9/11 first responders bill

On Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 402-12 to guarantee funding for a program that covers medical care for first responders who helped at the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been dragging his feet on the issue. McConnell finally met with 9/11 first responders after being publicly shamed by comedian Jon Stewart.

No Democrats voted against the bill in the House, and the 12 no votes came from 11 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who was a Republican until earlier this month.

Experts say Democrats are moving closer to 2020 Senate majority

The 2020 election may be 480 days away, but experts are already adjusting their expectations by moving two key races in the Democrats’ direction.

On Tuesday, Roll Call changed its rating for Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat looking to defend her seat in Minnesota, from “Likely Democratic” to “Solid Democratic.” Republicans “lack immediate, strong alternatives” to Smith, Roll Call noted, while Trump is unlikely to overperform in a state he lost in 2016.

Roll Call also adjusted its rating in Texas from “Solid Republican” to only “Likely Republican.” In the Lone State State, Republican Sen. John Cornyn is defending his seat in a state that saw former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke come dangerously close to ousting Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

The news comes the same week that Amy McGrath announced a record-setting fundraising haul in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

With vulnerable incumbents in Colorado, Maine, Arizona, North Carolina, and Iowa, Republicans will be hard-pressed to keep their narrow 53-47 Senate majority in 2020.

California takes key step to reduce deadly police shootings

The California Senate passed a bill on Monday aimed at reducing deadly police shootings, HuffPost reported. The bill, which already sailed through the state assembly, limits the circumstances in which officers can use deadly force to when an “officer reasonably believes … that deadly force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), a co-author of the bill, said in May that the new language replaces older, more vague language about when officers can use deadly force.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, supports the bill, meaning it will likely become law soon.

New York governor signs law giving Congress access to Trump’s state tax returns

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into a law a measure that will allow Congress access to state tax returns upon request.

Congress has long demanded to know what may be hidden in Trump’s tax returns. The administration has steadfastly refused to cooperate, and officials at the IRS and Treasury Department are breaking the law by refusing to hand over six years’ of returns after Congress instructed them to do so.

But now Congress has a new avenue to explore, should it choose to do so. The law allows the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any person’s state tax return if requested for a “specific and legitimate legislative purpose” by one of three congressional committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

All Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the Ways and Means Committee, has to do now is make the request.

U.S. World Cup champs joyfully celebrate victory and get invited to Congress

It is hard not to smile watching Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and the rest of the U.S. Women’s National Team celebrate their fourth World Cup victory with unabashed glee. The team defeated the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday to secure its second consecutive World Cup championship.

“The unmitigated expressions of joy from the U.S. Women’s National Team ― a squad made of up of women who are loud, openly queer, politically active and nationally beloved ― felt like a collective win for American women,” Emma Gray wrote in HuffPost.

On Tuesday, Rapinoe went on CNN and laid out a moving vision of American values, calling on everyone to “constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better, so everyone else can be better around us.”

Rapinoe and others on the team preemptively rejected the idea of visiting Trump in the White House — but accepted an invitation to visit Congress and celebrate with leaders of the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Come back next week for more good news.


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